Documented Trek Banner Image

Photo Courtesy : Vaibhav Chauhan

Buxa Fort Trek

  • A trek on the West Bengal-Bhutan border.
  • A fort which links to the colonial history of India.
  • Explore the different peaks in West Bengal and experience is charm.
DIFFICULTY:

Easy

TRAIL TYPE:

Jungle trail

DURATION:

3 days

ROAD HEAD:

Jayanti

BASE CAMP:

Jayanti

BEST SEASON:

May and November except Monsoons

Buxa Fort Trek: Trek along the borderline of India and Bhutan

Buxa is a forest near the borderline between West Bengal and Bhutan. It has an array of trees, hills and rivers. Contrary to its name, it is known to be home to more elephants than tigers. If you want to experience a typical jungle trail, this might be the one!

Considering there are multiple trails in the forest, it can keep you occupied for days together. However, the trail to Buxa Fort and Pompsey Peak is tailor-made for weekends.

Considering there are multiple trails in the forest, it can keep you occupied for days together. However, the trail to Buxa Fort and Pompsey Peak is tailor-made for weekends.

A view of a village near Buxa Fort
A view of a village near Buxa Fort

History and folklore:

The Buxa Fort, at an altitude of 2,600 feet, was established as a cantonment by the East India Company in 1873. It was used as a deportation camp for political prisoners. It was the most notorious and unreachable prison in India after the Cellular Jail in Andaman.

Pompsey peak, at an altitude of close to 4000 feet, is one of the tallest peaks in the region, peering over the forest through dense mist. The trail to the base of the peak is surrounded by tall fig trees and it takes just about an hour from the base to the peak.

 

How to do the trek

Day 1: Jayanti to Lepcheka via Buxa Fort 

  • Altitude: ­­­­­660 m to 850 m
  • Time taken: 7-8 hours, 15 km

The fort is almost 15 km away from Jayanti, the lodge point. The trail has an easy gradient until the last 5 km, where the trail is steep. On the right of the trail is Bhutan. The prominent peak of Pompsey looks stunning and inviting.

Bala Jhora River basin
Passing Bala Jhora River basin

The trail goes over the forest floor and through patches that have been cleared to grow fodder for elephants. This is so that they avoid having to enter surrounding villages. You’ll come across three dried up river beds on the way and you’re likely to hear the calls of peafowls during your hike.

After crossing the third river bed, Santlabari, a small settlement, begins to gather shape at the horizon. From Santlabari, it is a steep 3 km hike to the hill top. Once you get to the top, look back and retrace the trail you walked on; the very thought that you walked all the way will give you a burst of energy!

From this point, you can see the ruins of the fort. You’ve to trek for another half hour to reach the fort. The walls of the fort are dilapidated and crumbling. There is a small memorial for the prisoners who passed away here.

Buxa Fort
Buxa Fort

It takes half an hour to Lepcheka, where you can spend the night.

Day 2: Lepcheka to Pompsey base camp

  • Altitude: 850­­ m to 1,210 m
  • Time taken: 9-10 hours, 15-17 km

In Lepchakha, there is a small chorten (shrine), from where you can enjoy a grand view of three rivers – – Dima, Bala and Jayanti – in one frame. The trail to the base of Pompsey peak goes across tall fig trees, with almost no people around. Do carry tents and food supplies along as there is no where to buy food or stay. Lepcheka is the closest place to replenish your requirements.

Forest trail
Forest trail

It takes an hour to the peak, which is especially beautiful early in the morning, when you can see the sun rise. You can spend the day at the peak and come down to the base camp.

Note: You can also head back to Jayanti on the same day if you’re short of time.

Day 3: Pompsey base camp to Jayanti

  • Altitude: 1,210­­ m to 660 m
  • Time taken: 8-9 hours, 23-25 km

The trail down to Jayanti is much easier, with gentle descents interspersed with a few steep slopes.  The trek downhill is steep till Santalbari. There is a motorable road that connects Santalbari to Jayanti. You can either take a vehicle down that road, or you can choose to trek down 5 km.

Trek inputs and pictures by Sushobhan Roy

Cardiovascular endurance
This trek requires a good amount of endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. Make sure you are able to jog 4 km in 20 minutes before the start of the trek. It takes time to be able to cover this distance in the given time. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.

Strength
This is another area you should work on. There is a lot of trekking distance that you will cover carrying your backpacks and trekking along with your backpack is not a very easy task. You have to walk on uneven terrain during the trek. It could be taxing for your legs. For this, strengthening your legs will help. You can do some squats to strengthen them. Do around 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set.

Flexibility
Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.

Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.

Bare necessities

  1. Trekking shoes: The trek distance is long and you will have to walk for long distances which need you to have comfortable trekking shoes. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
  2. Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.

The Miyar Valley Dun trek happens round the year except for monsoons so make sure your have the proper clothing as per the season demands so you can keep yourself protected during the trek.

Clothes

  1. Three (Five in Winter) Warm Layers: You will be trekking and camping at high altitudes. So make sure you have the apt clothes for the climatic conditions. It will be cold at the higher altitudes so make sure you have at least three layers of warm clothes to protect yourself.
  2. Two trek pants: One pair of pants should suffice for this trek. But you can carry one spare pair in case the first one gets wet. Wear one pair and carry one pair.
  3. Two collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry one.
  4. Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.

Accessories

  1. Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. There might be snow in Har Ki Dun Valley or from Kalkatiyadhaar (depending on the season you are going in), so carry a pair of sunglasses.
  2. Suncap: The sun is more harsh at high altitudes so wear a suncap to protect your face and neck.
  3. Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves.
  4. Balaclava: You may use woollen scarves instead as well.
  5. Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
  6. Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
  7. Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.

Others

  1. Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
  2. Toiletries (Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste)
  3. Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
  4. Two water bottles: 1 litre each
  5. Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.

Mandatory Personal Medical Kit

  1. Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
  2. Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
  3. Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
  4. Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
  5. Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
  6. Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
  7. Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
  8. Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
  9. Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
  10. Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
  11. Gauze – 1 small roll
  12. Band aid – 10 strips
  13. Cotton – 1 small roll
  14. ORS – 10 packets
  15. Betadine or any antiseptic cream
  16. Moov spray (aches, & sprains)

Mandatory Documents

Please carry the below documents. Document two and three need to be downloaded (PDF), filled in, signed and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp.
  • Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
  • Medical Certificate and Disclaimer (to be filled by the trekker) – Download PDF
  • Medical certificate (to be filled by a doctor) – Download PDF

Want Help Finding
The Right Trek For You?

Get Your
Free Guide To
10 Best Treks
In India

Get The Guide

Vaibhav Chauhan

Vaibhav was associated with Indiahikes as a Writer & Chief Explorer. He is an avid traveler with a passion for trekking in Indian Himalayas. With his roots in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh, the love for the mountains is in his blood. When not travelling he likes to spend time interacting with like-minded trek enthusiasts and read books on travel and mountaineering.