The history of various floras of Himalayas was started from 2.5 million years ago during the age of Pleistocene. Many geographical changes and ups and downs happened in the region and during this long journey the present-day floral communities grow in Himalayas with a diversity of species and variations based on its various altitudes. After many geomorphological changes, the present-day life forms arrive or return on the rocks and these are mainly lichens, liverworts, various species of mosses etc. They have been developed with their fine root systems on the rock and some of them have their arial root systems and depended on moister of the air. The other variety of species are also developed across the Himalaya based on its climatic and altitude variations. Stellaria decumbens and Arenaria bryophylla were developed even in the altitude of 6,100 metres.

In the history of botanical exploration in Himalaya, many great botanists have a great contribution and one of the prominent names is Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker who started his exploration in Sikkim in 1849 AD. He visited different parts of Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayan region and identified various species of plants in that region including Singalila range, great Runjeet river valley, Zongri, Lachen valley, Lachoong etc. Hooker identified 36 species of Rhododendrons in Sikkim and out of these 36 species 24 species are new in the taxonomy. Not only Hooker but there were also many other great Indologists who also have a great contribution to the exploration of Himalayan botanical knowledge including Hugh Falconer, the then superintendent of Botanical Gardens in Calcutta, Dr. Nathaniel Wallich who was the curator of the Indian Museum of Calcutta, Dr. Thomas Thomson who was associated with Tibetan Mission, Mr. White, Dr. Campbell and many more.

Botanical diversity is one of the unique features of Himalayan beauty. In different altitudes and climatic conditions variety of species and different flowering plants can be an attraction to travel Himalayas. Some of the available plants are gentian, anemone, potentilla, primrose, saxifrage, parnassia, ampanula, pedicularis and different species of orchids. Also, there are many types of Rhododendron sp, junipers, pine and so on. It is an unexplored experience of Himalayas.

Utteray to He- Bermiok Rhododendron trek, West Sikkim

Day 1: Arrive at Uttarey Village (7,500 Mts altitude). Stay at Green Valley Home Stay with warm hospitality of crew – a basic and clean accommodation for trekkers.

Day 2: Utteray to Chewabhanjyang (trek): After breakfast, around 8 a.m. Trek to Chiwabhanzyang Pass (10,300 fts.) 5-6 hours trek. Hot lunch will be served on the way at Fedi Khola. Enroute one can explore the rich biodiversity, more than five gentle streams with crossing of old log bridges; the terrain involves slight sloppy and steep on its way. Stay at nature camping. At campsite welcome by trekking crew with hot coffee/tea followed by hot soup and dinner.

Day 3: Chewabhanjyang to Phoktaydara: With tea and breakfast one can explore the breathtaking view of sunrise with Mt. Everest view in the western and magnificent view of Mt. Barring in the eastern. Almost South and West side of Sikkim can be seen from this campsite.Followed by trek towards our next destination Phokteydara and Singalila too (12,000fts. ) around 5 hrs trek. Night stay at Phokteydara Nature camping. Remarkable sunset with glittering of snow capped mountains along with Makalu and entire Kanchendzonga range. Evening same routine is followed.

Day 4: Phoktaydara to Joributtey trek: After hot tea & breakfast, one can get the morning 360° degree view with clear view Mt. Everest, Mt. Makalu, Mt. Three sisters, Mt. Jupino and entire Kanchendzonga range. Magnificent view of Chola group of mountains, Paunhari range, rolling hills of North Bengal and early sunrise incomparable view can be witnessed. Start to trek towards Joributtey (10,600fts. ) via Kalizhar valley, beautiful meadows- Thulodhap and view point – Achalley (5-6 hours trek). Night stay at nature campsite. Many rhododendron and allied plants. Camp, stay.

Day 5: Joributtey to Sammatar trek: (9,000 fts.) via Barsey (10,000fts). 5 to 6 hours trek. Stay at nature camp and follow the same joyous routine. Many rhododendrons to be seen in this area, namely, R. arboretum, Whitii, falconeri, hodgsonii, wallichii.

Day 6: Sammatar to He Gaon (He village) trek and drive to Pelling: for the first half of the day – 4 hours downhill walk. Explore community villages and drive to Pelling (2 hours). Lunch at Chaayataal – Hee gown. Night stay at hotel in Pelling.

* Note: In each destination and also along the route entire Kanchendzonga Range can be seen moving through dense Rhododendron forests, rich biodiversity, floras and fauna, streams and various terrain, exclusive sunrise and sunset view & more. It offers an overall package for nature lovers.

* One is expected to see about 15 Rhododendron species in this trek from Chewabhanjyang to He Gaon.