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Photo exhibition showcasing Darjeeling heritage railway
by Taruk Sarkar

     Siliguri: To create awareness regarding the history and evolution of the heritage railway especially amongst schoolchildren, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) in collaboration with the Siliguri Science Centre has organised a week-long photo exhibition showcasing its glorious past of 128 years, in Siliguri. The exhibition, which will conclude on August 30, depicts the evolution of the DHR from its inception to the modern times. The DHR is an important landmark on the Indian tourism map especially after UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1999. The DHR's 82 kilometres of journey from Siliguri junction to Darjeeling is an enchanting journey offering a majestic view of the Darjeeling Himalayas. The organisers believe that the exhibition will make young generation aware of the history of the DHR, an important part of their heritage. "We have tried to display through photographs, through charts and through maps, the evolution of the DHR and also the different milestones and important events of the DHR. For example, when the Tindharia workshop (the workshop that undertakes major servicing of steam locomotives and coaches of DHR) was formed, how the monsoon disaster took place, and even the cyclone AILA has been put in," said Subrata Nath, Director, Darjeeling Himalayan Railways. Children, from various schools of the region, are thronging the exhibition and have been enthusiastic about it. "It is an awesome feeling, because I have never experienced such a thing .I came here and saw the railways and the natural beauty of Darjeeling Himalayas. It was a fantastic experience," said Rahul Sharma, a student. The DHR toy train was the brainchild of Franklin Prestage, an agent of the then Eastern Bengal Railway, who foresaw the utility of a rail link between the hills of Darjeeling and the plains. It was started in 1896 by the then British Lieutenant Governor Ashley Eden, offering riders an opportunity to enjoy the majestic beauty of nature along the Darjeeling hills. At the beginning, this railway was named as the Darjeeling steam Tramway Co. Later when India gained independence in 1947, the railway was renamed as the DHR. The DHR was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO on December 5 at its 23rd session.
-August 26, 2009

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