Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Never Ending Charm of Shimla - Summer Capital of Undivided India

It’s well-known that India has diversity in its culture, language, and religion. Another feature among these is weather; Indians are lucky enough for getting a chance to experience each weather in one country. Here I am bringing your attention towards the summer capital of British India named Shimla which has been derived from the word ‘Shymala’ (i.e. Goddess Kali). This hill station is also famous as “Queen of the hills".

I started the journey with my family from Delhi by Shatabdi Express which is the best mode of transportation till Kalka station. Usually, toy train is the best connecting transport mode from Kalka to Shimla if visitors want to see the beauty of hill station. Travel by toy train is one of the unique experiences of its own type as its route offers the splendid characters of your journey. There are 103 tunnels on the way. When journey started at Kalka we were at 2,152 ft. above sea level. While enjoying the scenery along the whole route, you will get a chance to catch the view of valley and spur, rising mountains.

Moreover, I got surprised by the extraordinary engineering skills because of which Shimla hill railways got popularity. Throughout the journey, you will see the scattered houses on the hills and if anyone is able to conclude Shimla they would easily portrait Shimla as a bundle of mountains placed in one place. Apparently, houses are just made by cutting mountains from various places. When we reached destination i.e. Shimla railway station we were at 6,811 ft. above sea level -a huge difference.

When I entered the Shimla city, undoubtedly I can say it has a complete touch of British era. Buildings resemble the looks of British Colony and you would get the feeling of another country by looking at the infrastructure of the city until you see the local people. While walking through the Mall Road, I was astonished at the beauty of this city’s infrastructure that was giving me feeling of magical types of Hollywood movies sets.

When we reached the hotel, I noticed they named the blocks after the British like Kennedy Block. Rooms also have the look resembling the houses of colonial rule.

Another day we planned to take the tour of Shimla city and first, we visited Army heritage museum. This museum is one of the best spots on your visit list. As the name suggests, huge collectibles which are associated with the Indian army, have been kept here. Everything is precisely placed in the specific section, well maintained and really appreciable. In this museum, you will find ancient weapons, ammunitions and life history of great Indian warriors. It has large Annandale ground which is used for playing varieties of sports like Cricket, Polo, and other games.

Other main tourist spot is Viceregal Lodge also known as Rashtrapati Niwas, is well famous for its rich history. The garden outside the building is also very fascinating for the tourists. While taking walk inside the building, the guide will show you Viceroy's chair from where the Indian Subcontinent was ruled. Also, you will find the historic round table where the first draft of the partition proposal was discussed. Even you get the same sense from the pictures all over the walls.

This is now converted as a scholars’ abode which is the research center IIAS (Indian Institute of Advanced Studies). The research subject comprises Indian culture, religion, humanities, and social and natural sciences. The drawing room, ballroom, and dining room were converted into a library, the Viceroy’s office became IIAS Director’s office and the conference hall became the seminar room for research scholars. One thing which caught my attention was its maintenance. I saw main switch board socket which never got dysfunctional since it was made (i.e. 1886). And many more things present there which never got dysfunctional since 1888.

Afterwards, we visited few temples there and returned to Kalka station by cab so that we get the chance to see the Basti which is situated along the route.

One thing I concluded from this journey is how lucky we are to have India as our mother land which has lots of diversities in its geographical aspect. And no doubt, the Britishers gave Shimla lot of magnificent features. They were very disciplined and particular about their choices and executions which come as a boon for Shimla and somehow for India. Although agreeing with the fact they didn’t have right to treat Indians as a slave in their own country. Also, no one has rights to deprive others of their basic rights.

But it’s the matter of thought what we are giving India after independence. It’s true we changed the infrastructure of India a lot but the execution and speed are very slow. We need to learn few positive things from the British rule like discipline, execution, passion plus quality of work and eventually, India will lead to one of the developed countries.

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