Chander Pahar
Signet Press edition cover
AuthorBibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay
TranslatorsSantanu Sinha Chaudhuri, Pradeep Kumar Sinha (2002 translation, reprinted 2007)
IllustratorShyamalkrishna Bose
Cover artistSatyajit Ray
PublisherM. C. Sircar & Sons Limited (Bengali), Orient Blackswan (English translation, 2002)
Publication date
Published in English
1 July 2002
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
Pages175 pp (Eng. trans. edition)

Chander Pahar (transl.Mountain of the Moon) is a Bengali adventure novel written by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay[2] and published in 1937. The novel follows the adventures of a young Bengali man in the forests of Africa. The novel is one of the most-loved adventure novels in the Bengali literature and is one of Bibhutibhushan's most popular works. It spawned a media franchise.

Plot summary

Shankar facing a lion.

This novel tells the story of an ordinary young Bengali man, Shankar Ray Choudhuri, as he adventures in Africa in the years 1909 and 1910. After graduating from college at 20-years-old, his family's financial struggles almost force him take a job in a jute mill in Shyamnagar — a prospect he absolutely loathes.

Shankar loves the subject of geography, he wants to follow the footsteps of renowned explorers like Livingstone, Mungo Park, and Marco Polo. He wants to explore the wilderness, passionate for learning about African forests and animals. By a stroke of luck, he gets a job as a clerk at the Uganda Railway and rushes to Africa without a second thought.

After a few months laying rail tracks, he encounters the first of many dangers in pre-World War I Africa: a man-eating lion. Later, he takes up a job as station-master in a desolate station amidst the Veldts, where he narrowly escapes a deadly black mamba. While at this post, Shankar encounters, rescues and nurses Diego Alvarez, a middle-age Portuguese explorer and gold/diamond prospector. Alvarez's arrival becomes a turning point in Shankar's life.

While recovering, Alvarez describes his exploits in Africa with his friend Jim Carter. He explains that, lured by the prospect of a priceless yellow diamond from a Kaafi village chief, Alvarez and Carter searched for these yellow diamond caves, on the Mountain of the Moon (Chander Pahar) in the Richtersveld. Rumors suggested a mythical monster, the Bunyip, guards the mine. The explorers set off into the dense jungle, much against the villagers' advice, and Carter was gruesomely killed, supposedly by the Bunyip.

Shankar, inspired by Alvarez's exploits, resigns from his job and accompanies Alvarez to venture again for the mines. They meet hardships, like a racist gambler, legends about Dingonek the monster and later, a raging volcano. Eventually, they get lost in the forests where Alvarez is killed by the Bunyip. Demoralised, Shankar tries to return to civilization. He finds the Bunyip's cave and the diamond mines by accident. Almost getting lost, he finds the remains of the Italian explorer, Attilio Gatti, and learns that the cave is in fact the diamond mine.

Leaving, he becomes lost in the deserts of Kalahari and nearly dies of thirst. Fortunately, he is rescued by a survey team and taken to a hospital in Salisbury, Rhodesia, from where he sets sail for home. Before going back, he writes his account in a newspaper, earning him money. He names the volcano after Alvarez. He ends the book saying that he will return to the cave one day with a large team, and continue the legacy of Alvarez, Carter, and Gatti.


In other media

Main article: Chander Pahar (franchise)


Director Kamaleshwar Mukherjee mentioned Chander Pahar as his "Dream Project". The film has reportedly incorporated CGI and visual effects at par with Hollywood and Bollywood standards. Dev plays the role of the main protagonist, Shankar.[4] Most of the other cast members are from South Africa. According to the crew members, it took a considerable time to decide who would play the role of Diego Alvarez, and South African actor Gérard Rudolf was selected. The first theatrical trailer of the film was released by Shree Venkatesh Films, at the Kolkata Nicco Park on 14 November 2013.

Shooting locations include Kruger National Park, the mountains of Drakensberg, and the deserts of Kalahari.[5]

Graphic novels

Moon Mountain
Date15 Feb 2014
Page count160 pages
PublisherPenguin India
Creative team
WritersBibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay
ArtistSayan Mukherjee
CreatorBibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay
Original publication


Inspired by Shankar's character in Chander Pahar Bengali adventurer Anindya Mukhopadhyay took an expedition to explore the "Chander Pahar" or "Mountain of the Moon" in Africa, which inspired Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay to write the novel, and he finds the real "Mountain of the Moon" is Rwenzori Mountains. Anindya Mukhopadhyay travelled the mountain and have written a book called Abar Chander Pahar, where he explained about his journey to Rwenzori Mountains.[9][10]

Sequels by other writers

See also