Showing posts with label Tourism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tourism. Show all posts

Sillery in Kalimpong entirely depends on Village Tourism

2:30 PM
Kalimpong…. Ghumako Chaw (Explored) ?

Sillery, a tiny hamet, nestled at a height of 6000 Ft used to be a home to just four families working in Cinchona plantation. Today, this village has grown big and has  around 32 families and its slowing booming as the major village tourism destination. Its name has been derived from the plant that used to grow abundantly in the region.  The plantation of Cinchona plant was started by the British in this region to derive Quinine to fight Malaria and is still cultivated today.

 This village is located 25 Km away from kalimpong town and is famous for its clean eco-friendly homestays surrounded with tall pine trees, which right away takes you to a surreal world where you can slow yourself down and be lost and relax all day long. The mesmerizing view of Kanchenjunga, short trekking trails and rural lifestyle experience are some of its main attractions that brings tourist from far away.
Sillery in Kalimpong entirely depends on Village Tourism

 Even though today Sillery is entirely dependent on village-tourisim, its amazing to see how this village have adapted themselves and welcomed the change by making a conscious effort of keeping it clean and simple without disturbing their daily rural lifestyle.

via Cafe Kalimpong 

आकर्षणको केन्द्र बिन्दु बन्दैछ मङ्पूको सिम्बेडियम अर्किड पार्क

7:00 PM

प्रतिविम्ब न्यूज
कालेबुङ 22 मार्च।

प्राकृतिक सुन्दरताहरूसँग रमाउन चाहनेहरूका निम्ति मङ्पूको सिम्बेडियम अर्किड पार्क आकर्षणको केन्द्रबिन्दु बनिरहेको छ। विशेष गरेर प्रकृतिको सुन्दर रचना मानिने सुनखरी अर्थात् अर्किड प्रेमीहरूका निम्ति झनै मङ्पूको सिम्बेडियम अर्किड पार्क अत्यन्तै सुन्दर पर्यटन स्थलका रूपमा विकसित बनिरहेको छ। दार्जीलिङ जिल्लाको मङ्पू सिन्कोना बगानमा अर्किडका खेती अहिलेघरी जीटीए अधिनस्थ सिन्कोना निर्देशालयको देखरेखमा खुबै फस्टाइरहेका छन्। जहाँ देश विदेशका पर्याटकहरू समेत अर्किडका सुन्दर फुलहरू हेर्नका निम्ति आउने गरेका छन्।

‘यसवर्ष वितेका वर्षहरूको तुलनामा पर्याटकहरूको कमी भयो। यद्यपी पर्याटकहरू आउँदैछन्’ सिम्बेडियम अर्किड पार्कका प्रभारी सतीश राईले भने। ‘पर्याटकहरू बाहिरबाट आएर यहीँ बस्न रुचाउँछन् तर, यहाँ होम स्टेहरूको भने अभाव छ’ उनले थप भने।

यस सम्बन्धमा सरकारले अझ सिम्बेडियम पार्क नजिकमा यस्ता होम-स्टेहरू निर्माण गरिदिए रामो हुने आशा व्यक्त गरे। विश्वकवि रवीन्द्र नाथको ऐतिहासिक सङ्ग्राहलय पछि ब्रिटिसकालिन सिन्कोना कारखाना घुम्न आउने पर्याटकहरूमा निम्ति मङ्पूमा अहिलेघरी सिम्बेडियम अर्किड पार्क अर्को आकर्षक पर्यटन स्थल बनेको हो। जहाँ हालमा 150 भन्दा अधिक अर्किडका प्रजातिहरूको मनमोहक दृष्यहरूले प्रकृतिको सुन्दर रचनासँग उन्मुक्त वातावरण झुम्ने सौभाग्य प्रदान गर्दछ।

‘यहाँ अहिलेघरी 150 भन्दा धेर प्रजातिका अर्किडहरू छन्। बाहिरबाट घुम्न आएका पर्याटकहरू एकचोटी यहाँ आएपछि छाडेर जानै रूचाउँदैनन्’ सतीश राईले अझ भने।

सन् 2012 मा स्थापित मङ्पू सिम्बेडियम पार्क समुन्द्र तटदेखी औसत 3 हजार 7 सय फिट उँचाईमा अवस्थित रहेको छ। जहाँ अक्टोबर महिनादेखि विभिन्न प्रजातिका अर्किडहरूले मनमोहक फुल खिल्न सुरु गर्छन् भने यो फूल अप्रेल महिनाको अन्त्यसम्म हुने गरेको छ। 1 सय 50 भन्दा अधिक प्रजातिका अर्किडहरू मध्ये अहिलेघरी ग्रीन मेलिजा, क्रिसमस क्लारियोन, भ्याया अभन्ती ‘हारलेक्विन’, किवी मिडनाइट ‘गेजरल्याण्ड’, बुलाई, पिअरिटिई ‘मिल्क टी’, क्यान्डी वाइन, ब्ल्याक फेन, कोरल्टा पार्क, रेड भेम्पायर, गोल्डन गर्ल, रोमियो जुलियट, रिबुलेक्स आदि प्रजातिका रङ्गीन फुलहरूको मोहकताले जो कसैलाई लालयित बनाउने गर्दछ। पहाडी क्षेत्रका जलवायु सिम्बेडियम अर्किड खेतीका निम्ति अनुकुल भएको कारण बेरोजगार युवाहरूले अर्किड खेतीलाई नै व्यवसायिक तरिकाले उपार्जन गरेर जीविका चलाउने प्रशस्तै सम्भावनाहरू पनि मङ्पूको अर्किड खेतिले दिएको छ। विश्व बजारमा अनेकौँ माग रहेको अर्किड खेतीका निम्ति आजका उद्यमी युवाहरूले स्वरोजगारका निम्ति पहल गर्नुपर्ने आजको आवश्यक्ता बनेको छ।

