| A dance from Orissa being performed at the carnival. Picture by Suman Tamang
Darjeeling, Dec. 17: Thousands thronged to Chowrastha today to witness the closing ceremony of the 10-day Darjeeling Carnival.
The organisers thanked GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh, the administrator of the DGHC, for helping them put up one of the biggest shows in the hill town in recent times.
Darjeeling Initiative, the organisers of the show, also exprssed its gratitude to participants Victoria Memorial and Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre and partners Darjeeling Police and Darjeeling Municipality.
This time, the carnival was different in that it revived the hill culture while putting up shows representing the rest of the country along with traditional Gorkha dances.
Samir Sharma, one of the organisers of the event, said: “We are grateful to Ghisingh for helping us. We respect him for all the work he is doing for the Darjeeling hills. The fest is not a movement against him.”
The carnival this year is memorable for more than one reason. If reviving the culture was one of the major themes, the organisers made every effort to make the younger generation realise the rich legacy of Darjeeling’s heritage.
“The heritage walk that was held in collaboration with Victoria Memorial was a major attraction among schoolchildren. Hundreds of students participated in the treasure hunt and the conducted tours,” said Sharma.
The treasure hunt route included places like the cemetery at 18 Lebong Cart Road, where there were clues to take the participants to the next heritage site. Finally, the trail led the students to Chowrastha.
“The students were also taken through the Old Military Road. This is one of the historic routes as it was instrumental in laying the foundation of Darjeeling (earlier, this was the only road that linked the hill town to the rest of the country). With people preferring to use Hill Cart Road now, a journey through the Old Military Road was simply great,” added Sharma.
More than 300 students also visited Senchel Wildlife Sanctuary as part of the conducted tour of the Old Military Road, which passes through it.
If the heritage walk was an attraction, the youngsters were reminded of Darjeeling's glory through a photography exhibition titled Darjeeling Past, Present and Future — A Review. Hundreds of photographs dating back to the early 1900s were put up along with current pictures of the same area.
“The idea was to inculcate a sense of belonging among the younger generation. Many do not know about the transition of Darjeeling through ages and this served as a perfect platform,” said Sharma.
Though the fest came to an end today, the organisers have decided to extend the exhibition till December 22.