Chander Pahar (meaning Mountain of Moon in Bangla) is a famous novel by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay. Chronicling the adventures of a Bengali boy in the forests of Africa, it is considered to be one of the most important adventure novels written in Bangla.
This Bengali novel was written by Bibhutibhushan Banerjee in the 1930s.
It is the story of a young Bengali mans adventures in Africa in the years 1909-1910. Shankar, the protagonist, is a 20 year old man, recently graduated from college and about to take up a job in a jute mill, a prospect he absolutely loathes.
He yearns for adventure, wild lands, forests and animals. He wants to follow the foot-steps of famous explorers like, Livingstone, Mungo Park, Marco Polo, all of whom he has read about and idolizes. By a stroke of luck, he secures a job as a clerk in Uganda Railways through a fellow villager already working there and goes to Africa with a second thought.
There, he spends a few months laying rail tracks but soon encounters the first of many dangers of Pre-World War I Africa -- man-eating lions. Later he takes up a job as station master in desolate station. Here he encounters the another hazard in Africa: the poisonous black mamba. He also rescues and looks after the middle aged Portuguese explorer and gold prospector, Diego Alvarez. The encounter with Alavarez influences him deeply. Alavarez tells him of his earlier exploits and adventures, how he and his companion Jim Carter had braved deep jungles and mountains of Richsterveldt to find the largest diamond mine. However, they were thwarted by the legendary Bunip, a monster which guards the mines which killed Carter.
Shankar gives up his job and accompanies Alvarez as he decides to venture out once more and find the mines again. They meet with innumerable hardships, a raging volcano being the greatest challenge. Eventually they get lost in the forests where Alvarez is killed by a mysterious monster, the same that had taken Carters life, the Bunip.
Shankar sets out to reach civilization. He finds the Bunip's cave and the diamond mines by accident. With great difficulty, he gets out, marking his way with "pebbles" and taking some back with him, not knowing each is a piece of uncut diamond. He finds the remains of the Italian explorer, Attolio Gatti. He becomes lost in the deserts of Kalahari and is rescued by a survey team, and taken to Salisbury, Rhodesia, from where he sets sail for home.
Characters in "Mountain of the Moon"
* Shankar- the hero of the story, a young Bengali man from a village in Bengal.
* Diego Alvarez- a Portuguese explorer.
* Jim Carter - British explorer, Alvarez's companion in his previous expedition. Carter is killed by the "Bunip".
* Attolio Gatti - Italian explorer. He discovers the diamond mine caves in c. 1879 but dies in a cave (later discovered by Shankar) on his way back.