The higher reaches of Darjeeling sub-division receive snowfall normally during the three months beginning December to February, and this includes the famed Tiger Hill area, standing at an altitude of 8500 feet, 15 km from Darjeeling.
The two-odd hours that fell built a two-inch layer in Tiger Hill and Jorebungalow to mark the first major snowfall of this year. It had snowed at Tiger Hill on January 11 also, but it lasted only for five minutes.
Snowfall seemed imminent since the past couple of days, with the temperature in Darjeeling town hovering around 2 degrees Celsius accompanied by rainfall and biting cold.
People started rushing towards Tiger Hill when news of the snowfall reached town in the afternoon.
“We were expecting snowfall much earlier this month given the prevailing weather condition. I was lucky to have chosen to stay back in Darjeeling instead of going down to Siliguri with my parents like we normally do every winter. I immediately rushed to Tiger Hill with some friends upon getting the news,” said Darjeeling resident Sayoni Rai, busy hurling snowballs at her friends.
For banker Aditya Singh, presently posted in Darjeeling, witnessing snowfall was a terrific and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
He said, “It was unexpected. I was on my way back to Darjeeling when one of my friends told me about the snowfall at Tiger Hill. Thirty minutes into the snowfall, I got down at Jorebungalow. The feeling of snowflakes on my body was thrilling as I had never experienced such a sensation before.”
Sadly, not everyone was fortunate enough to witness the snow actually falling as it occurred in the upper fringes of Tiger Hill.
“It was raining today in the town area when we heard of the snowfall at Tiger Hill. We waited till the rain subsided and then rushed to Tiger Hill, but it was too late by then as the sun had come up and most of the snow had started melting,” observed Rupam Gurung.
The last time when it snowed heavily around Darjeeling town was on January 26, 2008. But Sandakphu, a trekking destination near the Indo-Nepal border some 61km away, received heavy snowfall just two days ago, on February 14.
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