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SHIMLA                                            General Information of Shimla

History of Shimla started from Stately Windsor Castle where the "Widow of Windsor" reigned in lonely, isolated splendour after the death of her beloved consort, Prince Albert, to the small, but ancient temple surrounded by thick woods where the himalayan Goddess, Shamla, a synonym of Kali, reigned her celestial realm on earth is indeed, distant cry, but for well over a century, the two places, almost inter-linked, ruled the destiny of this sub-continent. In the year 1818, when Queen Victoria's uncle, William IV, was King of England, Lord William Bentick,the Governer General, had transformed the Company's dominion in India to the Dominion of India, and it was accurate to speak of Britain's Indian Empire. The frontier ran from bengal to Kathiawar, to the north it ran through the Thar desert and along the Sutlej nearly to the Himalayan range. The great hills were the northern boundary except for the Gurkha state of Nepal. Beyond this line lay the Punjab, Kashmir and the kingdom of Afghanistan. In 1814, the Nepalese king brought about the first war with Nepal over Sikkim, the Gurkhas had marched into Sikkim, whose ruler appealed, to the East India Company for help. The Sikkim ruler was installed and his territorial status was guaranteed but during the conflict the British discovered the beauties of Darjeeling and accidentally also the thickly wooded spot, abode of the goddess Shamla, and a part of the Kingdom of Nepal. When war broke afresh in 1819, the British took the place with its cool and healthy climate. Shimla is capital of Himachal Pradesh.

PLACES OF INTEREST

Shimla Mall 
The city's main shopping centre and promenade packed with clubs, theaters, restaurants and bars, it houses shops filled with the latest in fashion, from Bond Street, benares, or bambay. As the town grew, so cam elarge stores like Whiteway and Laidelaw, the Army and Navy Stores, Ranken Brothers and others. this was the seat of imperial power and mi'lady demanded nothing but the best so laden ships came from over the seven seas to cater ti Imperial tastes. It was impossible to import the London theatre so the reproduction of teh Old Garrick. The Gaiety theatre, was built staging Shakespeare, Marlowe, Agatha Christie, Noel Coward even T.S Eliot; the players, amateurs could give even the most versatile seasoned stage star of the era, a run for his money. Young army officers and their wives, they took to greasepaint and the boards like a duck takes to water. The Green Room, inevtiably, turned into a social club. Soon elegant hotels like Davico's, Wengers, Cecil and Clarke's came up providing drinks, dinner and dance. The tea dance invariably led to the dinner dance at the Davico's Ball room or at the Cecil Hotel, a short distance away. After a rousing game of golf, or billiards on the Mall itself, it wa the thing socially de regeur (proper) to sip a glass of cool bear in the filtering sunlight at one of the hotels overlooking the avenue. This was SHimla's past and this is Shimla's present. Life still follow the same pattern. Everybody seems to on a holiday in Shimla. There is not mcuh to do in and around town. After independence some of the ultra British stores moved away, but the quality remains the same, indeed, even with a larger variety of goods to delight the eye and taste. After shopping on the mall, the road usually leady down the crooked alleys of the Middle and Lower bazar below the Mall where hill-men display thier quaint creafts and other shops offer merchandise to suit every pocket, every taste. Some find it fun to haggle with the Tibetans, others look for unusual bargains and curios from the old Viceregal Estate or the homes of departed British Officials, Indian Estates and rare manuscripts, books, hand paintings, clocks and many more at Maria Bros., or Book Emporium both at the Mall.

The Institute of Advanced Studies 
Some come, however, for a seminar at the Institute of Advanced Studies, housed appropriately in the magnificaent Rashtrapati Niwas, or the old Viceregal Lodge, near Summer Hill, the scene of many a fun, frolic or escapade, where, too, the fate of nationas was decided. Here in the vast room, spacious gardens and ringed by formidable pines the discussions now are on entirely different topics. All is calm, all is serene-just the atmosphere carved by a student of world affair, be it, litereature, be it politics.

Jakhoo Hill
 
For lovers of solitude, a short climb, early in the morning to the summit of Jakhoo at a height of 2,438.4 metres and two kilometers east of the town, towering over Shimla, rewards the climber with the glorious spectacle of the sun rising over the eternal snows and a panoramic view of Shimla spreadeagled below. Here, too is an old temple dedicated to the god Hanuman, now also the home of countless playful monkeys waiting hopefully to be fed by all the visitors.

Tara Devi

Calm and tranquil, 11 km from the Shimla bus stand, Tara Devi has a temple dedicated to the Goddess of the Stars on top of a hill. Developed by the British, it holds the Military Dairy Farm, and the boy - scout head-quarters. At a height of 1,851 metres Tara Devi is an ideal place for the person seeking a rest from the hectic life of Shimla.

Shimla State Museum 
Overlooking the Institute of Advanced Studies and housed in a beautiful on high ground, the Shimla State Museum was opened in 1974 and has growing collection of 2,000 object d'art. It contains a rich collection of paintings left with the family of Wazir Kartar Singh of Nurpur, Kangra. Of the 144 paintings, two-thirds will be kept with the National Museum, New Delhi and the remainder in the State Museum.

Annadale (Shimla's Playground)

Developed as teh playground of the capital, Annadale is as far down as Jakhoo is up. At an altitude of 1,864 metres is 2.4 Km from the Ridge, in the old days it was used for picnics, circket and the Gymknana races, besides riding to the hounds. It is still a favourite spot for cricket, picnics and the princely game of Polo. 

