Chitre, a small picturesque village in North Bengal, is where the hikers meet to begin their journey to Sandakphu. The trail from Mane Bhanjang to Chitre, which covers a distance of almost 3 km, is one of the steepest in the entire stretch of the Sandakphu trek.
How to reach Chitre?
If you prefer walking, it will take about an hour and a half to reach the place from Mane Bhanjang. However, you can also hire a four-wheeler to cover this distance. It is situated at an altitude of 8340 ft. The road to Chitre is scenic replete with lush greenery of evergreen trees. After reaching the location, it is best to rest in this beautiful Buddhist village before you travel ahead.
The vast stretch of emerald green land and clear blue sky will make you spellbound. Even though most trekkers do not stop here for the night, they start the journey after halting for a few hours. But, there are some who like to spend the night before embarking on a strenuous journey the following morning.
What to see at Chitre?
The main attraction of this place is the old Buddhist monastery and the mesmerizing view of Kanchenjunga peaks that one can have from this place. Even if you have plans to stay in this village for a few hours, make sure to explore the monastery. Along with the main monastery, there are eight small stupas. In the main building, there is the famous 15 ft high statue of Maitreya Buddha.
On a clear day, in the early morning, the travelers are gifted with a fascinating view of Kanchenjunga. At night, they can witness the sky studded with millions of stars. The town of Darjeeling looks like a crown with glittering jewels from here.
Which is the best time to visit the place and where to stay at Chitre?
The best time to visit the place is during the summer months – June to April. However, winters also promise clear skies and remarkably beautiful landscapes.
There are a few homestays and adventure camps where you can stay for the night. A local restaurant near the monastery serves fresh foods, and the travellers have breakfast there before proceeding further.