Easter snow in Sandakphu sparks tourist onrush
Darjeeling: Sandakphu, the highest point of the Singalila Ridge in Darjeeling district on the Bengal-Nepal border, is drawing hordes of tourists with continuous snowfall since Friday.
Sandakphu, at an altitude of 12000 ft, is a world-famous trekking destination and people from all over the world visit it every year.
"Owing to Easter holidays, Darjeeling is witnessing a tourist onrush. The snowfall at Sandakphu since Good Friday morning has emerged as a bonus with many tourists deciding to undertake this trip," stated Chandan Pradhan, president of the Singhalila Land Rover Association.
Even on Saturday, snowfall continued. "There was two inch of snow on the lower reaches of Sandakphu at Tonglu and Tumling on Saturday. It, however, resulted in traffic jams. There are around 18 Land Rovers in Sandakhpu while around 10 are en route. Owing to the huge rush and limited accommodations, some tourists are even putting up in the kitchens of lodges at Sandakphu," added Pradhan.
This winter, the first snowfall occurred late in Sandakphu on January 24, 2018. "Every year we get snowfall around December. This year, however, it is quite late. We are expecting it to continue until April," added Pradhan. Closer to town, Sukhiapokhari area including Simana on the Indo-Nepal border witnessed heavy hailstorms with the roads turning white. Many tourists who could not make it to Sandakphu enjoyed the hail en route to Mirik.
Darjeeling town too witnessed sporadic drizzle with overcast skies. The MeT office predicts such weather conditions for the next 24 hours.
"While it's scorching in the plains, snow is a bonus for the tourists. We are expecting more tourists in the next few days," stated Ramesh Pradhan, a hotelier.