Hiking - Destination

Mulkarkha Lake Trek: A Refreshing Trek to the Wishing Lake!

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How would like to sit by a placid lake and watch the reflection of a grand mountain peak in it with your loved ones? We thought so. If you are looking for a perfect family getaway this holiday then why not choose the Mulkarkha Lake nestled on the Sikkim-West Bengal border.

As the waning sun paints a purple background, the Mulkarkha Lake tucked in North Bengal displays the reflection of Mt. Kanchenjunga on its tranquil waters. The trek to the Mulkarkha Lake has recently got famed and so the trail and its beauty is still unfazed by commercialism.

Keep reading to know more about Mulkarkha Lake, one of the famous lakes in West bengal.

Know more here:

Mulkarkha Lake Trek: An Overview of the Trek

Mulkarkha Lake
The Waters of the Mulkarkha Lake are Insanely Clear (source

Here's everything you need to know about the Mulkarkha Lake Trek in a glance.

  • Region: Sikkim (lying on the Sikkim-West Bengal Border)
  • Duration of the Trek: 3-4 Days
  • Difficulty of the Trek: Easy to Moderate
  • Trail Type: Hilly gradient with steep climbs
  • Maximum Altitude Covered: 7300ft.
  • Average Temperature: Day:17°C-20°C; Night:3°C-4°C
  • Approx. Trekking Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Attractive spots: Temples like Sawan Bole Bhum, Shivaratri, Durga Puja, and Bala Chaturdasi. A Sanskrit Vidyalaya in Lingzey which stocks rare and valuable books of Hinduism. A Hot Sulphur Spring (in Lingzey), a few traditional Lepcha Houses and the Rang Bang River.
  • Livingit Rank: Beginner, Enthusiast

About Mulkarkha Lake

Mulkarkha lake
Locals Believed that Mulkarkha Lake is a Magical Wishing Lake! (source)

The Mulkarkha Lake is located on the Sikkim-West Bengal border, peacefully existing at the foothills of the Himalayas. The trail to the lake is less travelled by tourists. Mostly popular among trek enthusiasts, the Mulkarakha Lake trek is quite easy to do and is trending as a good family trek.

The USP of the Mulkarkha Lake Trek is the clear glimpse of the Mount Kanchenjunga on the surface of the lake. People walk miles to see this marvellous spectacle.

Also known as Manokamna Pokhri (Wising Lake), the lake is considered to be holy by the locals. They believe that if one wishes something with true heart and builds a Chorten or Stupa of seven stones beside the lake, it is said that your wish will come true.

So, now you know where you should go for the fulfillment of your deepest desire.

Moving on, the route to the alluring Mulkarkha Lake is through small villages, rich thickets and accentuated by gushing waterfalls. The beauty of the surroundings is unparalleled and you have the spectacular view of Mt. Kanchenjunga in the distant which is a reward in itself.

Best Time to Do the Mulkarkha Lake Trek

Mulkarkha lake trek best time
October-December is the Best Time to Do Mulkarkha Lake Trek (source)

The best season to do the Mulkarkha lake Trek is between October and December. The temperature of the region is cool enough to give you the chills in the evening and warm enough to enjoy the mild sun in the day. And because it sits close to the Himalayan foothills, the air is crisp this time with sharp views playing peekaboo between clouds.

Best Routes to Mulkarkha Lake

You have to reach the Darjeeling town to start your journey to the Mulkarkha Lake. There three standard ways to reach Darjeeling.

By Air

The nearest airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra which is approximately 95 km away from the city. You can also find some direct flights from the cities like Kolkata, Delhi, and Guwahati to Darjeeling. From the airport, you can reach the city by hired taxis. It takes almost three hours to reach Darjeeling from the Bagdogra airport. Flights are available from all major cities.

By Train

The nearest railway station to Darjeeling is New Jalpaiguri (NJP). It connects the city with all the major parts of the country. A number of trains from cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar, and Kochi commute to Darjeeling. Visitors can hire private cabs from the station to reach Darjeeling.

