Saturday, October 09, 2010

Shimla and Pinjore

On the advice of my lungs, and Chloe - who said: "Don't watch the hockey all the time, do stuff" - I decided to come to Shimla for a few days.

It is around 8 hours north of Delhi, however it took us closer to 12 hours to drive here, due to the crazy traffic and stops along the way.

I had a look around the gardens at Pinjore, just before we entered the foothills of the Himalayas (See pictures below).



Above: Yadavindra Gardens in Pinjore, on the border with Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Just about the start of the Himalayas.

I was first attracted to Shimla and the hill stations after watching the BBC's excellent series of documentary programmes on 'Indian Hill Railways', narrated by the wonderful voice of Bernard Hill (Yosser Hughes in Boys from the Blackstuff).

Shimla known as 'The Queen of Hill Stations' was featured in one programme and it looked like an English town. Well, that was the idea when it was constructed by the British.

Since the mid-nineteenth century Shimla became the cold capital, all the Brits would decamp here when Kolkata and Delhi became far too hot.  

The Viceroy of India would reside here and there is a huge Viceregal Lodge to view on Observatory Hill, along with other great houses to view on Summer Hill and along the Mall.

I particularly want to visit Scandal Point, more on that later.

The Oberoi Hotel is stunning and makes London Mayfair places look a little cheap, apparently Rudyard Kipling used to stay in the house they converted into the hotel, when he visted Shimla.

A day of sight-seeing follows then leave for Delhi tonight to make the semi-final between Australia and England.

In the Lord Curzon suite at breakfast this morning, I raised a rye smile at the sight of Essex jams and honey from Tiptree. Well done Wilkin and Sons, 125 years of jam making in the Essex town and still going strong!


Above: The hotel and some views from the mountains looking out from Shimla.

 Oh and it is very 'Tunda' - cold, lovely and cold!

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