Climate, Topography and Vegetations.
Climate, Topography and Vegetation of Darjeeling, Gangtok, Kalimpong and Doars.
To a larger extent, in Himalayas regions, climate and history are shaped by its topography.Landscape of any towns and cities in the Himalayan zone are synonymous with hills and mountains. Generally, the varying degree of altitude largely influence the climate rather than the latitude. Although Darjeeling and Gangtok lies at same latitude of 27degree north with Tampa, Florida, USA and Agra & Jaipur in India but the climatic condition is dramatically different than these cities.
Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok are located in Mahabharat range or lesser Himalayas ranges. And the foot hill to these regions are assigned to the flood plain of North Bengal popularly called Doars.
The topography of these region can be aptly compared to a huge and steep staircase, which rises from the foothills (Doars) at 100 m (328 Feet) above sea level, to a snowy peak above 7000 m (22,966 Feet) . Within a distance of 220 kilometres, one can pass from Sub tropical of Doars to sub temperate of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok and to the alpine regions of Lachung, Yumuthang and alpine highland of Lamune, Thangsing and Dzongri while doing Goechala Trek in Sikkim.
These regions can be conveniently divided horizontally into three geographic zones. Firstly, the foothills of Doars, which rise from the plains of 90 m (295 Feet) to an altitude of 1750 m (5741Feet), have thick broadleaf evergreen forests, fertile farmland and a relatively high population especially in commercial town of Siliguri. This regions is home to some of the prominent wild life Sanctuaries and Reserve forests. The climate is warm and humid during summer largely due to abundance of vegetation and pleasant during winter, temperature ranging from 15 C (59 F) to 20 C (68 F).
Secondly, the sub – temperate Zone of Darjeeling, Gangtok and Kalimpong, can fit in well within this bracket, cut off from foot hills by the large hills and mountains, the town of Gangtok and Darjeeling are carved out in the slopes of the mountain and a few area of flat land at the ridge like Chowrasta in Darjeeling and MG road in Gangtok, are at altitude ranging from 1700 m (5577 Feet) to 2400 m (7874 Feet).
More specifically Darjeeling town lies at an altitude of 2045 m (6710 ft), Gangtok 1650 (5410Ft), and Kalimpong 1704 m (5591) on the crest of the hill overlooking Teesta river. The hillsides here is thickly covered with blue pine, conifers, oaks, magnolia, maple, birch, orchids, rhododendron. Willow poplar and walnut are commonly found tree.
As Darjeeling and Gangtok and Kalimpong lies in somewhat similar altitude. it has identical climatic conditions. These towns experience mild and temperate climate throughout the year. The period between June to September can be wet due to Monsoon. But especially for Tea garden in Doars and Darjeeling its a great period with fresh growth of tea leaves and surrounding greenery in vegetations. The expected temperature during summer can range from 20 C (68 F) to 25 C (77 F) and during winter 5 C (41 F) to 12 C (54 F). Days are warms with with bright sun. Snowfall is rare in these town.
Lastly, the above temperate zone, at altitude ranging from 2800 m (9186 Feet) to above 3500 m (11,483), village of Lachung and Yumuthang in Sikkim, and some passes and region like Lumune, Dzongri while doing Goecha la Trek in Sikkim. are sub alpine and alpine highland, ringed by snow clad peaks of Mt Kanchenjunga and Mt Pandim. The alpine zone boasts beautiful glacial lake, and pastures covered with carpets of wild flowers during summer. – among them dwarf rhododendron, edelweiss, fritillaries, anemone and primula. During winter these regions are closed due to heavy snow. The temperature during summer can range from 5 C ( 41 F) to 15 C (59 F)