The summer retreat of British Raj, Shimla welcomes you with its natural gift and picture perfect environs. If you want to escape from irritating summer heat of India, then there is no better idea than escaping to Shimla. Every year thousands of people visit this place to seek the heavenly bliss of the land and to get away from the dust and pollution of the big cities. Posing as an attraction for young couples, families and foreign tourists, the land is admired for its colonial charm and great ambience. This beautiful terrain discovered its structural beauty under the glorious reign of British. Amidst the snow-clad ranges, you will be mesmerized to witness some of the spectacular architecture of the past, which still maintains its majestic charm and legacy. With all its historical link ups and royal culture, Shimla proudly displays its brilliant past through its over-the-hill buildings. It wouldn’t be an exaggerations to state that history seems to be the mortar of every brick and stone of the city. To get a complete overview of Shimla, it is necessary to be aware of the splendid history of the city.
Origin Of The Name
The origin of the name Shimla has different roots. According to one of the most popular myths, the name Shimla is said to have derived from the name ’Shyamala’, who is the believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Kali. The goddess was situated in a blue house, which was built by a fakir. Initially, the temple was situated atop the Jakhu hill but during the British era, the image of goddess was shifted to new place, which is famous even today in the name of Kali Bari Temple.
In the history of Shimla, the Anglo-Gurkha war represents the renowned and struggle of Gurkhas. In the beginning of 19th century, the Gurkhas suffered severely under the hands of Sikhs at the battle of Kangra, which took place in a hill fortress at a distance of sixty miles from Shimla. During this time, thousands of Gurkhas lost their life in the war and many others died because of chronic disease that emerged during the deadly battle. By 1808, the Gurkha invaders captured the forts of Shimla, from Jamuna to Sutlej and forcefully established their supremacy over the land. Unable to bear the torture imposed by the Gurkhas, the people of this region appealed to British for help. Later with the support of British, the enemies were gunned down and thus the dream of Gurkhas to capture whole land came to end. After the defeat, Gurkhas were forced to sign the ‘Treaty of Sanjauli’ and thus the land came under the reign of maharaja of Patiala who helped British in the war.
Glory Of The British Rule
The glorious history of Shimla would have never been so colorful had the British not saved it from the hands of the Gurkhas. Post Gurkha war, British showed their interest in this wonderful landscape and it was in 1819 that an English officer named Lt. Ross built the first British residence in Shimla. Following him, Captain Kennedy constructed a two storeyed building in 1822 that is admired even today by the name Kennedy House. During 1850 and 1851, the Hindustan Tibet road was constructed from Shimla to Kalka and Shimla was declared as the summer capital of India in 1864. A train line established in 1903 between Kalka and Shimla made the route to this hilly range comfortable. Even today, the city is known for its colonial architecture such as the Cecil Hotel, Christ Church and Gaiety Theatre.
After the independence, Shimla, the then capital of Punjab state, was made the capital city of newly established Himachal Pradesh in the year 1966. Since then the city had attracted thousands of tourists from all around the world and has served as a haven for the tourists.