Prime 4 Rhododendron Treks in India

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This morning, whereas skimming via the newspaper, I got here throughout a information report about Himalayan Rhododendrons. I have to let you know, I used to be shocked to see any point out of those flowers within the information. No one talks about them, so few learn about them. 

But, in the event you ask me, they’re one of many grandest experiences within the Himalayas. 

In mid March, simply because the spring season swirls its means into the Himalayas, rhododendron buds start to shake off residual winter snow. Over the subsequent two months, till early summer time, rhododendron flowers set the mountainsides ablaze with placing hues of scarlet, pink, purple and purple. It’s a sight that you simply’ll not often see, but, it’s a sight that you simply’ll always remember. 

There are a complete of 187 species of Rhododendrons within the Indian Himalayan Area. A pathway surrounded by rhodos on the trek from Deoriatal to Syalmi. Image by Yogesh Shinde

Nonetheless, not on each Himalayan trek will you expertise the splendours of rhododendrons. Solely a few of our treks show this once-in-a-year phenomenon. It’s essential know which trek to go on, and the best way to time your trek. You additionally must plan your trek properly upfront, as a result of these teams get full very quickly. 

Which is why my electronic mail at the moment is in regards to the Greatest Treks to Expertise Himalayan Rhododendrons. 

I’ll let you know which treks to decide on, when to time them and which sections of the path to be careful for. 

Let’s first begin with the best way to time your trek to expertise rhododendrons in India. 

When do rhododendrons bloom?

Rhododendrons bloom solely between late winter and early summer time, which suggests they bloom between late-February and till late-April. 

You’ll see rhododendrons in full bloom anyplace between late Feb and early Might, based mostly on the area you’re trekking in. On this image, you see a rhododendron tree in full bloom on the Sandakphu trek. Image by Sharat Kolke

Within the Uttarakhand area, you’ll see rhododendrons blooming from late Feb till the center of April. The flowers are at their peak between mid-March and mid-April.

In Sikkim, Nepal and North Bengal, you’ll see blooms from early April till early Might. They’re at their peak within the final two weeks of April and early Might.

Based mostly on these timings, these are your 4 best treks to see Rhododendrons in our nation. 

That are the Prime 4 Rhododendron Treks of India?

1. Goechala 

It’s no secret. Goechala is a trek that’s identified for its rhododendrons. “Individuals come from everywhere in the world to see the rhododendrons on the Goechala trek. It’s an enormous attraction,” says Arjun Majumdar, the founder, CEO of Indiahikes. 

Yellow rhododendrons with a monastery within the backdrop at Tshoka. Image by Sourav Mukherjee

What’s particular is that it’s not a fleeting part of rhododendrons on the Goechala trek. “You’ll begin seeing your first rhododendrons after the Bakhim campsite. 

“However the gem of it’s after Tshoka. The stretch between Tshoka and Phedang, between 9,000 ft and 11,000 ft, is THE rhododendron belt. You see pink, yellow, scarlet and purple rhododendrons. There are stretches the place you’re strolling in a tunnel of rhododendrons. Daylight diffuses via these flowers magically, forming unreal colors within the forests. It’s probably the most outstanding rhododendron expertise,” says Arjun. 

A dark-rumped rosefinch perched on a rhododendron on the Goechala path. Image by Sahana

View Goechala Trek

2. Deoriatal-Chandrashila

The Japanese Himalayas of Sikkim and North Bengal are well-known for his or her rhododendrons, however not a lot the Western Himalayas. Which is why the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek with its abundance of rhododendrons is a trekkers delight. We name it “The Goechala of the West.”

And the trek lives as much as its Japanese sister to the T. Proper off the bat, you enter a lovely rhododendron forest, which delights you with timber closely laden with rhododendrons. Inside 2-3 hours, you’re welcomed by the Deoriatal Lake, which is a fairytale in spring. The lake is surrounded by rhododendron timber that stand out in shades of crimson, magenta and brilliant pink. 

Rhododedron timber portray the mountains pink, beneath a towering Mt Chaukhamba on the Deoriatal-Chandrashila trek. Image by Manasa Gollapinni

“There’s a quiet path that circumambulates the lake, taking you thru a drooping cover of rhododendrons. You’ll see flowers above you, on both aspect of you, and even beneath you. The path is a carpet of fallen rhododendrons. It’s one of the lovely hours you’ll spend by the lake,” says Vivek Saini, Slope Supervisor at Indiahikes, who has spent the longest time serving as our slope supervisor on this area. 

