St.Paul’s School in Darjeeling is a Catholic all-boys residential school located in North Point, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India. It was founded in 1922 with 21 boys and one teacher from St. Paul’s College, Calcutta. The school has produced many prominent people who have excelled in the field of politics, business, science and media.
Darjeeling has one of the best mountain views in the world. Darjeeling has lush green mountains and beautiful landscapes. It is a 3-4 hour journey from the Sikkim state capital Gangtok. Therefore, if you are planning to go for a trip at Darjeeling then this travel guide will be very useful for you. Here, you will get all the tips on trip, places to see and restaurants to visit. This tour introduces you to amazing historical places Darjeeling has.
St.Paul’s School in Darjeeling: An esteemed Institution
The St. Paul’s School of Darjeeling, affectionately called “Eton of the East”. Which means it is one of the oldest boarding school in the Himalayan region of India. Founded in 1823, by the pioneer missionary Rev. Dr. J.W. Grant for educating children of hill peasants, the school has grown into a prestigious institution in the field of education.
St. Paul’s is one of the most famous schools in India. It is situated on Jawahar Road in Darjeeling, West Bengal. The school was established on November 7, 1823 by the Serampore missionaries, Revd. Dr. John Thomas and Revd. Mr. William Carey. It was then called the General Protestant School. The school has a glorious history of almost two hundred years and many eminent personalities from all walks of life have passed out from its portals.
Notable alumni of St.Paul’s School in Darjeeling
- Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi – Executive Chairman of EIH Hotels, The Oberoi Group; Padma Vibhushan.
- Major General D K Palit – Vir Chakra recipient for commanding the 9th Gorkha Rifles, author.
- Lalat Indu Parija – IAS, former Chief Secretary of Odisha, Author and Captained Odisha cricket team in the Ranji Trophy.
- Sanjib Banerjee – Chief Justice of Madras High Court.
- Subroto Roy (economist)– Indian economist, former economic advisor to late Rajiv Gandhi.
- Anand Burman – Indian businessman, chairman of Dabur.
- Karun Krishna Majumdar – during World War II, the first Indian to achieve the rank of wing commander in the Indian Air Force
- Mahesh Jethmalani – lawyer and senior council, Supreme Court of India and senior member of BJP Party.
- Manish Choudhary – Bollywood actor.
- Kelly Dorji – Actor and author.
- Anjan Dutt – Indian film director, actor, and singer-songwriter
- Kaizad Gustad – Bollywood director and author.
- Sharad Kumar – Paralympic Games high jumper, Olympian.
- Rajeev Mohta – team gold medalist and individual silver medalist in golf at the 1982 Asian Games.
- Tashi Namgyal – longest-reigning Chogyal (king) of Sikkim (r. 1914-63), who signed the 1950 treaty giving India suzerainty over Sikkim.
- Vishnu Som – senior editor and principal anchor with New Delhi Television
- Tashi Tenzing – mountain climber
- Swapan Dasgupta – columnist, Member of Parliament, Padma Bhushan
History of St.Paul’s School in Darjeeling
The history of St. Paul’s School is inseparable from the history of Darjeeling. Darjeeling has always attracted the adventurous, spiritual and educational seeker ever since the British set their foot in this land.
The Raj Bhawan (then-viceregal lodge) was built on Observatory hill in 1864. This was followed by Victoria Boys School in 1868 which was later renamed as Bhanu Bhawan, now the residence of St.Paul’s School Principal. In 1877, government land at Lebong was allotted to the Jesuits for a school and in 1888 St. Joseph’s College was established there.
In 1879, Fr. Eugene Lafont, S.J., Superior of the Jesuit mission of Nepal and Darjeeling, wrote to his colleagues:
The Jesuit Fathers had also purchased land at Char Dukan and established a printing press there so that they could publish some books for use in their schools. And finally, Lord Ripon granted permission to establish a school at Lebong in 1880 and construction started soon after.
The history of St. Paul’s School is deeply intertwined with the beginnings of Darjeeling as a British hill station and even more so with its transformation into a center of missionary activity.
The first batch of students who attended the school consisted of fourteen boys, nine of whom were Anglo-Indians and five Nepalese — three from Morang, one from Kathmandu and one from Patna. The curriculum included geography, drawing, elements of science and literature; the medium of instruction was Bengali for all subjects except English for reading and writing along with arithmetic for those who wished to learn it instead of drawing or science.
During the Raj era (1858–1947) there were two types of schools in India:
- Government schools which taught English along with other subjects and
- vernacular schools which taught in regional languages such as Hindi or Bengali only.
St. Paul’s School, Darjeeling has a long and rich history. The school is located in the very heart of Darjeeling town on Jawahar Road.
The foundation stone of St. Paul’s School was laid on 28 May 1823 by Rev. Dr. James Adam, then Bishop of Calcutta and Metropolitan of India, marking the beginning of the first English-medium school in Darjeeling and eastern India.
The school was an initiative of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG), an Anglican missionary group based in London, which had sent Rev. Dr. John Thomas, to establish schools for the native population. Rev Thomas established many schools across Bengal including St Paul’s School at Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1818, followed by its branch at Chinsurah (1819). Rev Thomas arrived in Darjeeling in 1822 and decided to establish a similar school here that would serve as a base for missionary work in Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet.
The campus of St.Paul’s School in Darjeeling
The main building of St. Paul’s School is called the “Chapel Block”.
