Mcleodganj’s iconic Nowro­jee Gen­eral Store to shut shop af­ter 160 years

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - News - Naresh K Thakur

DHARAMSHAL­A: Lo­cated in the heart of Mcleodganj town and barely a kilo­me­tre from Ti­betan spir­i­tual leader the Dalai Lama’s abode, the iconic Nowro­jee & Sons Gen­eral Mer­chants will shut shop next month af­ter a 160-year run.

The Parsi fam­ily that owns one of the old­est shops in Hi­machal Pradesh from the Bri­tish era has sold the prop­erty and is in the process of winding up the business. Though the store-cum-res­i­dence has seen six gen­er­a­tions of the Nowro­jee fam­ily at the helm, Nauzer Nowro­jee was the most pop­u­lar and was a friend of the Dalai Lama, for more than 60 years be­fore his death in 2002.

“It’s been a tough de­ci­sion but some­times you have to let go of things,” says Nauzer’s younger son and Delhi-based owner Parvez Nowro­jee, who is re­tired from a pri­vate com­pany and was run­ning the shop with the help of care­taker since 2010.

Nauzer’s el­der son Ku­rush Nowro­jee owns a tea business in West Ben­gal.

At present, Parvez and Ku­rush are in Mcleodganj to col­lect their be­long­ings and wrap up business.

DOWN MEM­ORY LANE

Nowro­jees man­u­fac­tured aer­ated drinks and min­eral wa­ter and sold wine, gro­cery brands, bak­ery prod­ucts, tobacco, toi­letries, and even arms and am­mu­ni­tion.

Its clo­sure is a heart­break­ing mo­ment for lo­cal res­i­dents. “This store is wit­ness to many a his­toric event and how the towns of Dharamshal­a and Mcleodganj evolved,” says Prem Sa­gar, 58, who runs a book shop and tour and travel business op­po­site the store. “It’s is sad mo­ment for peo­ple like me who were emo­tion­ally at­tached to the store. But change is the law of na­ture and this is how his­tory is cre­ated,” he said.

An­other res­i­dent Kul Prakash Sharma, 50, said: “We will miss this store that is syn­ony­mous with Mcleodganj. I have a col­lec­tion of la­bels and stick­ers from this shop. They will now be­come sou­venirs. I’ve heard the wooden struc­ture will be gone soon.”

OLD WORLD CHARM IN­TACT

Nowa­days, the shop sells news­pa­pers, mag­a­zines and con­fec­tionary be­sides ex­hibit­ing relics from a by­gone era. Housed in the wooden struc­ture are an­tiques, in­clud­ing a Petro­max 835 Spe­cial, which is a Ger­many­made hang­ing wick lamp.

There are cases of im­ported cig­a­rette brands such as Pass­ing Show, Craven A, and Num­ber Ten Vir­ginia.

Ad­ver­tis­ing posters from the Bri­tish era, Blue Bird tof­fees and old wine and beer bot­tles are also avail­able.

HT PHOTO

Parvez Nowro­jee at the 160-year-old Nowro­jee & Sons Gen­eral Store in Mcleodganj town of Hi­machal Pradesh. He is from the sixth gen­er­a­tion of the Parsi fam­ily and has sold the prop­erty af­ter it be­came fi­nan­cially un­vi­able to man­age.

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