April 20, 2009

Exploring the town of Shimla!!!






Day 2 started with a nice breakfast on the patio of the hotel. The views were as expected awesome. Awe-inspiring Mountains and jungles are what my eyes could see. Today, I had planned the visit the places I had been to last time I was in Shimla. I planned to visit various so called "tourist spots" around the city.
Shimla was summer capital of British India. It now serves as the seat of power for the Himachal Pradesh government. It is a beautiful hilly town, surrounded by green pastures and snow-clapped peaks. The Mall Road is the city center and this is where I started my Shimla tour. Like many hill stations in India, there is always a main road of the city around which the stores and eateries of the city are based. I think people actually were bored to name the roads in these cities and hence mostly these roads are called "Mall Road" in many of these towns.

The Mall road has an uneven topography and to get there I had to take a lift as cars are not allowed on this road. That is so great. No honking of cars!!! The Mall road has the usual stores and food joints. But that is not the interesting part. Here you can find the beautiful Christ Church, the interesting Scandal Point and the mesmerizing views from the edge of the ridges. The Christ Church was built by the British and is the second oldest church in Northern India. I was lucky to visit it as it was about to close at 1.00 p.m. for afternoon rest to the God. The church was small and intimate. An ideal place to go and pray to the almighty. Then came the visit to the scandalous place of all, the "scandal point". This place got its name because from here the Maharaja of Patiala has said to have eloped with a British lady. Legend also goes that from that day, the Maharaja was banned from entering Shimla and hence he built his palace at Chail, a short ride away from Shimla. It is also said that at Scandal point people come and discuss scandals. Guess what, I was sitting there minding my own business when I heard a scandalous conversation between two females. One of the girl was trying to convince the other to marry her brother. It seems that the second girl and the brother of the first girl were an item. But family pressure made the girl back out. Now the guy's sister was trying to convince the girl to think about her decision and the girl was asking the sister to understand her situation. I din't want to evesdrop more so I just walked away. I will never get to know the end of this story, just like so many other stories which just touch our life and go. From the ridge the view of the city and the mountains was breaktaking. I clicked numerous snaps here. Nearly exhausted the memory card. I walked up and down the mall road taking in the life of the city and its people. I remembered the places I had visited few years ago. I went back down the elevator to head to my next destination, "Indian Institute of Advanced Study".
Don't freak out, I din't go there for any educational purpose. This place was called "Viceregal Lodge" during the times of British has the Viceroy of British India lived here. After independence, it was the residence of the President of India. In 1964, the second President of India, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan dedicated this institute for education and hence it became the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Scholars from India and abroad come here to do there post doctoral studies in Humanities and social sciences. Viceregal Lodge is situated in an old and beautiful building. It gives you the picture of the era gone by. This building has historic events in India's history. In this same building the details of India's partition were finalized. I saw the table on which this treaty was suppose to be signed. It also had an huge library with books, books and books. The books were calling out to me but I couldn't visit it as I was not one of the scholars studying there. I saw a huge bell gifted by then King of Nepal to the Viceroy of India. The bell reminded me of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.
I came back to the hotel happy and tired. I was happy that I got to visit such great places and learn from this experience. I have been wanting to catch up on my reading for a long time. So after coming back to the hotel, I headed to the outside pool. I just sat by the pool, enjoying the views and reading the book "Stranger to History". End of an amazing day in Shimla. See you tomm!!!

No comments: