Visit The Himalayan Village Where Rabindranath Tagore Wrote Poem ‘Jonmodine’

Visit The Himalayan Village Where Rabindranath Tagore Wrote Poem ‘Jonmodine’

Mongpu is an idyllic, quaint village loftily situated at a height of 3500 feet. An hour and a half from Darjeeling in West Bengal, it boasts of picturesque natural scenery, clear streams, fresh air (of which us city-dwellers definitely need), as well as a slice of history. The village used to be Rabindranath Tagore’s summer getaway, a place that inspired his famous work ‘Camellia’. It is also the place where he celebrated his birthday in 1940. It was on this birthday that he composed the poem ‘Jonmodine, the verses of which were inspired by the breathtaking aura of the Himalayan village. Tagore then also recited this poem over the telephone from Kalimpong and All India Radio Calcutta did an all-India live broadcast of the same.

During his trips, he resided at ‘Surel Kothi’, a British bungalow owned by Tagore’s protege Maitreyi Devi, the famous author of Na Hanyate. The house has now been turned into a museum, Rabindra Bhavan. Tagore’s belongings such as handwritten documents and rare artwork, as well as furniture designed by him and made by his son Rathindranath Tagore, are on display. An example is a beautifully crafted mahogany writing desk and chair, specially designed to support his back. The set is strategically placed in front of an airy window overlooking the lush hills, a view which the poet deeply cherished.


Historically, the village is also known for its cinchona plantation established in the 1800s. Nearby is a factory that extracts quinine from the cinchona, a substance that is used for medical purposes such as the cure for malaria. Quinine production gave the remote village much attention in the fields of medicine and science. While on the botanical front, a leisurely walk through its orchid plantations and parks is also a definite must-do.

There are other unique attractions in the area, such as the monastery, Dinchen Sherap Chhoeling Gumba. Located at the heart of the village in Nalidara Square, the monastery is also known as the ‘Peace Pagoda’ and can be accessed via a set of stairs through the main bazaar. A day-trip to see the dark waters of the Kalijhora waterfall merge with the Teesta river should also be on any traveller’s itinerary.

The village may not be on the bucket list of usual tourists but is definitely worth exploring for those looking for a peaceful getaway, as well as engaging in a quiet retrospection on the celebrated poet we know and love even today.

Feature Image Courtesy: Brahman Bangla Blog