By Road

Reach Gangtok and you can take a bus or a hired car to over a distance of 110kms to reach Darjeeling. It wil take approximately 3 hours from Gangtok to Darjeeling.

Short Itinerary of the Mulkarkha Lake Trek

Mulkarkha Lake Trek map
Mulkarkha Lake Trek Route Map (source)

Day 1: Leave from Darjeeling to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and take the Aritar Road to Rhenock (base camp)

Day 2: Drive to Rhenock to Lingzey Village to Jhusing Village

Day 3: Jhusing Village to Tagathan Village to Mulkarkha

Day 4: Mulkarka to Mulkarkha Lake to Aritar

Full Details of the Mulkarkha LakeTrek

After taking a nice stroll around the Darjeeling town, board the Darjeeling Mail to reach NJP. Next, hire a taxi to Rongpo which is the getaway to Sikkim. It is situated about 80 kms from NJP. From Rangpo hire another taxi to Rhenock, the base camp of the trek.

Rhenock to Lingzey Village to Jhusing Village

Rhenock town
View of the Rhenock Town (source)

Rhenock is a small hilly town at the border of Sikkim and Bengal. From there, you officially en route to Mulkarkha Lake. The trek route starting from Rhenock town is a motorable road of 2 km to Lingzey Village. The tourist attraction of Lingzey village is a beautiful temple that is famed as the second largest in Darjeeling.

As you pass the temple, the path leads to Pitamchin. You shall notice a diversion in the road to the right which goes to Jhusing. The diversion is seen after walking for about 3 km on the road from Lingzey. There is a homestay in Jhusing where you can call it a day and spend the night. Rest and enjoy the authentic cuisine and proceed the next day.

Jhusing Homestay
Jhursing Homestay (source)

The homestay is quite aesthetically maintained with a splendid garden in the front. The food and lodging in the homestay would cost you Rs. 700 per night.

Jhusing Village to Tagathan Village to Mulkarkha

Servang waterfall
The Gushing Servang Waterfall (source)

After a relaxing night in the cozy Jhusing homestay with the silhouette of Kanchenjunga at the background, start off early next morning. The trek route passes through a forest to Tagathan. There is a beautiful waterfall known as Servang falls that remains hidden in the forest. Take a U-turn at the end of a gravel path and venture into the interiors of this thickly forested region. Walking along the narrow trail, you shall get a glimpse of the huge canyon that lies at an arm’s length.

Soon in about an hour, the roaring sound of the water gives you the proximity of the waterfall nearby. A small clearing of the bush beholds the mighty spectacle in front of the eyes. The Servang waterfall meets the river here which creates this canyon. The sweet melodies of the early morning bird calls are a pleasure to the ears. The narrow trail through the forest ultimately leads to a wider road that enters into Tagathan village, located at 2 km from Jhusing.

The trek trail becomes a bit steeper as you go towards Mulkarkha. A few houses rising from the bylanes, provide glimpses of the rural landscape and surviving culture of the region. There is a school before the Mulkarkha village which could be used as a resting point. Thick bushes and shrubs dot the trail on both sides as nature beckons one to walk the coveted path.

Finally one reaches Mulkarkha village by afternoon. You can again check into homestay in this village of close to only 10-15 families. The total cost of the food and lodging is Rs. 850 per night. The hospitality is a joy to be experienced. The cuisine is local and the food is refreshing and delicious. You can spend the rest of the day exploring around the village. Mulkarkha Lake is situated at the top of this village and takes around an hour from the village.

Mulkarka to Mulkarkha Lake to Aritar

Mulkarkha lake
The Green Waters of Mulkarkha Lake (source)

An early morning sunrise presents the glory of this lake coupled with the reflection of Mount Kanchenjunga. The hike to the lake goes through a narrow trail upwards to the right of the village. There are Buddhist prayer flags dotting the lake. A small temple serves as a guardian deity with Kanchenjunga peeking from the back of this temple. One can spend hours around this lake feeling so much in sync with nature.

