Shrubbery Nightingale Park
About 10 minutes walk from the Mall, the Shrubbery Nightingale Park in Darjeeling is a beautiful public park area. It's ideal for relaxing and enjoying the superb views of the Kanchenjunga and the other snow peaks of Eastern Himalayas. During the tourist season, Nepali cultural programs like local dances are held here everyday in the evening. During the British days in early 1900s, this place was known as The Shrubbery. It used to be the private courtyard of Sir Thomas Tartan's Bungalow.
In 1934 it was completely destroyed by an earthquake. Following its destruction, there have been several developments that took place on this area. Initially it became a place where the British women resident in Darjeeling would come here to have a cup of tea and chat with each other. So it was more like a women's meeting place.
In 1950s and 60s, the park became a hot place for Bollywood films because of its scenic beauty. In 1976 the then Governor of West Bengal Mr. A L Dias created a grand plan to redesign the park to its present form. However in the 1980s the Shrubbery Nightingale Park was sadly neglected due to the tension in the Darjeeling hills during that period.
Shrubbery Nightingale Park
It has been redeveloped and opened to the public again. There is a covered archway entrance to the park. The park is slightly at an elevated level and so you need to climb a few marble stairs at the entry. There is a pebbled walkway that goes all around the boundary of this lovely oval shaped park area. The walkways also crisscross the park at various places.
On the left there is a large glass covered lounge area. This used to be a restaurant once where I have had snacks and tea several times in the past. But it's unfortunately closed now and there are plans to reopen it. It is now used for special functions only, and therefore you can see rows of chairs inside.
As you take a stroll around, one side of the park is lined with pine and other tall trees. The other side opens out to the great views of the valley with the mountain peaks in the background. Well you need to be in the right season (preferably October - November) to get the best views when the sky is clear.
Statue of Lord Shiva in Nightingale Park
There are shaded seating all around the boundary and there are many other benches that are placed inside the park. The tin shades over the benches have different bright colors like red, yellow, blue, orange etc. And there are garden lamps installed all across the park that have white spherical tops. In the evening, all these along with many multicolored hidden lights are illuminated, and the park becomes a wonderland of lights and trees.
At the middle of the park is a huge open circular stage where the cultural functions take place in the evenings. The visitors to the park line up around the stage to view the shows. For VIPs, there is a special glass covered lounge area that overlooks the stage. The lounge is known as the Bullet Proof Dias. Subash Ghising, the erstwhile chairman of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council created that special lounge which is actually covered with bullet proof glass.
On the right end of the park there is a giant statue of Lord Shiva with an associated temple. There is a water falls that comes from the top of the Lord Shiva's statue all the way to a small artificial lake at the bottom. A musical fountain here is also a great attraction.
Watch the video of Shrubbery Nightingale Park
Shrubbery Nightingale Park is open from Morning until 8pm. If you want to watch the cultural program, then come in the evening. There is a nominal admission fee of Rs. 10/- (subject to change).
Shrubbery Nightingale Park is located about 10-12 minutes walk from the Chowrasta Mall on Jawahar Parbat road and behind the Raj Bhawan (Summer residence of Governor of West Bengal). As you take the Mall road from the left side, you will see big signs of the park on the rock on your right. The park is located between the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and the Mall, and is an easy walk from the Chowrasta Mall. Check out North Darjeeling Map
to see the location of the park.
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