Shimla may have been called the summer capital, but for all practical purposes this was the real Capital of India as the Government of India stayed there for the better part of the year moving down to Kolkata and later to New Delhi only during the winter months. As the summer capital of the British Raj, Shimla came to be known as ‘the workshop of the Empire’.
Spread across seven hills in the northwest Himalayas among lush valleys and forests of oak, rhododendron and pine is the capital of Himachal Pradesh that was once the summer capital of colonial India. And today, there is still more than a hint of the Raj in the former hill station of Shimla.
The state capital has some of the world's finest examples of British colonial architecture. Inspired by the Renaissance in England , is the greystone former Viceregal Lodge (now the Indian Institute of Advanced Study), the neo Gothic structures of the gaiety theatre and the former imperial Civil Secretariat (now the Accountant General's Office). There are the Tudor framed Barnes Court (now the Raj Bhawan), and the distinctive Vidhan Sabha and the secretariat of the government of Himachal Pradesh.
The Tanjore country is celebrated all over the world for its charities. It is called Dharma Raj- and I consider this reputation, which reverts upon me through all countries from this appellation as the most honourable distinction of my rank.
The city is a unique combination of hills, spurs and valleys to the North and East; a network ofmountain ranges which are crossed at a distance, by a magnificent crescent of new peaks, the mountains of Kullu and Spiti in North, the central range of the Eastern Himalayas in the east and South east. Shimla town occupies a unique place in the history of the Indian sub-continent. Emerging as a nostalgic reminder of their country, for the British officers, posted in the region, the town went on to occupy the centre stage during the hey days of the Raj .
British Gazetters of the Raj era, those marvellously accurate records of the minutiae of Indian life, mention the presence of "thousands of rosewood inlay workers" in Mysore during the 19th Century. With their "wondrous and unparalleled" skills of inlaying finely etched ivory motifs on rosewood surfaces, they literally captured a panorama of India, its festivals, flora and fauna.