When it comes to trekking, India is not devoid of trekking trails. The diversity in Indian landscapes gives the adventurers a variety of treks ranging from the Himalayan trails in the north to the dense forest trails of the Western Ghats in the South. For those choosing a trek in the Himalayan region, Dzongri Trek is a popular place to visit in Sikkim. Sikkim, known for its alpine weather and rich biodiversity, has a distinctive appeal owing to its snow-capped mountains, steep valleys, flower-clad slopes, one of the top monasteries in India, Kangchenjunga mountain range, forest reserves, and its organic and green initiatives.
The Dzongri Trek
The Dzongri Trek in Sikkim starts from Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve in Yuksom, a small town in West Sikkim known for its ancient monasteries, gorgeous landscape, beautiful rivers and waterfalls, scenic lakes and more. Known as the Gateway to Mount Kanchenjunga, it is host to the stunning Kangchenjunga waterfalls and a lot of enticing trekking trails that make it worth treading. Most treks stop at Tsokha, another small village with hamlets and tropical woodlands rich in rhododendron plants, oak and chestnut trees, alpine plants, and maple trees. Stopping here for a day would help those who want time to get acclimatized during this adventure in Sikkim. A 5 miles trek from here will take you to the mystic and vibrant landscape of Dzongri, situated at an altitude of about 4200 metres. Trekkers usually spend a day here and follow the trail back to Tsokha and Yuksom thereby finishing their trekking adventure.
The trek usually lasts for 5 to 6 days. Those who do not take time to get acclimatized can finish the trek in 4 days as well but it is not advisable. The best time to visit this trek is from March to April and from September to mid-October when the weather is known to be friendly for trekkers. Those who do not mind the cost can opt for a cook, tents, and a porter that would make a fully supported trek.
There are a few tips to consider before going on a Dzongri trek in Sikkim
- Carrying Enough Money
- Food and Clothing
- Medical Cares
- Carrying a Good Camera
- The Trekking Essentials
- Adhering to the Ecological Norms
1. Carrying Enough Money
Most travellers refuse to carry a lot of money owing to the fear of losing it. While this still remains a concern, it is important to carry enough money with you while trekking in Sikkim since the small villages you stop at are extremely remote areas, and you may not always find cash in the ATMs there. So, if you are planning to hire local guides or porters or trekking gear with no ATMs around and no provision for swiping your cards having cash can be your saviour.
2. Food and Clothing
I agree that trekking bags need to be lightweight for the ease of travelling. However, the stops you make before you reach Dzongri might not offer you the kind of food that you like. If you are not satisfied by the simple fare like a cup of tea and packet of biscuits or a plate of Maggi or a bowl of rice and dal, ensure you carry some high energy foodstuff such as dry fruits and nuts, biscuits, and chocolate, energy bars, and other packaged consumables. These take less space and can be easily carried in a backpack without having to worry about spilling over. Do not worry thinking of the space and weight that the food items take. As you keep climbing, you would consume the items, and your bag would get lighter as well. However, do not litter the trail always carry a trash bag where you can keep all the wrappers.
Also required is a good water bottle that can be refilled from wherever you get potable water. I kept sipping water frequently during the trip to ensure my body is kept hydrated all along. Do not use plastic water bottles as Sikkim has strict policies against using plastic items. Buy a sturdy bottle and keep refilling whenever possible. Water from natural streams are deemed potable and I found many on my way to Dzongri.
3. Medical Cares
While trekking high altitudes, mountain sickness can be a common concern to many. What follows would be headaches, loss of appetite, upset stomach and losing interest in continuing the trek. So, make sure to carry with you medicine for high altitude sickness. Inform your GP that you are undertaking this adventure and take his/her advice on what all medicines to carry along on the tour. Some essentials would include oral rehydration salt sachets, adhesive bandages, and medicines for resolving fever, stomach ache, and allergies. As you keep trekking, you would sweat a lot, and the oral rehydration salts or electrolytes can be of help by restoring the minerals and fluids lost from your body.
4. Carrying a Good Camera
The trekking trails you cover in the Dzongri trek in Sikkim are home to some exotic birds, and animals such as Bharal or the blue mountain sheep, Black Bear, Marble Cat, Barking Deer, langurs, and the red pandas. Those shutterbugs extremely serious about getting superior photos should carry a good digital camera to get the best out of the scenes. Since the trek gives majestic views of a few of the famous mountains including Mount Kanchenjunga, Mt Koktan, and Mt Thenchinkhang you might want to get some fascinating clicks to grab enough attention in your Instagram account. Also visible are Mt. Pandim, Mt. Kabur north, and Mt. Kumbhakarna while passing through deep gorges and rhododendron slopes. The mountain moss and lichen that you come across in the varied terrains while trekking in Sikkim are also worth clicking.
5. The Trekking Essentials
Undoubtedly, the items mentioned above are essentials during any travel trip. However, there are a few basics that I carried along with me and would become useful during the trip. Invest in a good pair of trekking shoes or hiking boots, and two or three trek pants or trousers. Do not forget to buy lightweight and waterproof ones. The weather in Sikkim can be unpredictable at times, so you never know when it rains. While packing my backpack, I made sure to include a mosquito repellent, a cap, foldable tent and sleeping bag, matches, tissue roll, raincoat, a blanket and thermals, a few ready-to-eat meals, a dry sack, sunscreen, a travel guide, a flashlight, and extra cells for the flashlight. I also carried a hand sanitizer and a Swiss knife that became a lifesaver during my trip.
6. Adhering to the Ecological Norms
In a bid to end pollution by plastic, Sikkim has stepped forward by putting an end to the use of plastic bags. Make sure you adhere to the ecological rules and regulations during your journey.
While planning on a trekking trip, I had no hesitation in choosing Dzongri Trek in Sikkim since it is a short trek providing stunning views of some of the highest peaks in the world. It is an ideal route for those who do not have a lot of time to trek and also for those who are looking for easy to moderate trekking route in Sikkim. Low on time and still somewhat a newbie as a trekker I finally zeroed in on Dzongri for my trekking in Sikkim adventure. Accompanied by the guide I took on this naturalist paradise in Sikkim, which would later become the most memorable trek of my life and gave me the most mesmerizing visuals I have ever seen in my life.