GHUM FESTIVAL 2021- A MULTICULTURAL ENIGMA

Ghum Festival 2021, organized by World UNESCO Heritage Site DHR or Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, aimed to exhibit the indigenous heritage and culture of the hill station manifested in the external aspects of Darjeeling.
Located at the foothills of the Himalayas, Darjeeling has been luring globetrotters for years. While some are drawn to the untainted natural beauty, some others seek solace in the hills. Trekking, camping, bird watching, white river rafting across Teesta and Rangeet are some of the activities that people largely indulge in. Along with this, the spectacular views of the Kanchenjunga from Tiger Hill, the tiny monasteries of Darjeeling and Ghum, the spiritual shopping experience at the Tibetan Refugee Centre, and the curio shops on the Mall add a different charm to the place. You can find yourself a solitary spot and spend the afternoon in serenity. Youcan also catch the waning ethereal evening light as the sun sets over the hills. But most importantly, you can cap up your Darjeeling trip with a ride on the Toy Train, where you can watch the hills glide by as the train chugs through the hillside. It's sheer enchantment.
The month-long Ghum Festival 2021,conducted a range of events that displayed the sheer beauty of the place and the local culture at its best. Ghum Festival 2021 was hosted from November 13th, 2021 - December 5th, 2021 exclusively at three different locations like the Ghum Station, Darjeeling Station, and Mall Road or Chowrasta. Let's have a look at the event in detail.



ART & CRAFT

The indigenous culture of Darjeeling was distinctively portrayed in Ghum Festival 2021 through the excellent and inimitable artistic handicrafts. The traditional colourful designs which bear striking similarities to the art of neighbouring Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan weredisplayed in ornaments, souvenirs, and handlooms. Woodwork and bamboo fretwork are additional examples of great craftsmanship. While blankets, woolen knitted clothes, and woven fabrics are amongst the most common utility items, artistic items like handbags, wall panels, fire screens, folding partitions, Bhutan paintings, cotton shoulder bags, and so on were also put up at the stalls of Ghum Festival2021. Beautiful curios, crafted on copper plates studded with red and blue stones and engraved with deity copies are also worth mentioning. There were also beautiful Tankas with artwork illustrating Lord Buddha's life. Woolen carpets dyed in a variety of hues using both natural and synthetic dyes, Bhutia chaddars, in a variety of textures, decorative Nepali khukris produced in Ghumare some of the other stuff sold at the stalls at Ghum Festival 2021. The various objects of tourist interest and curio collectors like bedroom slippers and rope-sole shoes, jackets, headgear, hanzu coats fashioned from handloom cloth, and masks, wood/bamboo work, metalwork/artefacts, jewellery, paintings, carpets were also there.

FOOD FEST

Ghum Festival 2021 acted as a cultural mosaic to satisfy gastronomic cravings. Darjeeling has it all, whether it's the ubiquitous momos or thupkas, whose fabled taste has spread over the Himalayas with migratory Tibetans, or the lemon grass cuisine from south-east Asia. People surely got to pamper their taste buds with diverse yet familiar cuisines like shaphalay, aludum, momo,thukpas, Tibetan tea, and tongba made and sold at the stalls of Ghum Festival 2021.

CULTURAL FEST

Nepalese folk culture is diverse. The hills and dales are a rich trove of hill folk songs and dances. There isn't a single moment in their life when they aren't singing and dancing, thanks to their poetic minds and hearts.The serene, romantic, and poetic shades of different hues, the majestic Himalayan mountains, the lush green hills, and forests appear to have played a significant role in influencing the culture of the Nepalese people, including folk songs and dances.
Ghum Festival 2021introduced a series of performances by some of the most reputed local performers and acted as a medium for everyone to catch a glimpse of the cultural edge of Darjeeling and Ghum.

HERITAGE WALK

Darjeeling conjures up images of snow-capped mountains, tranquil green hills steeped in splendour, and a country of spectacular beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas. To take a solitary heritage walk amongst these natural beauties is one of a kind experience. Ghum Festival 2021 conducted heritage walks that took participants across this idyllic haven immersed in a rainbow of colours. Confounded by flaming red rhododendrons, shimmering white magnolias, kilometres of undulating hillsides covered in emerald green tea bushes, the exotic woods of silver fir - all under the blanket of a stunning azure sky dotted with specks of clouds and backed up by the crest of Kanchenjunga glowing in the first dawn light is a treat to the sore eyes. Visitors to Darjeeling, whether a tourist or a trekker, an ornithologist or a photographer, a botanist or an artist, always look for an unforgettable experience.Ghum Festival 2021 offered thousands of people a relaxing break from the maddening crowds and an insight into the indigenous history and culture of Darjeeling and Ghum. In short, it was an event par successful.