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The remarkable and mesmerizing Dzongri Trek is a high altitude and one of the shortest trekking routes in Sikkim which begins from Khangchendzonga National Park and ends at Yuksom. The Dzongri trek is one of the most challenging treks in Sikkim, yet it’s the most exhilarating, bewitching journey you can take. The trek is full of alluring views and entrancing attractions. Dzongri is almost fifteen thousand feet above sea level.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Pay heed to tour leaders or instructors in order to enjoy a safe and sound experience.
Do not consume alcohol or any other intoxicants during the tour.
Avoid roaming during the night.
Carry basic medications and a first-aid kit during the tour.
Upon arrival, we shall have to relax time, weather acclimatisation.
After early breakfast, we begin our leisure trek today from Sachen (~ 2200 m/7200 ft). Usually, it takes some time in the morning to process the permit at the police check post and we start around 9/9:30 am in the morning. By that time you can visit the Yuksom Coronation site which is some 5/7 minutes from the bazaar area and has a small monastery adjacent to it.
Our trail now enters Kanchendzongha National Park. This Biosphere Reserve is a Botanist’s paradise and is rich with exotic birds, butterflies, and mammals. We have to cross 3 bridges on the river today, referred to as the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd bridges. We continue our gradual ascent to a clearing we reach, which is our campsite of Sachen for the day. There is a Kitchen Hut built by the Forest Department on the left of the trail and the camping ground is above the trail on the right. The site is full of different bird species including Thrushes and Laughing Thrushes. It may take around 4 hours and we cover a distance of 8 Km. Camp for the night at Sachen
We start gradually for the first half an hour and then descend to the 4th bridge on the river Prek Chu (Chu means River in Bhutia), the last of the four but most significant. Prek River coming down from Goecha La/Samity area meets Rathong Chu which is feeding from Rathong glacier someway further down. After crossing the bridge, the trail turns to the left and spirals up. This is the first half of the climb for today and a continuous one with steady height gain.
We climb through the often-misty forest and slowly the valley widens up on our left. Slowly climbing for an hour and a half we reach the top of this ridge suddenly turning to the right we see the Forest Bungalow of Bakhim( ~ 2620 m/8600 ft) at our left and a house with a coffee shop on the right. The Bungalow with a concrete exterior and wooden interior suffered during the earthquake in 2011 but still serves as the night halt for the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) students. A cup of tea or coffee looking at the valley down under should not be missed. On a clear day, one can see Yuksom and the hill station of Pelling from this viewpoint.
We begin our trek after good rest. We start our second phase of climbing for the day after our break. The trail continues to zigzag and the first noticeable Rhododendron trees appear. During spring we can see the red and the white flowers, particularly in abundance. There is a shortcut on the right of the main trail but it is better to stay on the well-defined track. We turn right and reach a clearing in the forest. From here we continue our climb until we reach our destination Tsokha (~ 2960 m/9700 ft) a tabletop on top of the hill. The camping ground of Tsokha is on the right of the trail and is a delight. The wooden Trekkers Hut is adjacent to the camping ground and well equipped with rooms and a big dining hall. We get the first view of the snow-capped mountains behind the Trekkers Hut. Magnificent Mount Pandim is standing straight along with Jopunu and Tinchenkhang.
If the weather is clear we can see the sunrise on the backdrop of Mt. Pandim(6691m), standing from the camping ground. Being on the mountain for 3 days, our body is supposed to get acclimatized by this time. Today we gain significant height while most of the climb is moderately steep. The walk can be divided into 3 parts, climb till Phedang (~ 3680 m/12070 ft), then further ascent to Deorali Top (~ 4100 m/13,450 ft), and finally a gradual descent to our destination for the day Dzongri (~ 3950 m/12,950 ft).
