Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mountains. What mountains? Tiger Hill Station.

Inside the observation lounge waiting for the sun to rise.
We had a 3:30am wake up call this morning. Ugh. An hour to eat breakfast and meet in the lobby to catch our ride to Tiger Hill Station which is point high up in a neighboring hill.
The station is well known for it's spectacular sunrise view of the Himalayan mountains which include several of the tallest mountains in the world. On a crystal clear day, you can supposedly see Mt. Everest.

Well, it was raining gently when we left the hotel. Not a good sign :-(

By the time we got to Tiger Hill Station, it was around 5am and it was still dark and it was foggy. Not a good sign :-(

Sanjeev had bought us tickets to the upper deck of the observatory lounge so that's where we headed. We climbed the stairs up to the lounge and the room was already half filled by the time we arrived.

Sanjeev pointed out which direction was east and which was west. The sun would obviously rise in the east and the mountain was to the west. People were already clustered around the large paned windows that fronted both directions.

Sunrise would be in slightly less than an hour so we occupied ourselves by chatting. Some enterprising local was selling small cups of masala chai for 10 rupees. Too early in the morning for me to digest anything so I declined a cup.

Another enterprising local came by selling a postcard with a panoramic view of the Himalayan range that we were all hoping to see. Call me a skeptic but it was not looking like a promising viewing day for us so I plunked down the 100 rupees and bought a card.

The parking lot outside was quickly filling up with 4x4 vehicles and as the time neared for the sun to rise, the lounge got more crowded.

About when we all expected the sun to appear the skies lightened up but we never did see the sun and we never did see the mountain range. Damn the fog. We all hung around for a few minutes in hopes that the heat of the rising sun would burn of the fog. Well, that was truly our hope but the fog hung on.

We finally decided to give up and headed back down to the parking lot which was crammed with cars and we were squashed in somewhere in the middle of the crowd. With no chance of leaving anytime soon, several in the group took the opportunity to buy small plastic cups of coffee, sweetened and with milk, from yet another enterprising local.

The observation tower at Tiger Hill Station.
We patiently waited for our turn to arrive and it eventually did. Mark, Liz and I piled back into the car for the short ride back to the hotel where Sanjeev had arranged for breakfast. By now I was ready to eat and eat I did!

Too bad about the clouds and fog though.  It would have been a thrill to see the majestic Himalayas at sunrise but it was just not our lucky day today.