We want Gorkhaland

Darjeeling Travel Blog

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demonstration

Gorkhaland... Gorkhaland" is ringing in my ears.

It's been an odd day. I was planning to be all touristy and go to the Himalayan Zoo and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute - both apparently really good. When I set off, Darjeeling seemed oddly quiet. And oddly 'shut'. The half hour walk to the zoo was lovely - but when I got there, it was closed. Bother. Why don't the guidebooks tell you useful stuff - like the zoo's shut on Thursdays? Never mind - I took the opportunity to walk on, and discover Darjeeling's outer areas. And it was good. I even came upon another Raj era cemetary, and then ended up enjoying the buzz of the jeep stand, while failing to find a prebooking booth for Siliguri tomorrow. Odddly though - the bazaar was shut too.

Walking back up, I may have discovered the reason.

gathering in Chowrasta
A massive demonstration. The procession took fifteen minutes to pass me, and the whole of Darjeeling appeared to be there. Though it doesn't make the news in the UK, this area has a large separatist movement. It's very evident here in the painted slogans etc around town. The region wants to be separated from West Bengal and known as Gorkhaland. There seems to be litttle dissent locally. The procession included every culture, race and religion... many with their own banners. Nepalis, Tibetans, Muslims...Darjeeling is a hotch potch of peoples - and they all chanted with one voice "Gorkhaland, Gorkhaland, we want Gorkhaland"  I followed them to their assembly point in Chowrasta, where I then got a bird' eye view from my room. Interesting.

The rest of the day passed without anything of interest for you people. Did some gift shopping and went to the laundry, where yesterday I had dropped off four white tee shirts.

My lunch. Cost 90p.
Today I picked up four grey ones. To the extent of being almost unwearable. I needed them too... Had a huge vegetarian thali at the Hasty Tasty restaurant (90p), struck a deal with a micro bus driver to take me to the station tomorrow at a time when I want to go, rather than when the shared jeeps go - and other boring domestic stuff. Mooched in between and still had an enjoyable day. Darjeeling's that sort of a place.

Since I've not much to say, have a few more road safety signs:

'It is not rally - enjoy the valley'

'Be heartful about the right of way'

'Drive to care, not to dare. Drive with care, life has no spare'

'Drive like hell and you will be there'

'Fast won't last'

'Be gentle on my curves'

sarah55 says:
Not uncomfortable at all vances. The procession seemed passionate but good humoured and some of the participants were waving and smiling at me. Police/military presence was low key.
Posted on: Apr 03, 2008
vances says:
So the protest wasn't violent in any way...did you feel comfortable watching so closely?
Posted on: Apr 03, 2008
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demonstration
demonstration
gathering in Chowrasta
gathering in Chowrasta
My lunch. Cost 90p.
My lunch. Cost 90p.
The dogs of Chowrasta sleep all da…
The dogs of Chowrasta sleep all d…
Darjeeling
photo by: philippe84