Darjeeling iconic heritages Himalayan Railway, Land Rovers to run togather during Teesta Rangeet Tourism Festival

Darjeeling iconic land rover and toy train
Darjeeling: Darjeeling's two iconic heritages, the century-old Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and the sturdy Land Rovers, will run together during the Teesta Rangeet Tourism Festival.
Tourists who have not yet taken the Land Rover ride will not only be given one free - from Maneybhanjyang to Chowrasta in Darjeeling over a distance of 27km - but the festival organisers and members of Singalila Land Rover Owners' Association have also decided to provide free accommodation to visitors at Maneybhanjyang.

Buddha Tamang, a member of the organising committee said: "We will organise a cultural event at Maneybhanjyang on December 27. There will be a cultural show by various communities from the hills. The next day, a Land Rover rally will be taken out."
Once the Land Rover rally reaches Ghoom, it will run along with the famed DHR. "We are trying to highlight our two most important heritages," said Tamang.
Chandan Pradhan, secretary of the Land Rovers' association said: "We will provide free accommodation to tourists on December 27 for the cultural show. The Land Rover ride, too, will be free."
Maneybhanjyang, where many homestays have come up, can accommodate 200-250 tourists, said Pradhan.
There are 42 Land Rovers in the Maneybhanjyang area, all made in 1954. "People from across the country come to Maneybhanjyang offering to buy these Land Rovers. Sometime back, our people sold two Land Rovers each to buyers from Mumbai, Bangalore and Nagaland," said Pradhan.
Vintage lovers are willing to pay more than Rs 8 lakh for the vehicle - the only mode of transport to high-altitude spots like Sandakphu and Phalut - but locals now are unwilling to let go of these sturdy workhorses.
"In April this year, people from England have shown interest to visit Maneybhanjyang to celebrate the vehicle's 70 years," said Pradhan.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had taken a keen interest in Land Rovers when some were brought to Chowrasta in Darjeeling once. "She had inspected the vehicles and expressed a desire to visit Sandakphu and Phalut," said Pradhan.
Land Rovers at Maneybhanjyang take tourists to Sandakphu and Phalut, situated at 12,000 feet. Drivers of other vehicles are reluctant to climb so high.
While Sandakphu is 31km from Maneybhanjyang, Phalut is 20km further uphill. "During the festival period, we are planning to give some discount to the tourists on hiring charges," said Pradhan. The normal rates are Rs 4000 to Sandakphu and Rs 7500 to Phalut, which includes an overnight stay at these points.

The Telegraph

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