ICH Shimla – Where Coffee is just an Excuse!

Many have come and many have gone but the coffee here is ever inviting and the setting has lasted a generation. Chat room, viagra 60mg scandal, stomach legal intricacies, rumor, scribes stories, politics, debate – conspiracies are all hatched and discussed here.

It is the good old Indian Coffee House, a landmark eating and meeting place on the mall since 1960.

In these days of multi national companies, it has managed to survive as a humble cooperative. “it is a workers cooperative where only a worker can be a member of the society” says manager of the branch for the past many years. Membership is only granted after five years of service in the coffee house.

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Workers facing retrenchment due to restructuring of the central coffee board in the late fifties appealed to then Prime Minister Nehru. It was on his advise that coffee houses were started as cooperatives, run and owned by the workers themselves.

The first one opened near Krori Mal College in Delhi and since then twelve branches have been opened all over the country including at Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Allahabad, Dharamshala and at Shimla.

The founder members of the society pledged their family silver to start these coffee houses. It does not profit but whatever earnings exceed the turnover are passed to the workers as a salary increase, says the manager of the Coffee House at the Mall.

Interestingly Chamba Lall who helped in establishing the coffee house and helped the society in buying the property was denied membership as the rules only allow workers to become members, and he was in business.

People from all communities and all regions can be seen sitting here, sipping coffee, discussing life and politics. Of late, ICH has become a virtual assembly hall where people discuss political issues, Shimla being the state capital, these political issues always keep everyone interested, customers, and the waiters simultaneously.

ICH Shimla is located just next to the ATM Complex near the CTO building in Shimla. For those who love old style coffee, where taste comes after ambiance, a visit to ICH Shimla is a must.

There is another ICH in Shimla at Kasumpati but ICH at the Mall Road is something different.

There, its not about coffee!

Photo By: Pratima

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