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The Mirror Lake of Kalimpong

MulKarkha Lake Trek

Since childhood, the stories of Himalayas ran through my mind as my mother was a trekker and she used to tell me stories of her treks. So it was always a dream for me to go on a trek once in a lifetime. And it happened when I got in touch with some like minded people, who turned friends and now a family.

A summer trek was organized by an organization (consisting of 20 members including 5 veteran mountaineers) and I was selected to be the part of it. And was highly excited about the trek.

Day 1:(NJP - Rhenock by bus-Trek to Lingzey)(4km trek): It was around 9:00 AM when we reached NJP. From NJP station only we could see the mighty mountains. We arranged our backpacks and boarded a bus. It was around 9:30 the bus started moving via Siliguri, Sevoke Road, Coronation Bridge, with River Teesta flowing side by us. The journey in a bus with River Teesta flowing side by us surrounded by the green lushes of Mountains was pumping up the thrill and energy inside us. Around 12:00 P.M we halted at Teesta Bazar to have a tea break. Around 2:30 P.M we reached Rhenock(Sikkim) where our guide was waiting to welcome us with his warm welcoming nature. We had our lunch in a local restaurant a simple tasty Dal Roti. After lunch around 3:30 PM we started our trek to Lindsey(Kalimpong).

Lingzey- A small beautiful village in Kalimpong district, most famous of Lingzey Hareshwar Shivalaya Mandir, an old Temple of Lord Shiva, old Hindu manuscriptures are kept in a Sanskrit library inside the temple complex, throughout the year several Hindu festivals are held in the temple. Most important among them is Shivaratri, Dashain, Durga Puja and Tihar. Traditional Lepcha cultures with traditional Lepcha house in the lower Lingzey. Lepcha Monasteries with beautiful Prayer flags fluttering in the air. Locals here are mostly Gorkha (Nepali speaking) and Lepchas with mostly Lepcha Language. Maize is mostly cultivated in this area. One could stay in Homestays to explore the local sightseeing in this region.

The trail here is a motorable road, with a comfortable ascent. Surrounded by mighty green mountains throughout and the sun was about to set down. Around 5:30 we reached our campsite a which was just below the motorable road. Was a step cultivation or terrace farming step. After setting up the camp it started raining. We slept around 8:00 PM inside the tent, raining outside.

Lingzey Hareshwar Shivalaya Mandir

Stepped Corn Cultivation

Day 2: Lingzey to Tagathan(Via Dhok-Sing Falls and Jhusing top)(8KM): After the last rainy night we woke up around 6:00 AM. After completing the breakfast it was time to move towards Tagathan, our next destination. We started around 8:30 AM, through a hilly trail with long trees on both the side and the path was wet and covered with wet leaves. The cool morning breeze coming from the green mountains were passing by us. It was really a relaxing and calmly feel all around.

Morning view from the Campsite

As we were moving up the local kids were going to schools greeting us, the farmers were going towards the field, the clouds were rolling down the green mountains and the cool breeze could be felt, an amazing feeling of calmness, being free from agitation and strong emotions. Which was inspiring us to move. After moving 2Km uphill our Guide told us we have to descend towards the Dhok-Sing falls. We could hear the sound of the Dhok-Sing Falls. There was not a proper downhill trail towards Dhok-Sing falls. The sound of the falls and the cool Breeze with the green mountains surrounding took us to a different world. Now we started moving up towards Tagathan, Leaving behind the Dhok-Sing Falls and the motorable roads, its time for us to move towards the hilly trails through a dense forest.

Dhok-Sing Falls

The narrow trail through the dense forest where sometimes we could get a cool breeze and a scorching sun as well, but the landscape around made us forget everything. About moving up about 5kms we reached a Colourful Village named Jhusing or Jhusing Top. A flat top on the mountain with corn fields all around with colorful houses and fluttering flags and a warm innocent smiles of the locals made it more amazing.

View from Jhusing Top

After halting for some minutes on Jhusing top we started moving towards Tagathan through the dense forest hilly trails. After moving about 2Kms we reached Tagathan Village on a motorable road.

View from Tagathan

Tagathan: Tagathan a beautiful colorful Himalayan village which locates in Bengal. A Durga Mandir located in the village where the annual Durga Puja, Dashain, Tihar takes place. A silent village surrounded by the green lushes of mountains and the cool breeze flowing. Another Trek spot Neora valley could be seen from here. Maize and corn are mostly cultivated in this region. Villagers are mostly Gorkha (Nepali Speaking), A primary school for the minors, Tagathan Primary School, where we set our camp taking special permission. Homestay facilities are also available there.

The Durga Mandir

It was around 3 PM when we reached Tagathan and our camp was set, a medical camp was organized by our Trek Leader Dr. Sourav Ray, and his brother Dr. Sudip Ray followed by Disha Ghosh, a nurse from our team. And the villagers were quite happy with the medical camp. We came to knew that no proper medical facilities are available in that region.

Day 3: Tagathan to Mulkarkha Village(4KM): Last Night a mild shower brought a pleasant weather, and the temperature was reduced. The early morning Sunrise was just mesmerizing, we saw the sparkling of the dews on the tall trees of the mountains. Around 9:00 Am after completing the breakfast we started moving uphill towards the Mulkarkha Village. Some meters of the motorable trail lead to the dense forest and the scorching sun was above our head but the view surrounded by us was giving us more energy and was pumping us to move on to get something more. Farmers were going towards the fields with their cattle, kids going to schools. Moving about 2kms a local tea shop owner with his warm innocent smile requested us to have tea in his shop. His hospitability and smile couldn't be rejected. He prepared herbal tea, sipping herbal tea on the mountaintop with cool breeze surrounded by greenery throughout brought us to the heaven. We bid him goodbye, wishing to meet him again. But as we were moving dark cloud was seen rolling down through the far mountain top, which was a clear indication of heavy rainfall.

