Tourist in the second day of the ongoing week long Darjeeling Cultural and Tourism Festival (DCTF) did what they had only watched actors do in cinemas and wished. The festival organizers gave enthusiastic tourists a thrilling opportunity, to dance on the moving Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), a first for many of them.
And willing tourists did not let go of the opportunity as some of them climbed aboard the open coach of the toy train and showed their moves. “Fifteen years back I had taken my last ride on the toy train. But, today it was an amazing and different experience, to dance on one of them with people on the streets looking at us. I felt like a movies star,” said an elated Prashant Divedhi from Kolkata.
Burdawan resident Animika Bhowkick did not dance but the ride from Darjeeling to Ghoom and back was a memorable one for her. “I am not much of a dancer so I refrained from joining the others. However, it was just as much a scintillating experience to be a part of the road show. I thank the organizers and wish them well for future, too,” she said.
The DCTF that is organized by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has become an annual affair in the Hills. It is organized every year this month in November with the objective to attract tourists to the Hill station.
This year the festival is being held from November 1 to 7 in Darjeeling sub-division. Similar events will also be organized in the other sub-divisions of Kurseong, Kalimpong and Mirik, till November 8.
The cultural dance (on different Nepali songs) on the moving DHR train however will only be held for three days from today. Performers from the GTA’s information and cultural department will perform every morning for three days on the 10.40 am diesel run train from Darjeeling to Ghoom and back with a break at the Batasia War Memorial. Bhanu Kanta Ghisingh, the GTA information and cultural department assistant director said, “The idea behind having dancers from the department on the moving train is to bring to highlight and promote our cultural. Tourists can even participate with our dancing troupe, which we believe will give them a trilling experience”.
Not only tourists but the performers too were elated with the opportunity to dance on the heritage train. “I have been dancing for thirteen years but this is the first time on a moving train. This experience I will keep till my last days. Of course, dancing on moving train is never easy but I managed it all the same,” said Ram Limboo, one of the male dancers.
The festival will showcase the various culture and traditions of the Hills communities. Stalls have been put up at the Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan dishing our traditional delicacies and in the evening local bands will entertain tourist and locals alike for the next six days.