‘बजारमा अर्किडको माग बडीरहेको छ। हामीलाई बाहिरबाट धेरै अर्किडको माग आइरहेको छ। यदि यहाँका बेरोजगार युवाहरूलाई यसलाई व्यवसायिक तरिकाले खेती गर्न सके रोजगारको राम्रो माध्यम बनिनेछ’ सतीश राईले भने। प्रकृतिको मनोरम दृष्यको मोहकताले लोभिउने मानिसहरूलाई जबपनि मङ्पूको सिम्बेडियम पार्कमा पुगेर अर्किडका एकाधिक प्रजातिहरूको सुन्दरता रमाउने अवसर मिल्दछन् उनीहरू बारम्बार फर्केर उक्त सिम्बेडियम पार्कमा पुग्नपर्ने तिर्सना भने जागिरहने कालेबुङबाट घुम्नलाई पुगेका डी.के खालिङले बताए।

‘मङ्पूमा सरस्वती उच्चतर माध्यमिक विधायलमा काम गरेर मङ्पूवासीसँग जोडिने अवसर पाएँका थिएँ। आज यहाँ पुन: घुम्नलाई आउँदा रमाइलो फुलिरहेका अर्किडका फुलहरूले मनलाई आनन्दित बनएको छ’ डी.के खालिङले भने। उनले अर्किडका फुलहरू हेरेपछि पुन: उक्त अर्किड पार्कमा आउने बताउँदै प्रकृतिसँग रमाउन चाहनेहरू एकचोटी मङ्पूको अर्किड पार्कमा घुम्न जानुपर्ने अपिल नै गरे।

फोटोः सिम्बेडियम पार्कमा फुलेको अर्किडहरू

Sikkim - Seven dead in Twin Accidents

9:42 PM

Seven People Dead in Twin Accidents in East and North Sikkim - 6 were Tourists from 24 North Parganas, West Bengal.

First accident took place at Phyangla in East Sikkim. A vehicle (MAX) Number SK 03J 0124 met with an accident while returnimg from Lachung at Phyangla.

Total number of eight tourists were there in the vehicle, 6 of them died on spot, reported sources. 1 kid and 1 other person are at CRH under going treatment.

Among the deceased two were females, three kids and one male. They are from North 24 parganas (West Bengal). Dead bodies are rescued by Sikkim police, SDRF and Home Guard.

Second accident also took place at Lachung. A tourist vehicle bearing registration number SK-01 Z 0228, drivers name Mohan Gurung met with an accident last night at Lachung near Chumpyung Kyung.

Several officials along with locals were on the spot for rescue operations. It was found that Mohan Gurung was coming back after dropping the guest at their hotel. He was alone in the vehicle at the time of accident. Mohan was rescued but was declared dead on the way to Mangan by the Mangan Medical Officer.

Reported by Ajay Agarwal from Gangtok and Thupden Lachungpa from Lachung/Chungthang for VOS

Darjeeling Toy train long distance service put on hold

2:47 PM
DARJEELING 13 Jun 2016 The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway toy train service along the 87km route from Darjeeling to New Jalpaiguri station has been temporarily suspended  after three of its diesel engines broke down a few days ago and are presently under repairs.

The DHR has four diesel engines, but three being non-functional, with the latest breakdown happening on June 10, the Darjeeling-New Jalpaiguri long distance service was forced to be suspended. DHR  area manager Narendra Mohan today confirmed that the Darjeeling-NJP service has been put on hold till the diesel engines are repaired.

“Due to technical faults, three of our engines have broken down over the past few months forcing us to halt the 87km service. We hope to resume service from Wednesday but on alternative days, as we can get only one of the three engines repaired. However, we will try our utmost to have all the diesel engines up and running at the earliest,” he said.
Darjeeling Toy train
Darjeeling Toy train
The joy-rides on steam engines from Darjeeling to Ghoom and diesel services from Darjeeling to Kurseong and back are in operation though. Presently, there are about 14 steam engines  and four diesel engines for the DHR toy train.

Via EOI


Sikkim Highway connecting Mangan with Chungthang reopened

10:17 AM
Gangtok, June 10: The highway connecting Mangan with Chungthang in North district has been reopened for light vehicles with the Border Roads Organisation temporarily restoring the bailey bridge that collapsed over a stream at Rit Chu.

North District collector Karmpa Bonpo today said around 250 small vehicles like SUVs and cars carrying about 2,400 tourists had headed for destinations like Lachen, Lachung, Yumthang valley and Gurudongmar lake this morning.

"The bailey bridge which had been washed away by rain on May 17 was temporarily restored around 3pm yesterday. As of now, only light vehicles are allowed to pass through the bridge," said Bonpo.

Following the bridge collapse, over 300 tourists returning to Gangtok from Lachen, Lachung, Yumthang valley and Gurudongmar lake were left stranded. Villagers and police built a log bridge over the stream the following day and arranged transport for the stranded tourists.
Sikkim Highway connecting Mangan with Chungthang reopened
Sikkim Highway connecting Mangan with Chungthang reopened

The bridge, part of the North Sikkim Highway, has the North District headquarters, Mangan, on one side and Chungthang on the other.

