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Journey to the Land of Land Rovers : Manebhanjan

Manebhanjan, the land of Land Rovers. It is a story of ‘a place where all roads meet’, Manebhanjan. Let’s try to discover why this remote village in the sky is known as the land of Land Rovers.

Land Rover, a four-wheel drive vehicle is famous for scaling any kind of terrains. I got introduced to this beast through a book written by famous Bengali writer Buddhadeb Guha titled “Rijuda Samagra”. Where RijuDa, an imaginary character took us to adventurous journey through various forests from India to Africa with his sidekick Rudra. He used to drive Land Rovers in the forest of Africa.It was one of the favourite series from my childhood. I fell in love with forest due to RijuDa and his adventures.

When I came to know about the remote mountain village deep inside the Himalaya, which is famous for the same Land Rovers from my childhood stories, I got excited. This is a story about that village Manebhanjan, ‘a place where all roads meet’.

Where is it located?

The beautiful village is located in the border area of India & Nepal, at an altitude of 1150 meters. It is a small transit-town in the Darjeeling district in the state of West Bengal in India. It is located at the gateway of the beautiful Singalila Naional Park at a distance of 28 Km from the Darjeeling town. The Manebhanjan is starting point of the famous trek to Sandakphu on the Singalila Ridge. Sandakphu is the only place in this part of India from where the five highest peaks in the world, Everest, Kanchanjunga, Lhotse and Makalu can be seen. It also offers a pristine view of the entire Kangchenjunga Range, famous as ‘Sleeping Bhddha’.

Why is it known as the land of Land Rovers?

It is not a city or even a small town, but it is the home of around 42 Land Rovers. The Singalila Land Rover Association of Manebhanjan is the largest operator of Land Rover Taxis in the entire South East Asia. Many of them are from the 1957 or even much earlier. Yes they are old… very old, but the beauty of these vehicles lie in the simplicity of the technology under the bonnet. All of the vehicles are from the Land Rover Series I, and they have become the lifeline of the entire area.

These mighty SUVs are older than half a century, but all of them still look and perform as good as new. Maybe the iconic Green badges are gone and you will see aluminium plates instead, but the Land Rover symbol and the name is still visible in these cloudy mountains where only some rocks are laid to be called as the ‘Road’.

Why Land Rovers are still alive at Manebhanjan?

In this difficult mountain terrains Land Rovers are nothing less than a life line to the residents of this mountain village. Be it for essential supplies, or transportation, these old SUVs pack in a mighty punch and are irreplaceable!All of the residents of the Manebhanjan have their own stories and memories with the beast.

How you can experience the Land Rovers of Manebhanjan?

Want to see 4 of the World’s highest 8000 m peaks with your own eyes?

Then you have to come to Manebhanjan, known as the entry point of the Sandakphu on the Singalila Ridge. Many trekkers from India and abroad trek to Sandakphu for the serene view of the ‘Sleeping Buddha’.

But, if you are not in the condition to trek or if you want to enjoy the views without the hassle of trekking then the Land Rovers will come to rescue. You can get shared or chartered Land Rovers from Manebhanjan to Sandakphu. The SUV will take you through the valley of clouds to the highest point of West Bengal. Believe me it will be a journey of a lifetime.

You can pre-book or you can book your seat after reaching Manebhanjan. But, if you are travelling in a group, I will recommend you to book your SUV before hand to avoid rush.

I am sharing a rate card for your assistance.


Tentative Fare for reserved car (as on 2020)

 DropUp & Down1 Night Stay
Manebhanjan to Tonglu&TumlingRs. 1500Rs. 1800Rs. 500
Manebhanjan to GairibansRs. 2500Rs. 2800Rs. 500
Manebhanjan to KalapokhriRs. 3500Rs. 3800Rs. 500
Manebhanjan to SandakhphuRs. 4000Rs. 4300Rs. 500
Manebhanjan to PhalutRs. 7000Rs. 7000Rs. 500

How to reach

Siliguri is a well connected with other major cities of India by air, rail or road. It is well connected with Kolkata. There are chartered cab services available from Siliguri to Manebhanjan.

If you want to travel via shuttle cabs then you can get cabs to reach Ghum from Siliguri and then you have to get another shuttle from Ghum to Manebhanjan.

You can use bus services to reach Ghum and then you can avail shuttle to Manebhanjan.

Things to Remember

The first season, with the temperature ranges from 8 to 15 degrees, is from April to May and the second season is after the monsoon starting from October to early December when the temperature ranges from -5 to 5 degrees.

Do carry warm layers; it is going to be cold.

Carry a head lamp or a torch. 

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