Darjeeling in West Bengal, popularly known as the ‘Queen of Hills’, received heavy snowfall for two consecutive days, giving tourists a rare chance to see the popular hill station covered in a thick blanket of snow after a gap of nearly 15 years.
Locals and meteorological department officials said that even though the upper reaches of Darjeeling such as Sandakphu and Tiger Hill often receive heavy snowfall and it may even snow for a few minutes in the town, such heavy snowfall in Darjeeling town for two days is quite uncommon.
“Though it is common for the upper ridges of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sikkim to witness snowfall in the months of December, January and February, it is definitely uncommon for places like Darjeeling town and Gangtok to get snowfall for so long,” said Gopinath Raha, head of the Indian Meteorological Department, Gangtok.
The last time Darjeeling town received heavy snowfall was on February 14, 2007. The snowfall lasted for a few hours, though.
This comes just days after the West Bengal government relaxed Covid-19 restrictions while allowing tourist places to open up and allowing hotels, restaurants and bars to do business with 75% customers. The hill station is now full of tourists and hotels are almost full.
“Never in my life have I witnessed snowfall for two consecutive days in Darjeeling town. It was also uncommon for lower areas like Sonada and Eighth Mile in Darjeeling district to receive snowfall. This will definitely boost tourism,” said Samrat Sanyal, general secretary, Himalayan Hospitality and Tourism Network.
The minimum temperature at Darjeeling’s Raj Bhawan, located close to the mall, was recorded to be -2 degrees Celsius; while Gangtok in Sikkim recorded 1.7 degrees Celsius on Friday, which is the lowest temperature recorded in February in 14 years.