Just as most Indians have snorkelling at Andaman-Nicobar and trekking in Manali on their bucket lists, the sunrise at Tiger Hill is almost always another bullet point. Watching the sunrise at Darjeeling is a must do for every Indian. The queen of hills is known for its beautiful views of the majestic peak of the Kanchenjunga, and the sunrise only enhances this existing beauty. The first rays of the sun hit the Kanchenjunga peak colouring it blood red in the dark night sky. The sight is absolutely breathtaking, but waking up in time and managing to stand at the ideal spot to witness it is not an easy task. Here are some details about Tiger Hill that will help equip you with everything you need to witness this beautiful sunrise.
Location of Tiger Hill
Tiger Hill is positioned 6.8 miles from the town of Darjeeling and a couple of miles above Ghoom. Tiger Hill is the highest point in Darjeeling, situated at an altitude of 8482 feet above sea level. It offers a spectacular view of the Himalayan peaks, especially that of Kanchenjunga. To reach Tiger Hill you will need to take the Senchal road, a narrow uphill path that offers a stunning view of the Senchal lake. A visit to the lake is often combined with a trip to Tiger Hill as people choose to grab a picnic breakfast at the lake banks after their morning sunrise escapades. There are also two temples – Durga Devi’s and Lord Shanker’s that are found en route and often included in the day’s agenda.
Ideal time to watch the sunrise
The sunrise usually begins around 5 am and hence most tour directors insist that you reach the spot by around 4:15. This means that you are required to leave your homes by 3:30 or so in order to make it here on time. The observation deck is located at the top of the hill and the large tourist populations make for lack of parking spots, causing the need for a short trek to the observation tower from the warmth of your cars.
Panorama of the view
Once you reach the top of the observation tower, you have access to an almost 360-degree view of Darjeeling. The sky is still dark at first; the first rays of sunlight slowly begin to brighten the sky and redden the visible peaks of Kanchenjunga. There are five dazzling peaks of Kanchenjunga, the highest being about 28000 feet high, making it the third highest peak in the world. As the sun rises, the colour of the rays on the peaks changes as well, ranging from red to orange to gold and then to white.
On a clear day, free of mist and fog, one can sometimes even see the peak of Mount Everest, which is about 29000 feet above sea level making it the highest mountain peak in the world. Approximately 135 kilometres away from this lies the Tibetian Chomol Hari Mountain, which is considered the most beautiful peak in the world.
As you watch the sunrise in the cold mist mornings, vendors bring you hot chai and pakodas that you can enjoy alongside your loved one amidst the glories of nature’s bounty.
Other sights to visit
The Batasia Loop is a popular tourist site located close to Tiger Hill. It is a spiral railway track, part of the Himalayan toy train, running through hills and a tunnel. Located 5 kilometres from Darjeeling, right below Ghum, it also acts as a memorial to the Gorkha soldiers of the Indian army who lost their lives during the independence struggle in 1947.
The Japanese Peace Pagoda and the tea gardens are other sites that are often covered on the way back from Tiger Hill. The rock gardens and Ganga Maya park are also beautiful sites of nature that admirers love to witness for themselves. The rock gardens, like the Batasia loop, is significant of the Gorkhas and offers a spending view of the water cascading over the rocks from the hills.
The temperature in Darjeeling during the winter months often goes to a couple of degree Celsius and it is advised to wear warm clothing and carry enough layers for protection when heading out to view the sunrise. So plan a trip to Darjeeling and check one item off your bucket list after witnessing for yourself the beauteous sunrise from Tiger Hill. Our resort Sterling Darjeeling offers great packages for a wonderful family or couple getaway; experience the best of Darjeeling with Sterling this winter.