On May 28, police check-post here resumed issuing permits to tourists bound for north Sikkim after taking an undertaking that they were making the visit at their own risk.

As the bridge was yet to be restored, tourists had to take a taxi up to Rit Chu and then cross the affected stretch on foot. They had to get into another taxi to reach the destinations.

Rit Chu is around 75km from Gangtok.

The collector said the bridge would be reopened for heavy vehicles only after the strengthening work was over.

"To enable the BRO to strengthen the bridge, it has been decided to close the road for traffic at Rit Chu from 10am to 12am and from 2pm to 4pm for a few days," he added.

A senior BRO official said it would take at least 10 days to completely restore the bridge and open the road for heavy vehicles.

Tour operators are happy with the reopening of the highway at Rit Chu.

"Finally, we have received some good news. We were facing so much trouble as bookings were being cancelled," said tour operator Rajen Chettri.

Source Telegraph

Darjeeling toy train get glass walls for engine view

9:04 AM
Darjeeling June 8: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has replaced the opaque walls at the rear and front ends of two first class coaches with glasses so that travellers can see the more than century-old steam engine pull the train.

Narendra Mohan, the area officer of DHR, said the refit compartments were being used for toy trains running between Darjeeling and Ghoom since May.

He said two more coaches were also being given glasses at either ends and they would be put to use in two weeks.

"Tourists around the world come to Darjeeling to take a ride on the Unesco World Heritage railway. In order to make their ride more enjoyable and fulfilling, we have renovated two first class coaches and added glass windows at the rear and front ends. Prior to this, the coaches had opaque walls and the passengers in each of them could not see what was happening in the other coaches. But now they can easily do so," said Mohan.
The DHR compartments with glasses at the rear and front ends - file photo
The new feature has been introduced mainly to enable travellers to see how the steam engine functions. "They will now be able to see the driver operating the engine and the fireman feeding coal into the furnace," said Mohan.

"Earlier passengers could see these sights only when the train negotiated a bend. But now, they can see it anytime without having to leave their seats and rush to the windows. These coaches will be exclusively used in steam-driven joy rides between Darjeeling and Ghoom. Apart from the view in front, the tourists will also get to see the scenery behind through the glass," he added.

The coaches were renovated at Tindharia workshop - the locomotive and carriage workshop of the toy train - and the Siliguri loco shed.

While two of the coaches have already been put into use since the beginning of May, the remaining two will be in service within next fortnight.

The DHR official said the size of side glass windows of the four coaches had been made bigger so that tourists got a full view of the sceneries.

Telegraph

Darjeeling toy train resumes its daily train service between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling

9:48 AM
Siliguri, May 23: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway will resume its daily train service between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling next week, more than five months after it had been rescheduled to thrice a week because of lack of diesel engines.

Narendra Mohan, the area officer of the DHR, said daily services between NJP and Darjeeling halted in January when one of the four diesel engines had developed problems.

"We had to run the services on alternate days, instead of everyday, because one of the diesel engines had developed a snag and was sent for repairs. We were short of engines and we had to reduce the number of trips on the route. Since January, we have been operating the trains on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays," Mohan said.

"But the engine has been restored and is back with the DHR. We will conduct trial runs to see if it is functioning properly and will commence regular services from NJP to Darjeeling by next week," he said.

Additional coaches have been attached to toy trains on the Darjeeling-Ghoom route since May 19 to cater to tourists.

"Normally, there are two first-class coaches but now there are four. The footfall of tourists has increased in the past one week. Two coaches were not enough," Mohan said. "We are planning to keep the additional coaches till June."

The four coaches can ferry around 120 passengers and the cost is Rs 630 per person.

Three Gorkha youths rescued the tourist and grabbed the rapist in North Sikkim

1:13 PM
Three Gorkha youths Biren Tamang, Priyanka Tamang & Rajiv Thapa from Gangtok, Sikkim successfully rescued the tourist gal and grabbed the rapist Taxi Driver Prem Rai (22) along with uncle and relatives of the tourist at the sub highway after Kabi Village of North Sikkim around 2 A.M. morning of 15th May’2016.

Priyanka Tamang received the late night call from her colleague residing at Siliguri , West Bengal mentioning that her uncle daughters are missing at Gangtok since many hours and wants cooperation from her side. Priyanka called her friend Biren Tamang and Rajiv Thapa about the incidence and later uncle of the missing tourist also met with Priyanka. 2 vechiles departed from the Gangtok in search of the missing gals , 1 vehicle carrying Priyanka, Biren & Rajiv and another vehicle carrying uncle of one gal and one relative of another tourist gal.

Around 2 AM on the notice of the Priyanka eyes vehicle was found the sub highway of North Sikkim and all of them rushed hurriedly and found that only one gal was there who was senseless. Priyanka taken care of that small gal and Driver Prem Rai was grabbed by others. Driver had used many filthy languages but again he was grabbed and taken to Phodong Police Station of North Sikkim were other 2 gals were there safely with the respected Sikkim Police personnel’s.
Three Gorkha youth  rescued the tourist and grabbed the rapist in North Sikkim
Three Gorkha youth  rescued the tourist and grabbed the rapist in North Sikkim
As per tourist girls statement Driver had given them some substance diluted mineral water and one gal became dizzy and other two flew from their place after getting scolded by the driver. So many stories are there as narrated by Priyanka whose brilliancy has able to rescue the gal and grabbed that rapist driver.

