Orange invite for visitors

The Telegraph
RAJEEV RAVIDAS

Kalimpong, Aug. 23: A fest centered around the luscious juicy fruit, the orange, is expected to be a big draw in December in the far flung hill areas, tour operators feel.

Samsing-Jaldhaka Orange Festival will be held at Samsing Phari, 100km from here, on December 6 and 7.

Although named after a fruit, the fest is likely to offer much more than just a glimpse of the orange orchards found here.

The villagers have formed a committee to oversee the preparations that they intend to fund themselves. An advisory committee comprising representatives of eco-tourism stakeholders in the area, like the Kalimpong division of the West Bengal Forest Development Corporation (WBFDC) and Wildlife Division II has also been formed.

“We will help the villagers with expertise and human resources during the festival. However, we will provide no funds,” said U. Ghosh, divisional manager of WBFDC’s Kalimpong division.

“Over the past few years our revenue generation has reached a saturation point. The overall occupancy rate in our resorts has remained stagnant at about 50 per cent. We want to go beyond that. That is why we are helping to organise this event that will help promote the area as an eco-tourism destination,” said Ghosh.

The fest is named after orange because the fruit is widely grown here.

“The idea is to showcase the culture, livelihood and food habits of these remote villages. The organisers are also planning to bring a cultural troupe from Bhutan to add more flavour to the event,” Ghosh said. They are also trying to invite participants from Sikkim and Nepal for an ethnic fashion parade.

“A quiz, a workshop, a seminar and a mountain bike rally from Lava to Johlung or Peren will also be held during the fest,” he added.

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www.kalimpong.info

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