As we were moving uphill the dark cloud was growing much dense, it was about 1Pm when we reached Mulkarkha Village and we decided to stop there and pitched our tents. As the weather was going to worse.

As we pitched our tents it started raining cats and dogs with thunder, the heavy raining on the mountains was the perfect atmosphere of the adventure. Though frightening but enjoyable. It rained heavily for 2 hours and around 3Pm it stopped and the sky was clear and the bright sun came out.

Then we started Hiking towards Mulkarkha Lake. The trail was then through the under construction motorable road. It took us about an hour to reach the lake from the campsite, which was totally uphill trekking then through under construction motorable trail. It was a quite memorable hike to the lake.

Mulkarkha Lake: (Mulpokhari/Manokamna Lake) Located at 7500ft above the sea level, on the mountaintop near the Bengal Sikkim Border is famous for the reflection of The Mighty Mt. KhanchenDzonga. There is a mandir on the end of the lake, though no deities inside the temple but the local people offer prayer here every day, The main festival in this temple is during Ram Navami, Durga Ashtami, Tihar,. the local belief here arranging stones above one another and wishing in front of the lake makes ones wish come true. (Manokamna). Though we were not lucky that day to see the reflection of Mount. KhanchenDzonga, but it was really breathtaking to see the natural view of the lake and its surrounding.It was a pin drop silence what we witnessed there. Hindu and Buddhist prayer flags fluttering over the lake. was making it an eternal atmosphere all around. There is a flat grass top from where sunset will leave one hypnotized. No one apart from us was there, no other habitation, the last village we left was Mulkarkha. The calmness was so severe that one may feel to remain detached from the rest of the world, and will make anyone forget the struggles and hardships of life. Staying sometime at such place will bring an eternal feeling and peace in life.

The Afternoon shower reduced the temperature and it was a cold night.

Day 4: Mulkarkha to Pithamchen.(5KM Downhill) As we were not able to see the mighty Khanchendzonga, some of us planned last night to get up early morning and visit the lake once again with a hope to see The KhanchenDzonga. We woke up at 5:00 am, Guide told us that there is a chance to view the mighty mountain. We hurriedly started moving uphill towards the lake, finger crossed with a great hope and a challenge to view the Mighty mountain, As we moved about some meters, there was a sudden flash, and a sparkling, and we were speechless with what we witnessed and what was standing in front of us.

Yes its The Mt. KhanchenDzonga, we were left amazed, speechless, with goosebumps. Such a mesmerizing view of The Mighty Mountain standing with Kumbhakarna and Sinolchu. The sunrise color changing from Golden to Pinkish turned Bluish to finally white was a hypnotizing moment, it felt like standing in the wonderland. Sat there just to feel the greatness and it was like a magnetic attraction force which was not allowing the eyes to move.The moments which were passing over there couldn't be expressed in proper word, it needs to be felt. Its truly said that "One can only view KhanchenDzonga if she wants to show herself", and if it shows her beauty, she will leave everyone amazed for the lifetime. But the clouds started rising above again and became a curtain.

Enjoying and feeling the moments for some time we returned back to our camp in Mulkarkha village, to start our downhill trek towards Pithamchen.

The downhill trail to Pithamchen is through the villages, valleys and sometimes through the dense forest. Local schools can be seen where small kids were doing school activities. Pithamchen is a quite silent village which is located just on the border of Bengal and Sikkim. There is local well-decorated monastery over there known as Gurung Gompa. It was around 1:00 pm when we reached Pithamchen and explored the village. The innocent smiles, welcoming nature of the villagers was bringing many colors to the village.

Day 5: Pithamchen to Lingzey-Samsing(6KM Downhill): Early morning we hiked to Mankhim viewpoint which was just a Km distance from Pithamchen.

Mankhim:(Mandir) Mankhim is a Kirat temple, of Rai, Sunuwar, Limbu communities and many other. Kiratism is a religion mostly followed by Rai, Sunuwar, Limbu etc. (among many others) communities. It is a blend of ancestor worshipping, Shaivism, and Hinduism in a different way. The temple is beautifully decorated and its location on the edge was making it more attractive, it was such that one can view Mt. KhanchenDzonga through the inside of the temple. We were lucky enough to view KhanchenDzonga on that day too. And it was an eternal peaceful place where one can feel the beauty of nature and the eternity. The calmness will refresh ones mind and will bring peace forever.

Aritar was lake could be seen from the Mankhim viewpoint which was located just below.

Homestays facilities are available here.

Returning back to camp after breakfast we started moving downhill towards Lingzey, from where we started our trek. The downhill trail was through the motorable roads, villages, and valleys.

We reached Lingzey around 1:00Pm and explored the village on our own.

Day 6: Lingzey to Rhenock to NJP: It was the last day waking up, with a heavy heart that we will have to return. We got so much emotionally attached to nature, the mountains, the breeze, the green lushes, and with every person we met. Which was growing hard and tough to return. We arranged our backpacks properly, it was the time to bid goodbye to our guide friends, Bishal Tamang, Ong Tshering Lepcha and Arjun Chettri, got so much emotionally attached with these guys, so humble friendly and fun loving. With a great hope to meet again we bid them goodbye. We started moving towards Rhenock, Lalit Ji and Sukhbir rai, another guide accompanied us to Rhenock, we were returning with a great hope to visit this place again. After reaching Rhenock we had delicious Momos. And it was the time to bid goodbye to Lalit Ji and Sukhbir Ji, promising to visit again. The echoes of the mountains and the cool breezes flowing were making the moment quite emotional.

It was around 5PM when we reached NJP and boarded our train.


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