Lingthem to host first-ever Dzo Tyuim Harvest Festival

Sagar Chettri

GANGTOK, 28 Oct:

Lingthem in North District is gearing up to host the first-ever Lepcha Paddy Harvest Festival, Dzo-Tyuim Harvest Festival 2021 from 12 to 14 Nov. The festival is an initiative by a group of youth from Dzongu with the support of the Forest Department and Homestay Association of Sikkim [HAS].

Lingthem, a village in Dzongu, is around a 40-minute drive from the North District headquarter town of Mangan and around a three-hour drive from Gangtok.

Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, an organizing member, Dawa Lepcha mentioned that the main objective of the festival is to promote village tourism to generate income for people of Dzongu. There are a handful of homestays in Dzongu run by locals so the festival aims to promote the idea of homestays and support local people to set them up.

On behalf of the organizing committee, he also thanked the Forest Department and Homestay Association of Sikkim for extending financial and other required support in organizing the festival.

Another organizing member, Gyatso Lepcha, who is also the general secretary of HAS, mentioned that this is a community driven festival at the micro level to promote indigenous practices, culture and tradition of the Lepcha community. He said that the festival is being held with cultural, economic and tourism aspects in mind.

Explaining the cultural aspect, he stated that the festival aims to provide an opportunity for the people to taste indigenous foods and cuisines of the Lepcha community. He added that the festival is not only about glamour but also aims to promote the rich folklore and legends of the community.

“We are inviting youth for story telling sessions where they can narrate stories of their areas and such practice would help to revive the story telling practice among the youth,” he said. He added that the three-day festival will also have folk songs, dances and even skits by local people.

Speaking on the economic aspects, Mr Lepcha said that the economy has really gone down during this pandemic and farmers and people in villages have really been hit by the pandemic with no earnings.

On the same, he stated that the festival also aims to bring about economic growth in Dzongu by increasing economic activities. He mentioned that the organizing committee has invited local farmers and producers for exhibition and sale of their produce.

“We have given priority to women’s groups of Dzongu in the festival for women empowerment and also encouraging local entrepreneurship among youths to sell their ideas and products,” he stated.

On the tourism aspect, Mr Lepcha said that tourism has been growing rapidly in the State but there are no big hotels in Dzongu and there are only a handful of small homestays run by locals.

“There are around 13 homestays in Dzongu and we want to double this number by encouraging the youth and people in general to adopt the idea of homestays through such festivals,” he stated.

The main highlight of the festival would be zero waste to encourage organisers of other tourism festivals to follow the same concept, he added. There will be no plastic and packaged food items or drinks from the outside but only local food, drinks and products will be available in the festival to make the festival zero waste, said Mr Lepcha.

Working president of the organizing committee, Dawa Lepcha said, “This is not only a festival but it is a celebration of paddy cultivation in Lingthem village which is related to our indigenous practices, culture and religious beliefs.”

He added that the festival will include harvest and threshing activities of paddy at Lingthem village. The festival will also have a special unplugged session by renowned Lepcha band, Sofiyum and other local artists from Dzongu, he informed.

The organizers have also scheduled sightseeing of unexplored tourism spots in Dzongu as part of the festival.

Mr Lepcha appealed to the people of Sikkim to be a part of the festival to experience the indigenous practices, culture and tradition of the people of Dzongu. He mentioned that interested visitors can book homestays in advance by visiting the official Facebook page ‘Dzo_tyuim_festival’.

“Although we are expecting around 500 visitors, we are also working to make arrangements to accommodate visitors in houses and camps if the festival receives more number of visitors,” he informed. He added that the organizers are also in touch with visitors from other states and outside the country who are interested in attending the festival.