DHR to celebrate 20 years of World Heritage declaration

GUWAHATI:  Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) which was declared as World Heritage site on December 5, 1999 is going to celebrate 20 years of “World Heritage” declaration by UNESCO in a befitting manner. The inscription on DHR by the UNESCO read “The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway” is the first and still the most outstanding example of a hill passenger railway.

Opened in 1881, it applied bold and ingenious engineering solutions to the problem of establishing an effective rail link across a mountainous terrain of great beauty. It is still fully operational and retains most of its original features intact.”

Fully justifying the inscription, the world famous DHR is still running between the planes of Siliguri to Darjeeling crisscrossing the Hill Cart Road which was built in 1831 by Lieutenant Napier of Indian Army in numerous places and going up through ingeniously created “Z-reverse” and loops. The journey from Siliguri to Darjeeling is very scenic for anyone who loves the nature. Tourist from all over the world visits Darjeeling mainly to have an experience of riding on the DHR. It has helped to improve the economy of the people of Darjeeling area.

The construction of the 2 feet (610 mm) wide gauge DHR was started in 1879. It reached Tindharia in March, 1880 and upto Ghum in April, 1881. The first train finally reached Darjeeling on 4 th July, 1881. Initially there were four complete loops and four Z – reverses. But today DHR has three loops and six Z-reverses and a ride through them is stunningly breath-taking. There are thirteen stations starting from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling. Although the old narrow trains of DHR used to be hauled by steam engines only, today it is being hauled by both steam and diesel engines.

NFR has already introduced Vistadome coaches in DHR, through which tourist can have a better scenic view of Himalayan terrain during the journey. NFR hopes that the plan to celebrate the 20 years of “World Heritage” declaration will become fruitful to further promote the DHR.

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