Phodong Police Station , North Sikkim later sent back that culprit to Sardar Thana , Gangtok along with Priyanka Tamang and group with Police Personnel’s and they reached Gangtok around 6 AM in the morning.

Priyanka Tamang have 2 sisters who are studying at Kolkatta, West Bengal and she thinks that every human being should take initiative every time to be part of humanism work. Humanism exists but it should be taken out without fear.

Priyanka Tamang is a Radio Jockey (RJ) at Radio Misty 95 FM Gangtok, Biren Tamang is the Film Director and have own production house name after White Horse Production and Rajiv Thapa is a College Student from Gangtok.

Shared by Suresh Lama, Social Activist Rangpo

Darjeeling receives heavy hailstorm

5:13 PM
Very heavy hailstorm witnessed in Darjeeling town which was accompanied by wind and rain. Hailstones in the size of goldballs  battered roofs, trees, vehicles and people alike. Most of the places in the town received heavy hailstorm coupled with rain today. People got worried about electricity connections and transportation.

In the Morning, it was clear and sunny day in Darjeeling town but in the afternoon, it was a surprise when Darjeeling received season's first hail storm. The non stop Hailstorm is speculated to be 12 inches thick in some of the places.

The hailstorm have now finally stopped turning the hill town all white. Rahul Jha, a local resident, shared his experience on horrific hailstorm: "I haven't seen such a crazy hailstorm in my life." Soon People were out  playing with the hailstone, throwing it at others. Tourists and locals were seen taking photos at Chowrasta following the hailstorm. Spectacular sight of Darjeeling covered in hailstones... a sight many yearn for but a cause of many hardships for the residents..Will hit the tea plantations real bad.
Chowrasta in Darjeeling Hailstorm  31st March 2016
Chowrasta in Darjeeling Hailstorm  31st March 2016
Meanwhile, the vehicular movement has been widely affected in and around the town, making it difficult for the drivers to negotiate the hailstorm-filled roads.


Here are some of the photos of today's  hailstorm in Darjeeling












Air-conditioned bus service between Gangtok and Kolkata

10:06 AM
Gangtok, Feb. 17: The Sikkim government has announced a direct air-conditioned bus service between Gangtok and Kolkata on alternate days for the convenience of tourists.

The transport secretary, S.B.S. Bhaduria, said the fare of the trips was yet to be fixed and the state government had inked an agreement with the Bengal government for the service that was likely to start in March.

Transport minister D.T. Lepcha said yesterday: "We are soon starting a bus service from Gangtok to Kolkata and vice-versa, keeping in mind the convenience of tourists visiting Sikkim. The service will be on alternate days. We have found that it is difficult for visitors to get reservation during the peak tourism season. The new service will be of immense help to tourists."
Air-conditioned bus service between Gangtok and Calcutta
Air-conditioned bus
A senior tourism official has informed that more than 50 per cent of the tourists visiting Sikkim are from Kolkata. Sikkim has two tourism seasons - March-April and September-November.

Bhaduria said five AC buses would ply between the capitals of Sikkim and Bengal. "Each bus will have 40 seats and television. The service is likely to start from March," he said.

The transport secretary said the Sikkim Nationalised Transport had inked an agreement with the Bengal government for the inter-state service. "A private party has been entrusted with the service, but it will have to pay a certain amount to the state government. The service will start once the fares are fixed."

At present, for travel between Kolkata and Gangtok, one has to change buses in Siliguri. The fare from Siliguri to Kolkata ranges from Rs 800 to Rs 1,200. The distance between Gangtok and Kolkata is around 600km.

Those travelling from Kolkata by train can get off at NJP and take a bus or taxi to Gangtok. As Sikkim has no airport, air travellers from Kolkata have to disembark at Bagdogra and take the road.

"The bus would start from Gangtok at 11am and reach Siliguri by 3pm. After an hour-long break, the bus will leave for Kolkata. It may take 16 hours to reach Kolkata from Gangtok," said Bhaduria.

He said the buses would be stationed at SNT terminus in Gangtok and Esplanade in Kolkata. The reservation counters will be set up in Gangtok, Siliguri and Kolkata.

Bhaduria said the bus service would also help students from Sikkim who were studying in Kolkata.


Source Telegraph




Sikkim to get its railway line soon - gets green flag from Supreme Court

11:34 PM
The Supreme Court on Wednesday showed the green flag to a litigation-marred railway line from Sevoke in West Bengal to Rangpo in Sikkim, a project hanging fire since 2009 as wildlife activists and environmentalists are opposed to it.

The Sivok-Rangpo New Rail Line Project is a mere 44.98 km with only 7.6% of the tracks falling in the Himalayan state bordering China but its importance is immense from the strategic point of view and as a possible apparatus to accelerate socio-economic development of the people.

A top court bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur cleared the decks by permitting Northeast Frontier Railway’s plea to allow changing the status of more than 8.84 hectares of forest land in Mahananda wildlife sanctuary so that the project can be continued. It also directed the West Begal government to denotify the area within two months.
Sikkim to get its railway line soon - Supreme Court
Indian Railways - a file photo
“The rail line will serve as a reliable mode of transportation and meet national defence requirements as well,” chief minister Pawan Chamling said.

The court instructed the railways to strictly adhere to environmental safeguards fixed by the national wildlife board, which approved the project in June 2015 but ringed it with tough guidelines.

