History of Shimla
Shimla got its name from Hindu goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of goddess Kali. Shimla was ruled by Bhimsen Thapa of Nepal, later British East India Company took control as per Sugauli Treaty. Shimla’s climate is similar to England climate, which attracted many Britishers. John Lawrence, the Viceroy of India, made Shimla the summer capital of British Raj in 1863. During summer also, Shimla was headquarters of Indian army and many Governments departments. Shimla was the capital of Punjab, until the construction of their capital Chandigarh. After formation of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla became its capital.
Geography of Shimla
Shimla is located on the south west range of Himalayas. Shimla was built on top of seven hills, Jakhoo hill being the highest at 2454 meters. As per earthquake hazard zoning in India, Shimla is under IV. The nearest river is Sultej which is approximately 20 kms away from city. It has an average elevation of 2205 meters and spread in 25 sq kms.
Government and Administration of Shimla
Shimla Municipal Corporation takes care of civic administration of Dhalli, Shimla and Totu region also. Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation takes responsibilities for road transportation in the state. City contributes one member each to Indian Assembly and Himachal Pradesh State Legislative Assembly.
Language and Culture of Shimla
Shimla is well balanced between traditional values and modern thoughts. People follow the traditional forms of dance and music, which are mostly religious oriented. Music is dominated by instruments rather than voice. Kayand dance, bakayand dance, Jataru Kayang dance, Chohara dance, Bnayangchu dance, Rasa dance and Shand and Shabu dances are famous dance forms which are only in Shimla. Shimla people believe in simple living, down to earth and uncomplicated, and they are one of the warmest and friendly people in India. Shimla is influenced by Tibetan lifestyle and are a mix of various tribes and races. Houses are built in Indo-Tibetan style and their source of livelihood is agriculture.
Educational Institutes in Shimla
Shimla has many schools that are from British era. The Himachal Pradesh University and APG Shimla University are based in the city. Indira Gandhi Medical and dental College and Rajkiya Kanya Maha Vidayalia (only for girls) are the medical colleges in the city. The Indian Institute of advance Study is the research centre in Humanities, Indian Culture, religion, social and natural sciences. Central Potato Research Institute and National Academy of Audit and Accounts for training of officers are housed in the city.
Transport Facilities in Shimla
Shimla airport is 23 kms away from the city. Presently all the commercial flights are suspended. Kalka Shimla Railway line is in GUinness Book for the steepest rise in altitude in a distance of 96 kms. City has three stations namely Shimla, Totu and Summer Hill. Shimla is well connected to all major cities in India. National Highway 22 connects Shimla and Chandigarh.
Tourism in Shimla
Christ Church situated on the Ridge is the second oldest Church in north India. Jakhu hill at a height of 8000 meters is 2 kms away from city. Lord Hanuman temple is atop the hill. Lord Hanuman’s 108 feet statue is single statue standing at the highest altitude over taking Christ Redeemer in Brazil. Shimla state museum exhibits the customs, textiles and jewelry of this region. The Ridge is a lovely township of Summer Hill. Tara Devi hill has a temple dedicated to goddess of stars. The Mall is the main shopping area in Shimla. Apart from these, they are many tourist places like Junga, Anand Vilas, Totu, Mashbora, Kufri, Chail and Sanjauli.
Festivals Celebrated in Shimla
Rhyali Festival Shimla is celebrated during rainy season to keep Rain Gods happy. Shimla summer festival is the best reason to reach Shimla in summer. It is celebrated in the month of May in grand scale. Baiskhi is celebrated just before the harvest season on the first day of Baiskh month. Apart from these, major festivals celebrated here are Bhoj fair, Christmas, Diwali, Lavi Fair, Navarathri, Sipi Fair and Lohri.