Manebhanjan is a tiny hamlet that is located at a distance of approximately 26 km from Darjeeling. From Siliguri it is almost 92 kms away. It is located on the border shared by India with Nepal and it is nestled at a height of 7054 feet. It is also well known as the starting point for the well-known trek to Sandakphu as well as Singalila National Park. The major source of income for people in this small and cozy village is tourism. In fact, Manebhanjan is one place where you will still get to see the Land Rovers in use. The vehicles were in use during the British period and are ideal when it comes to climbing the gravel-filled roads that dot the trail to Sandakphu. There are only a few of them remaining now. You will be amazed when you see how wonderfully the owners treat these cars – it is as if their own brother or sister.
How to reach Manebhanjan
You can go to Manebhanjan from Darjeeling. The route passes through Ghoom, which happens to be the highest railway station in India as well as Sukhiapokhri. A shared jeep can be availed from Chowk Bazaar of Darjeeling or the Club Stand at MG Road. It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to reach this place. Other than this, you can avail buses to Sukhiapokhri for getting to Manebhanjan. Sukhiapokhri is about an hour from Darjeeling and once you reach this destination you can get to Manebhanjan with a new jeep or bus.
Accommodation in Manebhanjan
Since Manebhanjan is a small village it would be unrealistic to expect Darjeeling-like accommodation over here. Keshav Gurung, a very friendly and well-behaved man, is known to offer the best homestay facility over here. He lives in a double storied house that is at a nice location – in the vicinity of the jeep stand. Mrs Gurung cooks really awesome food and you shall also get fantastic hospitality and commendable cleanliness. There are some other options such as Hotel Exotica, Hotel Kanchendzonga and Hotel Chimal. Jeevan Chetri or Masterji as he is also known, runs Hotel Exotica, is known to be a helpful and knowledgeable person. So you can talk to him as well in case you need to know something or are staying at that hotel.
You can stay at nearby Lepchajagat village too for a night halt and start to Sandakphu after next day breakfast.
Attractions in Manebhanjan
The main point for which any tourist will be attracted to this hill station is its status as the starting point for the Sandakphu trek. However, the Singalila National Park and the synonymous range can also be visited from here. There is a market area that you may visit. The village also has a small playground where football tournaments are organized in case of special occasions. So, in case you are around at that time don’t miss out on the games and all the excitement. There is also a rather colorful monastery that is located slightly higher up and is located in a scenic setting – among pine trees. When you are coming to Manebhanjan from New Jalpaiguri or Siliguri you will pass through Mirik. Be sure to get down over there and visit the wonderful lake.