The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dandiya, dhokla for hill Dussehra

Darjeeling, Sept. 24: Put on your dancing shoes, shake your leg to some foot-tapping music, work up an appetite and dig into a lavish Gujarati meal — that’s Darjeeling’s idea of Dussehra this year.

The Darjeeling Youth and Cultural Association is organising a dance festival on October 5. Dashami will be dandiya-and-dhokla time in Darjeeling, and everyone is invited.

The event at Gymkhana, apart from giving residents of the hill town and tourists an opportunity to have party, aims at sensitising hill people about “the motley mix of colourful cultures that give the country its identity”.

“We want to bring a large number of people on a common platform and help them have a good time this Dussehra,” said Amit Agarwal, an organiser.

It is no coincidence, however, that the tourist season in the hills peaks during the puja and its aftermath.

Dussehra in the hills is a family affair. Families visit temples together and the elders anoint the young with tikas in religious ceremonies. Though no less an occasion, the festivities are nowhere near the scale of celebrations in the plains.

This year, however, things will be different. Apart from dandiya, revellers can sample paneer curry, disco papad, stuffed chilly, sweet aloo and dhokla.

For those who will be doing the hill circuit earlier, Taaja’s, a restaurant, is organising a Dawat-e-Shaam on September 26 and 27.

The two-day food festival will feature delicacies from all corners of the country, said Vineet Jain, one of the organisers.

That’s not all. Another two-day food and jheoray beat (traditional folk dance) festival, christened Himalayan Nimto (Invitation of the hills), where tradition Nepali cuisine will be served, will be organised at the Gymkhana on October 17 and 18.

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