To avoid loss of forests, 14 tunnels have been planned — the longest being 5,116 metres. The total tunnel length is about 38.552 km, about 85.86% of the total route. This means that a train will run through tunnels or cross 22 bridges for most of its journey.

The wildlife board had cleared the project with guidelines that tunnels should be built only at daytime, trains should run at restricted speed and modern technology, such as wireless animal tracking system, should be adopted to avoid accidents.

The top court underlined how critical the railway line is for Sikkim, which currently depends solely on national highway 10, a switchback of steep, landslide-prone rocky slopes that remains closed for days during monsoon.

The railways told the court how the state struggles for supplies during the rainy season.
An ambitious as well as prestigious project, with a budget of Rs 1,339.48 crore, it ran into trouble because the tracks will pass through Mahananda sanctuary and forest divisions of Kurseong, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and East Sikkim which are known for their rich wildlife diversity. Occasionally, wild elephants and other protected animals are mowed down by trains along another broad gauge line inside the sanctuary.

In the yet-to-be tabled second leg, the railway line is likely to reach Nathu La on the India-Tibet border.

(With inputs from Pramod Giri in Siliguri)

Source hindustantimes

Gorkha runner wins Amway Darjeeling Police Marathon - Triumphs Over Kenyan and Ethiopian Runners

8:04 AM
Writes: Vivek Chhetri
The Amway Darjeeling Police Marathon had international participants, from as far away as Ethiopia and Kenya, but the winner in the male category was a Darjeeling runner.
Around 1,500 runners took part in the 21km half marathon which was flagged off at Sukhiapokhri today.
The event was organised by Darjeeling police in association with the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration to commemorate the 153th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.
Ajay Chhetri, 22, from Shivgram in Darjeeling who started running after joining the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles two years ago, stole the show by winning in the male category. Punjab's Kiranjeet Kaur, 22, won in the women's category.
"When I joined the Army, the officers asked me to concentrate on marathons after watching me do cross-country running during training. It is then that I put on my running shoes. I came fourth in this marathon last year. I am happy to win this year," said Chhetri.
Ajay Chhetri, 22, from Shivgram in Darjeeling
In the past two years, Chhetri has run six half marathons across India.
Today, he completed the run, from Sukhiapokhri to Chowrasta, in 1 hour 10 minutes and 39 seconds.
From the start to the finish line, Chhetri held the lead with two Ethiopian and two Kenyan runners following him closely.
Tewodros Haile, 32, from Ethiopia, came second clocking 1 hour, 11 minutes and 5 seconds. "The run was beautiful, but I had never trained for a marathon in a hilly terrain. After 18km, I was extremely tired," he said.
Haile added that he has taken part in 11 marathons across the world. "I have run in Ukraine and United States among other countries. Even in India, I have participated in six marathons so far," he said.
The four Ethiopian and Kenyans runners came to know about the event from the Internet. "We usually browse the net to find out about marathons and that is how we came to Darjeeling," Haile said.
Vikash Kumar from Delhi was the second runner-up in the men's catergory.
In the women category, Kiranjeet clocked 1 hour 25 minutes 8 seconds. Seema Khatoon, from Delhi, and Monika Chowdhury, from Uttar Pradesh, were the first and second runners-up, respectively.
The winners in both men and women categories got a cash prize of Rs 1.5 lakh each.
The first and second runners-up won a Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000 each, respectively.
Darjeeling superintendent of police, Amit P. Javalgi, said: "This year, we had runners from Ethiopia and Kenya and different parts of our country. Nearly 1,500 people ran, including 200 women. The event is organised to promote peace and harmony between the plains and the hills and promote Darjeeling as an environment-friendly tourist place. We are happy with the turnout.
Source: Telegraph

Darjeeling to organize 60km cycle rally on 1st January 2016

10:05 AM
Darjeeling 24 Dec 2015 Adventure tour operators of Darjeeling, with support from the district administration and the police department, will organise a 60km cycle rally on January 1 with the twofold aim of promoting cycling in the hills as a tourism activity and in helping reduce pollution emitted by vehicles. The cycling event has been christened ‘Rally for Vehicle Free Day’ and will start from Chowrastha and end in Mirik.

According to the tour operators, cycling as a tourist activity is fast becoming a fad since the past two years and the demand from tourists and locals alike have forced them to think of promoting the activity extensively in the hills. Young entrepreneur Sangey Sherpa, who is a tour operator and one of the organising members, said, “The cycle rally is being held on New Year’s day. This is symbolic as we want the year 2016 to remain pollution free.
Presently, vehicles plying in the hills are excess causing rising pollution and affecting the weather pattern. The primary objective of the event is to spread awareness among people against excessive use of vehicles in order to curb rising pollution in the region. Besides, we also want to promote adventure tourism in the hills. Darjeeling is a tourist destination with many tourist spots, and we also want to promote the region as a traveller’s destination. Tourists should get the facility of cycling in the beautiful area during their stay.”

Asserting that cycling facilities are among the key demands of tourists, Urgen Sherpa, another tour operator and also a member of the event organising committee, said, “It has been two years or so now since tourists have started showing an interest in cycling as an activity. We have started offering mountain bikes on hire. Apart from tourists, locals are also keen showing interest in the activity. About 80 bookings are done every month, except during the monsoon season.”