Jakhoo Hills 
For lovers of solitude, a short climb, early in the morning to the summit of Jakhoo at a height of 2,438.4 metres and two kilometers (1 1/4) east of the town, towering over Shimla, ewards the climber with the glorious spectacle of the sun rising over the eternal snows and a panoramic view of Shimla spreadeagled below. Here, too, is an old temple dedicated to the god Hanuman, now also the home of countless playful monkeys waiting hopefully to be fed by all the visitors. 

The Glen Forests 
Four kilometers from the Ridge and beyond Annandale a stream flows through the densely forested Glen at an altitude of 1,830 metres. Here besides the Bubbling stream of icy cold water, fresh from the melting snows, is a delightful, seculded picnic sport. North-west of Shimla, it is approached by two different routes, one near he Cecil Hotel and the other from the Kennedy House, the first house to be erected in Shimla and now housing the executive offices of the Himachal Government. 

Summer Hill 
Situated at a distance of 5 km from the Ridge is the lovely suburb of SUmmer Hill, at an altitude of 1,982 M and on the Shimla - Kalka railway line. In these quiet surroundings with secluded shady walks, lived Mahatma Gandhi during his visits to Shimla. The Mahatma lived in the elegant Georgian house of Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur, daughter of the last ruler of the Punjab, Maharaja Dalip Singh, and free India's first woman minister. She held the Health Portfolio. 

Chadwick Falls 
Seven kilometers (4.5 miles) west of the Ridge and beyond Summer Hill are the silent Chadwick Falls. At an altitude of 1,586 metres, the 67 metres falls were best in the Monsoon. A deep gorge was finely carved out by the once falling waters, now dead. 

Mashobra & Craignano 
A place of unique beauty is the oak and pine retreat of Mashobra, 9.6km from Ridge at an altitude of 2,149metres (7,700 ft.), it is unbeatable for an ideal interlude beneath oak and pine. To dream the night away and enjoy the sylvan surroundings, is the equally beautiful rest house of Craignano and the Circuit House of FairlLawns. On the top of the hill, for the naturalists, it is considered to be among the most beautiful rest houses in Shimla Hills.Just 3km from Mashobra, Craignano is at an height of 2,279metres (7,800 ft.). A winding path leads through the forest of pines up a gentle incline to the breath taking beautiful gardens filled with an abundance of flowers, amidst clumps of trees, in the spacious lawns, are stone benches and lovely secluded picnic spots. 

Kufri (Winter Sports Capital) 
If Shimla is the summer capital per excellence, Kufri, 13 Km from the Ridge, 16 Km fromthe bus stand, makes it the winter sports capital at an altitude of 2,622 metres, it is ideal for skiing. the air is crisp, invigorating and the snow, warm - Kufri is agog with activity, tourists, in their thousands, have come from far and near to partake in the poetry of motion, skiing. Fun form the very begining, the real sense of exhilaration in the joyous sport comes along with the sense of accomplishment that follows the first time one skis down a slope under total control. Then come the ethereal joys of the downhill, the exhilaration of speed and the intoxication of the control of onew nerves. No dictionary has been able to define the joys and thrills of the game.

Narkanda 
Surrounded by dense forest of pine and deodar and orchads of apple a beautiful town is located at the height of 2708 meters,is about 64 km from Shimla via Theog. Narkanda is also famous for skiing both for professional as well as amateur. Himachal Tourism conducts short ski courses every year from the month of January to March. 

Naldhera 
The panaromic nine hole golf course with its springy turf and surrounded by deodar trees was laid out at the instace of the viceroy, ord Curzon. Originaly called Nal Deo 23 km from Shimla .In every june Sipi Fair celebrated here attended by gay and costumed villagers from all over the state. 

Fagu 
Picturesquily located amid forests and apple orchads is a vantage point with panoramic views of the higher ranges and valleys. Just 6 km from Kufri and 22 km from Shimla Fagu is located at the height of 2509 meters. Fagu has a rest house and tourist bungalow overlooking the Giri valley. 

SPORTING ACTIVITIES

Golfing : Nine hole Golf Course at Naldhera, 23 km from Shimla.

Fishing : Trout fishing is available at Rohru 110 km from Shimla and at Seema 1 km from Rohru. Mahaseer fishing is available at Tattapani 43 km from Shimla.

Skiing : The skiing season generally commences in the first fortnight of January and continues till Mid-March depending upon snow conditions

Trekking : The Shimla-Kinnaur region offers some exciting trekking opportunities viz.
a) Shimla to Kulu via Jaloni Pass (66 kms).
b) Shimla to Kulu via Bashleo Pass (56 kms).
c) Sarahen to Sangla (106 kms).

How to reach

Air: Shimla has an airport, 22 km away, from the main city with regular flights to Delhi. Chandigarh airport, 120 km away on the plains, has flights at more regular intervals. The flights to Shimla may be called off, during the winter months of December, January and February, so you will need to check them up in advance. 

Train: Broad-gauge trains run till Kalka, from all the parts of the country. From Kalka onwards, a rail car on narrow gauge takes you to Shimla which offers some fantastic sights. You can also take a bus from Kalka to Shimla. 

Bus: Shimla is connected by road to Chandigarh, Delhi, Dehradun, Kalka, and to many other places as well. 


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