Duration : Full day, with at least 4-6 hours of walking
Difficulty : Moderate to tough, depending on route one takes
Uphill or downhill depending on where you start from
Guests have an option of 2 routes:
Via Tukdah and Mineral Springs (Dawai Pani) Tea Estates:
This route, though slightly shorter than the other, is probably the tougher of the two, since for much of the way you will be following tiny village tracks and forest paths, and travelling off the beaten track. From Glenburn, you walk through Tukdah Tea Estate, and then through a few villages into the abandoned but historical Dawai Pani (Mineral Springs) Tea Estate, which was one of the first Tea Estates in the area. Cross the beautiful waterfall and spring from where the river Rung Dung, which meanders through Glenburn, begins. The bridge, built by Col. HC James in August 1858, still remains (a photograph taken by the colonel in 1858 can be seen on the Glenburn front verandah).
Once across the river, you begin the steep climb up to Darjeeling Town, through little villages and patches of tea estate. The town can be approached from various points, the popular one being at The Lebong Cantonment Stadium. From here you may either drive into the town (another 5 kms) or take a pedestrian shortcut through the outskirts of the town up to the Mall and Chowrasta area (only 2 km).
From Lebong, you can also walk down to The Glenburn Campsite on a completely different route. This one takes you through the Badamtam Tea Estate via The Buddha of Badamtam and The Manjitar Suspension Footbridge (details given below).
Via Badamtam Tea Estate, The Buddha of Badamtam and The Manjitar Suspension Footbridge:
This second route between Darjeeling Town and Glenburn is completely accessible by a four-wheel drive jeep, so you can either hike the whole way or divide the journey into a hike cum drive. Guests may begin either at Lebong Stadium, or at The Glenburn Campsite, depending on whether they would like to walk uphill or downhill.
Walking downhill out of Lebong, you first cross Ging and Bannockburn Tea Estates. En-route you will be able to stop at some fabulous viewpoints where you can look down at Jore Thang Town on the border of West Bengal and Sikkim, and across the mountains to other parts of Western Sikkim.
Once you enter Badamtam Tea Estate, our jeep will be waiting with refreshments, before you begin the climb up to The Buddha of Badamtam, an impressive 14-foot high statue of Lord Buddha, made of metal basta work. It sits atop the highest hill in the area and has a backdrop of white snow-capped mountains. Most images of Lord Buddha have his eyes closed in meditation, however here the artist has kept his eyes open, as she felt that since he had attained enlightenment in such a beautiful place, he must surely have opened his eyes to look up to the gods above. The tale of how such a mammoth statue made its way to such a remote place is another story, and is one which our guide will be happy to share with you.
From Badamtam, one begins the descent out of the tea fields and into the forest. To one's left one can see the Sikkim hills and the River Rungeet below, and to one's right is the entire Glenburn Estate, with the River Rung Dung below, separating the two hills. The road forks and one can chose to walk down via The Manjitar Suspension Footbridge (see details on Hike along River Rungeet to Manjitar Village in Sikkim), or straight down to The Glenburn Campsite.
See Excursion to The Glenburn Campsite for evening/night options at The Glenburn Lodge.