Queen of Hill Stations
|State||: Himachal Pradesh|
|Type of Tourism||: Hill Station|
|Area||: 25 square km|
|Population||: 1, 44,975 (As per Indian census- 2005)|
|Altitude||: 2,205 meters|
|Best Tourist Season||: All round the year|
|Clothing recommended||: Light woolen in summer, heavy woolen in winter|
|Languages spoken||: Hindi, Punjabi, Pahadi and English|
|Telephone Code||: India (0177), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 171001|
|What to buy||: Handicrafts, Handmade Artifacts, Woolen Shawls, Pashmina Shawls, Himachali Caps, Colorful Gloves, Sweaters, Pullovers, Socks, Rugs, Woolen Coats, Kinnauri Mufflers and Scarves, Local Tweeds, Juices, Pickles, Jams, Squashes, Wood and Metalwork, Key Chains, Candle Stands, Carved Sticks, Pots, Pans and Spoons - All Made of Wood, Handmade Shoes, Dolls, Tibetan Jewelries, etc.|
|Food Specialties||: Fresh Corn Flour Grounded With Water and Eaten With Milk, Kaddu Ka Khatta, Guchhi Matter & Sepu Vadi, Kullu Trout, Grilled Fish, Chicken Anaardana, Mittha, Nasasta, Dham, Rice, Moong Dal and Rajma Cooked in Yoghurt, Dark Lentil or Mash Dal, Tamarind Sauce, A Dessert Made From Rice Mixed With Dry Fruits and Raisins, etc.|
|Local transportation||: Taxis, Buses, Auto Rickshaws|
|Adventure in Shimla||: Trekking, Ice Skating, Skiing, Horse Riding, Mountain Biking, Rafting, Tobogganing, Go Karting|
The erstwhile summer capital of British and treasured all over the globe as the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’, Shimla (Simla) is an exceptionally popular vacation retreat of India. Nestled at an altitude of about 2205 meters in the north-west Himalayan ranges amidst the forests flourishing with pine, cedar, rhododendron, and oak trees, Shimla, the present capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh is perhaps the most sought after hill resort of India equally loved by the honeymooners as well as the nature lovers and travelers. First discovered by a British Officer Lt. Rose, during the Gorkha War, Shimla almost wholly owes its disposition to British who turned this trivial layover on the way to the temple of Goddess Shyamala into an applauded holiday escape of a subcontinent. The enchanting aura of Shimla differs from all other hill stations of the country. Shimla is a conurbation reckoned for its Victorian, Tudorbethan and Neo-Gothic order of architecture, which still reminds us of the colonial era in India. The historical Kalka-Shimla Railway Route, one of the longest narrow gauge railway routes still operational in India links Shimla with Kalka. This dandy hill resort perched amidst the lofty snow-crowned Himalayan ranges and endowed with infinite natural beauty and salubrious climate is indeed a paradise descended on the earth. The pleasant cold summers and the snowy winters of Shimla fascinate its visitors to no extend. Imperial snow capped mountains, peachy little lakes and verdant green landscapes together create such a picturesque panorama that its looks like an artist’s dream come true in its real sense.
The title Shimla finds its origin from the name of the Goddess Shyamala; an incarnation of Goddess Kali who is worshipped as the deity of rage and power. Clearly in contrast with its name, Shimla is the Utopia where one can find the ultimate peace of mind amongst the tranquil and romantic ambiance of the Himalayan Sierras.
History Of Shimla
In early 19th century Shimla was in the custody of Prithvi Narayan Shah of Nepal. Between 1814 and 1816, the British East India Company with the support of the local kings verged war against Nepal. The war was concluded with the signing of the ‘Sugauli Treaty’ according to which Shimla, along with some other regions of Northern India such as Almora, Garhwal, Kumaon, Sirmaur, Kangra and Dehradun were handed over to the British East India Company. During that period Shimla was known as the abode of Hindu Goddess Shyamala. The British officials fell in love with the pristine natural beauty of Shimla at the very first sight and they began to develop the region as their summer retreat. Charles Pratt Kennedy, a Scottish civil servant was the first person to build the first British summer home in Shimla in the year 1822.
In 1827, Lord Amherst; the then Governor-General of Bengal put up a summer camp here. Within next ten years more than hundred cottages were established in Shimla. Quite soon, Shimla was reported as a pleasant refuge from the smoldering heat of Indian plains by Lord William Bentinck; the next Governor-General of Bengal in his later to Colonel Churchill written in 1832 which read, “Simla is only four days march from Loodianah, is easy of access, and proves a very agreeable refuge from the burning plains of Hindoostaun.” Sir John Lawrence, the then Viceroy of India shifted the administration between Shimla and Calcutta twice a year. Lord Lytton, also the Viceroy of India between 1876 and 1880 undertook the planning of the town from 1876.
Gradually, Shimla was urbanized as a British Colony and apart from the government officials, British Soldiers, Civil Servants, Merchants, and the British wives and children of the officers moved to Shimla to escape from the scorching summer of India. The historical Kalka-Shimla Railway line, laid in 1906 added to the accessibility as well as the popularity of this ‘British Jewel of the Orient’. From 1871 till the creation of Chandigarh, Shimla served as the capital of the undivided Punjab State. With the formation of the state Himachal Pradesh in 1971, Shimla was appointed as its capital, which has retained its position till date. Some of the pre independence edifices of Shimla such as Viceregal Lodge, Gorton Castle, Auckland House, Gaiety Theatre, Peterhoff House, etc. stand as the reminiscent of the British Era.