Dak Bungalow

The Mist of the Mystical Dak Bungalows

The chiming bells rolling on the anklet, the knee clad Dhoti (an Indian cotton one piece made into a pant), a long wooden staff and the tall-dark-(not) handsome man bringing in a message in a letter, telegram- The Dakwala or post man is someone who brings in the feeling of the long eerie roads, dark nights and bad news.

Think of the yesteryears and the mountains, an image of a big area, vast expanse, a nice lonesome bungalow and long meandering roads. Dak is most probably an Urdu word which means a stage on a certain road. Earlier period Shimla would envisage a huge influx of the British trying to make this place their summer resort.

Shimla- Nestled in Lap of Himalayas

Shimla is a hill station nestled on the lap of Himalayas. And huge Dak Bungalows were found up in the hilly state more to encompass the summer resorting needs of the place. These houses were essentially erected to home all the British who would seek recluse in these cooler, quieter place more akin to nature. Mountains being steep cannot really hold huge structures. The construction type of these houses and buildings too seems different from what it is in the plains.

Smaller areas, more erected atop a small hill, one-storey, large rooms with equally huge and long gardens, the windows of the Dak Bungalows opens to the vast mountains, tall pines and the gurgles of a nearby waterfalls jumping down. These huge houses, made primarily from teak would require all kinds of supplies from utensils, food stuff, ration, water, a caretaker or a durwan and a butler, as they were proudly called Khansama.

The Floral Relaxation

The best thing about these houses were their long and relaxing porches, adorning chairs and tables made of local cane and bamboo work, where a couple would sip with their morning tea and probably with some best baked cookies. The smell of the long orchards holding one of the rarest varieties of apples which the place is famous for, the fragrance of the red bounty, holding the international fame of a philosopher’s revealing and overpowering thought - yes I am talking about the famous Sir Isaac Newton and his famous apples. Shimla finds one of the best and rarest varieties of this famous fruit.

The areas around Shimla rarely find any water bodies near the main cities. The closest water flow that one could find is the Sutlej that flows around 21 kilometers away. Giri and Pabbar both happens to be the tributaries of Yamuna seems to flow at some relative distance away from the place. The vast green floral belt of place is over 414 hectares and homes some of the best flowers, orchids and tree beckoning every visitor into its green envelope.

A long lonesome Dak Bungalow located between these altitudinous scenic extravaganza have a real serene look and can be the best venues for parties, balls and other ceremonies. The nostalgic aura of the Victorian culture and the royal look is still evident with the large and tall wooden doors that open with the sound of a creek, the huge walls and with ceilings far away from the ground, the large wooden windows with glass panes and covered with lace curtains and liners. Everything in the Dak Bungalow is huge, mammoth, serene, quiet and a little eerie.

The Chivalric Triumphs

As the mountains of the place have some of the rarest of animals breed. Hunting animals were the most favorite sport with the royal cavalry of the British raj. And the triumph over some of the rarest canines and horny four legged beasts are still proudly showcased on the large walls of these Dak Bungalows.

A tiger skin working as the seat cover for a slumbered sofa, a deer with many horns working as the wall hanging, a wild boar working as the showpiece on the corner of the room, the Dak Bungalows are the very nourishment in bringing the best of ghostly and ghastly sequences of any mystery novel.

The Naive Local Necessities

The very thought of these hilly terrains reminds one of the tomato-red fair cheeks of the locals, the sweet songs of  beautiful birds, a host of different trees with rich foliage and lovely orchids. Tall bamboos, rhyming a song with the winds and the soothing warm summer afternoon, Dak Bungalows have been evident to a lot of silent sagas. As for the dwelling, all the travelers would bring their servants, beddings, stores and the living accessories like beds, crockery, lamps etc. would all be kept inside these structures.

To maintain a record in the present days of the visits that happen in the Dak Bungalows, a register is maintained keeping all the address details of the travelers putting up at the place. There were a lot many Dak Bungalows made during the imperial reign on the Grand Trunk roads which are abandoned for years now. The early stories of many writers and poets as well as screenplay writers for the celluloid would go about using these structures as their backdrops. Stories either romantic or fearsome would find the mention of a huge dining room, a dimly lit wooden living room or long verandahs standing alone and somber.

It’s true that maintaining that kind of a huge wooden structure, the big fire place and the long gardens is both very time consuming and expensive. Hence, most of the older structures are being demolished with multi-storey apartments coming up. And the very few Silent solitude of structures found have been either turned into expensive guest houses or the place where dignitaries come to relax.

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Dak Bungalow
Dak Bungalow
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Dak Bungalow
Dak Bungalow
Dak Bungalow

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