Soon, Tagore's haven Mongpu to house university
Darjeeling: Rabindranath Tagore's favourite haunt in the Darjeeling hills is all set to become the location for a new university. Along with the university, there is a proposal for an institute of research on Himalayan medicinal plants in Mongpu.
"It has been a long-standing demand that a university be established in the Hills. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also wants Darjeeling to reclaim her glory as an education hub. The university will come up at Mongpu. We will be using land belonging to the cinchona plantation," stated Gautam Deb, state Tourism minister.
"Process is on for the inter-department transfer of land for the university at Mongpu. Initially, three acres of land will be transferred. More land will be added later," stated Joyoshi Das Gupta, District Magistrate, Darjeeling.
Mongpu, 33km from Darjeeling town, was a favourite destination of Rabindranath Tagore. He visited Mongpu in 1938 on May 21 and stayed till June. In 1939, he stayed there from May 14 till June 17, to return again on September 12 to stay till the first week of November.
In 1940, he arrived on April 21 and his birthday was also celebrated there that year. This was his last visit as he fell ill and had to return to Kolkata.
He had penned many a memorable work during his stay at Mongpu, including Chelebela, Nobojatok, Sesh Kotha, Bangla Bhashar Porichoy, Mongpu, Giribas, Sanai, Akash Prodip and Jonmodin.
In Mongpu, Tagore used to stay in the house of Manmohan Sen (husband of Maitreyi Devi), who was the chief chemist of the cinchona plantation. In 1944, this house was converted into a "Rabindra Smrity Bhavan." Later in 2009, the building was renovated and converted into a "Rabindra Museum."
"The Tourism department has allotted Rs 3 crore for the renovation of Rabindra Musuem. It will be completed soon," stated Deb.
Along with this, Morgan House tourist lodge and Hill Top tourist lodge in Kalimpong are being revamped as well.
"We have plans of a passenger ropeway service connecting the bordering areas of West Bengal and Sikkim. For this, we will hold talks with Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling," stated Deb.
Tea tourism is being developed at Thorbu tea estate in Mirik, jointly with the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. Beautification work of the Mirik lake area has already been taken up, stated the Tourism minister.