Darjeeling, Gangtok receive snowfall after a decade; tourists stranded in Nathula
The town of Darjeeling, its outskirts and the upper ridges of Gangtok in Sikkim on Friday received the first snowfall in 10 years. While tourists and local people ventured out to enjoy the spectacular view, many people were left stranded at Nathula at the Indo-China border.
Darjeeling, where minimum temperature hovered between minus 2 to minus 4 degree Celsius, witnessed a sunny day before the weather turned cloudy in the afternoon accompanied by a hailstorm. The snowfall in Darjeeling town, Singamari, Ghoom, Jorbungalow and Sukhapokhari began around 4.30 pm.
The last time it snowed in Darjeeling and its outskirts was on February 14, 2008.
Places such as Sandakfu, the highest point in West Bengal, receive regular snowfall. “Darjeeling town, however, has not seen any snow in a decade,” said Pradip Tamang, head of tourism department of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration at Tiger Hill, a famous tourist destination in Darjeeling.
In Sikkim, places located in the upper ridges of Gangtok, Nathula, Tshangu Lake and Ravangla also witnessed snowfall. Many tourists were stranded at Nathula as the road got covered with snow.
“Half of these people will return to Gangtok with help from police, army and civil administration while the rest will be taken to army bases in and around Nathula,” Kapil Meena, collector of East Sikkim district, said. “The chief secretary is in touch with the army,” said Meena.
The town of Ravangla got its share of snow after 15 years, said Meena.