Darjeeling is an enchanting town nestled in the Himalayan foothills. As the first rays of the sun strike the town, all eyes turn towards the spectacular views of the Kanchenjunga peak, the world’s third highest mountain peak as it gets bathed in a golden hue. Darjeeling is the place to head to if you love the charm lush green tea gardens with the Himalayan mountain peaks in the background. The pristine beauty and salubrious weather ensured that it endeared itself to the British way back in the early nineteenth century, becoming a summer retreat.
Darjeeling is, of course, a haven for nature lovers but it is also a unique destination for heritage and culture lovers. The vintage and heritage train of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, still daintily criss-crosses the streets of the town on its amazing journey. Various fascinating festivals also are celebrated throughout the year in Darjeeling that bring alive the vibrant culture of the people of different ethnicities that live there. Festivals that include Losar, Bumchu, Maghe Sankranti, Saraswati Puja, and Christmas celebrate the rich diversity of the region.
One cultural event that is much awaited in Darjeeling takes place usually in the winter month of November. This is the Darjeeling Carnival which spreads over ten days and the entire town reverberates to the spirit of this celebration of culture.
So what is the Darjeeling Carnival and what happens during the ten days that the event is held? Let us take a look and immerse ourselves in the vibrant ethos of the carnival.
All You Need to Know About the Darjeeling Carnival
The birth of the Darjeeling Carnival took place in the eighties. This was when the beauty and tranquillity of Darjeeling were marred by ethnic strife. In a bid to maintain peace and heal the scars left by the agitation, a group of youngsters called the “Darjeeling Initiative” started the Darjeeling Carnival. The group which consists of members from across all strata of Darjeeling civil society works towards creating a healthy and positive impact on the social and economic fibre of Darjeeling.
The Darjeeling Carnival is a ten-day festival that transforms the entire region of Darjeeling into a community celebration. The mountains resonate with the sounds of joy, peace, and harmony as people come together to celebrate the spirit of nature and the mountains. Music is the thread that strings the Darjeeling Carnival together. Rock bands showcase their music in front of hysterical crowds. Apart from numerous music concerts, various other events keep the spirit of the festival on a constant high. Poetry reading sessions, photography and painting exhibitions and food festivals enthral the locals and visitors.
Celebrating Darjeeling Tea
Darjeeling is known for its tea which occupies a very special place in its culture as well as day to day life. The Darjeeling Carnival is the time when exhibitions about tea, history of tea, types of tea are on display; tea-tasting sessions disseminate information about the wonder beverage.
Art and music take centre-stage
Music, of course, is the soul of Darjeeling and this occupies a prime place in the carnival, however, the arts of Darjeeling also endear with their universal charm. Works of art from the artists of Darjeeling are on display for all to admire and be inspired. One of the highlights of the Darjeeling Carnival in the past has been the exhibitions of the priceless paintings of the Russian painter Nicholas Roerich who spent time in Darjeeling giving shape to some of his masterpieces.
Darjeeling during the Darjeeling Carnival assumes a different avatar and fills everyone present with an inexplicable joy that needs to be experienced to be understood. The nature, the music, the arts, and the camaraderie of the people – all of this blends together to give an experience beyond compare. It is really wonderful to be in Darjeeling during the Darjeeling Carnival. Come get lost in the beautiful world of Darjeeling. Sterling Darjeeling is there to welcome you to this enchanting land.