Shimla is more than a hill station. It is soul of the people living there or people who have visited there.Rich history of Shimla, still stands, as historical creations that came into existence during British colonial rule, reminiscent of which can never be forgotten. Shimla, the regal summer capital, was the center of power from where India was once ruled by Britishers.
Shimla was also called ‘Chotti Vilaayat’ or ‘Little England’ owing to the fact that Britain and Shimla shared identical climatic conditions.
Shimla was officially founded in 1864 and was built on top of seven hills namely: Inverarm Hill, Observatory Hill, Prospect Hill, Summer Hill, Bantony Hill, Elysium Hill and Jakhoo Hill.
As fresh bout of snow has clad several parts Himachal Pradesh, this year end, plan your trip to Shimla and enjoy the fresh snowfall and intensified cold.
Seek some relief by time traveling into magnificent and regal Shimla through comparison of some of the images compiled for you. Here are some of the rare photos of Shimla in contrast with modern look.
The photo on the left is perhaps taken by Samuel Bourne, the famous British photographer, known for his prolific seven years’ work in India, from 1863 to 1870. To the left of the Christ Church is Shimla library, which is later changed to its present shape. Brilliance indeed.
2. This the famous Viceregal Lodge in Shimla.
The official summer residence of the British viceroys was completed in 1888 and the entire Indian subcontinent was ruled from here for just over half of every year (usually early April to late October) from then till WWII. Henry Irwin’s grand, grey sandstone creation resembles a cross between Harry Potter’s Hogwarts and a Scottish baronial castle.
Dr S Radhakrishnan, the second president of India used the Rashtrapati Niwas (renamed after independence) only for a few days in a year, he thought it would be better to put the house to some educational use. In 1964, the house was handed over to the Ministry of Education and by the next year, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies was set up.
In olden days there used to be a market in front of the Church and it was called Upper Bazaar and therefore a market below the hill of Church is called Lower Bazaar. The picture to the left shows the Upper Bazaar market of that time. Later on a major fire broke out in the Upper Bazaar area and almost all the shops devastated in that fire. British officials denied constructing the market again and since then the area in front of the Church is empty.
4.Scandal Point, Shimla
Scandal Point is located to the western edge of Shimla where two of the city’s most important roads, The Ridge and Mall Road, converge. The resemblance is striking and as we can see nothing much has changed.All these shops either belonged to the British nationals or the rich people having shops in Connaught place, Delhi.
5.The Mall Road, Shimla
In the left picture, the building behind is the Town Hall, upper floors of which were later demolished due to some architectural mistake.
Originally owned by James Craddock known as the ‘Architect and Builder of Shimla’ this three acre estate named Willow Banks established in the year 1871 is a landmark in Shimla. The estate spells history and exemplifies an era of gracious living. In a tribute to the memory of its original owner, the building was redesigned into a hotel.
The picture in the left was somewhere clicked in late eighties and there is Hotel Lawries on the road inclined to the left. The Hotel gutted in fire and then the space is converted to Rani Jhansi Park in year 1937.
The famous banks and their buildings
The post office and the Bank buildings are by the scandal point’s stretch. The ‘Northbrook Terrace’ which now holds the Syndicate bank and the Playground video game parlour, is regarded to have held the earliest of Shimla’s stores.
Post office & Bank Buildings can also been seen far away.
The half-timbered building of the General Post Office was completed on 3 July 1983. An interesting element of the design lay in the six large hollow pillars that traversed its height and up to 1920, firewood was lit in these to warm the building. Till the coming of the railway in 1903, the mail was carried the 58 miles to Shimla by horse-drawn ‘tongas’.
The post office and other bank buildings, Shimla
11.This is famous Lakkar Bazaar, Shimla
Lakkar Bazaar is known for wooden toys made by a small group of Sikh carpenters who settled there a century ago from Hoshiarpur. Wooden walking sticks are very famous famous. Lakkar Bazar was like a small village in itself. Not many changes can be noticed except the decline in the road has changed.
12.The Christ Church, Shimla
The dressing style of that era can be noticed here. Usually people visited on Sundays to the Church. Other things are same.
Kudos to all the unknown photographers for these vintage photos and also Mr. Nishant Gupta.