The Mall Road in Darjeeling
Although it is officially known as the Bhanubhakt Sarani, people still refer to it as the Mall Road. It is a circular pathway that begins at the Chowrasta Mall and then goes on to encircle the Observatory Hill and finally ends in the Mall itself. May be that is why it was known the Mall Road. On the other hand, Bhanubhakt was a nineteenth century poet who translated The Ramayana into Nepalese. He is much revered by the people of this region and to show their reverence, the town’s people have renamed the most beautiful road of their town after him.
Mall Road from its Right EndIndeed, the Mall Road is possibly the most beautiful road of this area. It is mostly free from vehicular traffic. Cars with special passes are however allowed on this road. Consequently, it is a good road for taking strolls and enjoying the scenic beauties that enfold before one’s eyes. Let us therefore take a leisurely walk down the road. We will begin with the right end of this circular road. On this part of the pathway, we will have the hills on our left and a steep fall on our right. In a good day, one can watch the Kanchenjunga bright and beautiful at a distance. A fence all along the road will however protect us should we become too absorbed in the surrounding.
The first place to stop on this road is the Mahakal Temple. However, the temple is not exactly on the road; one has to climb a steep and narrow road to reach the temple at the top of the observatory hill. Let me however, not scare away prospective visitors from visiting the temple; it does not really take that much time and once the summit is reached, one is likely to forget everything else. Such is the ambiance of the place that both believers and non-believers will feel that the climb has truly been worth the trouble taken. The views too are excellent from top of this hill. The iconic Windmare Hotel is located in the vicinity.
The Mahakal Temple
The Scenic Beauty:Let us however, continue with our journey and watch the nature at its best. Wild flowers will be in bloom along the mossy wall of the hill. Birds and butterflies will make the walk all the more enchanting.
Although it does not take too long to go round the loop, one may be tempted to stop and absorb the surrounding. In such a case, he/she will find quite a few benches erected strategically along the road. Some will also have shades over their head. Let us however keep on walking.
The Raj Bhawan:Soon we will reach the turn. If we look up we will soon see the iron gate of the Raj Bhawan. The building has a blue dome on the roof. It was once upon the summer palace for the Viceroy. These days the Governor of West Bengal comes here to spend some time with the people of Darjeeling during the summer months. The Maharaja of Burdwan’s house too looks almost similar. However that one is located far down hill.
The Gorkha Ranga Manch BhawanFurther down the road is the Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan. It is a public auditorium that also holds country fairs in the outside premises. The building can easily be recognized by the golden dome on its rooftop. Earlier it had a statue of a Nepali Soldier on this dome, but it has now been removed. It will however be kept in the proposed Gorkha museum at Batasia.
End of the Mall Road TourSoon we will be back at the Chowrasta Mall and therefore, it is time to look at vista that lays on our right. The view is somewhat different from what we saw when we entered the Mall Road from the right. It changes more drastically as we near the Mall. We now see more houses and signs of activity and once we enter the Mall , we find we have come back from another place, another world.
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