Shimla

I had seen, as dawn was breaking
and I staggered to my rest.
Tara Devi softly shaking.
From the Cart road to the crest
I had seen the spur of Jakko
heave and quiver, swell and sink,
Was it earthquake or tobacco,
day or dawn, or night of drink?

-Rudyard Kipling.

Resting on seven small hills, with a stunning panorama of the snow-capped Western Himalayan range, the story of Shimla begun in early 1800’s with the intrusions of Gurkhas from Gangetic plains into Himachal. Divided into small princely states, the wealth and peace was massively plundered by Gurkhas. Helpless local rulers, asked for help from East India Company and Gurkhas were pushed back.

Shimla from a book by Bickers and Son, London, 1878.

Shimla from a book by Bickers and Son, London, 1878.

Shimla – derived its name from ‘Shyamalaya’ meaning   blue house said to be the name of house built of blue slate by a faqir on Jakhu. According to one version Shimla takes its name from ‘Shamla’ meaning a blue female another name for Goddess Kali. The place was on the Jakhu hillside, there was a temple of Goddess Kali. During the British period the image of the Goddess was shifted to a new place, now famous Kali Bari Temple.

British decided to camp on the hills of Shimla in summers to beat the scorching heat of plains in India.  Acknowledged as ‘Queen of Hills’, Shimla and later became the summer capital of British India, the town is embraced with some fine examples of architectural styles from all around the world and these buildings still peek into the bygone glory of the era.

Shimla – The nostalgia of Raj.

GHO Gurkha War1815 Gurkha war end.

GHO Shimla, Early 18001817 First definite mention of Shimla in the journal of Alexander Gerard.

GHO Kennedy cottage 18221822 the first ‘permanent’ residence built by Captain Charles Pratt Kennedy.

GHO Combermere birdge1828 Commander-in-Chief, Lord Combermere visits Shimla.

GHO Shimla 18301830 over 30 houses built in Shimla.

GHO The town1841 Over hundred houses in Shimla.

Journey to Jubbal (Near Nangal Devi, Theog)1850 Work on Hindustan Tibet road commences.

Town Hall Shimla in distant1851 Municipal government introduced.

GHO Christ Church1857 ‘The Great Revolt’ breaks out. Christ Church constructed.

GHO Peterhoff1862 Peterhof becomes the residence of the Viceroys.

GHO Shimla 18641864 Shimla becomes the Summer Capital of British India.

GHO Shimla populated1868 Number of houses recorded 290 with population 7077.

GHO Rail Station - Ambala India 19451869 Rail link between Kolkota and Ambala completed.

GHO Mayo orphanage1871 Mayo orphanage opened.

Rudyard Kipling1883 Rudyard Kipling visits Shimla for the first time.

GHO Railway Board and Commerce Building1897 Railway Board and Department of Commerce building opened.

GHO Kalka - Shimla railway line1903 Kalka – Shimla railway service starts on 9 November.

GHO Telegraph office Shimla1922 Present Telegraph Office building completed.

GHO Lord Wavel1943 Lord Wavell becomes the Viceroy.

Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, Ex-Premier of the United Provinces and Mr. M.A. Jinnah, President, All-India Muslim League in conversation.1945 ‘Shimla conference’ begins in June.

GHO 15Aug19471947 April to August, Lord Mountbatten was Viceroy. India becomes independent on 15 August.

GHO Himachal Pradesh statehood.1972 Himachal Pradesh granted full statehood.

2 Responses to Shimla

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