The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) will organise the third edition of the Ghoom Festival from November 25 to promote the toy train service of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway among railway enthusiasts and tourists.
“We have decided that the Ghoom Festival will begin from November 25 this year. It will continue till December 10. The closing ceremony will be held in Darjeeling,” Priyansh, the director of DHR, said on Monday.
According to him, the annual festival of the mountain railway will begin almost two weeks later than the previous year, because of the festivities like Diwali and Chhath Puja, which will end by November 24. Last year, it started on November 12.
“We want the fest to start after Diwali and Chhath Puja. The event would be held in Ghoom, the highest railway station in our country,” he added.
In 1999, Unesco declared the DHR as a world heritage site. The mountain railway draws hundreds of enthusiasts and tourists, including from abroad, every year.
“Our main objective is to highlight the toy train service among railway enthusiasts across the globe.... We would like to send a message through the festival about preserving the century-old railway service, which is still one of the biggest crowd-pullers in the hills,” the director of DHR said.
The event will also exhibit local handicrafts, traditional cuisine and Darjeeling tea. Tourists can visit tea plantations, enjoy adventure sports and visit exotic locations.
The DHR, railway sources said, got a good response from tourists during the four days of Durga Puja. Hundreds of them took the Joy Ride — the most popular ride of the toy train in the Darjeeling-Ghoom-Darjeeling route.
As of now, 12 joy rides are available every day.
“Around 600 people enjoyed the joy ride every day during Durga Puja. We don’t have any seats vacant during the next two weeks, for Joy Rides or even the regular service between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling,” said a source.