Himachal turns mini “West Bengal”
SHIMLA/ MANALI: With thousands of tourists from West Bengal thronged
Himachal Pradesh to enjoy their holidays, the hill state has turned mini-Bengal where
every third tourist is Bengali. Density of Bengali tourists is going to
increase even more in October when their beeline is expected towards Himachal
following “puja vacations” in West Bengal.
Tourists from West Bengal throng Himachal Pradesh
Kinnaur, Spiti,
Manali and Shimla are the major places of interest for Bengali tourists where they
have started thronging. Though tourists from neighbouring states like Punjab,
Chandigarh, Haryana and Delhi are also visiting Himachal to enjoy the pleasant
weather here, but majority of tourists are from West Bengal. As they come to
stay for long time period, their arrival has cheered the tourism industry of
the state. Mostly Bengali tourists visit Himachal during onset of winters and
in summer months of May and June.
Kinnaur is
emerging as the first choice of Bengali tourists where advance booking for
October reveals that almost all hotels are going to be occupied fully after
Navratra pujas. Popularity of towns of Kinnaur, Shimla and Manali among Bengali
tourists has led to opening of many Bengali restaurants here. Most of the
hotels in Kinnaur are on lease-purchase by Bengali people who are handling
clients from their own state with their own traditions and styles.
A Bengali man,
Shyamal Debnath, who has purchased hotel Aucktong on lease in Kalpa village of
Kinnaur, said tourists from his native place have started thronging. He said, “Large
numbers of Bengali tourists are expected to visit Kinnaur next month which will
turn this tribal district into mini-Bengal. 70% of the total tourists visiting
Kinnaur are only from West Bengal, 20% are from abroad and only 10% are from
other states of the country.”
Kolkata being
one the most crowded and noisy cities of the country, people from this
metropolis look for a calm place to recharge their mind and soul and this is
the reason that they always look for a serene place, preferably tribal area, to
enjoy their holidays, sources said. Damaging of road between Kinnaur and Spiti
has hit Bengali season in Spiti but Manali is recording a good start.
“This is good
start of Bengali season. Still we have moderate customers but their number is
increasing rapidly. Market is crowding with them,” managing director of Van
Vihar restaurant and hotel Kamlesh Thakur said, who serves Bengali food especially
to the guests from WB. Bengali tourists are also visiting Shimla, Dalhousie and
Dharamshala in large numbers.
Shopkeepers who
sell souvenirs, traditional clothes and fancy goods claim Bengali tourists do
the maximum shopping in their shops. A shopkeeper Sanjeev Mahant said, “They
bargain a lot but still they buy lots of stuffs. Every Bengali returns home
with dozens of shopping bags in hands. They try everything. Many shops may shut
down if Bengali tourists stop visiting Himachal.”

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The Himalayan

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