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Himalayan Orange Tourism Festival celebrates its 5th year in Kolkata

10 December, 2022 10:57:44
Himalayan Orange Tourism Festival celebrates its 5th year in Kolkata

The winter season in Kolkata has just begun. Winter has different names in Kolkata- the jaggery season, the “pithe” season (a kind of sweet), the season of peas, the season of oranges, and so on. “Komla Lebu” is an emotion for us, from picnics to zoo visits to badminton matches --- everything remains incomplete without the compulsory ritual of having oranges in the end.

Bengal is particularly famous for its Darjeeling oranges which are considered to be of much superior quality than any other oranges in India. To provide fresh oranges directly from the North Bengal and North Eastern regions, the Himalayan Orange Tourism Festival (popularly known as the HOT Festival) is being held at City Centre 1, Salt Lake Sector 1 (Opposite Gorkha Bhawan), Kolkata, between 9th to 11th of December. This is the 5th year of the Himalayan Orange Tourism Festival, which is held every alternate year. The festival started in 2014. This is the largest Himalayan Rural Tourism Festival in Asia. The participation is impressive as 85 villages of Bengal Himalayan landscape, 12 from Sikkim, 81 from Eastern Nepal, 13 from Arunachal Pradesh, and 6 from different parts of East and Northeast India- have all participated in the orange festival. The festival has been inaugurated on 9th December.


There are different stalls selling oranges from different regions such as from Arunachal Pradesh, Nepal, and Darjeeling. There are also stalls on the local specialties of every region, “shitolpati” (a mat mostly used in summer to cool a place), baskets made from barks of different trees, orchids from the forests, succulent plants of various types, and last but not the least, food stalls where momos, thukpas, and other regional specialties are being sold. The Arunachal Pradesh stall is selling oranges at 400 rupees for a box (consisting of 20 to 22 oranges) and 5 oranges for 100 rupees. The Darjeeling stall is selling each orange for 20 or 25 rupees depending on the size.

A lot of orange enthusiasts have already reached the place. Ashok Majumdar, a regular visitor to the orange festival, said, “This is the fourth time I am visiting the orange festival. We eagerly wait every year for the festival as we get authentic Darjeeling oranges here. We buy at least 4 to 5 boxes.” The North Eastern communities have also prepared some programmes that highlight their culture. Ramkumar Lama, one of the organizers of the event said, “It is a great pleasure to be a part of the Orange festival, where different communities from different regions come together to celebrate such a culturally rich event.” Our day starts with a cup of Darjeeling tea, similarly, we do a lot of things that are intensely related to the North East. The festival also aims towards strengthening the ties with the North Eastern States and building harmony with the communities.

The Himalayan Orange Tourism Festival (popularly known as the HOT Festival) was first held at Samsing in the present-day Kalimpong District of West Bengal in 2010. It was organised by the local communities under the umbrella of ACT (Association for Conservation and Tourism). The ABTO (Association of Buddhist Tour Operators) have also been invited, they will organise the 5th ABTO International Convention and International Buddhists Tourism Mart on the same dates- 9th to 11th December 2022 at the CII Auditorium 2 in the same complex of City Centre, Salt Lake Sector 1, Kolkata.

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