One of the top three places that every Bengali has visited in their life is Darjeeling, a small town tucked away in the North of Bengal, sitting gloriously in the lap of the mighty Khangchendzonga. If you are still a little lost as to where you should spend your winter, let us tell you why Darjeeling may just be the right place. After all, there must be a reason why it boasts of being The Queen of the Hills of Northeast India. By Shubhanjana Das
1. The Cultural Festivities:
Like every other mountainous region, winter breathes life and brings alive the cultural festivities that is typical to the area and their culture. Darjeeling during winter is adorned by the diversity of events like the Orange Festival, Teesta Tea and Tourism Festival, and, of course, the Christmas celebrations in their full glory. Once you make your way to Darjeeling in winter, you’ll know how easy it is to fall in love with this little hamlet.
2. The Perfect Temperature:
Darjeeling strikes just the right balance between “It’s not that cold for winter” and “I can’t go out in this cold” with an average temperature range of 2.5-11.5 degrees Celsius. Even though such a temperature range may not support snowfall, you may just get lucky (as many tourists in the past have)! However, the silver lining to that is every tourist attraction is open to visitors and there are very minimal risks of roadblocks, which are an absolute bummer. Winter in Darjeeling comes with a bag full of surprises even Santa can’t beat!
3. Best Sunrise Guaranteed At Tiger Hill:
Tiger Hill is one of the many hills in the Khangchendzonga range, which has been the sole reason why tourists brave the biting cold at 4 am in the morning to witness the crimson rays of the rising sun adorn the snow-capped peaks. It gets its name from the colour the peak acquires when touched by the first rays of the sun, resembling that of a tiger. However, we should tell you that you may need some next level covering up as the beauty of the sunrise comes with a bit of pain (with the cold).
4. Don’t Miss Out On The Toy-Train Ride:
India boasts of a couple of picturesque toy train rides through the mountains and Darjeeling’s very own renowned Himalayan Railway route is one hell of an experience. It has its share of history with many iconic movies shot in the toy train ride. Taking you through all the towns of the district such as Ghoom, Sonada, and Tung, all the way to New Jalpaiguri, the cherry on the top is the mouth-watering dishes you can try along the way whenever the train makes a halt.
5. Fulfilling The Adventurer’s Lust:
If all of this fails to amuse the adventurer in you, Darjeeling’s fair share of treks that offer more than just breathtaking sunrises, picturesque train rides, and delicious local food, surely will. The Sandak Phu-Phalut trek is perfect if you want to stretch your limits and test your endurance. It is the perfect trek route for beginners as the whole stretch experiences stable temperatures during winter months. Along the way, you can expect an encounter with Mt. Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga, and Lhotse along with many other peaks from Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, and even Tibet, owing to the pristine clear, blue skies during winters. Valleys of rhododendron, giant magnolias, spruce, and range of orchids await you, and so does the Singalila National Park, which is home to Red Pandas, Pangolins, and a variety of resident as well as migratory birds.