Shimla Town

It may have been derived from Shyamla meaning blue/black house, which was made of blue slate by a faqir on Jakhu hill.
Shimla was known as ‘Capua of India’ (a city in Italy), The Indian Mount Olympus, The Viceroy’s “shooting box”, “Home of the heaven born”, The Ridge-Nucleus of Shimla, and “Abode of little tin gods”. It was popularly known as Jewel of Orient”, “Queen of Hill Stations”, “Star of Hill Resorts” and “Town of Dreams”.
James Baillic Fraser (Scottish), was first to visit Shimla area in 1814-15. He was a civilian with the army of General Martin’dell who entered the hills in November 1814.
Lt. Ross in 1819 A.D. built a log hut as summer retreat near village Shimla. After him in 1822 AD, Capt. P.C. Kennedy (1822-35) built a pucca house (Kennedy House) which was near present Vidhan Sabha.
The Ridge, Annandale (1860 m) and 7 Hills: Inverarm Hill (2179m), Elysium Hill (2257 m), Summer Hill (2070 m) Jakhu Hill (2449 m), Pleasant/Bantony (2160 m), Prospect Hill (2175 m), Observatory Hill (2135 m)
Mahatma Gandhi’s major visits to Shimla:
12th May 1921: Meeting with Viceroy & speech to the people in at the Id-Gah Maidan & stayed at ‘Shanti Kutir” Summer Hill.11th May, 13th July, 25th August (1931): Met Lord Willingdon.28th June & 27th September (1940) – Meeting of Indian National Congress with Viceroy.
23rd June 1945: Discussion under Wavell Plan.2nd May 1946: Discussions on Cabinet Mission & Cripps Mission.
In 1819, Lt. Ross, Assistant Political Agent in the Hill States built a cottage of wood and thatch. This was probably the first British House in Shimla.In 1827, Lord Amherst, once said that “Emperor of China and I govern half of human race, and yet we find time for breakfast” at Kennedy House.In 1828, Lord Combermere with his staff and the whole establishment of Army Head Quarters came upto Shimla. ‘Combermere Bridge’ and a road of three miles in length was built around Mt. Jakhu. He also stayed at Kennedy House.In 1829, a house named ‘Bentick Castle’ was built for the Governor General, Lord William Bentick. Later on, it was known as ‘Pleti’s Grand Hotel’.In 1838, ‘Shimla Manifesto’ was released for Afghan War from Auckland House (Governor General’s House).In 1856, Cart road was completed from Kalka to Shimla.1913-14: Tripartite conference between British, China & Tibet which was unsuccessful. British were represented by MacMohan at Viceregal Lodge.A. O. Hume who was Secretary to Government of India in Department of Agriculture, Revenue & commerce, conceived idea of Congress Party (1885). Hume ultimately settled at ‘Rothney Castle’ in Shimla.
Shimla was made the British India’s summer capital in 1864, which persisted until 1939. Since 1871, Shimla had been capital of Punjab Government as well. After 1947, Shimla became the capital of Punjab and later became capital of HP.
Conny Cottage became General Post Office (GPO) of Shimla in1882. It was first post office of North India.
The Gaiety Theatre was opened on the 30th of May, 1887, & first play hosted was “Time will tell”. It still has an Amateur Dramatic Club.
Rippon Hospital was designed by Henry Irwin and completed in 1885 It was inaugurated by Lord Dufferin on May 14, 1885. And named after Lord Rippon.
Gorton Castle was built in the Neo-Gothic style of architecture during 1901-04. It was once the Civil Secretariat of British govt and became the Office of the Accountant General in 1947 and remains so till date. Swinton Jacob (Head of Forest Department, British India) built it and the material used was a Rosewood-like timber brought from Andaman by B. Ribbentrop.
Vice Regal Lodge was constructed during the Viceroyalty of Lord Dufferin during 1884–1888 by architect Henry Irwin; Built in Neo-Gothic architectural style, it was the first building to have electric lighting in Shimla. Lord Lytton selected the site.It was the venue of the Shimla Conference in 1945 and it was here that the decision of partition of India was taken in 1947.After Independence in 1947, it was renamed as Rashtrapati Niwas. It has been renamed as Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. It was selected as a place for Advance Studies in 1965 by then President of India Dr. S. Radhakrishnan
1844: Daniel Wilson, Bishop of Calcutta laid the foundation stone of Christ Church of Shimla.
