Friday, October 26, 2007


GANGTOK, October 24: Tourists making a beeline to the historic Nathula Pass on their annual vacation was in for a big surprise.
On Friday, October 19, visitors to this must-see destination were greeted with the first snowfall of the year, much to their delight and wonder. The Tsomgo Lake was covered in a blanket of snow, making the Sikkim trip all the more special for vacationers, especially those from the plains who had never seen snowfall in their lives.
“We were told that we would not be seeing any snow this time of the year here. But we were certainly in for a big surprise. As soon as we reached Tsomgo Lake, it started to snow. It was the most beautiful day of my life,” said Ratula Basu, a young executive from Kolkata.
The sunny days of the previous week suddenly changed on Thursday, with a drop in temperature and cold wave conditions, which prevailed in several parts of the State, especially North and East Sikkim.
The first snowfall in the higher reaches of the East District also brought in cold wave conditions with the mercury dipping to near freezing point in many places.
Gangtok experienced an unusually cold Dasain this year, with the cold condition perpetuated by continuous rains and cold winds. To add to the misery, several parts of the Capital experienced long hours of power cuts on October 21, the day of the Tika and Vijaya Dasami. The power cuts continued for another two days, much to the people’s annoyance. The blackouts played spoilsport to the Dasain celebrations.
“This year, we had to spend the Tika day without electricity in freezing temperatures. I really do not know what the problem was but the concerned Department should have ensured uninterrupted power supply at least during the Dasain time,” said Madhu Sharma, a resident of Tadong.
This year, the snow has come in much ahead of time, fuelling speculations over perhaps an extended winter months. Snowfall has also been reported in several high altitude areas in the State. Light snowfall also occurred in Dzongri, West Sikkim and in Lachung, Lachen and Yumthang in North Sikkim.