Romancing a Himalayan sanctuary

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Something or the other will certainly dominate in this region. The elements have to battle one another and yet co-exist in harmony. The Teesta will, for instance, roar threateningly through deep gorges, carving out narrow valleys. The slopes here will be steeper than anywhere else in the world. Mountain faces will be sharper than is normally the case and yet be greener than can ever be imagined. Even in the wrong season. The Red Panda, no matter how cuddly and small, will quietly survive the mercurial temperament of nature. As will the Yak. Trembling in the snows, still plodding on. Glaciers will rumble forbiddingly. Avalanches will thunder down on them. Yet the peaks would glow, drawing themselves up to their full height, their beauty brazenly establishing the true hierarchy of nature. Snow storms and white will be be at one end of the spectrum and hot weather at lower climes will define the climatic boundaries of the region. The Kangchenjunga will loom above it all, its illusion making a mockery of the reality of Everest.

Amazing though it may seem, this whole glory can be savoured on a single trek through West Sikkim. Hugging the razor edged Singalila Ridge, the Himalayan divide between India and Nepal, this much talked about trek to Dzongri, gets the best of West Sikkim etched indelibly on adventurous minds. From the trail head at Yuksom, the erstwhile capital of Sikkim in the velvet green of 5,800 feet, to the high point of Dzongri Top at 15,000 feet, right in the splendour of the Kangchenjunga Sanctuary, passing through thickly forested ridges crowded with rich flora to the heights above the tree line, finally culminating at the breathtaking snowy heights of the Kangchenjunga Sanctuary. An unforgettable panorama of jagged snow peaks cutting across in an arc of 270 degrees, cuts through the azure sky.

The landscape is incidental, it is the trekker who changes! This is indeed one of the most spectacular treks in the entire Indian Himalayas and one will certainly not forget about it.

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