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Day 22: October 23rd: R & R at Shimla

A day exploring Shimla, a stroll along the Mall, afternoon tea and exchanging gossip at Scandal Corner !

sunny 24 °C

After the incredible thunder and lightning of last night, the dawn broke with a clear sky. After a very pleasant breakfast, with very attentive staff, it was off to explore Shimla.

Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, is one of India's most popular hill stations and is often referred to as the "Queen of the Hills". The town flourished during the reign of the British Empire. The British started flocking there in the 1820s when it was a nondescript village, and by 1864 it was declared to be their official summer capital. The Government of India stayed there to escape the very hot weather on the northern plains, only returning to Kolkata (Calcutta) and later Delhi, during the cold winter months. Hence, Shimla has an interesting history and distinct atmosphere of grandeur about it, with many well preserved historical buildings and houses, built by the British

Shimla is located on ridges in the Western Himalayas. From a small mountain village it became the ‘Summer Capital’ of British India, from those heights almost one-fifth of the of the population of the world was ruled for over a century. Shimla has a great colonial history, this is also reflected in its architecture and culture, with some very splendid buildings. Shimla is now the state capital of the Himachel Pradesh.

During my very pleasant first day, I explored Shimla. It is built along ridges and the hillsides of its seven hills.The town stretches out along a ridge, making it perfect for exploration on foot. At one end is the Viceroys Lodge, and at the other end, the main square. The route passes through Shimla's Heritage Zone, where there are hundreds of prominent classic buildings and homes. Shimla is a maze of narrow streets, markets, small local houses with corrugated roofs, grand Victorian houses and government buildings, The Mall on the Ridge to promenade along, enjoying stunning views of the Himalayas.

I visited St.Michael’s Catholic Cathedral. Here I spoke to Father Ignatius and a very nice church lady, from Kerala. I told Father about my adventures in India. We then went into a special building were the church feed the very poor and needy people of the area. What a great thing the church does?

I then visited Shimla Railway Station to book my ticket from Shimla to Kalka, and from there I pick up the main line back to Delhi. It will be an early start tomorrow, up at 6am, train station for 7.30, and then train leaves at 8.30 for Kalka. This is the famous “Viceroy’s Toy Train”, one of twenty mountain railways in the world, and five are in India. It will take five hours to reach Kalka, and then from there, the 300km train journey to Delhi.

It’s time to pack some gear away before my departure tomorrow from Shimla to Delhi on one of the worlds great mountain railways. I enjoy a splendid evening dinner in the colonial style Hotel Peterhoff , a relaxing G&T, then an early night before an early start tomorrow .The journey continues!

Posted by Mike Casey 05:06 Archived in India

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