Thursday, 27 March 2008

Shimla - India's Favourite Hill Station

Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh.

Shimla is the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh and used to be the summer capital of the entire British East India, until India gained independence. Being a hill station nestled on the sides of several hills, it is a popular destination for - especially domestic - tourists to escape the heat of the plains and to soak up the remnants of the colonial, British atmosphere.

I had been to Shimla once before, but was eager to revisit this place. Firstly because the weather was very bad last time, secondly because my last visit was before my interest in photography had taken off so I didn't get many pictures and thirdly because Shimla is just a very nice place to relax. In large parts of the town no cars are allowed so the only means of transport is walking. This is a nice change from the rest of India where cars go everywhere and pedestrians are under constant threat from motor vehicles, cows and other obstacles. We spent the first day just strolling about the town, enjoying the atmosphere and the old buildings.

The central square of Shimla "The Ridge" lies beautifully at the top of a hill with great views to the surrounding valleys.

Scandal point, where the Ridge meets the main street called the Mall.

Rush hour, Shimla-style.

Since cars are not allowed in the central town, this is how stores get their goods.

Nearby hill in the morning light.

We splurged on tea in the classy lobby of Shimla's fanciest hotel the Oberoi Cecil. Expensive, but nice.

At the other end of the scale we went to the very cheap, but equally cool and old-school Indian Coffee House. They still charge in ten paise (tenth of a rupee).

The head waiter at the India Coffee House.

Old British building.

Monkey fight at the Ridge.

Nitoli in front of a cute post office.

Having a bridge to your door is pretty cool.

Jeppe on the way up to a Hindu temple above Shimla.

At end of the Ridge stands Shimla's principal landmark, the raj-era Christ Church. Next to it the Himachal Pradesh State Library.

Town hall of Shimla.

One of Shimla's hill sides by night.

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