DBR Mills came across my purview more than a decade ago. I heard about it in passing and was curious to learn more about it. Old news articles told me that DBR (Dewan Bahadur Ramgopal) Mills shut down in 1992 temporarily but was never opened after that. Today, two and a half decades after its closure, the buildings line in complete ruin. The mills are located in the lower tank bund area and presently resemble a small forest. I have wanted to explore the area ever since I heard about it and finally took the step last October. With news that the area might be re-purposed for government buildings, I realized it was now or never and along with a couple of friends, mustered up the courage to explore the abandoned area of the mills, on a damp Sunday morning.
The whole compound is around 22 acres and is completely overgrown with plants and weeds. All 3 of us wore thick jeans, full sleeved shirts and boots, so as to protect from random thorns and any sharp nails/leftover objects on the floor. Getting inside was easier than expected though – we simply walked in through the crumbling building on the main road of lower tank bund. But once we passed through the initial building, we realized that walking through the tall shrubs and bushes would be tricky. Armed with a stick, we slowly pushed away stray branches and made our way towards the first building that we could see in the distance.
Upon reaching the building, we realized it was merely a shell of 4 walls and the entire roof had caved, probably a long time ago. All the structures in the compound did not have roofs and the floors were littered with broken tiles and AC sheets. Then we came across a very large chimney which was quite rusty and looked like it might collapse any moment. It even had a ladder on the side to climb it all the way to the top but we decided to err on the side of caution.
Walking through the ceiling-less structures, between the corridors and undergrowth made me wonder about life when the mills was in its heyday. Workers would have been bustling around, officers would be walking around and the entire atmosphere would have been filled with the din of machines. But on that day, we only had the rustle of leaves and occasional chirping of the distant bird.
Following Google Maps, we proceeded East. We stumbled across a large pool of water with some structures inside it, many more large buildings without roofs and a few corridor like areas. In the large hall like area, there were gaps in the floor where I suppose the machines would have been once installed but we found a few families of stray dogs living in this mini underground spaces.
Finding a way out got a little difficult at one point since most paths ended in too much shrubbery to walk through. But after trying out several different routes which ended up nowhere, we managed to come across one usable route. It was only on the final steps that we realized we had walked over a rubbish dump to get out but were glad that we did not have to walk all the back to the entrance!
All photos shot with a Canon 5D Mk IV and Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II lens. Thanks to Nasrullah and Suri for coming along on this journey!
If you are keen on exploring the place, please take all necessary precautions and don’t go alone.