Snugly located in the cradle of Himalayas, in the state of Himachal Pradesh, lies the hill station Shimla. A most revered destination among the people of India and abroad, Shimla is one of the heritage towns with its buildings and monuments from the past that has made it so popular a place in the hills.
History reveals that people from various Asian countries longed to come to Shimla. They were Prince, diplomats, businessmen, politicians, rather from every walks of life, who loved to come to Shimla during its once flourishing days. Its charms and bountiful natural endowments made it so popular a place among the colonizers – the British. Their extreme love for the hill town goaded them and cajoled them to develop Shimla into a small township that attained its grandeur with each passing day. The Britishers were so obsessed with the township that they turned Shimla into the summer capital of the part of the British Empire spread in the sub-continent.
The heritage town bears witness to the role it played in shaping South Asian history. The Himalayan beauty here has had a lasting effect on the memory of all the people who were lured to the place. Visitors just strolling through the vintage city come to know, by and by, about its important place in the history of India.
Vegetation consisting of oak, cedar, rhododendron, fir, etc. are all over the place adding to it the natural and so desirable a charm. Along with the natural backdrop so vivid are fascinating architectural structures so alien to the place that makes Shimla stand apart among other places around.
Festivals and fairs add a distinctive feature to the place as the local people & even tourists come together to enjoy music, dance, and a host of other activities. These are the instances where much merry-making is in the air and the visitors are carried away into another world so ecstatic that they easily forget their worries and get simply transported to a world of divine bliss.
Shimla is a district of Himachal Pradesh and is located towards the west of Kinnaur, towards the east of Sirmaur, towards the south of Kullu & Manali and towards the north of the state of Uttranchal. The terrain of Shimla is broken, rocky and uneven thus being quite rough to be precise. Shimla town gave the district its name.
History of Shimla and the importance of Shimla could be easily comprehended from the time even before the advent of the colonizers when the Bushahr dynasty was founded by Pradhuman the son of Lord Krishna in Bushahr of the oldest hill state and one of the erstwhile hill states comprising the Shimla District.
Later on Gurkhas, the invaders, dreamed to rule the land and had even tried to spread their influence by building many forts around Shimla. It was in 1804that Sikhs had defeated Gurkhas in the battle of Kangra (hill fortress). Historical accounts reveal that Gurkhas died in large numbers in the battle.
But soon after Gurkhas bounced back to unleash destruction on the land. They were violent & plundered the land around Shimla. Their ruthlessness helped them to bring the area between Jamuna and Satluj under their rule with Arki their capital.
At length wretched & distressed hill people united against Gurkha tyranny and cruelty to appeal to the British to liberate them and hence alleviate their sufferings. British forces along with hill chiefs defeated Gurkhas in a fierce battle in 1815 to liberate the land from Gurkha’s rule but the British company never left the control of some of the forts.
Today’s Shimla comprises of 19, the then, hill states. Shimla caught the imagination of the British to the extent that they turned Shimla into a town & developed it to elevate it to the status of their summer capital.
There are different fables & tales prevalent regarding the origin of the name Shimla yet the more plausible ones that seem to be are that Shimla derives its name from the word ‘Shyamla’ meaning blue female for Goddess Kali whose temple, once at Jakhu Hillside, was later shifted by the British to present Kali Bari and another that the name Shimla may have been derived from the word ‘Shyamalay’ meaning a blue house built by a faquir at Jakhu.
India, after independence had made Shimla the capital of Punjab & later it was recognized as the capital of Himachal Pradesh.