According to Urgen, adventure tour operators who provide bicycles on hire charge anything between Rs800 and Rs1,000 per day. He added that tourists usually prefer cycle trips in the outskirts of Darjeeling town in places such as Rambhi, Sukhaypokhari and Lamahatta. “We also offer packages that include a cycle ride up to Dhotrey from Darjeeling following which there is a trekking route to Tonglu and a night halt. The following day starts with a trek up to Manebhanjyang and back to Darjeeling. We not only offer cycles on hire, but also arrange for accommodation and food along with guides. This roughly comes up to Rs3,500 per person to Rs4,000,” said Urgen.

Speaking about the upcoming cycle rally, Sangey said, “Until now, 60 people have registered for participation in the cycle rally and many more are expected to join on the day of the event. We believe the message of using vehicles in a limited manner will spread further.”

(EOIC)

Darjeeling toy rtain to add extra coaches for Christmas-New Year season

8:20 AM
Siliguri, Dec. 22: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway will add one extra coach to each of the three diesel-run toy trains for the joy rides to accommodate tourists who flock to the hills during the Christmas-New Year season.

The additional compartments on the Darjeeling-Ghoom-Darjeeling route would be introduced from December 25.

Narendra Mohan, the area officer of the DHR, said the decision to add the coaches was taken because there had been an increase of around 10 per cent in online reservations for the joy rides since the holiday season began this time.

"We have noticed that the online reservations for the DHR joy rides have risen to around 80 per cent in the past two-three days, which is around 10 per cent more compared to the previous years. So, we have decided to add an extra coach for all diesel-driven joy rides to accommodate more tourists," said Mohan.
Darjeeling toy rtain to add extra coaches for Christmas-New Year season
A diesel-driven toy train in the Darjeeling hills. File picture
Currently, the DHR offers seven joy rides, including a steam-run Red Panda that plies between Kurseong and Darjeeling.

The six other joy rides are between Darjeeling and Ghoom.

Three trains on the route are diesel-driven and the three others run on steam.

"The reason for attaching additional coaches to the diesel-driven trains is that they (the engines) can haul up to four coaches. The steam-driven engines can pull only two compartments. We will run the extra coaches till the reservations come back to normal," Mohan said.

DHR sources said a first-class coach has 28 seats and by adding the extra coaches, 84 more passengers can be accommodated for the joy rides daily.

On December 2, the DHR had resumed the toy train service between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. The route had been shut since June 2010 because of a landslide at Paglajhora.

While one train travels from NJP to Darjeeling, another one runs from Darjeeling to NJP everyday.

"The occupancy has been fairly good in the past three weeks. In fact, in the past three days, the train that travels uphill from NJP to Darjeeling had full occupancy," Mohan said.

Source: Telegraph

GJM backed Transport union Strike Threat in Hills to support JISTO

7:39 AM

Writes: Vivek Chhetri

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-backed transport union in the middle of the tourist season today threatened a vehicle strike in the hills after Diwali in support of voluntary teachers demanding job regularisation.

The All Transport Joint Action Committee that has 56 taxi syndicates as members has said it would wait till November 9 - the day a meeting is scheduled between the state government and the GTA on the job regularisation demand of the 515 hill teachers - and then take a call on the strike.

The chakka jam call has the tacit support of Morcha president Bimal Gurung who has told the transport union to do what it thinks is right.

The voluntary teachers are agitating under the banner of Janmukti Insecure Secondary Teachers' Organisation (JISTO).

Narbu Lama, the president of the transport union, said: "The JISTO has been requesting us to support the demand. I went and met party (Morcha) president Bimal Gurung in Kalimpong yesterday and he told us to do what we think was right. If the bipartite meeting (between the state and GTA) on November 9 fails to break the deadlock, then we will call a chakka jam. We have to keep in mind the Diwali festival and also the tourist season and we will take a decision on the date and the time keeping everything in mind."

He added: "We will call our representatives for a meeting soon and discuss the issue before finalising the date and time. We will also have to keep in mind the outcome of the bipartite meeting. The chakka jam, however, will not be immediate. If we have to call it, it might be after Diwali."

Each taxi syndicate has around 30 vehicles under it.

The stakeholders of the tourism sector are of the opinion that even a threat of such a call during the tourist season could affect the visitor footfall in the hills.

"Even a threat of a chakka jam would have an impact as tourism is a very sensitive industry," said Pradip Lama, secretary, Darjeeling Association of Travel Agents.

The ongoing tourist season started from Dusshera and it will continue till the Christmas-New Year period.

"Although our main tourist season is the March-June period, we do receive tourists during this time as well. The major flow in this season is during the one week period around Dusshera, the week during Diwali and the week around the Christmas-New Year period," said Pradip.

He added that this time, the tourist flow has dropped by almost 40 per cent compared to the same period last year.

"People from western India usually come on a package that covers Odisha, Sikkim, Darjeeling and Nepal. But with the ongoing (political) turmoil in Nepal, those seeking the package have cancelled reservations. Most enquiries for August and September did not transform into bookings," said Pradip.

"The recent political instability (in the hills) also prompted many people to cancel their reservations," he said, referring to the strain in the relationship between Mamata Banerjee and Bimal Gurung.

Darjeeling gets around 3.5 lakh domestic tourists annually and 30 per cent of them visit the hills during this time.

"The tourist inflow this year is less by 40 per cent compared to last year," said Pradip.

He said that most tourists travel to the hills during the April-June period "as people want a quick getaway from the sweltering summers. Some people look forward to travelling after the financial year and some also travel after the board and annual school examinations are over."

