25th March to 22nd April, 2011 at Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary in West Sikkim
The International Rhododendron Festival that started last year in Sikkim will be closing this year with celebrations during the above mentioned period. The area of celebration will be the Singalila Ecotourism Promotion Zone in West Sikkim. The Singalila Ridge, which descends down from the summits of Mt.Khangchendzonga, separates the Nepal Himalaya with the East Himalaya. Hence, several species remain unique to both sides and cannot cross across, but some dominate the entire ridge. They are the Rhododendrons, Red Pandas and Himalayan Newts. The other things that dominate are the views of the snow-capped mountain ranges and the Limboo hospitality. The Indian side of the Singalila Ridge is known for the celebrity Protected Areas: Khangchendzonga National Park and Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary in Sikkim and the Singalila National Park in the Darjeeling Hills of West Bengal.
The Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary being dedicated to the Rhododendron habitat, the ‘closing ceremony’ of the International Rhododendron Festival has been decided around this place. The various activities which have been planned are as follows:
Culture and Traditional Food Festival with Yak and Horse Ride will be at Hilley and Daramdin between 25th to 27th March.
Local Food and Drinks Festival will be at Darap on 28th March.
Puncheybong to Hee Khola Wildlife Safari at Rinchenpong on 2nd April.
Helicopter Joy Ride at Dodok, Soreng on 4th April.
Paragliding at between Chakung, Chumbung and Jorethang between 3rd to 5th April.
Trekking and Mountain Biking from Hee Patal Red Panda Gate to Barsey Trekker’s Hut via Sammatar between 7th to 10th April.
12th to 22nd April Inauguration of new trekking routes and trekking in the conventional trekking routes will continue based out of Pelling, Yuksom, Uttarey, Hilley, Hee, Soreng and Buriakhop.
Note: The Kaleej Valley Heritage Festival 2011 to celebrate nature and invite the monsoons to the East Himalaya is also due between 10th to 12th May, 2010. The venue will range between Kaluk-Rinchenpong, Hee-Bermiok and Dentam-Uttarey.
There are several organizations who have been continuously trying to put this area into the International Tourism Map through these nature and adventure based festivals and the man who should be given the credit of initiating the events is Mr.N.K.Subba.
Suggested stay is at Barsey Jungle Camp, an authentic Limboo Homestay at Hee Patal, where the Red Panda Gate of Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is situated. Treks, Mountain Biking, Camping and sightseeings are organized from here. The other places are Okharey, Ruchenbong (from Soreng), Kaluk and Uttarey are good bases to cover the festivals. For details contact Birendra Tamling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Birendra Tamling, Hee.