Shimla the Hill Queen

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Shimla /ˈʃɪmlə/ (Hindi: शिमला [ˈʃɪmlaː] ( listen)), formerly known as Simla, is the capital city of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, located in northern India. It is bounded by Mandi and Kullu in the north, Kinnaur in the east, the state of Uttaranchal in the south-east, and Solan and Sirmaur to the south. The elevation of the city ranges from 300 to 6000 metres. Shimla is well known as a hub for India's tourism sector. It is among the top 10 preferred entrepreneurial locations in India.

In 1864, Shimla was declared as the summer capital of British India, succeeding Murree, northeast of Rawalpindi. After independence, city became the capital of Punjab and was later named the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Shimla came into existence from 1st Sept,1972 on the reorganisation of the districts of the state. After the reorganisation, the erstwhile Mahasu district and its major portion was merged with Shimla. Its name has been derived from the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kali. As of 2011 Shimla comprises 19 erstwhile hill states mainly Balson, Bushahr, Bhaji and Koti, Darkoti, Tharoch & Dhadi, Kumharsain, Khaneti & Delath, Dhami, Jubbal, Keothal, Madhan, Rawingarh, Ratesh, and Sangri.

As a large and growing city, Shimla is home to many well-recognized colleges and research institutions in India. The city has a large number of temples and palaces. Shimla is also well noted for its buildings styled in Tudorbethan and neo-Gothic architecture dating from the colonial era. History

The bridge connecting Shimla with Minor Shimla, erected in 1829 by Lord Combermere, Shimla, 1850s

Shimla, along with Almora, Kumaon, Garhwal, Sirmaur, Dehradun and Kangra, was invaded and captured by Prithvi Narayan Shah of Nepal. Shortly later, the British East India Company with local kings went to war with Nepal from 1814 to 1816. At the conclusion of the war, as a result of the Sugauli Treaty, all these captured parts of North India were ceded to the British East India company. At that time, Shimla was known for the temple of Hindu Goddess Shyamala Devi, and not as a city as it is today.

Not long after gaining possession of Shimla, the British began to develop the area. The Scottish civil servant Charles Pratt Kennedy built the first British summer home in the town in 1822. Lord Amherst, the Governor-General of Bengal from 1823 to 1828, set up a summer camp here in 1827, when there was only one cottage in the town, and only 'half a dozen' when he left that year. There were more than a hundred cottages within ten years. Shimla soon caught the eye of Lord William Bentinck, the next Governor-General of Bengal from 1828 (later of India, when the title was created in 1833) to 1835. In a letter to Colonel Churchill in 1832, he wrote “ Simla is only four days march from Loodianah (Ludhiana), is easy of access, and proves a very agreeable refuge from the burning plains of Hindoostaun (Hindustan). ” Rashtrapati Niwas, Observatory Hill, Shimla, the former Viceregal Lodge, completed in 1888 now the Indian Institute of Advanced Study

One of his successors, Sir John Lawrence (Viceroy of India 1864–1869), decided to take the trouble of moving the administration twice a year between Calcutta and this separate centre over 1,000 miles away, despite the fact that it was difficult to reach. Lord Lytton (Viceroy of India 1876–1880) made efforts to plan the town from 1876, when he first stayed in a rented house, but began plans for a Viceregal Lodge, later built on Observatory Hill. A fire cleared much of the area where the native Indian population lived (the "Upper Bazaar"), and the planning of the eastern end to become the centre of the European town forced these to live in the Middle and Lower Bazaars on the lower terraces descending the steep slopes from the Ridge. The Upper Bazaar was cleared for a Town Hall, with many facilities such as library and theatre, as well as offices—for police and military volunteers as well...
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