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Kalipokhri: A Black Lake, A Steep Road, And More

Kalipokhri, aka Kalapokhri, is actually the name of a small Himalayan hamlet in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It’s a village inside the popular Singalila National Park. Kalipokhri is relatively a new tourist destination; it has gained recognition amongst the trekker fraternity, especially because it rests in the trekking route from the transit town of Maney Bhanjyang to Sandakphu, West Bengal’s highest peak. This village can be considered as the midpoint of the steep trekking route between Gairibas to Sandakphu. A local lake defines as a landmark for Kalipokhri. The water in the lake is dark in colour and, thus, has given birth to the name; ‘Kali’ means ‘dark’ and ‘pokhri’ means ‘lake’ in Nepali.

Kalipokhri Itinerary

You can reach Kalipokhri from Siliguri by a car. Your journey will begin either from the Bus Bay, New Jalpaiguri Railways Station, or Bagdogra airport to Darjeeling first and them to Kalipokhri. Once you are in this place, arrange for a night’s stay and plan your journey to Sandakphu early morning. The distance from Kalipokhri to Sandakphu is approximately 6 kilometres, which is why it is most preferred for short treks. You can cover the adventure within a day’s time. Depending on the weather, traffic and the conditions of the road, the approximate travel time would be 9-12 minutes by a car (in most cases, a landrover) and 2-2.5 hours by walking.

While driving, you have to take the Maney Bhanjang - Sandakphu - Phulut Road. Please note these are the only options of commuting here. Alternatively, you can catch a flight from Kalipokhri to Sandakphu. The distance would be 3 kilometres and time needed would be 30 minutes. Sandakphu can be reached from Kalipokhri via two roads – one trough India and the other through Nepal. The latter is an easy route and the former very steep. If you are taking the route through India, carry warm clothes and wear trek shoes. Also, because this is going to be a relatively long journey, you need to carry some edibles, waters, and a lot of patience. From Sandakphu, you can get back to Darjeeling via Gurdum.

When Is the Best Time To Visit Kalipokhri?

Kalipokhri usually remains foggy and misty in the morning. Its beauty is beyond compare and it’s serenity alluring. Every now and then, you’d hear Nepali songs being played by the locals. There could be occasional rainfall at times during which climbing the steep route could become a challenge. Although you can visit the place any time of the year, the best time would be from April to May, i.e., during spring. The rhododendrons would be in full bloom during this time and the pine trees would be a fresh dark green. Avoid the monsoons (July to August) because the rain can pose a threat.

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