Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Viceregal Lodge - Shimla

The Viceregal Lodge in Shimla was formerly the residence of the British Viceroy, Lord Dufferin.

One of the most beautiful buildings of Shimla, this Victorian-styled structure was designed by the British architect Henry Irwin.

Construction began in 1880 and was completed in 1888. It served as the headquarters of the country during the summer months from March to October.

It was the first government building to have electricity, with an internal wiring system at that. The futuristic architect also made provisions for an elevator to be installed. Most of the upholstery and furniture in the building have been retained for all these years.

The sprawling lawns conceal a rain water harvesting system beneath them, which is being used till date. The lawns and gardens are well-kept and house a vast variety of flora and fauna.

Crucial meetings with Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohammed Ali Jinnah were held in this room here during the Indian Independence struggle.

Negotiation papers during the Partition were prepared here, on this very table.

After independence, the building became a part of the estate of the President of India and was renamed as 'Rashtrapati Niwas'.

In 1965, Dr Radhakrishnan established the Indian Institute of Advanced Study here. It is a residential center for research in humanities and social sciences.

The pillars and walls of this building have witnessed events of historical importance. The structure is elegant and regal in every sense and is a must-see for anyone who visits Shimla.