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This Himalayan trek in April 2024, is led by Jamling Tenzing Norgay, son of Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Sherpa Norgay, along with Edmund Hillary, was the first to summit Everest in 1953. With mountaineering in his blood, Jamling is an experienced veteran of Himalayan treks and expeditions. We are in safe hands with Jamling.
In total we will spend seven days trekking in the Himalayas on the Goecha La Trail. Flexibility and rest days have been built into our Himalaya trekking package. This will allow our bodies enough time to acclimatise to the altitude. In Darjeeling, we will explore the histories of Sikkim and its bigger Buddhist neighbours Nepal and Tibet. We will look at how they interacted with the British Raj and how they navigate between India and China today.
This Himalaya holiday is top-and-tailed by Kolkata. Our final night will be spent at the Glenburn Penthouse. This tour is appropriate whether this is your first time trekking the Himalayas or you are seasoned explorer. Sampan’s attention to detail, coupled with Jamling’s heritage, makes our Goecha La Trail the best Himalaya trekking experience in Sikkim.
We are often asked, how difficult is the Goecha La trek? This journey is recommended for experienced hikers and fit beginners. You do not need prior Himalaya trekking experience to take part in this journey. But you should be in good health and reasonably fit. It is not strictly necessary for you to train before taking part in the Goecha La Trail. However, the more fit you are, the more you will enjoy yourself.
The Goecha La Trek (also “Goechela”, “Goechala”) is the easiest of the most common Himalayan trekking expedition routes in Sikkim. Situated in the Khangchendzonga National Park, this trek offers a unique blend of alpine meadows and dense forest. The panoramic views of Mount Kanchenjunga make this one of the most beautiful treks in the Himalayas.
We will begin our Himalayas trek in Yuksom. We’ll ascend through rhododendron forests, encounter rare orchids, vibrant butterflies and – if we are lucky – the elusive red pandas. We may even pass a lone yak coming down the path. (And if we do, best to stand to the side and let him pass!)
The highlight is the viewpoint at Goecha La Pass, which stands at an elevation of approximately 4,760 metres. This vantage point offers a jaw-dropping panorama of towering peaks, glaciers and the immense Kanchenjunga massif. The sight of the first light kissing the snow-clad peaks during sunrise is an ethereal experience. It the views of Kanchenjunga that make this one of the best treks of the Himalayas.
Challenges abound on this adventure, with steep ascents, rocky paths and temperamental weather. However, the sense of accomplishment and the stunning natural beauty make every step worthwhile. Monasteries, prayer flags and traditional ceremonies pepper the trail, adding a spiritual dimension to the trekking experience.
Sampan’s Goecha La Trail Himalayas trek will be running from 17-30 April 2024. This is a boutique journey. When not on the trail, we will be staying and dining in comfort and style. So to keep the journey intimate and hands-on we will be capping the number of our group at 10. We will first stay at Kolkata’s most famous residence, the Oberoi Grand, before heading north to Darjeeling and Sikkim. Overnight on the trail in the foothills of the Himalayas we will set up our own camps at secluded spots.
This journey is topped-and-tailed by Kolkata. With an expert guide we’ll dive into the history and culture of what was the first capital of the British Raj. In Darjeeling, we will spend time at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and take tea at the Tenzing family residence. Here we will hear stories about Jamling’s father and the heritage of Sherpas and the Himalayas. We will travel onto the historic town of Yuksom before starting upon the Goecha La Trail.
Our tour will end at the Glenburn Penthouse. This boutique property, situated in the heart of Kolkata, was a labour of love for owner Husna-Tara Prakesh. On our last evening, we’ll enjoy a contemporary Bengali tasting menu and raise our glasses do a trail well trekked!
“I climbed Everest so that you wouldn’t have to.”
Those were the words said to 19-year-old Jamling by his father, when he asked for his support to climb Everest. However, Jamling was destined to trek the Himalayas, and was driven to reach the mightiest of them all. When Tenzing died, Jamling felt that much had been left unsaid. He was determined to discover what’d driven his father to be the first man, alongside Edmund Hillary, to summit Everest.
Following in his father’s formidable footsteps, Jamling embarked on his own Himalayan adventure, summiting Mount Everest in 1996. This journey became a focal point in the awe-inspiring IMAX documentary “Everest”. Here Jamling showcased the physical challenges of the mountain but also explored how Himalayan trekking expeditions can become mental odysseys. This is especially true for Sherpas for whom Everest (“Chomolungma”) is holy.
