Are you looking for a peaceful relief from hectic city life for limited period of time? Do you want to explore off beat mountain trip and want to do an easy trekking journey? Then this travel blog is for you.
Barsey, also spelled Varsey is a Rhododendron Sanctuary and a nature preserve inside West Sikkim. This 104 sq Km spread Rhododendron Sanctuary has more to offer than the high mountain views. According to Sikkim Forest Dept it’s an imperative corridor connecting the Kanchendzongha National Park (KNP, identical as Kanchendzongha Biosphere Reserve) to its north with the Singalila National Park of West Bengal to its south.
The mild stroll from Hilley to Barsey inner pristine jungle is in all likelihood one of the greatest in Sikkim. More than 250 cm of rainfall and above 2000 m of altitude makes the prevailing local weather of this place moist and bloodless and subsequently proved best for it’s dominant floral genus Rhododendron to develop hastily and diversify. Best time to visit Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary : End of February,March,April and May are the fine months to go to this region if Rhododendrons, a loads of them, fascinates you. With the onset of spring Rhododendrons begin blooming all round the terrain and stays until mid May, until monsoon takes over.
The introduction of spring infuses a absolutely new lifestyles in the temperate slopes of the Sikkim Himalayas. Entire slopes are converted into a coloration pallet of prosperous reds, yellows and pinks. The air is thick with the scent of the blooming rhododendrons.
We, 7 childhood friends started our journey from Sealdah Railway station toward this beautiful trip on 24th February, 2021. 25th morning we reached NJP(New Jalpaiguri Railway station). Then we start our journey towards Okhrey. Okhrey is a beautiful small town in west Sikkim. You can book car from station for your entire trip. We booked all of our homestays and car service from a travel organization “Paye Paye”(contact number:9830262458). It will take almost 4 hours to reach to Okhrey from NJP. We have done our lunch from Road side Restaurant. You will find several options for you lunch or breakfast from many road side dhaba or restaurants. When we reached okhrey it’s almost evening. We stayed in Royal Barsey Homestay in Okhrey. I will share the entire experience of Okhrey in my next blog. This blog is all about the amazing experience of trek through Barsey rhododendron sanctuary.
On 26th February morning after having breakfast and paying all the bills we finally started around 8:50 am towards Hilley. Naresh da(our driver) drove us till Hilley and there we meet Mr. Rajat Podder (Rajat Da) owener of Paye Paye. Rajat Da organised the entire and guide us to Guras Kunj. Our driver Naresh Da also joined with us in this trek.
After paying the fee for our trek and for DSLRs at check point we started our trek.
The Barsey Rhododendron trek covers the greater reaches of the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary in West Sikkim, which homes thirteen specific types of rhododendron species. Entire hill slopes are blanketed with Arboreum, Falconeri, Barbatum, Hodgsoni and Campanulatum, the most generally observed rhododendron species in this sanctuary. The flowering season additionally attracts a plethora of bird species making it a pride for bird watchers. The panoramic views of the Kanchenjunga vary in addition add to the wonderful splendour of this trek.
When you go to a jungle, simply you can count on to capture some of its wildlife. For birders this vicinity is no much less than a paradise. This sanctuary harbours one of the elusive species on earth, Red Panda. Consider yourself fortunate though, if you come throughout one though. These shy creatures are now not specifically fond of us to say the least, and attempt their quality to remain away from any type of human interaction!
The trek through Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary was an easy trek. But we being not accustomed by walking through hilly areas, we had to take small breaks throughout the route.
Finally we reached Barsey at around 1pm. We stayed at Guras Kunj, an amazing homestay of Barsey. I quite liked the Guras Kunj and dormitory of the same. Guras Kunj have 2 rooms with attached bathroom and one large dormitory to accommodate around 50 persons with common washroom. At the time of rush, they also provide Tents to trekkers. We were already aware about the same. As we were 9 people we stayed at the Dormitory.
We had lunch by 2 pm after taking a bit of rest. Then we start roaming around barsey and witnessed an amazing cloudy weather, which creates a perfect weather for ghost stories. We came to guras kunj around 4 pm. The temperature was around 2°C.
There is no electricity and network in barsey. You will have a out of the world felling. Only you nature and your friends. All of share our past travel experience with the Sherpa of Guras Kunj. No facebook, no youtube only real life experience and stories with friends. This trip was a life time experience. It will help you to understand yourself. It will create a strong bond between with your friends.
Around 8pm we had our dinner. After that as per plan we started ghost stories and the experience was just amazing. There were only two candles which was perfect for the ambience. Temperature was almost -1°C and there was only sound of cold wind outside.
Next morning after having the breakfast around 9 am we started our journey back to hilley. Within 2 hours we reached Hilley and our car was parked there. After taking a bit of rest we stared our next journey towards to Takdah. In the next blog I will share the experiences of Takdah.
Day 1: Reach NJP/Bagdogra and Drive to Okhrey via Jorethang and Sombaria. Homestay accommodation –130 Km – 6/7 hours
Day 2: Drive to Hilley – 10 Km – 30 min – trek to Barsey – 4.5 Km – 2/3 hours. Accommodation in Guras Kunj.
Day 3: Explore around Barsey – half day hike – 4/5 hours
Day 4 : Trek to return Hilley 4.5 Km – 2/3 hours and drive back to NJP/Bagdogra – 140 Km – 7/8 hours
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