On my recent trip to Darjeeling, I noticed this hotel. This hotel is perched on a high ground, in a desolate spot, and with the tall gates and a suspicious looking security guard standing by the gates, this property is a no go-through for general folk, like me.
Actually, I have seen this property several times before, but always ignored it and walked on, just like all the other people. On this trip of mine, my curiosity was piqued, and I decided, along with the mister to go and try to have a peek at it. My curiosity paid off. Viewing this old hotel property from the outside and within was quite an experience, and especially with the mists and aura of the old world, I felt transported to another time.
I wondered if there was a way to get into the hotel. The security guard didn’t look to be around. Mister and I were fiddling with the gate locks trying to loosen the old thing so we could let ourselves in. With our luck, the guard appeared out from the mists, ordering us to stay out from the property as it was Private. I looked at the security guard and somehow I was confident he could melt with a little bit of sweet talk and some smiles. The old charm worked. It wasn’t so difficult after all to enter the gates. The guard, after the initial ice was broken, happily showed us around the rooms of the hotel, talking to us of it’s history and what the future lay for it.
The hotel belonged to the Oberoi Group, one of the leading hotels in India. It was built in 1915, and was leased out to the Group in 1950. It ran successfuly for more than 20 years, and an indian movie by the name of Barsaat was even shot in this hotel.
And then there was a big mishap : a fire broke out so immense it burnt everything in it and the property is almost ravaged. Since that fire, the hotel has never been renovated due to insurance issues that have been dragging over 30 years..!
I asked the guard if there had been people injured in this accident. Apparently, the answer is no, there had been no casualties. However, I must add that walking through this big empty property with negligible electricity, dark corridors and spooky corners, this was the thought upmost in my mind if there were spirits around the place?! My heart was definitely somewhere near my mouth. I asked the guard if he lived in this property, and he replied in the affirmative. He lived here both day and night in one of the many empty rooms of the hotel. I asked him if he was scared of ghosts. He laughed and said no. I looked at him. No one could tempt me to stay overnight here even for a million bucks.
Here are some photos of the hotel. The first pic is of the entrance. It is interesting to note that the postbox survived the ravage. The beautiful balcony and the lonesome chimney in the room are what captured our imaginations..