Stupas at Mulkhakha lake
Stone Stupas at Mulkarkha Lake (source)

After returning back to Mulkarkha village, the trail goes downwards to Aritar. This is the nearest motorable road head. There is a diversion to the left after a good 30 minutes. This is the easiest part of the trek. There are few houses which do a peek a boo once in a while. After a good one to two hours, the town of Aritar begins to look up. A further three kms down the motorable road leads one to a cluster of hotels in Aritar. There is an artificial “S” shaped lake in Aritar known as Lampokhri.

The tastefully decorated houses with flower pots on the terraces tells a picturesque tale of the place and its denizens. After spending the night at Aritar one can move down to Rhenock. There are regular taxis and cabs available from Aritar to Rhenock. Going downhill by foot takes an hour to reach Rhenock.

How to get fit for the Mulkarkha Lake Trek

This is easy to moderately difficult trek. Hence, you do not require the fitness of Himalayan trekker. Any healthy and fit person can manage the Mulkarkha Lake Trek. If you are a smoker, quit it a month before.

Cardiovascular endurance

Bring by working on your stamina and endurance. Go for a regular walk followed by a jog twice a day. Prepare yourself in the following order-

  • In the beginning of the fitness routine, target completing 5 km in 35 minutes.
  • Gradually raise your speed to do 5 km in 30 minutes
  • Next, increase the distance to 10 km and cover it in 70 minutes
  • You are trek-fit when you can do 10 km in 60 minutes

Strength

The trail can get rugged and steep in some parts. Hence, your legs have to be strong to bear the strain. To strengthen your legs, start with the following workout-

  • 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set. Work towards reaching your target in 3 weeks.
  • Gradually, target 3 sets of squats with 15 in each set.

Trekking Essentials: What to Pack

trekking essentials
Trekking Essentials (source)

Although the Mulkarkha Lake Trek isn’t a very intense trek, it is advisable that you be prepared. The temperature gradually drops from October onwards to become very cold at nights towards December. Hence, if you are planning to visit the beautiful lake during this period then carry the following trekking essentials.

Clothing

  • Thermals and warmer clothes for the night
  • An extra pair of trekking pants
  • Raincoat or waterproof covers for your rucksacks
  • Waterproof and windproof gloves
  • An extra pair of dry clothes
  • Two pairs of socks
  • A dry towel

Accessories

  • Sturdy and durable trekking shoes and a pair of slippers
  • LED torches, headlamps, and matchsticks
  • Sleeping bags
  • A pillow/travel pillow for the night
  • An emergency supply of cutlery, i., spoons, bowls, etc.
  • Light yet sturdy tents

Medical Kit

  • Paracetamol and Cetrizine
  • Avil for allergies
  • Combiflam as a general painkiller
  • Digene for acidity
  • Antiseptic liquid and ointment
  • Crepe bandage and ointment in the case of any injuries
  • A small roll of cotton and gauze
  • Band-aids
  • Moov or Relispray for muscular pulls, aches, and sprains
  • Toiletries

Dry towels

  • Tissue paper
  • Bug repellent sprays and creams
  • Two 1 litre bottles
  • Plastic covers
  • Cold cream and Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Hand sanitizer and antiseptic soap

Food

  • Chocolates (preferably with wafers-filling), energy bars, plum cakes or similar
  • Candies and dry fruits for munching on the way
  • Glucon-D/Tang , Milk tetra pack, juices
  • Bread, cheese spread, Jam
  • Biscuits
  • Paper dishes and cups

Summing Up

View of the Kanchenjunga mountain
An Enthralling View of Mt. Kanchenjunga (source)

So, that brings us to the end of the adventure. The Mulkarkha Lake Trek is a comfortable and easy trek that individuals of all age can do. The route takes you to idyllic villages and unknown forests, introduces to slender waterfalls and a plethora of wild blossoms, and finally leads you to the emerald Mulkarkha Lake. And the excitement doesn’t end there; you are further bestowed with a glimpse of Kanchenjunga in the serene waters of the lake.

Sit there, take in the gorgeous view as much as can and return with some wonderful memories of the journey.

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