Rourkela: The Team of 31 students from Odisha and five coordinators from NIT Rourkela touring Sikkim under the Yuva Sangam program by the Ministry of Education under the Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat initiative of the Government of India concluded their tour and reached Rourkela on 8 March 2023. The team that arrived in Sikkim on 2 March were acquainted with various socio-cultural aspects of the State of Sikkim and visited numerous tourist sites and places of religious and economic interest.
NIT Sikkim hosted the visiting students and coordinators at Ravangla, South Sikkim. A vibrant cultural program had held at the NIT Sikkim campus on 3 March, where Sikkim students showcased Sikkim’s cultural diversity to the visiting delegation through dance, skits, and musical performances.
The visiting students from Odisha also performed folk dances representing the state’s culture. Team Odisha visited “The Buddha Park” (Ravangla, Sikkim), also known as Tathagata Tsal. Apart from the surrounding view of this iconic park, the highlight was a 130ft. high statue of Buddha installed to mark the 2550 th birth anniversary of Lord Gautam Buddha.
Furthermore, the team visited the Siddheswar Dham (at Namchi), also known as Char Dham Temple, picturising 108ft. statue of Lord Shiva, a Kirateshwar Mahadev statue and a replica of 4 shrines, along with 12 jyotirlingas.
Sikkim is the world’s first organic state. The sustainable and eco-friendly nature of economic activities in Sikkim that aligns with a vision of conservation of local heritage, flora and fauna and natural resources along with economic development were presented to the visiting students. The team also visited the only tea garden in Sikkim, ‘The Temi Tea Garden’. It is an organic tea garden.
The Temi Tea Garden officials led the group to give an insight into the functioning of the processing plant, various aspects of the organic cultivation of tea and its processing into marketable products, etc. Estd. in 1969, this beautiful garden covers around 400+ acres of plantation. The exposure tour further interacted with organic farmers at Jhaubhari Village at Namchi, Sikkim.
Students from Odisha also had a whole new perspective on organic farming and how it is beneficial both in terms of profit and health. Next was a short stay at the widely prevalent concept of ‘Homestay’ that provided a first-hand experience of the day-to-day lives of Sikkimese people. The team spent half the day experiencing the home-like comfort at a homestay in Namchi District. The team also tested the famous “Dalle Khursani”, or the red cherry pepper chilli, grown in Sikkim and considered one of the world’s hottest varieties. The group also spent some time in the sanctity of Do-drul Chorten, a stupa in Gangtok, Sikkim.
The last day of the tour of Gnathang Village (Also called Nathang), a border village (Indo-China) along the old silk route located at an altitude about 13,400ft from the sea level in the Eastern Himalayan mountain range in Gangtok District, Sikkim, was held on 6th March. This tiny village, surrounded by an army cantonment and 70 km away from Gangtok, has been selected under the vibrant village programme of the Government of India. The Odisha Team also witnessed snowfall in Tsomgo Lake or (Changgu Lake).
The send-off event had the presence of Prof M.C Govil (Director NIT Sikkim) and the Nodal Officer of Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat, Mr Ram Nepal. Prof. Govil thanked the students for being wonderful guests and taking a keen interest in the various activities during their stay in Sikkim. He also encouraged other students, friends and family to visit the great state of Sikkim and enjoy its warm hospitality.
The Odisha team returned on 8 March and had a grand welcome at NIT Rourkela. Prof. Rohan Dhiman (Registrar), Prof. S. Jena (Dean, Student Welfare), Prof. Winny Routray (Nodal Officer of the program), Prof. Anil Singh (Head, Safety and Security Unit) and other coordinators of this Yuva Sangam program received the troop. The participant also received the certificate of participation.
Prof. K. Umamaheshwar Rao (Director, NIT Rourkela) extended best wishes to all the participants for their future endeavors and urged them to carry forward the spirit of Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat to their friends. He also encouraged them to promote the aim of Yuva Sangam program through all the learnings gained during this exposure trip.
The Yuva Sangam is focusing on conducting exposure tours of the youth comprising of students & off-campus youngsters from North Eastern States to other states & vice versa. It is providing an immersive, multidimensional experience of various facets-under four broad areas of Paryatan (Tourism), Parampara (Traditions), Pragati (Development) and Paraspar Sampark (People-to-people connect).