Das Studios, Darjeeling has been standing on the Nehru Road for many years and is truly the mecca of photographers and mountain lovers of the region. My visit to Darjeeling is never complete without looking at the pictures and photographs from the Das Studio. I am literally awestruck whenever I look at those lovely pictures that are on display – the mighty mountains and photographs in the villages.
I had always wanted to speak to the persons behind the studio and this year I mustered enough courage to go in and ask for him! I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Ms. Sheila Pradhan who looks after the India wing of the travel business. She is a very sweet lady who shared the story of Das Studio with me.
The Das studio was established by Mr. Thakur Das Pradhan in 1927 at the Mount Pleasant Road, near the present day market. Later the studio was shifted to the shops at the Nehru road. Mr. Thakur Das Pradhan was not only a great photographer but also an explorer. Originally from Nepal, the Pradhans had shifted to Darjeeling and the growth of Das Studios is also intertwined with the socio-cultural history of Darjeeling. It served as a meeting point of like-minded people.
Ms. Pradhan is the daughter-in-law of Mr. Thakur Das Pradhan. The family has upheld the tradition of photography and travel and exploration. Ms. Sheila Pradhan herself had started to trek after her thirties when her children were old enough. You see her and you realize that age is just a number.
“Our kids wanted trekking equipment for birthdays and festivals”, so said Ms. Pradhan. Now when the younger generations are scattered all over, the legacy is kept alive by all.
Whenever I visit the Das Studio Darjeeling, I stand still in front of the photographs of the Mt. Everest, Mt Kanchenjunga, Kala Patthar, Sandakphu and Phalut, Dzongri, Mt, Kilimanjaro and much more. the photographs of the Darjeeling town itself is exceptional. The photographs are simply mesmerising and are all for collector’s items. Even the postcard section is a great attraction. I have a precious collection of the Das Studio postcards.
A very interesting anecdote told to me by Ms. Pradhan – She had visited a shoe store in France. There she met a Tibetan boy at the store. That boy had instantly recognized the name of Das Studio. Such is the fame and stature of the Das Studio Darjeeling.
Now Das Studio has evolved with changing times and embraced digital photography. You can find more about Das Studio at the website maintained by Ratna Das Pradhan.
Das Studio is the mecca of all photographer and mountaineers. It is the heritage of Darjeeling.
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