St. Paul’s is one of the oldest and most well-known residential schools in India. It lies at an altitude of 7,200 feet on a spur of the great Mahabharat range, amidst grandeur of nature and serene quietness. Visit past grounds where some famous alumni studied including Satyajit Ray, R. K. Narayan, Victor Banerjee and many others.
The buildings in St.Paul’s school are of various architectural styles and they range from the church complex to that of a bridge and chapel school. The buildings in St.Paul’s School are amongst the oldest in Darjeeling town.
The Architecture of St.Paul’s School in Darjeeling
The architecture of St. Paul’s is a fusion of English and Indian styles.
The main building has a façade of red brick lined with stone. A porch projects in the centre, supported on stone pillars, which give it a stately appearance. Its roof is surmounted by battlements which rise above the first floor windows and form an ornamental parapet. This building is flanked by two wings, one of which is the Chapel, a frugal structure that serves as the school’s place of worship. The other wing houses the classroom for the youngest boys.
This is a very good spot for photographers as the buildings are huge, extremely beautiful and well positioned. St.Paul’s school is an English medium school affiliated to ICSE (Indian certificate of secondary education) board. The buildings in St.Paul’s school were originally built as the summer residence of the Maharaja of Cooch Behar.
The total area of this huge building is about 4 acres. One can feel the cool breeze throughout the day, especially in the evening. This building is very well maintained by the Darjeeling Municipal Corporation and tourists visit here to take photographs.
Academics in St.Paul’s School in Darjeeling
St. Paul’s School offers a broad range of subjects, so that you can continue to study the subjects that interest you most. The subjects listed below are currently on offer and may change for the academic year 2019-20.
However, one of the School’s most valuable qualities has remained unaffected:
Its international, interracial, and cross-regional cosmopolitan nature. This is an educational asset with incalculable worth. Boys from all over India, from various castes and religious communities, live, work, eat, worship, and play with boys from other countries, each with their own social and religious traditions. It’s difficult to overemphasize the importance of this factor.
The school has three sections. The Pre-primary and Primary sections are housed in a separate building located on the opposite side of the road from the main building. The Junior section is located in the main building at 7A, H D Lama Road. The Senior section is at 2, Ripon Street and the Boys’ Section is at 1, Wood Street. The main school building was built in the late 19th century and houses classrooms for students up to class 4, as well as a large auditorium.
The pre-primary section has classes from nursery to II, while the primary section has classes III to V. The junior section consists of classes VI to X and is divided into four houses – St. Mark’s (red), St. Luke’s (green), St. John’s (blue) and St. Matthew’s (yellow). These four houses compete against each other in sports, academics and co-curricular activities throughout the year culminating in an annual Inter House competition called ‘Jumper House’.
Students of these houses take on different roles. The roles like leaders, captains or vice captains of their house, during their time at the school and are expected to lead by example, both inside and outside the classroom. Students of class IX have a choice between Science, Commerce and Humanities.
Curriculum in St. Paul’s School
- Art & Design
- English Language & Literature
- French (KS3)
- Spanish (KS3)
- ICT (KS3)
Films shot at St. Paul’s School
The school has been featured in Hindi and Bengali language films including:
- Hamraaz (1967) by B. R. Chopra,
- Mera Naam Joker (1970) by Raj Kapoor,
- Seemabaddha (1971) by Satyajit Ray,
- Do Anjaane (1976) by Dulal Guha,
- Bada Din (2000),
- Main Hoon Na (2004) by Farah Khan,
- Chowrasta Crossroads of Love (2009) by Anjan Dutta,
- Barfi! (2012) and Jagga Jasoos (2017) by Anurag Basu,
- Raja the Great (2017) by Anil Ravipudi and
- Petta (2019) by Karthik Subbaraj
Hollywood actress Vivien Leigh was born on the school campus in November 1913.
The intellectual, emotional, and social changes that a child must make in such an environment bring excitement and stimulus to his schoolwork, as well as serve as a valuable preparation for such adjustments later in life in an increasingly global world.
The Rector/Administrator is the Head of the School. The Rector/Administrator maintains overall control of the Primary, Junior and Senior Wings, the Bursary and the Estate Department. ‘The Senior Master, Head of the Junior Wing and Head of the Primary Wing handle all the academic-related matters in their Wings, and handle pastoral care and administrative work in their departments’. The Bursar is in charge of the Accounts Office and oversees the employment and welfare of the Domestic Staff.
In accordance with the multiracial character of St. Paul’s recruits all it’s staff from all over India. Most of the members of the staff live on the school estate. Some residences adjoin the dormitories, others are on the boundaries of the estate in separate houses.
In addition to the teaching staff, there are the Matrons-in-charge of the personal welfare and care of the boys in the Senior, Junior and Primary Wings.
Caterers are in-charge of the boys’ diet and of the cooking and serving of food. The Estate Manager’s many sided duties include the maintenance of the buildings and of the estate in general, and assisting the Bursar with matters related to the Domestic staff.
St. Paul’s School
Darjeeling 734 103
- Rector’s Office
- Senior Master’s Office
- Bursar’s Office
- Bursar’s residence
- Estate Manager’s Office & Resi.
- Jnr Wing Head’s Office & Resi.
- Primary Wing Head’s Office
- Senior Wing Infirmary
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