The North East Frontier Railway of Indian Railways (NFR) to rejuvenate Darjeeling’s tourism industry, at the heart of which is the 150-year-old Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), DHR is organizing a month-long festival called “GHUM FESTIVAL” in Ghum (the highest station in India) and at Darjeeling stations.
The festival will start on November 13 and end on December 05 (DHR day); the day DHR was granted its UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999. The festival aims to attract the pandemic-weary population from across the country and the world, to enhance Darjeeling’s status as a tourist destination choice and thus increase the income of Indian railways through HRD. DHR organizes many toy train rides, namely Joyrides, Jungle-Tea Safari, New Jalpaiguri – Darjeeling Passenger Train and Red Panda.
Simultaneously, the festival will provide a huge platform for artists, performers, artisans, engineers and workers in the district as well as Indian Railways to show their creativity to the world and increase their income. Overall, this is a big step for DHR in the direction of preserving the local culture of the region and justifying its UNESCO World Heritage status.
The festival will take place along 3 verticals, namely: Culture, Adventure and Tourism. The cultural aspect includes several events which will be hosted at the train stations and the famous Chaurasta stage in Darjeeling such as folk dances, folk music, singing, music and dance performances. , Stand-up comedy, plays and talent shows. Local artists as well as in-house Indian Railways talent come together to make this a reality. The cultural pillar will reflect the ecstatic mood of tourists in this holiday.
The adventurous aspect includes early morning heritage walks to be organized daily, mountain biking and trackathon events to be organized on weekends and specific days. Organizations such as Darjeeling Walks, Vikrun Foundation, Mountain Biking Club of Darjeeling, Runners Club have partnered with DHR to organize these events.
Local vendors / vendors and franchises will have spaces in Darjeeling and Ghum stations to display handicrafts, artwork, clothing, etc. and sell food and drink to tourists throughout the month.
The festival also offers DHR the opportunity to establish its presence on social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. and to collaborate with YouTube channels as well as to promote the region and attract tourists from all over the world. Several organizations integrated into the tourism industry join hands to make this festival a success, namely Darjeeling Kalimpong Himalayan Tourism Association, Darjeeling Hotel Owner Association, Darjeeling Homestay Association, Darjeeling Hill Runners Association, etc.
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