September 05, 2012

Travel Post: The Romance of Shimla

This is a photo diary of Shimla, a hill station in the Himalayas I visited this summer(You can read about my entire trip here)...The place is seeped with history, and walking down the streets or the Mall Road, it is difficult not to imagine that you are still in the days of the British Raj.

The writing here is an excerpt from the book 'Plain Tales from the Raj', a copy of which I found in a second-hand book-store and have cherished ever-since!
"The hills of Shimla provided a brief respite from the heat of the plains.Shimla was the summer capital of India, the whole government moved up to the hills! Wives moved up mainly because of the heat down below, and of course other wives weren't going to stay, so they all went. There were parties, theater, and they all had a pretty gay time."

"It is difficult to convey how enormously romantic the atmosphere was in Shimla. The warm starlit nights and the bright, huge moon, those towering hills and mountains stretching away, silence, and strange, exotic smells. "

" Affairs and liaisons were commonplace. Bored wives, Flirtatious Army-men, and Young girls looking for husbands formed most of the society. Most of them were pretty harmless, and very seldom were there serious scandals. "

The church, built on a high point, was the place where Sunday Mass was conducted. There are still pews for the Viceroy and the Commander General, in the very front row, marked with gold!

"Shimla was plastered on the sides of one of the lower ranges of the Himalayas. You found yourself, always, on one of the ledges, one ledge above the other, nothing but narrow paths everywhere and these appalling drops. "

Iris Portal, who was a girl during that time, recalls:
"In the two summers I spent at Shimla I never thought about doing anything but amusing myself. It was excessively gay. My record was twenty six nights dancing, at the end of which I could hardly keep awake!
You had to ride everywhere in Shimla. So one used to ride out to lunch and to race meetings in one's best dress hitched round one's waist with a blanket tied around, and a big, floppy hat.

We were always meeting the same people. Everyone knew rather too much about everyone else's affairs, and it would be the staple topic of conversation-what was going on, who was going out with so-and-so. If there was a very big party you always knew about it and if you hadn't been invited you took that very seriously indeed."

I went there this summer, eager to see all this for myself. And I was not disappointed. As I walked down the streets, clicking the pictures, I was completely transported to another era. The era of moonlit picnics, high teas, and summer romances.  Because really, nothing much has changed. Except the crowds, perhaps.

But that's everywhere.



Vix said...

Shimla's been on my wishlist for years, it looks fabulous. x

Deepika said...

Love the pictures! So beautiful :)

I am following you... Would you like to follow me too? :)

Adeola Naomi said...

Sounds like a gorgeous place!
Great pictures!!!

JanM ♥ said...

These pictures are great!

I'm having a giveaway on my blog if you're interested :)

Maiken said...

what a special post! I really enjoyed reading it and going through all those lovely photos :)

Maikeni blogi - part of me

Vera Cortez said...

Great pictures, lovely!!!

Kiss, Vera

RaeAbigael said...

WOW. Really amazing!
Such great structures! Ü


Liora said...

Lovely photos and interesting facts!


Count To Four said...

this post is so great! i loved the read, you write so well! and loved those photos!

i've been to shimla couple of times, and loved it!

Keit said...

OOooh it's breathtaking!

Queen Mother said...

Beautiful place :)

songbird said...

we went there a few years back and it was as beautiful as these photos..i remember the winding slanting roads,the chilly air, the lights from these hill side houses at night..

Christine ♥ said...

oh wow, these photos are so beautiful!! they're photographed really well :) awesome post hun. XO

classicgirl said...

HI Shubhi! These pics are wonderful, you make me wanna travel with your blog. So thanks for sharing your experience. Love, K. xxx

Gilina said...

Nice pictures! :)

Itchy Edgy said...

Great pictures!!! Thanks for your lovely comment <3 following you now! Hope you follow me back on GFC and Bloglovin' Xx

Pajama Diaries said...

that is romantic!

Márcia Ribeiro said...

Amazing pictures :)


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Ana said...

aww, thank you so much dear ;)
Love all the pictures! They are all amazing!
Lots of kisses*

Count To Four said...

thanks for dropping by at our blog.

we are all born and raised in Canada, but our parents are from India, so been to shimla when our parents have taken us for a trip to India and loved it! :)

Mitha Komala said...

lovely shots, wish i can go there! <3

Letters To Juliet

Admirably Pretty said...

Amazin photos, they're very beautiful!

XO, Imke

-PS: I'm hosting a give-away on my blog, there are ten dresses to win! You can take a look & join if you like!

Admirably Pretty said...

Amazin photos, they're very beautiful!

XO, Imke

-PS: I'm hosting a give-away on my blog, there are ten dresses to win! You can take a look & join if you like!

Urban Mantra said...

Such beautiful photos that really capture the essence of Shimla. I like the vintage look you gave to the photos!

Ray Grimm said...

Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.

Ray Grimm

Sonia Virk said...

Very very interesting post..I like this one. gotta bookmark this one. Hill Station