Himachal Pradesh: Curtains on McLeodganj’s 160-year-old Parsi link

SHIMLA: Closure of the 160-year-old shop ‘Nowrojee & Sons General Merchants’ at McLeodganj near Dharamshala has left many nostalgic and shocked. Housed in an old wooden structure, the shop was part of history that not only served to the Britishers during the Colonial rule and withstood the devastating earthquake of 1905, but also saw the sleepy Dharamshala and McLeodganj grow as international tourist destinations.

The shop was also a symbol of friendship between its late Parsi owner and Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama. Located close to the abode of Tibetan spiritual leader, the shop founded in 1860 has remained one of the iconic addresses of the hill town all these years.

The development has left many surprised in McLeodganj. “Nowrojee & Sons General Merchants was the first grocery store of Mcleodganj and the family was among the first families settled here. It is unfortunate that the younger generation from the family is unable to carry forward their business here,” said Sanjeev Gandhi, general secretary of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Smart City Dharamshala. He said more than just a small shop, Nowrojee & Sons General Merchants was a brand in itself as initially McLeodganj was known by the name of shop itself. “If the family members would meet us, we would request them not to sell the property and not to close the shop,” he added.

Nauzer was the eldest among five brothers and he looked after this shop for 60 years. While Nauzer died at the age of 85, his two sons are settled outside the state.

Caretaker of the shop Joginder Singh who was working here for many years said the shop was being closed as the family was not interested in running it. He refused to comment further.

Published on Times of India