Tiger Hills Sunrise Observatory
The sun rises earlier in the eastern parts and to us it meant waking up at 3:00 am and getting ready in chilling cold, since the driver was coming to pick us up at 3:30 am. Apart from the routine of the sun, going early also means one will get a chance to park the vehicle closer to the summit and get a good place on the watching platform.
I wanted to see sunrise from Tiger Hill, Dali Monastery and War Memorial. In order to see sunrise from Tiger Hill, you need to reach there by 5AM. Since I also had to find travelers to share the costs, I woke up early and headed out for the taxi stand at 3.30 AM to find other travelers. I met a solo traveler from Israel and a couple from France who were also searching for someone to share costs. Before heading out, I thought it would be hard to find travelers but it’s pretty easy since it took me hardly 15 minutes.Tiger HillWe left for Tiger Hill at 4 AM and reached there by 4.45 AM. We were the first ones to reach and hence we got ourselves a good place to see the sunrise. The reason for the sunrise here to be so special and famous is that you get to see the Kanchenjunga mountain range from Tiger Hill.You need to be lucky in order to see because more often than not, clouds block the view. We weren’t so lucky and all we could see was this
Sure, you can argue that Mt. Everest stands proud as the highest peak in the world, the ascent of which would add the final straw on the proverbial mountain junkie's hat. K2 or Mt. Godwin Austin would further stake a claim to be among the most unusual mountains, and so should it. Located in the Karakoram range, furthest north, the peak is as elusive to see as the gateways of the legendary Shangri-La.But here is a peak, situated a mere 74 kilometres as the crow flies from the hilly town of Darjeeling garnering all the attention. You would not need to hike three days with Sherpas guiding the way and yaks carrying your luggage as you would to see Everest. Nor would you need to take a flight over Kashmir on an especially clear day to catch a glimpse of K2. You can soak in all of Kanchenjunga's beauty with a cup of piping hot tea in hand.Even on mildly clear days, you can see each of the smaller peaks that make up the mountain. The summit is among the privileged few in this part of the world that is witness to the warm rays of the sun brushing against the horizon. As the stark white mountain snows turn bright red, it almost seems nature has put on a light show for the ages.No other mountain allows you to come this close to it without breaking the buck or the back. This is not a Kilimanjaro in the heart of the Kenya wilderness, or an Aconcagua in the Andes, zillions of miles away. People of all ages, all statures, any nation, any belief can walk up to the mall in Darjeeling to watch it.Think about all of us who cannot afford a ticket to Africa or South America. Or even those among us who may never travel outside the country. This gallant spectacle of nature churned up from the rocks beneath our feet millions of years ago, is their only chance of seeing something this high from an eye levelKanchenjunga at sunrise as seen from the Tiger Hill Observatory.I realised all this while standing at the Tiger Hill Observatory in the biting cold, long after the sun was high in the sky and the spectators had left with cameras packed with pictures and a head full of memories from that sunrise. All I did was stand and keep looking across the hills and valleys to Kanchenjunga.Still waiting to find out why it is so unique? Only a trip to Darjeeling on a clear day may reveal the answer. Stop finding the answer in blogs like mine.
6. Tiger HillTiger Hill is said to offer the best sunrise views of Mt. Kanchenjunga. We were all prepped up for our sunrise but the fog and clouds spoilt our plan. Our driver suggested that we skip going to Tiger Hill, for nothing would be visible. We are happy that we listened to him. It saved us a lot of time.Post lunch (at around 14:00 hrs), we started for Pelling.To know the details of our entire trip, visit our website and our Instagram account:Footloose BackpackersInstagram