Tourists have one more reason to visit their favourite hill station Darjeeling. Besides trekking and other adventure sports, they can now go on a cycle ride in the mountains.
This is the first dedicated cycle park in any hill station in the country.
On Sunday, the Hill authorities inaugurated India’s first mountain cycle park along a 20-km stretch inside a forest in the Senchel wildlife sanctuary.
Adventure adventure such as zorbing, paragliding and white-river rafting are already being popularised in the Darjeeling hills.
Cycling in the mountains has become popular with the locals and this park will come as a big boost for them as well as the tourists.
“Chatakpur has been declared the first mountain cycle park in India. There is a stretch of around 20 km inside the forest, which will be used only by mountain cyclists.” He added, “Adventure tourism is an area whose potential is yet to be exploited completely in Darjeeling,” said Darjeeling district magistrate Anurag Srivastava.
Chatakpur is situated at 6,800 feet and is about 20 km from Darjeeling town.
On Sunday, the Darjeeling district administration along with Off Road Adventure, a company promoting adventure tourism, organised a cycle rally from Darjeeling to Chatakpur to mark the first-of-its-kind initiative in India.
Srivastava and Amit P Javalgi, Darjeeling superintendent of police, led the rally of 25 mountain cyclists from Chowrasta, Darjeeling.
The Darjeeling district administration is planning to promote adventure tourism and increase tourist flow to rural areas of the hills.
The forest division of the district has already set up two cottages in Chatakpur. The cottages have two rooms each. A senior forest official said that villagers from Chatkapur have also set up six home stays. Around three to six tourists can be accommodated in each of the home stays.
“Cyclists will be allowed in a stretch we have identified inside the wildlife sanctuary where no vehicle will be allowed,” said Srivastava.
Many small adventure companies have set up shop in Darjeeling, which provide cycles on hire for a day. There is even a night stay package for mountain cycling buffs.
These small companies are offering tours to different places like Chatakpur, Pokhribong, Lamahatta, Kurseong and Manebhanjyang through cycle trails.
With Chatakpur officially being declared a mountain cycle park, cycling on the Hills will be promoted further, said Sangey Sherpa, proprietor of Off Road Adventure.The wizard quickly jinxed the gnomes before they vaporized! Grumpy wizards make toxic brew for the evil Queen and Jack.