The changing faces of Shimla, a pictorial tribute

Little did the fakir who built a house of blue slate on Jakhoo hill know that his Shyamala will be transformed into Shimla in just over a century. Those who throng to Shimla perennially, to soak in the old world charm, are a disappointed lot. The mystery, the architectural grandeur is vanishing with each passing day.  The growing population and changing climate is mounting pressure on the fragile ecosystem of the city. However, all said and done we are not here today, to give you advice on the environment or to tell you what you need to do as a conscious citizen. Instead we invite you to come on a journey filled with nostalgia, old allure and magic. We present to you a pictorial tribute on Shimla and its important locations- Then and Now.

1. Town Hall

Located in the middle of the The Mall, the historic Town Hall is the most prominent landmark of downtown Shimla. Over the years the spaces around it might have changed, but it still stands tall and proud, witness to the changing times.

Then:

Town Hall_1

Now:

Town Hall_1=2

2. The Gaiety Theater

This age old center for culture and arts has been around to witness stage performances right from the nineteenth century till date. It is the only Gothic theater in all of Asia and it can seat 300 audience members at one time. Most recently Michael Palin, shot for his documentary Himalaya here.

Then:

Gaiety Theater_1

Now:

Gaiety Theater_2 Gaiety Theater_3

3. Lower bazaar

Is the common mans shopping ground and is also living evidence of the earliest settlements in Shimla. You can buy anything from a needle to the most expensive diamond necklace here. In the monsoons it’s a mission to cross it with banging umbrellas and ankle deep muck and puddles everywhere. But a visit to Shimla is incomplete without a stroll in the famous Lower Bazaar.

Then:

Lower bazaar

Now:

Lower bazaar_1

4. Indian Institute of Advanced Studies – IIAS

It was originally built as a residence for Lord Dufferin in 1884 and now houses this prestigious research institute since 1965. It is a building that takes your breath away with its extravagance and royal charm. You admire the foresight of the builders and the finesse of the craftsmen who built it. It has well manicured grounds all around and transforms you to a state of peace and solitude. It is on of the few buildings to have its own electricity supply in 1888.

Then:

Indian Institute of Advanced Studies_1 Indian Institute of Advanced Studies_2

Now:

Indian Institute of Advanced Studies_3 Indian Institute of Advanced Studies_4

5. The Mall road

The Mall can easily be called the central lifeline of the city. If you are a local there is no doubt that considerable years of your life must have been spent in strolling on this famous stretch of the road. It is today dotted with branded showrooms and eateries. In the golden era  there used to English ladies in all their fanfare in horse driven carriages or on foot strolling with their beau’s here. The place is a riot on weekends with holiday makers in large numbers taking a walk with children and families on it. If you want to witness the most happening places, people and food in town this is the place to be.

Then:

The Mall road_1 The Mall road_2

Now:

The Mall road_4

 

6. Peterhoff

The Peterhoff is one of those buildings that’s has undergone a complete transformation from what it was earlier. It actually served as the residence for seven Viceroys and a few Governor Generals in the past. The original building has Tudor style architecture with wooden frames. The building was almost burnt to the ground in 1981 and was reopened as a luxury hotel in 1991. Very few of us know that the infamous trial of Nathuram Godse was held in this building itself.

Then:

Peterhoff_1

Now:

Peterhoff_2

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