Shimla has many attractions; superb views and delightful walks; the Vice-regal Lodge, the State Museum, Jakhoo Temple, the Mall, and Maria Bros., the famous shop for books and antiquities, are of great historical and cultural interest. The environs of Shimla , however are perhaps its most attractive feature ; Golf at beautiful Annandale and at scenic Naldera – that inspired Lord Curzon to name his daughter after it ; Trout fishing in the Tirthan Valley and hot sulphur springs at Tattapani , picnics in the Seog Forest , tea at Carignano, walks from Kufri to Fagu through the countryside with the panorama of the snow-capped Kinner Kailash range stretched across the horizon ; Chail, Narkanda , or an overnight stay at the Jalori Pass.
The Simla to Shimla Story
How Simla came into being
In the early 1800 the area that is now known as Shimla (named Simla by the British) was a thick forest. The surroundings were some twenty independent principalities some, large, other small. The Gurkha’s from Nepal had come into India through Kumaon and settled in the Arki – Subathu region, South West of present day Shimla. The Gurkha General, Amar Singh Thapa subjugated the twenty odd principalities referred to earlier and held the populace on a tight leash. In the mean time, the East India Company had its eye on Punjab. The Company already had subjugated most of India, but Punjab and Kashmir were still not in its grasp. A treaty was signed in 1806 at Amritsar with Sardar Ranjit Singh (later famously known as Maharaja Ranjit Singh) and Sardar Fateh Singh, later known as Raja Fateh Singh of Kapurthala, (great, great, great Grand Father of the present owner of Chapslee). By this treaty it was agreed that the Company would not venture North beyond Ludhiana.
In the hills, the rule of Amar Singh Thapa, the Gurkha General was taking its toll on the twenty chieftains surrounding the area which is known as Shimla today. These chieftains first approached Maharaja Ranjit Singh for help to overcome the Gurkhas, but Ranjit Singh refused as he was busy amassing territory. The chieftains then approached the East India Company which had a trading post at Ludhiana, established after the treaty of Amritsar in 1806. The company forces, lead by General Orkney, defeated Amar Singh Thapa in battle in 1814. Thereafter, the company appointed Lieutenant Kennedy to liaison between the twenty chieftains and the East India Company. Many of the erstwhile principalities were situated North and east of what is Shimla today and hence Lieutenant Kennedy (later Captain Kennedy) had to travel through this thick forested area. He found the climate extremely agreeable as well as very good for hunting. He built himself a cabin which later come to be known as Kennedy House. This was sometime around 1820-22. This was the beginning of “Simla”. By 1825 it was well known to have enticed the Governor General, Lord William Bentinck to visit Shimla all the way from Calcutta, 2000 miles away. The Simla Municipal Committee was formed in 1830 and the Gaiety Theater cum Amateur Dramatic Club was founded in 1837. Auckland House came to be the first Governor General’s residence in 1836, whereas Chapslee, the adjoining House, the first official Secretariat of the Governor General of the East India Company. Christ Church on the Ridge was built between 1846-1857. Simla became British Crown property in 1860, after the first war of Independence and Simla the summer capital, officially.The famous Viceregal Lodge was ready to be occupied (by Lord Dufferin) in 1887.
After Independence in 1947, Himachal Pradesh got statehood on 15th April, 1948, even though Simla continued to be a part of the erstwhile Punjab. Himachal became a federated state of the Indian
Union on 25th January, 1971, with Simla as its capital.
Thereafter, Simla became Shimla as it is presently known, because of a temple dedicated to the Godess Shyamla in this vicinity.
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