Today, Jamling leads enthusiasts on Himalayan trekking holidays. His expertise extends to hiking the Himalayas in India, Nepal and Bhutan, regaling his guests with stories about his father. Jamling has led Himalayan treks up the Goecha La Trail dozens of times. In addition to his Himalaya treks and tours, Jamling remains committed to the Tenzing Norgay Climbing Club. This is a project he initiated in 1997 to help motivate children away from the streets.
Nestled in the Eastern Himalayas, Sikkim stands out as a gem among the hiking destinations in the Indian Himalaya. Known for its breathtaking landscapes, Sikkim trekking experiences offer an unparalleled adventure in the lap of nature.
Trekking in Sikkim provides enthusiasts with an opportunity to explore the unspoiled beauty of the Indian Himalayas. The trails in Sikkim weave through lush greenery, dense forests and picturesque meadows. It is an ideal destination for both trekking and hiking in the Himalayas.
As one of the prime hiking destinations in the Himalayas, Sikkim boasts a blend of cultural richness and natural splendour. Adventurers seeking trekking in Sikkim are treated to an array of options. Treks range from long walks suitable for beginners to challenging routes that test the seasoned hiker’s mettle.
Sikkim’s allure extends beyond trekking, offering a wide array of explorations in the Himalayas. From cultural experiences to adventure-filled escapades, India’s Himalayan region beckon travellers with hidden histories, breathtaking vistas and piping-hot momos! Embark on a journey through the Eastern Himalayas and discover the magic of Sikkim’s trekking and hiking adventures. It is an essential stop for those seeking the best Himalayas trek.
Nestled between the plains of the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan Plateau, the Himalayas are the world’s highest mountain range. The Himalayas span over 2,400 kilometers across five countries—India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Pakistan. They are a geographical marvel, adorned with towering peaks, deep valleys, and a rich cultural tapestry.
The Himalayas name derives from the Sanskrit words “hima” (snow) and “alaya” (abode). This epithet captures the essence of this colossal mountain range, where perennial snow blankets many of the peaks. It is a breathtaking landscape that has fascinated adventurers, spiritual seekers and scientists for centuries.
One of the most defining features of the Himalayas is its role as the source of several major rivers. The mighty Ganga, Brahmaputra, Yangtze and Indus all originate from the glaciers and snowfields of this vast mountain range. These rivers do not only sustain life in the surrounding regions. They also hold immense cultural and religious significance for the people who inhabit the foothills and plains below. Many ancient cultures and religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism, consider the Himalayan peaks as sacred. Mount Kailash in Tibet, revered in Hinduism and Buddhism, is one holy peak that draws pilgrims from around the world.
The Himalayas transcend geographical boundaries. They are a symbol of natural beauty, cultural heritage and spiritual significance. As they continue to cast grandeur across Asia, the Himalayas remain a testament to the extraordinary forces of our planet.
In 1953, with the world still punch-drunk from WW2, Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, a Tibetan who’d grown up tending yaks, and Edmund Hillary, a New Zealand beekeeper, were selected to take part in the 1953 British Everest Expedition.
Jan Morris described them as an “oddly assorted pair”.
“They were not heroes of the old epic kind. Hillary was tall, lanky, big-boned and long-faced, and he moved with an incongruous grace, rather like a giraffe. Tenzing was by comparison a Himalayan fashion model: small, neat, rather delicate, brown as a berry, with the confident movements of a cat.”
The expedition passed with little drama and no injuries. Norgay and Hillary reached Everest’s 29,028-foot summit at 11:30 AM on 29 May 1953. True to the temper of their journey, Hillary’s first words when he returned from the summit, to his fellow New Zealander George Lowe, were “Well, George, we’ve knocked the bastard off!”
Norgay and Hillary were showered with worldly honours and both became the most celebrated citizens of their respective countries. Hillary ended up spending years in Nepal supervising the building of schools making the Sherpas’ existence better known. Norgay became the charismatic champion and a living model of Sherpa potential.
Jan Morris concludes:
“I liked these men very much when I first met them on the mountain nearly a half-century ago, but I came to admire them far more in the years that followed. I thought their brand of heroism far more inspiring than the gung-ho kind. Did it really mean much to the human race when Everest was conquered for the first time? Only because there became attached to the memory of the exploit, in the years that followed, a reputation for decency, kindness and stylish simplicity. Hillary and Tenzing fixed it when they knocked the bastard off.”
In the heart of Kolkata, this is an escape from the city … and a love-letter to it.