As our regular readers know we cover all things Orange and Orange Festivals are usually very fun and help raise awareness as related to eating oranges. Yes, we know they occur all over the world but here is one that even surprised us…the Himalayan Orange Festival. The second annual one is coming up in December of this year or early in 2016, the date is a bit up in the air yet.
The 1st Himalayan Orange Festival & Rural Tourism Bazaar was held in Kolkata during January, 2015. The Festival was organized by ACT (Association for Conservation & Tourism) in collaboration with City Centre, Salt Lake.
The entire Rural Tourism communities from Darjeeling Hills, Dooars, adjoining Eastern Nepal and adjoining Southern Bhutan took active participation in the event. This was the first of its kind of event being inaugurated by Chief Guest. Bhikku Bodhipala, Guests of Honour, The Consulate Generals of Nepal and Bhutan, Special Guests, Madhu Neotia and Shekhar Das. There were several happenings with orange as the core area of interest. The event was initiated at Kolkata with the 100 years Birth Anniversary of Maitreyi Devi, the then lady from the Cinchona Plantations of Mungpoo organized to send two baskets of oranges to the ailing Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore at Calcutta (Kolkata), who described them as the best gifts of his life. Hence, this was a gift from the people in the hills to the people of Kolkata.
The Rural Tourism community leaders, who were there at the festival as individuals, travel companies, Destination Associations and NGOs decided to get together in the platform of ACT and formed the first Community Tourism Council called the Himalayan Orange Tourism Council, in short the ACT-HOT Council on the 8th of January, 2015 at a meeting hosted by Jaldapara Jungle Camp at Madarihat.
Finally, in a meeting at Chota Mangwa, near Takdah, held on the 7th of February, 2015 and hosted by Darjeeling Blossoms, the final shape to the Governing Committee was made possible with the Pillar Organizations.
A documentary film on Lohagarh, a destination in India Terai was released at the 2nd HOT council meet at Chota Mangwa. There was a community based Tea Tourism connectivity which was made by Council member, Shankar Mandal and a community meeting with the presence of the HOT council members, who helped in the launching of Lohagarh Friends of Environment, along with the first Homestay on 22nd February 2015. This was the first Homestay in Indian Terai.
So if you are looking for an orange related reason to visit the Himalayan area you have one now.
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