Himachal is known not just for the natural beauty but also for some great schools. These schools located in the hills boast of a long list of eminent alumni. They have a strong sense of tradition and impart eternal values to their students to help them build a strong and virtuous character.
Let’s look at 9 of the very best schools of Himachal that were established during the British Raj.
9. Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Dalhousie
Sacred Heart School in Dalhousie was started by the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary in 1901. This international congregation was started in Belgium in 1803 with the mission to spread love and peace throughout the world. In this mission they opened schools to educate young children that god is love. The school was started in Dalhousie at a time when it was a very remote area that wasn’t easy to access. Today it is a proud convent institution of Himachal.
8. Convent of Jesus and Mary, Chelsea, Shimla
Chelsea was founded in 1864 by the sisters of Jesus and Mary. It was started as an orphanage for the children of British soldiers who had lost their parents. The school grew to include boarders and local students as well. Today it is one of the most famous convent school for girls in Shimla. Priety Zinta is probably the most famous alumni of Chelsea.
7. Loreto Convent, Tara Hall, Shimla
Tara Hall is a famous girls’ convent school of Shimla. It was started by the Loreto sisters in 1892. The current location was procured in 1895 with two buildings of Tara Hall and Bellevue and 4 playgrounds. It is a day school for girls and is one of the best schools of Shimla.
6. Gorton Mission School, Kotgarh
Gorton Mission School in Kotgarh is claimed to be the oldest school in Asia. It was set up in 1843 by Christian Missionaries who had also built a church and hospital in Kotagarh. Kotagarh is a small town near Narkanda and is famous for its apples. The school was named after Gorton who was a public servant in Shimla. Gorton Mission School has a long history and continues to provide traditional values to its students.
5. Auckland House, Shimla
Auckland House was initially the residence of Lord Auckland who was the Governor General at that time. The school was started in 1866 as The Punjab Girls School but when it moved to Auckland House in 1868 the name was changed accordingly. The building suffered extensive damage in the 1905 earthquake and was torn down and rebuilt in 1921. Auckland House is another great convent for girls in Shimla.
4. St. Edwards, Shimla
St. Edwards was started in 1925 by the Irish Christian Brothers. It was started as a Catholic school for boys in Shimla. It has undergone many changes but the same quality of education is provided even today to all of its pupils. It used to be affiliated to ICSE but changed over to CBSE in 2008. One of the most famous alumni of St. Edwards is current Vice President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari.
3. Rashtriya Military School, Chail
The Rashtriya Military School, as it is called now, has a long and vivid history. It was started after World War I with a generous donation by King George V in 1922.
The first two schools were called King George Royal Indian Military School and the sister branches were opened in Jhelum (now in Pakistan) and Jalandhar.
More branches were opened and the Jalandhar branch was shifted to Nowgong, Bundelkhand in 1952 and renamed as King George’s School. It came to its current location in 1960 and was named Chail Military School. The school has produced many military officers, politicians and civil servants over the years.
2. The Lawrence School, Sanawar
The Lawrence School is believed to be the world’s oldest co-ed boarding school.
It was started in 1847 by Sir Henry Lawrence, on top of Sanawar hill, with the aim of giving poor white children and orphans a place to get good education away from the blistering heat of the Indian plains.
By the time India got independence the school had already completed a 100 years of existence.
The school maintained a fierce military training and many of its pupils joined the army during both the world wars. This is one of the most prestigious schools in India and boasts a very long list of famous alumni from military to business to politics to bollywood; such as Sanjay Dutt, Omar Abdullah, Maneka Gandhi, Air Marshal K.C. Cariappa, Geetanjali Kirloskar, Saif Ali Khan etc.
1. Bishop Cotton School, Shimla
Bishop George Edward Lynch Cotton started this school, named after him, on 28 July 1859. It is one of the best boarding schools of India and has produced heads of military for many countries around the world, heads of state, politicians, ambassadors, judges, businessmen etc. The school moved to the current location of Knollswood in 1868. Famous alumni include Ratan Tata, Lalit Modi, Kumar Gaurav, Jeev Milkha Singh, Ruskin Bond, Virbhadra Singh, Brig. R.S.S. Kohli, Air Chief Marshal P.C. Lal, Justice H.S. Bedi etc.