Chowrasta, the most famous square in Darjeeling, is set for a major facelift with planners working on an idea to create more space and ensure better view of sunset and distinct natural feel of the hills.
The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration has given its green light for two-phase renovation estimated to cost Rs 12 crore.
The Telegraph is in possession of the master plan prepared by architect Dipang Lama, whose firm Daisies and Blue Skies, has been working on the design since 2015.
The master plan proposed a five-phase work. But the GTA has as of now chosen a two-phase renovation plan.
“Our plan is to create more space, bring more sun, more view and give a natural feel of the place, along with addressing public safety and conveniences in a futurist manner,” said Lama.
In the first phase, cobbled stones would be laid from Keventers to the tri-junction below Darjeeling SP’s bungalow. “The water fountain would be improved, horse stable will be redesigned so that ponies do not loiter in the square and better seating arrangements would be put in place,” said Dipang.
Dramatic changes are expected on completion of second phase. “Chowrasta would be extended on two sides in such a manner that sunset can be viewed. There would be parking facilities for around 60 vehicles and street vendors would be accommodated in a proper manner while keeping the road to Alice Villa clear,” said Dipang.
There is no parking space in the area right now.
The other extension would be opposite to the road that leads to Mahakal Mandir.
“From the present 50,000sqft, the space of Chowrasta would be increased to approximately 1.5 lakh sqft,” said Lama.
Parking facilities would come up at the ground level opposite Hotel Alice Villa. “This would create space to have a children park right at Chowrasta,” said Dipang.
A survey by the designers found out that vehicles would ply through the Mall Road (between Gorkha Rangamach Bhavan and Raj Bhavan) every two second at peak hours.
“This causes discomfort to those wanting to take a walk around the Mall. We have designed an elevated 8m pathway from near Southfield College gate to the Mall view point,” said Lama.
This would ensure that neither traffic nor pedestrians would be disturbed.
“Those taking a walk, in fact, will have a better and unobstructed view,” said Lama citing the example of a similar elevated pathway at Seattle, US, where a pathway was constructed to join the sea beach with the main town, which was earlier divided by a highway.
Source: The Telegraph