Chitre is a small mountain village and is the first place along the way to Sandakphu where trekkers and tourists halt for a while. The road and the trekking trail from Mane Bhanjang
up to Chitre is considered one of the steepest in the entire stretch to Sandakphu.
Chitre is located at an altitude of 8,340ft and about 3kms from Mane Bhanjang. It takes about 1.5 hours of trek from Mane Bhanjang and about 20 minutes by 4-wheel-drive vehicle to reach Chitre.
It used to be a gravel (boulder) road starting from Manebhanjan up to Chitre and all the way up to Sandakphu. However now the road through Chitre all the way up to Gairibas has been concretized and vehicles can easily come up to this place.
The main attraction in Chitre is the Chitrey Monastery - an old Buddhist Monastery and coupled with that is the marvelous views of the Kanchenjunga snow peaks. Take some time out, walk through the gate into the monastery premises and take a look inside.
Before you reach up to the main monastery, there are eight small stupas elevated from the ground.
About 5-6 minutes walk from the monastery is a local restaurant on an open field. It's more like a shack. This is where most take their breakfast and also soak in the sun for a while before proceeding onwards.
The local restaurant is owned by a lady whose family picture hangs proudly on the wall of the inside dining room. Toast and eggs are really nice and so is the tea. They also serve noodles, momos and even non-veg Chinese dishes. You can also get soft drinks, packaged water here.
Local restaurant, Chitre
Take a window-side table and you get lovely views. There is outdoor seating as well and also a small tinned toilet outside which you can use even if you a do not eat here.
Inside Chitre restaurant
Chitrey doesn't have many accommodation options, probably because very few trekkers stop here for the night, but some do before launching the long arduous trek next morning. One option is the homestay run by Phunstok known as Hawk's Nest.
Vehicles can come up to the homestay. The accommodation is basic but nice. The host and his family are friendly and the service is good. The homestay also has a small restaurant.
Food prepared in Nepali style is nice, and they can also offer great Tibetan food if you ask for that. They also offer local beer known as Thongpa. Phone: (+91) 97330 81184; Whatsapp: 73195 91836
Parul (May 2021)
Hi Raj. My husband and I are planning to travel only till Chitrey during the last week of May. Could you please tell me if it is open for visitors now? Do I still need to get a permit? What other things should I keep in mind given the current covid scenario? Will be extremely grateful for your guidance on this!
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2021
Hi, there is no permit required to go up to Chitrey or for that matter up to Tumling. It's not clear from your question whether you want to go there on a day trip or are you intending to stay there? But, you need to take a vehicle from the Land Rover's Association at Manebhanjan if you are not trekking. Homestays in Darjeeling hills are closing down due to the Covid situation... there are practically no tourists there at present, so you will only get to know the real scenario only days before your travel. It is difficult to predict anything now.