Higher altitudes of Sikkim and Darjeeling blanketed in snow, leaving tourists stranded

blanketed in snow
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The picturesque landscapes of Sikkim and Darjeeling have transformed into a breathtaking pristine winter wonderland, blanketed in snow. Higher altitudes across the region received snowfall on Losoong and Namsoong – the Sikkimese New Year.

Towns like Lachen and Lachung, nestled at a lofty 13,400 feet above sea level, woke up to a dusting of snow, while Sandakphu, the highest point in West Bengal, and Tonglu saw the second snowfall of the winter.

The snowfall caught around 1200 tourists unaware and left them stranded in the higher altitudes of Sikkim. Many tourists were on a vacation tour as the holiday season had kicked in. The snow disrupted normal life in the region as electricity and mobile networks were cut off.

The upper areas of Sikkim famous among tourists had been reopened about a fortnight ago, following the devastation caused by the Teesta flash floods due to a glacial lake outburst on October 3.

Sikkim and Darjeeling are among the best winter destinations for vacations. The snowfall added spectacular view of the surrounding mountains. More tourists are expected to visit these places after having learnt about the snowfall in the region. Local businesses are also optimistic about a boost in winter tourism, which is a vital source of income for the communities.

Civil administration officials have been instructed to facilitate the return of stranded tourists to Gangtok. The Trishakti Corps of the Indian Army has been conducting rescue mission to relocate stranded tourists to safer zones. They are providing them with shelter, warm clothing, medical assistance, and hot meals.

While the snowfall is a beautiful spectacle, it also brings challenges. Road closures and treacherous conditions can disrupt transportation and daily life in higher areas. Authorities are on high alert, urging caution and advising tourists to check weather forecasts and local advisories before embarking on any adventures.

As per the Indian Meteorological Department, the region experienced snow, hailstones, and rain on Wednesday due to the influence of a westerly trough. The drop in temperatures in the higher altitudes of Sikkim and Darjeeling signals a notable decrease in the mercury levels in the upcoming days.

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