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Prime 4 Rhododendron Treks in India

This morning, whereas skimming via the newspaper, I got here throughout a information report about Himalayan Rhododendrons. I need to inform you, I used to be shocked to see any point out of those flowers within the information. No person 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 following two months, till early summer time, rhododendron flowers set the mountainsides ablaze with placing hues of scarlet, pink, purple and crimson. It’s a sight that you simply’ll hardly ever 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. You want to know which trek to go on, and the right way to time your trek. You additionally must plan your trek nicely upfront, as a result of these teams get full very quickly. 

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

I’ll inform you 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 right 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 Could, primarily based 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 Could. They’re at their peak within the final two weeks of April and early Could.

Based mostly on these timings, these are your 4 biggest 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 all around 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 crimson 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 essentially 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 gorgeous rhododendron forest, which delights you with timber closely laden with rhododendrons. Inside 2-3 hours, you might be 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 shiny 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 probably the most 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’d suppose it’s laborious 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 actual fact, from the Baniya Kund campsite to the summit, you see just a few of one of the best pink rhododendrons. “Provided that this part retains snow all the way in which until late-April, you’ll see an excellent distinction of pink flowers in opposition to white snow,” says Vivek. It’s really a photographer’s delight.

In case you are 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, all the pieces else takes a backseat. It’s laborious 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 most effective rhododendron sections are between Samanden and Molley. The final stretch of this stroll is solely via rhododendron forests. The flowers are fully crimson and pink right here. For those who 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 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 cause. The basecamp of the trek, Lohajung, with its neatly planted rhododendron timber alongside your sitting space, provides you a small peek into what’s in retailer for you on the path. 

“You might be handled to one of the best 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 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, probably the most magical rhododendron experiences is at Bekaltal. Although 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. Provided that they develop solely at sure altitudes, particular latitudes and climate circumstances, they’re laborious to search out, not simply in our nation however anyplace on the planet. They’re a protected species in all places. 

So when you have got an opportunity to see them in such resplendent forests, of their pure habitat, and in such abundance, it’s a possibility it’s essential 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 chook professional says, it’s among the finest seasons for chook watching. 

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

For those who’d wish to trek in the course of the rhododendron season, plan now, in January. Even February is just too late. 

You probably have any questions, drop in a remark beneath. We’ll get again to you.  


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