|Viceregal Lodge_Flickr, ShimlaHimachal Pradesh. myindianstay.com|
|Viceregal Lodge - Shimla -www.expedia.co.in|
|Vicerehal Lodge, Shimla www.indien.nu|
The Viceregal Lodge located on the Observatory Hills, just 2 km from Shimla, now the capital of Himachal Pradesh, is the most impressive and important building in that state because it was formerly the Summer Residence of the highest ranking British officer -Viceroy of India who governed the entire subcontinent and its affairs from 1888 till 1946. The hill provides a panoramic view of the city and the greenery in the surrounding area. You will be thrilled to see the majestic Himalayan mountains to the north standing as sentinels, guarding India from land invasions. Designed by British architect Henry Irwin and built in the Jacobean style during the regime of Lord Dufferin, it was in the year 1880 the work on the building began and was completed in 1888. Lord Dufferin wanted a beautiful building built on the foot hills of the Himalayas, to impress the state guests at the banquets and the reason why he chose this site on the summit of Observatory Hill is this place was very close to his native place. This is the second highest point of Shimla, the first being Jakhoo hill. Lord Dufferin occupied the lodge on July 23, 1888.
The interesting point is the vast construction materials like sand stones and lime stones were transported from the plains to the top of the hill, using mules. This palatial building included a tennis court, big rooms for empty suitcases and most importantly a big wine cellar so that the numerous guests could relax over a glass or two of fine wine and carry on their gossips and business deals, etc. The guests after the party was over would go home happily,
of course, with hangover in the following day. Positively such a cool and extravagant atmosphere could attract a large social gathering of high ranking officers and the elite in the society in the by-gone era. A place for fun and frolic on the weekends. The huge highly embellished building built in a sort of Tudor style witnessed the heydays of the British rule, far away from their native place. It has some of the most ancient articles and photographs going back to the times of the British rule in India.
Other features that attract our attention are the advanced piping system used in the building that could supply both hot and cold water and the building had a sort of rain-harvesting system by which the rain water was not allowed to go waste,. It was saved to maintain the beautiful vast lawn around the building. The hidden steam generator in the building provided enough electricity for the building. The building is a good example of the technical supremacy of the British Raj in the late 1800s.
|sweeping wooden stairway made of Burma teak.Viceregal lodhe, Shimla. www.myind.net|
Vice Regal Lodge was the venue of the Shimla Conference to discuss Lord Wavell's proposal for seal-government by the Indians that was out-rightly rejected by the Muslim members that otherwise would have paved the way for a United India without bifurcation.
The successive Indian Presidents used it as the Summer palace and hence it was accordingly named Rashtrapati Niwas. This tradition was changed when Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was the Indian president, Being an erudite scholar and one of the eminent philosophers of his time, the Viceregal Lodge was transferred to the Ministry of Education. It was taken over over by the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. The C.P.W.D., the Himachal Pradesh High Court, and the Himachal Pradesh University were later given permission to use the buildings, etc. But, but greater part of the Estate, including its well kept lawns and rich glass-house, is under the control of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study.