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In Darjeeling district, the trek route to Sandakphu starts from a place called Manebhanjan, a small township located at an altitude of 7,054 ft.(2,150 m). This is virtually the gateway to Singalila and Sandakphu. Manebhanjan is about 4 hours by taxi from NJP (the nearest major railway station) and also from Bagdogra (the nearest airport).
Manebhanjan Trekkers' Hut is basically a place to halt for trekkers travelling to Sandakphu from Manebhanjan. The Manebhanjan trekkers hut is famous for its mesmerizing view and soothing atmosphere. The hut has two rooms with double beds and attached toilets. The staffs are very much professional and friendly and they provide good services to the clients. Featuring a garden and its panoramic view this is the best place you will get to stay after a tedious 32kms trek.This is an ideal place for nature lovers at an altitude of 5,800 feet where none of the machines can disturb you from relishing the natural abundance of this village.
From NJP or Siliguri you can get shared taxi up to Mirik and from there you have to take another taxi to reach Manebhanjan. However, shared taxis are not available at Bagdogra airport. Manebhanjan is only 26kms from Darjeeling and takes about 1 hour 15 minutes by car. Trekkers usually reach Manbhanjan on the previous day, stay at a hotel or homestay, and proceed early next morning.
It is an all season trek and the view will be different, like in autumn, one can see the rhododendron throughout the trek. Oct to Dec will be the best season because 90% chances are that the sky will be clear and one can get the view of all the peaks.
If you want to experience snowfall then December or early Januray would be the ideal time to visit. But due to heavy snowfall the roads usually gets blocked and it becomes difficult for vehicle to reach till Sandakphu. Well in that case, you have to leave your car in Kalipokhri and walk from there to Sandakphu. It is around 6 kms from Manebhanjan trekkers hut. Advance bookings in sandakphu is mandatory as it might become difficult to get accommodation after reaching due to scarcity of lodging facilities. During the peak season one can bring their own tents.
The place is important from trekking point of view. Tourists trek uphill from Manebhanjang to Sandakphu (which falls under Singalila National Park and is the highest peak in Darjeeling) and also from Sandakphu to Manebhanjang downhill.
From Manebhanjan one can also take a Land Rover to reach till Sandakphu. The straight road goes up to Sandakphu and terminates in Phalut while another cuts right towards Dhotrey and subsequently Rimbick. Dhotrey is an alternative starting point for the Sandakphu trek, which has gained popularity over the years owing to the fact that it cuts the trek down by 5 KMs. Also, the trail from here till Tonglu is through forests and greenery, unlike the one from Manebhanjan which is basically a cemented vehicular road.
Coming up to the meals they serve, Asian breakfast is served each morning at the property and tasty Asian cuisine as per you choice in dinner.
There are several animals' species that can be sighted in the park which include red panda, barking deer, yellow-throated marten, wild boar, pika and pangolin. The variety of orchids in the forest is fascinating. The per official records there are 600 different species found there.
At an elevation of 7050 feet, Manebhanjan is a non-descript little roadside hill-town significant only perhaps as the gateway to the Singalila National Park or more precisely Sandakphu. If you get out of NJP railway station in cargos, trekking shoes, and a rucksack, the over-enthusiastic drivers would ask you enquiringly, "Manebhanjan?"
The conventional trek starts from here. This is the place where one has to get an entry permit for the Singalila National Park. Also, the 'Highlander Guides and Porters Welfare Association' is located bang on the bazaar, from where the mandatory guide and porters require to be hired.