Samir Singhal, treasurer, Janmukti Hotel Owners' Association said: "There is no denying that the tourist inflow has come down this year. The reasons could be varied. However, we are still optimistic as we are expecting a good turnout after the Diwalis. We have good bookings during that period. We feel that threats for a chakka jam would not send the right signal for the industry."

Source: Telegraph, Pic: Yogen Basnet via TheDC

Week long Darjeeling Cultural and Tourism Festival 2015

8:47 AM

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.

Source EOI

Darjeeling police have decided to gear up security in tourist season

11:26 AM
With the tourist season drawing near and a festivity mood in the air, Darjeeling police have decided to gear up security in Darjeeling.

Superintendent of police (SP), Darjeeling, Amit P Javalgi on Monday said the police will intensify patrolling in various places of Darjeeling and also install CCTV cameras at 15 significant points in the town. He added that a 24-hour control room with multiple phone numbers for police assistance will be made effective soon.

The announcements were made after the Darjeeling police conducted an interactive meeting with the Hotel Association of Darjeeling on Monday. Sources said that the objective of the meeting was to make Darjeeling ‘tourist friendly’ and to establish a cordial relation between the Darjeeling hoteliers and the police.

“Mall road, which is located near Chowrastha does not have any lights. Once it gets dark, the road becomes a hub of drug addicts. I request the police to introduce patrolling there,” said one of the Hoteliers in the meeting.
Darjeeling police have to gear up security in tourist season
Darjeeling
Increase in police patrolling in places such as Mall road, near Chowrastha, Jalapahar, Coochbehar road, and TV tower in Darjeeling was suggested by various hoteliers who claimed that these roads are a hub of drug addicts from evening.

The hoteliers also requested the SP to have arrangements made for electricity supply to some roads in Darjeeling, and to take measures against the increasing number of dogs in some roads near the hotels. Javalgi said he will pursue the matter with the municipality at the earliest.

Another hotelier raised concerns regarding the speed of two wheelers in the area that extends from Chowrastha to Governor’s Palace and said, “The road is used by several pedestrians, both tourists as well as locals and yet we witness two wheelers being driven in extremely high speeds.”

“Traffic infrastructure will be renewed and we will make use of all we have to ease the traffic problem,” Javalgi added.

According to Javalgi, another meeting between the hoteliers and the Darjeeling police will be held in December after the implementation of the security measures.

Via ISL


Bimal Gurung announced fresh Gorkhaland agitation without strike

11:29 AM
Statehood cry without shutdown - No strikes in Darjeeling, says Gurung, and welcomes Puja tourists.
Writes Rajeev Ravidas

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung today announced a fresh round of agitation for Gorkhaland but promised there would be no strikes so that tourists could visit the hills in the Pujas.

Addressing a public meeting organised by the Yuva Morcha, the party's youth wing, at the Mela Ground here, Gurung said: " I am always for Gorkhaland. I will take out a padayatra from Kalimpong to Darjeeling from October 2."

The Morcha president has more than once said the agitation would be democratic in nature.

"We will stay away from strikes during this agitation. We will fight in Delhi, not in Bengal. Tourists are welcome (to the hills)," he said.

Gurung said the Morcha would also extend hundred per cent support to the programme announced by the Yuva Morcha.
Bimal Gurung in Kalimpong announced fresh Gorkhaland agitation without strike
Bimal Gurung in Kalimpong announced fresh Gorkhaland agitation without strike
Speaking earlier at the meeting, Yuva Morcha secretary Priyavardhan Rai had announced three programmes, awareness campaign on Gorkhaland in every corner of the hills from October 8 to 15, torch rally between 5pm and 7pm on every Thursday from October 8 and writing graffiti in support of the separate state in different parts of the hills from tomorrow.

Gurung said the party would also organise protests meetings in Delhi during the winter session of Parliament in November and December. "Sixty-seventy thousand people from the hills will converge in Delhi during the winter session of Parliament in November-December. The Nari Morcha will hold protest for five days and the student wing will protest for three days in Delhi. The Yuva Morcha will also participate in the meetings," he said.

Gurung, however, cautioned the state government against disrupting the peaceful agitation. "If Mamata Banerjee creates obstacles, people will take to the streets," he warned.

Observers said the Morcha was keeping away from strikes so that it does not to antagonise the people, including tourism stakeholders, in view of the ensuing tourism season and school examinations. The hills have two tourist seasons: from March to May and from October to November. The academic session of schools in the hills is from February-March to November-December.

"The Morcha cannot afford to antagonise the people at a time questions are being murmured about the party's hold in the hills. The tourism season is very crucial for the economy of the hills, and the Morcha will not earn any friends if it takes to disruptive agitation during that period. November is also the time when schools begin their annual examinations, and large community of parents and students will not take kindly to strife at that time," said an observer.

A prominent hotelier in Darjeeling welcomed the Morcha's decision to keep away from strike. "Bookings for the season are yet to pick up perhaps because of apprehension of an agitation. Today's announcement should put to rest all such fears, and I expect the bookings to go up now," said the hotelier, who wished not to be named.

The last time the Morcha had organised the statehood movement was in 2013. Soon after the UPA had given green light for the creation of Telangana, the Morcha announced the agitation that stretched from the July-end to September, affecting the tourism season that year.