Shimla Railways:
It runs through 103 tunnels and crosses over 800 bridges. Built on November 9, 1903 by the DLI- UMB-KLK Railway Company, Kalka- Shimla rail route was commissioned for service on January 1, 1906.There are 864 bridges. The longest one is No. 226 with a length of 112.14 metres. There were 103 (one is closed at present) tunnels, longest being 1143 metres
Town Hall was built in 1860 out of stone and timber and was expanded /renovated later. Shimla is the only class-1 town in the state.
Major Kennedy introduced potato cultivation in Shimla Hills. Hence known as ”Father of Green Revolution”.
Lawrence Asylum was founded at Sanawar near Kasauli in 1847.
Petterhoff: Later, the High Court of Punjab, and former residence of the Viceroys, was also the venue of trial of Gandhi’s killers. It was damaged by fire in 1981. Elgin was first occupant of Peterhoff.
Ellersile- Secretariat of Punjab Government, now the Secretariat of Himachal Pradesh Govt.
Lord Amherst, the first Governor General who visited Shimla in 1827 stayed at the Kennedy House.
The first Durand Cup Football Tournament was inaugurated by Sir Mortimer Durand in 1888.
In 1902, Walker Hospital was opened.
Hindustan Tibet Road started in 1850 from Kalka. In 1851-52, 560 feet long Dhalli Tunnel of Shimla was started for construction. It was opened to traffic by 1860. This project was initiated by Lord Dalhouise.
Small Lakkar Bazar tunnel was constructed in 1905 for transport of goods. Earlier, the Mall road was utilised by mules.
Bishop Cotton School was constructed as a thanks to god for saving British during the revolt of 1857. Its construction started on 18 July 1859 at Jutogh, and was later transferred to Shimla on the land of Raja of Keonthal in 1869.
In 1840, Peter Hoff became the official residence of the Viceroy and remained so till 1888 when a new residence, Vice Regal Lodge was constructed. However, Regular Vice-regal visit became a practice after Lord Elgin moved in to Peterhoff in 1863.
In 1871, the Punjab government made Shimla its summer capital.In 1903, the electric lighting system was introduced in the city, whose first benefit was provided to Vice Regal Lodge and later to the railway station.For the supply of power in the city, Chabba Electricity Production Station was also set up at Sutlej in 1913. A pump installed in Chiratnala (Sanjauli) extracted the water for the city.Ellerglie Building was purchased in March 1881, for Rs. 18,123 / -. Lieutenant Colonel HES designed the building. The Secretariat took it in its possession in the summer of 1967. In July 1972, Ellerglie’s “Summit Hall” had some meetings of the Indo-Pak Agreement.Council Chamber (Vidhan Sabha) – it was designed by Mr. W. George of Delhi. The Viceroy, Lord Reading, opened it on August 20, 1925. The construction of this building was a direct result of the Montagu-Chelmsford (‘Montford’) constitutional reforms, which was declared in 1919 and the need for a large campus was feltPariMahal – it was the residence of famous Sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan in the Keonthal state.Municipal Library – established in 1860 on the ridge.Darbhanga House (Tara Hall) – The Convent was founded in 1895,Auckland House – Here in June 1838, Lord Auckland made a trio of the TreatyBantony Castle – The Summer Palace of Amar Prakash, Maharaja of Sirmour. During World War I (1914-18), the property was handed over to the Government of India by the Maharaja for the additional temporary office accommodation. The state government has taken Bantony Castle Acquisition (2017) for 27.84 crores and it will be converted into a museum.Oak over – It was the residence of the Maharaja of Patiala. Now it is the official residence of the Chief Minister of Himachal.Armsdell – The present residence of the Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh was originally built in 1888 as a one-storey house.Ladies Park – Princess Amrit Kaur opened this park on July 6, 1937
The 9-hole golf course at Naldehra – Lord Curzon named his daughter Alexandra the second name Naldehra.In 1920 Ice Skating Rink was opened by Blessington in Lakkar Bazar.
error: Content is protected !!