Gangtok, April 30 : To promote Sikkim as a major tourist destination, residents and State government here are making joint efforts to popularize the beauty of this captivating State.
This was evident at the four-day "Discovered Rabong" festival, held at the Cho-Dzo Lake, 70 kilometers from Gangtok, the State capital.
Ravangla is a small hamlet located in a ridge between Mainam and Tendong at an elevation of 8,000 feet. It is covered with dense forest.
Organized by the Rabongla Tourist Development Committee (RTDC) with the support of Department of Commerce and Industries of the Sikkim Government, "Discovered Rabong" festival offered an opportunity for all to learn and appreciate the traditional and natural beauty of Sikkim.
Norzang Tshering, the Chairperson of Rabong Tourism Development Committee (RTDC), said: "We've also noticed the strengths among the locals that they've been coming up with the ideas. All the structures that you see have been put up, all these functions, programmes, cultural programmes, are organized by locals' themselves. Now we, the government, are taking a back seat. We are simply supporting them. They have started organizing the entire event and I think, in the future, we will be relegated even more to the backseat." The theme of the festival was handicrafts and handlooms and thus a variety of local crafts were put display for visitors.
To fascinate maximum youth, a photo exhibition, and State flower show, singing and dancing competition were also organized by Rabongla Tourist Development Committee. Other north Eastern states like Nepal and Bhutan also participated in the festival. Ugyen Namgal, Executive Member of the RTDC, said: "Most of them are from the villages as well as from schools. They promote culture; we try to bring in as much as tradition and culture." Cultural dances and music also formed major attractions at the festival.
Traditional cuisines, fashion shows by professional models, both from the State and outside, boating, camping, mountain biking and many other events made the festival a grand success.
The festival also helps in generating various employments for locals and the publics. The locals take a keen interest in promoting their native place and attract tourists on this part of the country. By Tashi Pradhan