We leave Tsokha after crossing the monastery and turn right as the trail starts the steep climb for about half an hour. Then the trail is eased with paved wooden logs as rain turns it pretty muddy by the movements of Yaks and Horses. This trail is surrounded by dense Rhododendrons trees bloomed in different colors (the flowering season is mid-April to mid-May) and conifers. This is perhaps one of the best jungle trails in the Himalayas and takes away the tiredness of the body. Often cloudy, the misty scent of the trail is unforgettable.
After climbing for another hour we reach a small clearing where we take a rest and enjoy the silence of the jungle. From this point climbing for little more than an hour we reach the top of this hill, a wide open area of Phedang. There is a Kitchen hut and a small sitting arrangement for the tired trekkers. The area remains cloudy mostly after midday and can be damp and cold.
The trail splits from this place as the straight one goes to Dzongri and the trail on the right leads to Kokchurang. After a much-needed replenishment, we start for the 2nd half of our climb. The trail climbs steadily again zigzagging while we climb slowly as we can feel the altitude resulting in a headache. Here the Rhododendron trees have turned it bushes aligning more horizontally. Climbing for two hours we reach the top of Deorali, a sacred place having a Chorten and prayer flags. There are spectacular views of the Sikkim Mountains and their peaks from here. We start descending from this point and after crossing a clearing in a meadow we climb a small hump. From this hump, we gently descend and traverse the meadows of Dzongri.
Walking around for an hour we reach the Trekkers Hut and the camping side. The wooden hut consists of four rooms, a dining hall, and a separate setup for the kitchen. The camping ground is on the left side of the hut along the narrow stream which flows in front of the hut. We camp or stay in the hut. The total distance is 6 Km and may take 3/4 hours. Night stay either in the tent.
We wake up very early in the morning around 4 am and prepare to go to the top of Dzongri which is the sunrise point and offers majestic views. It is essential to climb to the Dzongri top as the hill straight in front of Dzongri restricts the views of the mountains. A good 45-minute to an hour climb gaining a height of around 200 m/650 ft will take us to Dzongri top. The panorama from Dzongri Top is simply breathtaking during sunrise when peaks are tinted in the softest of hues. It is almost an 150-degree panorama, from right Jopunu, Mt. Pandim to our left the Kabru group of peaks. Straight ahead is Kanchendzongha, the third-highest peak in the world standing with massive glory. Local people offer prayers and incense of Cryptomaria Japonica shrubs to the Chorten at the top. After clicking photographs we descend to the base for the breakfast. In the early afternoon, you may walk towards Dzongri La (Dzongri Pass) on the trail to Chowrikhang, HMI (Himalayan Mountaineering Institute) base camp for a couple of hours. However, a round trip to Dzongri La (Dzongri Pass) will take 6/7 hours and is out of scope. Camp for the night.
After breakfast, we start our day’s trek and climb to Deorali first and then descend to Phedang. We continue going down till we reach our campsite Tsokha. It should take around 5/6 hours to complete the 12 Km distance.
Yuksom is a beautiful village in Sikkim and is very popular for varieties of flower species. You will really enjoy the place if you are a lover of nature.
Today is our last day on the trail and we descend via Bakhim and 4th bridge. From here we climb for half an hour and then almost straight to Sachen. Then we continue retracing our path back to the town of Yuksom. It will take around 5/6 hours for a distance of 15 Km. Night stay in a tourist lodge.
In the morning take the car and drive back to Bagdogra airport If you have a tour extension to Bhutan or Nepal, bagdugra is the center for flights. Our trip ends with our guide and driver seeing you off from the airport.
P.S.: Distances and altitudes are approximate and may not be exact.
The Dzongri trek is one of the most challenging treks in India, yet it’s the most exhilarating, bewitching journey you can take. The trek is full of alluring views and entrancing attractions. Dzongri is almost fifteen thousand feet above sea level.
Dzongri top, at an altitude of 13,681 ft presents a grand opportunity to enjoy the panorama of Mount Kanchenjunga and Mount Pandim, which will keep one satiated with glee till lifetime.