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Trekking Rhododendron Sanctuary in Sikkim

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Trekking Rhododendron Sanctuary  in Southern Sikkim of India is a trekker Paradise.

The Rhododendron Sanctuary at Barsey is something that provides the ideal trekking trail for the non-trekker. The best season for trekking is from March to May every year.

It took us almost two and a half hour to reach Jorethang in South Sikkim in our Tata Sumo from a place in Western Sikkim. From there again, four of us started for Sombarey, – the nearest town to Barsey. The journey was something to cherish and good enough to eradicate any anxiety at having to find accommodation.

Sombarey is a small hill town of nearly 60-70 families located at an altitude of 4, 700 ft. On reaching there, we checked into a guesthouse and ordered some refreshments.

Next morning, the trekking trail for trekking Rhododendron Sanctuary at Barsey was prepared. The locals advised us to carry a good amount of food at the Zureli Dara, the sole viewpoint of the entire Sombarey town. Unfortunately, the dense fog has prevented us from getting a clear view of the town. Our next destination was Gumha monastery en route to Hilley. This time we were lucky to attend the prayer time. We were carried away by the rhythmic tunes of the drums and musical instruments. The view was so poetic and serenity – colourful prayer flags, the integral part of any Buddhist monastery, were fluttering in the air, spreading the message of love and peace.

At last, we reached Hilley at an altitude of 9,000 ft. The Indian armies who guarded the Sanctuary asked us to purchase tickets to enter the sanctuary. The Rhododendron sanctuary is spread across an area of 104 sq km flush with alpine vegetation including silver firs, magnolias, hemlocks and pines. The hallmark of the sanctuary is the numerous species of rhododendrons – variety of wild flowers and numerous streams.

The journey through the narrow foot trail was a palpable excitement. There was no chance of sunlight penetrating in the dense forest due to mist. The drifting clouds, swirling mists, slippery trails and recurrent streams ensured we must be cautious enough to enjoy a safe trekking. We gather some broken branches to guide us all along the narrow trek.

At Barsey, we were greeted with a riot of colours ranging from crimson red and violet to bright yellows. The place was filled with Rhododendron in all directions. There are 36 varieties of Rhododendron in the sanctuary. The rear blue rhododendron can also be found at Taal, a two hour walk from Barsey. The blossoming time differs according to the altitude region as well as the climatic conditions.

We were lucky enough to view Mt Kangchendzonga glittering with silver peak from Barsey. The sheer beauty of nature is charmed enough to make one decide to spend the rest of one’s life there forever. However, we hurriedly finished our packed lunch and walk another 4 km down the hills.

Some of the hotels around Sikkim are Royal Demazong Resort, Suhim Portico, WelcomHeritage Denzong Regency etc.

Visit the link for Top 10 cool hotels in Sikkim.

Reaching Barsey is either through airport, rail or by road. The nearest airport is Bagdogra and New Jalpaiguri is the nearest railhead. If you prefer the road tour, you need to alight at Jorethang from Siliguri. From Jorethang you can go to Sombarey for a night’s halt. Don’t wait, come to see the multi-coloured flower by trekking Rhododendron Sanctuary along with your loved ones!

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