The stunning Lal Kothi is located in the upper part of Darjeeling hill town and which boasts of the picturesque beauty along with the panoramic and splendid view of the Mt. Kanchenjunga. The excellent Lal Kothi was out of the locals for around decade as it was used as the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council headquarters.The Lal Kothi, earlier was the place dedicated to Queen Bhawani Dewan Roy and was lovingly identified as ‘Gori Wilas’. This splendid monument was built by Maharajah Prasad Nath Roy in the resemblance of a western villa and was in fact the Maharaja’s own private ‘Taj Mahal’ presented to his beloved wife.
In the reign of British Raj itself, Gori Wilas became very renowned among the British Officers as the Queen and the King threw luxurious parties. It is said that the British Officers would be seen hasting towards Gori Wilas in convoy of rickshaws in order to attended such parties. Darjeeling earlier was the summer capital of Bengal; even the Governor was as well a frequent visitor to this wonderful monument in Darjeeling.
Thus, the British fascination of the Palace and its gorgeous surrounding eventually worked against the Kings as it was ultimately occupied by the British Government in 1942. The British Empire took possession of the same ‘reflecting the reasons of the Maharaja’s inability to maintain the palace’. Well in the year 1947 the British had to vacant the palace and thus the palace was vacant and was only used as a temporarily Tibetan School until it was taken over by the Indian Government.
Later down the years Lal Kothi was transformed into a guest house, store house and then ultimately into a holiday homes for the Government Officials. Due to its picturesque location, Gori Wilas became a most sought after filming location for both Hindi and Bengali moves. The palace itself was absolute set. It is no surprise then that one of the first movies attempt at it became a super hit. This cinema was named as ‘Lal Kothi’ and Gori Wilas from then onwards, as well began to be generally identified as Lal Kothi. Such was Gori Wilas recognition a part of the admiral that other than twenty movies were attempt in its boundaries. Truly, Lal Kothi has today become an encapsulated nostalgia centre of the entire Darjeeling Hills.
By Air- The nearest airport is at Bagdogra which is about 88 kilometers from Darjeeling and it takes around three and half hour drive and is very well connected by air with all the Metros in the country.
By Rail- New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is the nearest railway station and is also about 88 kilometers from Darjeeling.
By Road- Very well connected by the means of road network, bus services can be availed from Siliguri to Darjeeling along with the small vehicles.