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Darjeeling Weather & Climate
For tourists, there are two best seasons to visit Darjeeling town, one during the Spring which is short lived from March to April, and the other during Autumn (September to November). These are the times when the temperature is pleasantly cool and the sky is usually clear.
The Summer is short from May up to June. By June the Monsoon starts and usually lasts through August. It can sometimes stretch even up to October. The winter is from December until February. Winter in Darjeeling can be very cold after December.
It's difficult to predict and rely on Darjeeling's weather. Although you may see a perfectly settled and beautiful weather at one instance, soon cloud or fog can rise from the deep humid valleys and put a white blanket all around. Sometimes you can see flakes of cloud in the sky above you and at the same time some below you at the valley.
Weather conditions in Darjeeling hill town do not follow the typical temperate climate of the plains. In fact it varies quite widely across the district of Darjeeling. While I shall be focussing here mainly on the weather of Darjeeling hill town, I shall also draw reference to other areas within the district like Kalimpong and Terai (Siliguri/Dooars area), and even Gangtok located in the neighboring state of Sikkim. You can accordingly work out your travel plans in the region.
Let's take a deeper look into the various seasons in Darjeeling hill town:
Spring in Darjeeling (March - April)
As I mentioned earlier, Spring is one of the best periods to visit Darjeeling. However it is short. During this time flowering plants like Rhododendrons and Magnolia bloom in plenty and in different colors. You will also see many different kinds of garden flowers blooming. During Spring, while the sky remains mostly clear, you may face strong winds and even hail storms at times.
The temperature ranges between 6°C at night to 17°C during day time. Overall it's a great time to enjoy Darjeeling in its best weather conditions and views of the mountains all around. So expect a lot of tourist rush during this season. All hotels go full. If you are planning to visit Darjeeling during March/April, make your hotel bookings well in advance.
Summer in Darjeeling (May - July)
Summer starts in May and lasts until July. The average temperature during summer varies between 11°C to 19°C. While May remains a popular tourist month in Darjeeling, there are good chances of showers and hails during this time. The Monsoon in Darjeeling starts in June and it starts getting misty quite frequently. So, by June most of the tourists would have left.
Monsoon in Darjeeling (June - August)
While the proper monsoon sets in during June to August, there can be frequent showers in the month of May and also between September to October. During the peak monsoon time in Darjeeling (June, July, August), the sky can be barely seen for 10 days in a month. It rains incessantly and the weather remains foggy or misty for most times.
In September however, the change in the weather starts showing. The average temperature during monsoon ranges between 13°C to 19°C. However in the evening and at night, the temperature can fall and it can get quite cold. This is the period when humidity in Darjeeling is at its highest levels and can easily go past 90% of saturation.
During monsoon, sometimes land slides take place in Darjeeling area that can result in important road communications getting cut off. Since there are several routes and approaches to Darjeeling, this is usually not a huge problem. In most cases, one can take a detour, although the alternative route can take more time.
So is monsoon a good time to visit Darjeeling? Check out Darjeeling in Monsoon to know how I feel about it.
Autumn in Darjeeling (September - November)
Darjeeling again becomes a paradise for the tourists during these three months. Unless the monsoon is stretched, this period becomes free of rains and showers. The mist or the fog which is so common during the monsoon, now starts clearing and the sky becomes clear. This is a great time to get views of snow-peaks. Temperature ranges between 18°C to 6°C and starts becoming colder in November. Tourists start pouring in and the hotel rates go back to the peak by first week of October.
Winter in Darjeeling (December - February)
The winter in this hill town starts in December and lasts for three months through February. In the month of December the sky generally remains clear and the mountain views remain awesome. While early mornings can be quite cold, but during the day when the sun shines it can be quite pleasant. Temperature ranges between 2.5°C to 10°C . You will find lots of visitors in Darjeeling during Christmas and new year celebrations.
February and March are really cold. It can get quite unpleasant for the tourists who are not used to the chill, more so when it gets foggy or clouded. Even many of the permanent residents of Darjeeling hill town plan to go down to the plains or lower levels during these two months. While the temperature generally ranges between 2°C to 9°C , it can drop to 0°C on some days. Snow fall is not very common in Darjeeling. However it does take place once in a while during these two months. This time is again free of tourists and the hotel rates get discounted heavily. But most of the shops and restaurants close down early and the hill town goes of to sleep by 7pm.
Virtually no hotels in Darjeeling has central heating. The budget hotels provide blowers and small coil heaters which may not be always adequate. The high-end hotels provide better quality and bigger in-room heaters, but not in the bathrooms which remain freezing cold. But if you enjoy the chill, it can be a great fun to be in Darjeeling around this time of the year as well. However I strongly recommend that you come prepared with adequate winter clothing.
Check out Darjeeling in Winter to know about experiences and recommendations from the visitors who have been to Darjeeling during the winter season.
Temperature in Darjeeling
While the temperature in Darjeeling varies widely over the year, even on a particular month, the difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures can be significant. If you like to know what you may expect on a month, then check out Temperature in Darjeeling to get a chart showing month by month expected minimum and maximum temperatures. The chart also provides comparative figures between Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok.
Rainfall and Sky Conditions in Darjeeling
Fog or mist, cloud and rain are all integral part of Darjeeling's weather. They can be unpredictable, but in certain months of the year, they are almost inevitable. If you are planning to visit Darjeeling to get views of the snow capped mountains like the majestic Kanchenjunga, then you will need to avoid these factors. Check out Darjeeling Rainfall & Sky Conditions to know about month by month possibilities of rainfall, fog, and cloudiness of sky.
Humidity in Darjeeling & Kalimpong
It can get quite sultry out here depending on when you are visiting Darjeeling. The humidity level varies depending on the time of the day and month. In the morning the humidity at Darjeeling town can range between 72% to 96%, and in the evening between 82% to 96%. The most humid months are June through September when the humidity level varies between 93-96%. The least humid months are March and December.
In Kalimpong, the humidity ranges from 65% to 94% in the morning, and 59% to 93% in the evening. The least humid months are March and April. The most humid months are like in Darjeeling from June through September.
By Raj Bhattacharya
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