“Old is the song that i sing
Old as my unpaid bills-
Old is the chicken that khitmutgars
men at dak-bunglow-old as the hill”
(Rudard Kipling-in Army Headquarters)
During our childhood, and as we grow up we used to read a number of stories and novel related to the mail delivery man or or mail delivery system during the British rule in indiyaa, which was more commonly known as the”Dak byastha ” the most significant for meis the play.
‘ Dakghar’ written by Rabindra nath tagore, where an ailing boy named”Amal”awaits the king’s letter before he dies, the men who delivered the mails or the postman were known as the”Dak-harkara”. This mail delivery system consisted of relaying postman or Dak-harkara, delivered the mails and letters on foot or ridding a horse .While carrying their treasure on their back and very naturally the route they used for this purpose came to be known as the Dak route.
The rest houses which were built along the Dak route for the use of British officials, later came to be known as”Dak bungalow”or post bungalow. In19th and early20th century indiya, if you were a British officer posted for a short while in a remote part of the country, your only refuge was a Dak-bunglow. During your tour duty, this spartan structure in the mid of the tropical badlands was your home,your office, and your last defense against wild animals and evil spirits,that were believed to inhabit the indiyyana heart land. hmm..!,quite simply you had no choice… dear… officers!
But…,why were these dak bungalows so conveniently built in the most in.-convenient..places?
The word”Dak”is urdu for post and Dak bungalows were initially built by the British indian public works department to help postal officers relay. …the mail in stages for British administrative officers who had to travel to the remote Indian hinter land, staying in camps and tents was nodd an appealing prospect. .especially during the Indian monsoon. it is easy to see why dak bungalow became their preferred option.
From the foot hills of the Himalaya to the edge of Land deep in the south, dak bungalow were strikingly uniform although frugal, they were built in European style, with wide and long verandahs, high ceilings and polished interiors. The basic lay out was the same-a large central room with bedrooms on both sides. however, there were-vernacular variations, depending on what raw materials were locally available. they were also built typically28-32km apart ,and generally located deep in side forests on top of hills.
There is some thing incredibly charming about hills and forests they inspire awe and fear, staying at a dak bungalow is a great way to experience the hilly life. Post bungalow are forest guest houses built during the colonial era of Britishers. Each one has fascinating(usually ghost),stories to tell. these mail bungalow were built with locally available wood and stone, many of them have stood the test of time….
The state of uttarakhand has several well-developed hill stations. the most popular, of course, are Nainital and Mussoorie… however, you dont have to limit yourself to these obvious choices. There are many places like chakrata and Dev-van. they have quaint forest guest houses where you people can spend the night with humm of Deodar and pine.
Guys… ! , many of them are in the middle of the forest and you won’t find a living soul any where near them..n.., regarding the log book is a great way to find out interesting anecdote about them. At night the sound of pine leaves falling on the roof… the shadow of the branches swaying in the winds… and the howling of wild animals in the forest will most probably keep sleep at bay.. …The chowkidars.. are the care takers of these buildings..n, they are lonely souls who spend years or even decades alone in the forest with hardly any one keep them company…hmm…, they are famous for their idiosyncrasies but.. that isn’t their fault, you can’t have.
So paint your memories…
with the color of post bungalow
-Manju Dil Se