Trekking In Tiger Hill Darjeeling – Situated at an altitude of 8297 ft, Tiger hill is a famous mountain peak and one of the recommended activities to do in Darjeeling. Darjeeling, also known as “the Queen of Hills” is a beautiful town in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is internationally renowned as a tourist destination for the spectacular view of Mt. Kanchenjunga along with its tea industry and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Located around 13 km away from the main town Darjeeling, Tiger Hill is a popular spot to watch the splendid sights of the sunrise as it displays the magnificent colors over the mighty Kanchenjunga when the sun showers its first rays on the mountain.
To reach the place, it takes about 40 mins drive. One can book a cab easily available at Darjeeling taxi service near Keventers or take a shared jeep from Darjeeling taxi stand near Chauk bazaar to Jorebunglow and then get down into another shared mini-van up to Tiger hill.
Tiger Hill is also well-known among the trekkers, the trek route to tiger hill starts from Chowrasta via Toong Soong and Aloo Bari villages with its old monastery on the way known as “Mag Dhog Yolmowa Gompa” built during the time of First World War in the year 1914. The route takes you to the main road Jorebunglow from where the main trek began. From Jorebunglow, you have two options to reach the destination. The first one is the main motorable road which is accessed by everyone and another one takes you outside the town and through the dense forest which has different kinds of trees and plantation including oak forest, pines, birch etc. There are many species of rhododendrons and orchids can also be seen in the forest.
After a couple of hours through woods, just before the last climb, there is an ancient Devi temple (locally known as Senchal Devi Dham) on the way where the trail joins the main road. Another easy Kilometer and finally you have arrived at your destination. After reaching the hill-top, be ready to soak yourself with enchanting panoramic views of Himalayan. The tallest one is the Mt Kanchendzonga, the top of Mt Everest forms a straight line to Tiger hill and other peaks that are visible are Makalu, Pandim, Kabru, Siniolochu, Kothang, Janu, Simvu, Kumbakaran and Rathong. Not just peaks, the great rivers tumbling into the plains of Bengal can be also be seen like Teesta, Mahanadi, Balasun and Mechi.
On returning from Tiger Hill to Jorebunglow, you can take an uphill narrow road and visit the Senchal lake (altitude 8169 ft), the main reservoir for water supply to the town constructed during the British period. The lake is located inside the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries of Darjeeling hills where you can find different types of wildlife animals like Himalayan black bears, barking deers, leopards, monkeys and many more. The sanctuary is also famous for bird-watching.
After sightseeing, you can choose to travel via jeep to reach back to Darjeeling if you’re exhausted or you can trek back to Darjeeling via the same route mentioned earlier and on the way back you can also stop by food shop to have the taste of local food. Besides ubiquitous momos, you should definitely try various authentic Nepalese foods like Gundruk soup/jhol with rice and sel rotis with aloo dum.
This trek can smoothly be covered in one day; however, people can also do an overnight camp to witness the sunrise the next morning. Otherwise, have your journey start at 2:30 am from Darjeeling and reach there by 3:00 am. During the high season, there will be a long queue of cars since hundreds of tourists come every day for the sunrise view as a result of which you have to walk uphill quite a bit from the parking. And if the observatory tower and pavilion next to it get full by the time you arrive, then you won’t get a place for yourself to watch the perfect view of sunrise above the summit.
Best time to visit: One can visit the place throughout the year. However, you must go during the right time when there is no mist or fog and the dazzling snow-covered peaks are visible. Between Mid-October to December and March to April is the good time to witness the breathtaking view of sunrise but sometimes due to uncertain weather even during the best time, the view can get pretty disappointing.
Tips: If you are planning to go on a trek or camping overnight, you should go through a good trek operator from Darjeeling as they can help you with everything from a guide to transport facilities and can help you prepare the entire trek perfectly. Also don’t forget to combine your plan with a day picnic at Senchal lake and visit other nearby attractions like the 9-hole golf course at the Senchal area, one of the highest golf courses in the world (altitude 8,150 ft).