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Monday, 28 June 2010

Cloudy trip over Tiger Hills in Darjeeling

Our group leader said “Wake up early morning if you want to see the most spectacular sun rise, we need to leave for Tiger hills at 3am and it will take 2 hours to reach the point.”


“Why must we wake up so early to see the sun-rise, I never do in Mumbai.?” I argued. I refused to go; I am always too lazy to wake up so early in the morning. “I will see sun-rise from my room window, why must I go to this tiger hill?” I grumbled.

But when you are in your tourist boots, no reasoning helps. My friends refused to go without me and they made sure to wake up at 2am, since they know that I never leave to go anywhere without a bath, so I needed one hour to dress up.

So here I was, grumpy at 3am, walking through the mist of Darjeeling towards the mini bus with the rest of the group

My sleep disappeared as soon as the bus rumbled its wheel through the narrow and broken path on the hills of Darjeeling and the cool breeze softened my moods and I started to enjoy the ride, bringing out my camera to shoot the picture of the scenery outside my vehicle window in the early hours of the morning, not that I could see much, but playing with my camera is one of the activities that helps me keep alert.

Bad morning!! It was raining. At five am, when we reached the ‘Tiger hills’, it was cold and wet. I didn’t take umbrella and my friend obliged by sharing hers. I bought a hot cup of coffee, it was good and refreshing. It was quite breezy and cold. We couldn’t stand in the open space in such weather. We moved towards a building and walked up the steps to a large room.

There were more than hundred people inside a small room, many of them sitting on the plastic chair facing the cloudy sky behind the glass windows. It seemed like they were sitting in an auditorium waiting for some musical performance.

I had no idea of what spectacular sun rise was I to witness, but seeing the enthusiasm on people’s face, I was sure that it must be something not to be missed. I saw some children with same zest too. What was I complaining? These kids didn’t seem to mind and they were equally ignorant about this sun rise show like I was, but they were not grumpy. Some of the adult sensible ones dozed off while waiting for the event. I envy those who can snooze off in most uncomfortable positions at any hour of the day.


It was raining outside. My grumbling grew worse. Group of men sitting in front of me were chatting about stocks and marketing. Men can talk business at any hour of the day!! They all looked beyond window periodically, hoping for the sun rise. Who says women are noisy...men are equally irritating too. I was getting impatient. Too many people inside the small room. I was finding it difficult to breathe in this closed room with so much crowd.

It was 5am and no promised sunrise. The sun is known to be punctual and can never forget to rise, but what does one do when it goes off in hide-n-seek mode? How do I push these clouds that are heavy and pregnant? It started to drizzle again, rain drops trickled down the window panes blocking our view but people continued to wait.

5:30 am and people finally came back to their senses and started to move. I walk over to window, slid the window-pane and clicked the scene beyond the horizon.



Cloudy sky was all that I could see.

Soon I heard the voice of a man selling CD shouting, “Sorry, you could not see the sun rise but want to know what you missed, then buy the CD-.Darjeeling..a tourist spot.”

Indians are very enterprising, they can sell their wares from any dungeon places. Many people started buying the CD, my friend bought one too.

I decide that I shall not waste my money to see what I missed.

Nah! I shall google it when I get back home

Back home, I googled for the sun rise in Darjeeling..Oh Wow! I missed this!!!!



“The first rays of the sun shoot ahead and shed light upon the twin peaks of Kangchenjunga painting it pink and then bathing it in a beautiful orange colour. From Tiger Hill, Mount Everest (29,002') is just visible, peeping out through two other peaks standing by its side. Makalu (27,799') looks higher than Mt. Everest, owing to the curve in the horizon, as it is several miles closer than Everest. The distance in straight line from Tiger Hill to Everest is 107 miles.

On a clear day, Kurseong is visible to the south and in the distance, Teesta River, Mahanady River, Balasun River and Mechi River, meandering down to the south. Chumal Rhi mountain of Tibet, 84 miles away as the crow flies, looks like a great rounded mass over the snowy Chola Range. One comes face to face with this peak of superb beauty from Phari Jong which is 129 miles away from Darjeeling.
I cursed the weather

It had spoilt the most beautiful sight that I was supposed to witness… I have missed it. I will have to make one more trip to Darjeeling to experience this moment.

I go to the balcony of my room window in Mumbai and show the fist to the other part of the sky.

"Grrrrrh!" I yell

3 comments:

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