Darjeeling: The West Bengal Heritage Commission has initiated the process of declaring four sites of Kalimpong as heritage. They are Damsang Lepcha Fort, Dalim Lepcha Fort, Gauripur House and Chittrabhanu.
A notice dated March 21 has invited views in writing to the Commission from local authority, owners, occupiers or leaseholders of these properties within 30 days from its publication. If the Commission does not receive any views or objections within the stipulated period then “the intending declaration would deem to be treated as final declaration as monument of heritage importance” stated the notice, signed by Secretary, West Bengal Heritage Commission.
Both Gauripur House and Chittrabhanu, located in Kalimpong town, are connected to Rabindranath Tagore. Damsang Lepcha Fort is on the way to Pedong and Dalim Lepcha Fort in Gorubathan. Located 2 km from the Kalimpong town centre at Hill Top, the Gauripur House was one of Gurudev’s favourite haunts in this Hill town.
On April 25 1940, Tagore had recited the poem Janmodin through a telephone system linked with the All India Radio, Calcutta. He had last left the house on September 28, 1954. However, with a private owner, the house is in a dilapidated condition. A skill development centre is being run there at present. Both the Gauripur House and Chittrabhanu have been damaged in earthquakes.
The Damsang Fort, 22 km from Kalimpong town, was built in 1690 during the reign of King Tenzing Rabgey of Bhutan. Lepcha King Gaeboo Achok had also ruled from here in the 17th century. A war broke out between the Lepchas and the Bhutanese and later, the victorious Bhutanese plundered and destroyed the fort.
In 1865 these parts were annexed by the British East India Company. “Such heritage properties will definitely draw scholars and tourists from all over the world to Kalimpong,” stated Lyansong Tamsong, member of the Heritage Commission.