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Shimla History

The narration of Shimla is time back to the year 1819. Before that Shimla was under the rule of the Gurkhas. It was after the Gurkha War that the British soldiers founded a intense forest near the temple of Goddess Shyamala and gave it the name Shimla. But some historians oppose it saying that Shimla is resulting from the word “Shyamalaya” meaning the blue house based on a house built by blue schedule by a fakir.

 The Story of Shimla would not have been there if the British had not discovered it. It was only in 1819, that the then Assistant Political Agent of Hill States, Lt. Ross built the first British residence- a wooden one. Later Lt. Charles Patt Kennedy followed him by building a two storey pucca house named “Kennedy House”. After 1830, Shimla became the hot spot among the Britishers. For men it was the favorite hangout to rejuvenate after the Gurkha War while for the women it was a relief from the hot and humid climate as well as mosquito-invaded plains.

 An account of Shimla History would be incomplete without the different names such as “Viceroy's Shooting Box, Abode of the Little Tin Gods and Mount Olympus” given to it by the Britishers. But the most famous of all was “the Queen of all Hills”. It was due to this appeal of the Britishers for Shimla that it was made the “summer capital” in 1864. After the Independence, Shimla was made the capital of Punjab, but in 1966 it was named as the capital of Himachal Pradesh.
The district of Shimla has wonderfully beautiful forests of firs, pines, oaks and rhododendron. The beautiful meadows with hyacinth, celandine, asphodel, climb gently up to the deodar forests and further up to rocky and snowy peaks of the Himalayas. A pleasant way to enjoy natural beauty of the region is to travel to Shimla on the 'Kalka -Shimla' train. It runs on the narrow gauge and winds its way through forested hills of fir, pines, walnut, and apricots and through terraced hillside fields of paddy, corn and the famous capsicum known as 'Shimla Mirch'. The entire Shimla district has a number of small streams and springs and is a delightful place for nature lovers. One can walk and love to walk some more.

 The houses of the locals are made of stone and mud with roofs. The materials used for the roofs are plenty but the style is always similar. The roofs slant down on both sides of the house. This helps the snow to slide down during the winters and not accumulate on top of the houses. The houses built by the British mostly used a lot of timber (oak) and were built in gothic styles. The roofs are generally colored brick red or green. From the days of the British, when it was the popular retreat of the sahibs, Shimla has now become the hub of major activities in Himachal Pradesh. Being the seat of government and a major tourist attraction in north India, Shimla has grown to stuffed point. In peak tourist season, traffic jams and water shortage are common. Nevertheless, the fresh air, glorious snow peaks and refreshing green all around make Shimla worth a stopover.