Tourists throng Queen of Hills

Tourists throng Queen of Hills
Wed, Jun 5, 2019

Our Correspondent
The soaring mercury in the plains has resulted in a mad rush of tourists to the hills to the delight of hoteliers and other tourism stakeholders.
“My hotel has been packed since the middle of April and I am booked till the middle of this month. With temperatures rising in the plains, the rush of tourists will grow further,” said Rajesh Rajak, the general manager of a hotel here which has 45 rooms.
Pradip Lama, the general secretary of Darjeeling Association of Travel Agents, said the tourist footfall has increased manifold after the end of the recently-concluded parliamentary election. “Compared to the same period last year, there has been a marginal fall of five per cent in the arrival of tourists, but the flow is still unmanageable,” he added.
The major tourist attractions like the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological
Park, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) and the passenger ropeway service are being thronged by the visitors in their hundreds and thousands. A DHR official said they have added one more joyride from Darjeeling to Ghoom in addition to nine existing joyrides to meet the demand and online booking is closed till mid-June.
Darjeeling zoo, which is adjacent to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, has been drawing over 5,000 visitors every day going by the sale of tickets. The scenario is the same at the ropeway service.  “Tourists have been queuing for tickets from seven in the morning even though the counters open only at 10 a.m. We are selling about 700 tickets in an hour,” said a staff of the ropeway.
Suresh Singh, a tourist from Lucknow, said he and his family have been enjoying their stay in the Queen of Hills. “This is our first visit here. Apart the scenic beauty of the place, we are enjoying its cold climes because we come from a very hot place,” he said before boarding a shared vehicle to Sikkim along with a group of tourists from Kolkata because of scarcity of vehicles.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi