Head Out To Picturesque Kalimpong For The Kholey Dai Festival

Immerse yourself in events showcasing local culture at this rice harvest and folk festival hosted by the people of Parengtar village in the Himalayan foothills
Kholey Dai is a yearly rice harvest festival
Kholey Dai is a yearly rice harvest festival Kholey Dai Festival/Facebook

If the year-long work schedule has been getting you down, we recommend taking it easy for a weekend in Kalimpong in the Himalayan foothills. Take out time to experience the unique Kholey Dai festival in the eastern Himalayas. Known to be one of the most loved community festivals of Kalimpong, it is being organised at Parentgar village, located along the Indo-Bhutan border.

The festival is an enthralling fusion of rich folk traditions set against the backdrop of rural life. Witness the magical sunrise over the Indo-Bhutan hills, participate in rich cultural performances, assist in paddy harvesting, explore Kalimpong's rural lifestyle and landscapes, participate in workshops for both adults and children, eat fresh organic food, and shop locally. The nights will be filled with music and conversations over delicious meals and a glass of tongba.

About Kholey Dai

Experience local music at the festival
Experience local music at the festival@kholeydaifestival/instagram

Kholey Dai is a yearly rice harvest festival celebrated zealously in Parengtar. Rice is a staple of Himalayan cuisine and an essential component of everyday meals. Visitors to the Kholey Dai festival will be able to interact directly with the rural community and learn about the evolution of rice from the field to the plate through participation.

Local Community Experiences

The goal of the festival is to revive and re-establish the community's culture suited to rice-grain harvesting, known as "dai" in Nepali. Such traditions have disappeared with time. The festival programme aims to re-engage the community in activities that will reaffirm the ideals of the local culture as a whole. This event is an ideal opportunity for visitors to join and immerse themselves in the village culture, while also being an amazing opportunity for Parengtar people to retain their cultural essence.

Why You Should Go

You will live among the people of this riverine town on the Indo-Bhutan border and gain a look into their daily lives. The active participation of rural communities in the festival's conceptualisation and organisation is what characterises it. The event is a vital component of the community tourism model created in Parengtar by the organising team and village residents, which strives to incorporate every community area. The festival, now in its third year, promotes a cycle economy by making optimal use of local resources from the community itself. As part of community tourism, local residences in the hamlet are encouraged to provide accommodation as homestays for festival attendees. Some of the festival's proceeds are also donated to the Parengtar Society's welfare.

On Your Plates

The festival will be your chance to experience a wealth of local cuisines and flavours of the Himalayas. During your visit, you can enjoy regional dishes prepared using organic, local ingredients. For instance, the nutritious Dhero made from millet or wheat, which is sometimes served with chicken broth or sisnu (nettle) soup on the side. And Wachipa, a Rai meal that consists of rice, minced chicken, and a powder formed from burnt chicken feathers.


Palina Rai will bring the flavours of the kiratis to the festival all the way from Kathmandu. Palina is the founder of Boju Store, a social enterprise that works with farmers from the hills and Himalayas to promote, market, and sell unique indigenous products.

Music For Your Ears

The line-up at the festival includes musician Bipul Chhetri who has been a voting member for the Recording Academy/Grammys and has performed across the world
The line-up at the festival includes musician Bipul Chhetri who has been a voting member for the Recording Academy/Grammys and has performed across the world@kholeydaifestival/instagram

Dance to the rhythm of folk instruments like the damphu, and hum along with the melancholic rhythm of the murchunga. Musicians, bands, and artists from the Darjeeling Hills, Sikkim, North East India, and Nepal will gather in Parentgar for Kholey Dai. The artist's line-up for the third edition of the Kholey Dai festival includes singer/songwriter Bipul Chettri, who draws influence from the Himalayas' traditional sounds. Chhetri is a voting member of the Recording Academy/Grammys and has toured and performed across the world.

The Information

Time and Location: December 15, 2023, 8am–December 17, 2023, 11:50pm.

Where: Parengtar, Jaldhaka, Kalimpong


You can choose from two types of accommodation: local homestays and camping tents. Single occupancy with breakfast fees is INR 2,000 per day with a festival pass; and INR 7,000 for four days (December 14 check-in and December 18 check-out). Rooms with double occupancy with breakfast will be INR 3,500 (two people) per day with a festival pass and INR 12,500 for four days. The charges include admission to the festival on specified reserved dates, live gigs, cultural performances, and all festival activities, accommodation in local homestays/camps during the festival, and breakfast.

For more details, check here. To register and for event passes, check here.

Getting There

The nearest airport to Parengtar is Bagdogra Airport, around 112 km away from the village. The New Mal junction is 43 km from the place if you opt for a train journey. You can also travel from neighbouring cities like Gangtok (159 km), Darjeeling (137 km), Siliguri (96 km) and Kalimpong (114 km).

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