You’ll suppose it’s onerous for the trek to match as much as its Day 1, however the forests from Deoriatal to Rohini Bugyal and additional onto Chopta will depart you weak within the knees. Rhododendrons come at you in stunning clusters. 

A rhododendron tree in full bloom on the Deoriatal Chandrashila path. Image by Amandeep Singh

In reality, from the Baniya Kund campsite to the summit, you see just a few of the perfect pink rhododendrons. “On condition that this part retains snow all the way in which until late-April, you’ll see a wonderful distinction of pink flowers towards white snow,” says Vivek. It’s really a photographer’s delight.

If you’re fortunate sufficient, you’ll additionally get to identify the extremely vibrant Himalayan Monal scampering about within the rhododendron shrubs.

The forest part is an absolute visible deal with with treetops sprinkled with snow. In early March, rhododendrons are in full bloom. Image by Yogesh Shinde.

View Deoriatal-Chandrashila Trek

3. Sandakphu-Phalut Trek 

Sandakphu is a trek that has so many nice issues occurring, however while you trek within the Rhododendron season, every thing else takes a backseat. It’s onerous for different treks to compete with the arresting view of the Kanchenjunga vary and the Everest vary in entrance, with a cover of rhododendrons beneath.  

Similar to Goechala, the Sandakphu path’s rhododendrons is an expertise that’s well-documented. It’s one thing that the Singalila Nationwide Park is understood for.  

A stroll within the flower-strewn forests on the Sandakphu trek. Image by Shayak Ray Chaudhuri

“The very best rhododendron sections are between Samanden and Molley. The final stretch of this stroll is completely via rhododendron forests. The flowers are fully purple and pink right here. When you time your trek proper, you’ll be trekking in a sea of pink,” says Akshay Upreti, Slope Supervisor at Indiahikes, who has spent a number of months within the Sandakphu area. 

The preliminary part from Aal to Gurdum can also be a rhododendron forest. Not solely do you see darkish pink and scarlet flowers, however you additionally see gentle pink, white and yellow flowers on this trek. 

Rhododendrons unfold throughout the hills on the Sandakphu trek. Image by Nikhil Jain

View Sandakphu Trek

4. Brahmatal Trek 

The Brahmatal trek is our newest rhododendron love. And with good purpose. The basecamp of the trek, Lohajung, with its neatly planted rhododendron timber alongside your sitting space, offers you a small peek into what’s in retailer for you on the path. 

“You might be handled to the perfect rhododendron expertise on the very first day of this trek as you climb in the direction of Gujrani. This is without doubt one of the densest rhododendron forests I’ve seen. Our Gujraini campsite can also be within the coronary heart of rhododendron forests. It makes for a terrific setting in April,” says Gourab Nandy, Slope Supervisor at Indiahikes, who spent the whole rhododendron season in 2021 within the Brahmatal area. 

Trekking below a cover of rhododendrons on the Brahmatal trek. Image by Gourab Nandy

“If that was not sufficient, one of the magical rhododendron experiences is at Bekaltal. Though the density of the flowers isn’t an excessive amount of, the whole lakeside is strewn with pink petals. Trekkers love sitting by this lake and sharing tales,” he provides.

Trekkers sharing tales sitting by the Bekaltal lake. A rhododendron tree blooms lusciously within the foreground. Image by Gourab Nandy

The rhododendron expertise carries on till the final day on this trek, the place you see the final of the rhododendrons in the direction of Khorurai. 

View Brahmatal Trek

In Conclusion 

Experiencing rhododendrons is uncommon in our nation. On condition that they develop solely at sure altitudes, particular latitudes and climate circumstances, they’re onerous to search out, not simply in our nation however anyplace on the earth. They’re a protected species in every single place. 

So when you’ve got an opportunity to see them in such resplendent forests, of their pure habitat, and in such abundance, it’s a chance you need to not let go. 

And in the event you’re a birder or a photographer, then extra so. With flowers come birds and butterflies, and as our hen skilled says, it’s probably the greatest seasons for hen watching. 

A gray hooded warbler rests on a rhododendron tree on the Deoriatal trek. Image by Professional Birder and photographer, Ajit Hota

When you’d prefer to trek throughout the rhododendron season, plan now, in January. Even February is simply too late. 

When you’ve got any questions, drop in a remark beneath. We’ll get again to you.  

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