Darjeeling: Appeal to give local touch in joy rides
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway-India Support Group, which consists of aficionados of the hill train, has sought involvement of local art, culture and cuisine to make the joy rides more alluring for tourists.
Raj Basu, a veteran in the tourism industry and the secretary-general of the support group, said a team recently took a recce in the toy train from Siliguri-Rongtong, a 16km ride, and prepared a report.
In its report, the support group has suggested that cultural programmes involving local artists could be arranged at Rongtong station.
“Along with cultural events, if local handicraft and cuisines are made available at the stations, it would make the whole journey more enjoyable and memorable for locals and tourists,” said Basu.
He has sought involvement of local stakeholders in the initiative.
Recently, the DHR has introduced jungle tea safari rides with vistadome coaches. The group has also proposed that a guide be introduced for the journey. “The jungle tea safari runs on a steam engine. If the history of the steam engines and its unique features are highlighted, it would be an icing on the cake,” said Basu.
The group will hand over their proposal to the DHR and Railway Board very soon.
The support group’s suggestion comes at a time when the Centre had recently proposed “monetisation” of the DHR along with other hill railways like Kalka-Shimla, Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Neral Matheran Railway.