Sudden snowfall in Darjeeling leave tourists ecstatic
Darjeeling: The weather Gods were finally appeased and the higher reaches of Darjeeling town and surrounding areas witnessed snowfall after many years. The sudden snowfall left tourists ecstatic.
Darjeeling town had witnessed a brief spell of snowfall on 28th December 2018. Prior to that, the town had been painted white in snow on January 28, 2008.
From the wee hours of Wednesday it has started to rain in Darjeeling town. From early morning as the mercury hovered around 1 degree C, the upper reaches of the town including Jalapahar, INA bypass, AJC Bose Road witnessed snowfall. Throughout the day Darjeeling town witnessed sporadic rainfall and light snow.
Near town Tiger Hill at an altitude of 2590m, Ghoom (2225m,) Jorepokhari and Simana witnessed heavy snowfall. It has been snowing heavily in Sandakphu (3636m,) the world famous trekking destination and the highest point of West Bengal for the past few days.
"As soon as it started snowing we rushed to Mall but as it was very light and we had heard it had snowed heavily in Ghoom, we went to Ghoom. It's heavenly" stated Rahul Dinda, a tourist from Kolkata.
Tourists were seen making snowmen on the roads and indulging in snowball fights. "It freezing cold but the excitement of witnessing the snowfall surpasses everything" stated Anushka Gupta from Chhattisgarh.
However the snowfall had its share of woes as tourists were stranded in Sandakphu and surrounding areas owing to heavy snowfall. "Around 40 tourists were evacuated from Sandakphu by police, SSB and the Singhalila Land Rover Association on Wednesday" stated Santosh Nimbalkar, Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling.
There are still some tourists stranded. "There are 163 tourists stranded at Tumling, 13 in Tonglu and 14 in Lameydhura en route to Sandakphu. The roads are inaccessible owing to heavy snow. We will evacuate them on Thursday" stated Chandan Pradhan of the Land Rover's Association.
"We received information that some tourists including a lady with a fractured leg were stranded at Chatakpur under the Sonada police station. A police team led by Bandana Pradhan, OC Sonada rescued them" stated Mingma Lepcha, OC, Jorebunglow. The police have issued a travel advisory also including dos and don'ts while driving on snowy roads.
Icy winds and plummeting temperatures forced shops to close early in town as tea and stalls selling woolen did brisk business.