• Call Us: +91-9873734364

SIMLA

The town of Shimla rose in the nineteenth century when the Gurkha Wars came to an end in 1815-16 and the victorious British decided to retain certain pockets as military outposts and sanitaria. In 1822 the most rigorous of dandies and the greatest of sticklers for form Captain Charles Pratt Kennedy, Political Agent to the Hill States directed that a house be built for him at the village whose name is variously reported as Sheyamalaya Shumlah, Shimlu and Shemlah. Kennedy House led the vanguard of the hundred-odd houses that were to scatter themselves by 1841 over every level or gently inclining space. Lured by the climate and terrain scores of European invalids began moving to the station and the only stipulation of the local chief who owned the land was that no tree be cut or cattle slaughtered.

In 1864 the Viceroy, John Lawrence anointed Shimla – then spelt Simla, as the summer capital of British India. With Lawrence came the Viceroy Council, the Imperial Secretariat, representatives of the Indian princes and foreign envoys. As the town grew to become the workshop of the Empire, an awed visitor observed, every pigeonhole cradled an embryo of a war or death. Despite the fact that up to the time of Indian independence in 1947, Shimla officially remained only the summer capital, yet the Government spent more time in these hills than at the actual capital Calcutta and later New Delhi. As the bearer of the Viceregal sceptre this tiny pocket became the cynosure of British Empire. Imperial grandeur, and all the panoply and trappings of power came along for the ride. And there was a popular local saying that went, “You cannot sleep the nights in Simla for the sound of grinding axes”. A social whirl of parties, gymkhanas, balls, fancy fairs and affaires du Coeur ensured that a heady mixture of scandal and intrigue constantly wafted through the town.

top1

Colonial Architecture

Height: Most of the town lies between 2,100 m and 2,300 m.
Languages spoken: Hindi. Also English, Punjabi and Pahari.
Religion: Mostly Hindu. Also Sikh, Muslim and Christian.
Medical Facilities: Good.
Telecommunications: Worldwide links by the net, telephone and fax, code: 0177.

Most of Shimla has diverse colonial forms culled from all over Europe. English Renaissance: With a castle-like appearance is the former Viceregal Lodge which is now the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. This is surrounded by assorted cottages. English Home Counties Marketplace: The Mall Neo-Gothic: Gorton Castle now the office of the Accountant General and formerly the Imperial Civil Secretariat; the Secretariat of the Himachal Government at Ellerslie; and the Gaiety Theatre on the Mall Norman- Baronial: District Courts. Swiss- Bavarian chalets: The Chalet Day School and Cedar Lodge (Punjab Government Rest House).

Tudor: The Library on the Ridge and Barnes Court
Churches: Christ Church, St. Andrew and the deconsecrated churches of St. Andrew’s (now, the Evening College) All Saints Chapel 9nearthe gates of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study).
Cemeteries: Adjoining Oakover, the residence of the Chief Minister of Himachal has the oldest one. The largest ‘old-one’ is below St. Edward’s school and is approached via the Potato Research Station. The one at Sanjauli also dates back to colonial times and is still in use.
Others: Yarrows, various schools and college and cottages all over town.

Sightseeing

If you are fond of walking, Shimla will unfold parts that remain hidden to vehicles. Combinations by car and then on foot are possible in several areas. It is suggested that you take a direction for the day and cover the places of interest. The area around the Institute of Advanced Study has several walks. Combine these with visit to the State Museum and expand if you will towards Kamna Devi. Tara Devi and Sankat Mochan can be linked with a short train ride to Tara Devi station. The Himalayan Queen that leaves Shimla at 10.15 am is recommended. Jakhoo can be combined with a stroll and shopping on the Mall and in Lakkar Bazaar. The Lower Bazaar that runs parallel to the Mall at a lower level has the flavour of a typical Indian market place. Trinkets that can be purchased here include silver jewellery. You can also walk towards Chotta Shimla and Raj Bhavan the residence of the state Governor.

Distances from Shimla

Places to visit Km Places to visit Km Places to visit Km
Chadwick Falls 07 Chindi 94 Craignano 18
Fagu 22 Hatkoti 109 Indian Institute of Advanced Study 04
Jakhoo Temple 2.5 Jubbal 90 Kharapathhar 85
Kotgarh 82 Mashobra 23 Naldehra 10
Narkanda 65 Prospect Hill 05 Rampur 130
Recong Peo 231 Sankat Mochan 07 Sarahan 171
State Museum 03 Summer Hill 07 Tara Devi 11
Tattapani 53