Gurung seemed to be pleased with today's turnout of about 10,000 to 12,000 people at the meeting, which was billed as the Morcha's show of strength in the wake of resignations of senior leaders Harka Bahadur Chhetri and Trilok Dewan from the party recently. , who is the chief executive of the GTA, ruled out resigning as the chief executive of the GTA. "Trinamul is hoping that I will quit so that it could take over the GTA. Why should I please them and quit. Am I a fool?" he asked.

He also lashed out at the chief minister, accusing her of dividing the hill communities in an effort to defeat the demand for Gorkhaland. "Gorkhaland will happen during her lifetime," he said to thunderous applause of the crowd.

Gurung also took a swipe at Chhetri without naming him, saying it was better to have truck with a layman than intellectuals.

"I wanted the man to teach me coma and full stop, but the man has disappeared. I don't know where," he said.

Earlier speakers at the meeting were more vocal than Gurung in lambasting Chhetri.

Source Telegraph

Mamata Banerjee to develop Tiger Hill in Darjeeling

12:36 PM
Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, Sept. 1: Mamata Banerjee has decided to develop Tiger Hill, a well-known tourist point at 8,100ft famed for its view of the Kanchenjungha as well as the Everest on a clear day.
Darjeeling Tiger Hill in winter
Darjeeling Tiger Hill in winter
The chief minister had walked up to Tiger Hill on her visit to Darjeeling on August 26 and was captivated by the view. She then instructed the officials to develop the area.

Darjeeling district magistrate Anurag Srivastava today said: "We will basically take up three projects. The first will be to renovate a bungalow of the Darjeeling Improvement Fund, which is in a dilapidated condition. Apart from that, there are plans to renovate a forest museum, which was not opened for some reason. We will also work with the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration to develop the sunrise point at Tiger Hill."

The pavilion and the two-storied viewing point is under the GTA. The other two sites are under the state government.

Sources said senior officials of the state tourism department had surveyed Tiger Hill on Friday for the proposed project.

"As far as the museum is concerned, the forest department has agreed to take up the project," Srivastava said.

Sources in the GTA said the hill body had also been separately preparing a detailed report on developing the sunrise point.

The Tiger Hill area, 14km from Darjeeling town, was notified as a reserve forest in 1998. Srivastava said: "All projects will be undertaken only in permissible areas."

On May 15, 2013, Mamata had laid the foundation stone to revive a golf course at Tiger Hill. The project was to be undertaken by the GTA but it didn't take off because the site is part of the reserve forest.

The golf course's revival was planned under the Rs 200-crore special annual package offered to the GTA. The state government's tourism department had also decided to allocate Rs 2.10 crore for land reclamation and development of the area where the golf course existed.

According to the initial plan drawn up by the GTA tourism department, the nine-hole golf course was to have been spread over an area of 31.85 acres and would need an approximate expenditure of Rs 46 crore.

In 1907, the then district commissioner had leased out the golf course to a golf club christened Golf Links for 99 years. After the British left the country in 1947, Golf Links virtually became defunct.

Army personnel used the turf till the late 1980s. The army left the area as documents proved that the land actually belonged to the Darjeeling Improvement Fund (district administration).

The golf course gradually fell into ruin in the mid-90s when then chairman of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, Subash Ghisingh, moved in excavators and flattened a portion of the Tiger Hill area to construct a helipad.

With Ghisingh failing to obtain the necessary clearance from the ministry of environment and forests, the project at Tiger Hill was shelved and the helipad was built in the Dooteriya area, about 20km from Darjeeling.

Meanwhile, Mamata is scheduled to visit the hills from September 16-18.

According to the tentative plan, she is expected to visit the Dow Hill area in Kurseong for an inspection for the proposed educational hub.

The next day, she will be attending a programme of the Lepcha development board at Mela Grounds in Kalimpong followed by a meeting organised by the Tamang development board at Ronaldshay Park in Kalimpong on September 18," said an administrative source.

Source Telegraph

Bagdogra airport will not be shifted to Bihar

12:56 PM
The Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation and Tourism, Dr Mahesh Sharma has made it clear that the Bagdogra airport which caters to the need of not only domestic passengers but also that of neighboring China, Nepal and Bhutan will not be shifted to Bihar and on the other hand the Pakyong airport in Sikkim will be developed soon.
Bagdogra airport
Bagdogra airport
Talking to the reporters from the North East, Dr Sharma said that the Government has decided not to shift the airport from Bagdogra to Purnea in Bihar. The Sikkim Lok Sabha MP PD Rai had urged the government to desist from relocating the Bagdogra Airport, as it will affect not only domestic traffic within the region but also international passengers.

Rai mentioned that the airport acts as a ‘hub’ for tourists visiting Sikkim and Eastern Himalayas, including yatris travelling to Kailash Mansarovar through the recently opened Nathu La route. China has allowed a second and shorter route to Mansarovar through Sikkim recently.

Bagdogra is the only airport for Sikkim and North Bengal, that serves as the most important airport for a large area including Bhutan, Lower Assam, Eastern Bihar and Eastern Nepal, Rai said. It has vast economic and cultural importance for the people of Sikkim and North East, he added.
The Union Minister said that work is in full swing to make the Pakyong airport in Sikkim operational. Tourist inflow both foreign and domestic to North East mainly Sikkim has increased recently.

The Pakyong airport spread over 400 hectares of land is an airport under construction near Gangtok. It is the first Greenfieldairport to be constructed in the North Eastern Region of India and the only airport in Sikkim.

Via VOS
 
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