Home > India > Shimla – Gateway to the Himalaya’s

Shimla – Gateway to the Himalaya’s

Shimla became famous as the town that the British settled upon to escape the heat of Delhi, and thus it became the seat of the government of the Indian Empire for around 8 months of the year. It is astounding to realise that this place, little more than a village, controlled a fifth of the world’s population – the equivalent of 1.4 billion people ruled from somewhere like Ambleside. (20x size of UK!)

 

 

Viceroy Lodge with space for the temporary government

Since then, Shimla has grown, and grown, and grown covering hillside after hillside for miles and miles. It is literally a city scattered over the mountains like confetti. The original centre strung out along a ridge between 2 streets called The Mall and The Ridge remains the interesting and evocative area, whilst most of the activity goes on in the cascading hillsides.

the city tumbling down the hill

at nearly 7000 feet - this is bizzare

At one end of the ridge is a picturesque church and at the other end about 4 km along the ridge the Viceroy Lodge acting as the governing house. Between the two, the streets have the feel of a traditional Cotswolds village centre, but at over 2000m overlooking the Himalaya’s. It is a bizzare sensation.

we took the narrow gauge railway down the mountain and taxi back - worth every penny of the 7 ruppees we spent to get us all down. (About 9p)

 

Our accommodation was about 6km away, taking about 50 minutes to drive.  This gives you a sense of how bad the roads are with the traffic. It simply does not work with the numbers of people living off the side of the mountain. Still, the accommodation was pretty impressive, they called it a homestay, but in effect it was living with a very rich family in a very big house  feeling a bit like on best behaviour the whole time. We will remember it for the stunning views and sombre russians, and also as some sort of spiritual retreat, in short you have to be into your meditation and incense to appreciate the place properly.

the terrace of our homestay - we had the whole floor

view from the terrace - we just keep pinching ourselves

sunset from our garden

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