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Land Rovers rally at Darjeeling marks World Tourism Day

Monday, Sep 28, 2020 10:30 [IST]

Last Update: Monday, Sep 28, 2020 04:53 [IST]

Land Rovers rally at Darjeeling marks World Tourism Day

Our Correspondent
Land Rovers from the long gone era were seen moving in a single procession here at Darjeeling today as part of the World Tourism Day programme organized by the Gorkhaland Territorial Association (GTA) with various tourism stakeholders.
Land Rovers from the mid-1950s are one of the heritage highlights of Darjeeling hills.
“Every year World Tourism Day is celebrated in a grand way but this time we held a small program of a Land Rovers and mountain bike rally along with a seminar. Tourism sector is worst hit by the Covid pandemic. Through this event, we want to reintroduce tourism again,” said GTA assistant tourism director Suraj Sharma.
Presently, at Darjeeling there are about 45 Land Rovers which are used as taxis Singallila Land Rovers Association (SLRA) in the route from Manebhanjyang to tourist destinations like Sandakhpu which stands at a height of 11,600 feet and upper reaches of Phalut standing at a height of 11,811 feet.  
Speaking about the Land Rovers,SLRA member DawaTshering Tamang said: “The oldest Land Rover we have which is still functioning is from the year 1954. Some parts of these vehicles are available and maintenance is possible but for those parts that are not available we use modified parts. About 50 percent of the vehicles in our association have modified parts.”
Today, the programme had a Land Rover rally from Manebhenjyang to Darjeeling covering a distance of about 30 km along with a mountain bike rally.
Speaking on the effect of Covid on tourism, Tamang said, “About 80 percent of the people here are dependent on tourism. No tourists have come to the Sandakhpu area since March this year with the last good earnings we saw being in the last tourist season in December. We are surviving with the income generated then along with the free rations got from the government and relief provided by our association. We feel that tourism should open but following safety protocols.”
According to the Darjeeling Association of Travel Agents secretary Pradip Lama, enquiries are coming in from tourists but they have not started taking bookings. We hope tourists will come after October, he said.

Sikkim at a Glance

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