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15 Aug 2018

Independence Day celebrations: Kalimpong gets ready for gala event

Amitava Banerjee |  MP | 14 Aug 2018 | Darjeeling: While places like Kolkata can boast of Durga Puja celebrations and Mumbai of Ganesh puja, Kalimpong can safely boast of a unique Independence Day celebration. This two-day affair in the hill town is nothing short of Dussehra or Diwali celebrations. 
"What Dussehra is in some places and Diwali in others, Independence Day celebrations is the same in Kalimpong. It heralds in the festive season. From early days, Kalimpong has been known for the two-day long celebrations," stated Binay Ghising, Convenor of the Independence Day Celebration Committee.
Independence Day celebrations: Kalimpong gets ready for gala event
From restaurants to garment stores, everything remains packed as Kalimpong gears up to celebrate Independence day. "Earlier locals used to stitch new clothes and tailors remained busy well in advance. Now, it's the ready-made garment stores. 
Earlier, hotels used to remain packed as people from Bhutan, Sikkim and even Nepal arrived in Kalimpong to witness the two-day long celebrations," stated Kailash Bagdas, a local.
Independence day is brisk business. "It is not just about celebrations. The local economy also gets a major boost owing to the celebrations. Many buy new clothes for the Independence Day," stated Sanju Gupta, owner of a garment shop. 
Preparations are on in full swing for the mega event. A total of 21 schools are taking part in this year's parade. "They will present the salute on the Mela Ground in Kalimpong following which they will take Dal Bahadur Giri road, popular as the Main Road," added Ghising.
Binay Tamang, Chairman, Board of Administrators, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, will grace the ocassion as the Chief Guest and will take the salute. 
The Main road will be devoid of traffic on August 15. Thousands of people line up on either side of the road and occupy roof tops to watch the parade. Food Stalls will be put up all along the route. 
March past is the main attraction of the day, along with the final of the Independence Day football tournament. 
On August 16, drill display and marching band display competitions; cultural shows will be held along with the football tournament. 
"This year we are felicitating three ladies for their social contributions. Sova Chettri, social worker, Sister Subheshna Thapa, who works in mitigating child labour, and traffic police Geetu Tamang," added Ghising. 
Darjeeling too will witness parades, drill display and cultural shows at the programme organised by the Information and Cultural Department, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. On the eve of the Independence Day, the Striking Lion Division of the Indian Army put up a marching pipe band display and Khukhuri dance display at Darjeeling Chowrasta on Tuesday.

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