The Sinchula Trail
Wedged between the modern capital Thimphu and the former capital Punakha, the sinchula trail was a vital lifeline until the early eighties as the most convenient and popular track for cattle migration, trade, pilgrims and people from all walks of life.
The vehicle highway connectivity that began in the early eighties between these two places has now driven this almost forgotten trail to near extinction. I had trekked this jungle trail a number of times during the spring and autumn months with guests however this time it was different for we decided to do this in summer. I was more interested to experience the trail in the shades of a full blown summer. Accompanied by a group of likeminded friends we began the trek with a trial by fire shortcut, a two hundred and fifty meter ascent on a forty five degree incline after which we caught up with the main trail that starts from north Thimphu (2740m), the trail then wove across pristine forests of multi hued rhododendrons until the sinchula pass (3471m).
The drizzle from the heavens and the light fog sweeping across mountains added equal measure of allure, mystery and adventure on the trek. After paying our respects to the stupa that marked the pass, the descent spiralled through primeval alpine forests and bamboo groves which then gradually gave way to lush broad leaved foliage until rimri village bordering the northern frontiers of the alluvial Punakha valley.
We emerged from the forest at dusk and scurried to the rendezvous point where a friend awaited us with chilled beverages and a spacious 4WD to ferry us to our shelter for the night, a refreshing shower and a hot meal at a local restaurant.
There is no denying that the healing powers of nature-therapy is absorbed to the brim in places and trails forgotten by the ravages of time. The Sinchula trail is one such trail where tranquility and luxuriant environment reigns supreme.