The only way historical destinations will speak to you is when you know its story.
I do try my level best to read up before I visit any place. The general overview of the city, places to eat, sightseeing etc can be skimmed through, but often it’s hard to read up in detail. Indian Institute of Advanced Study, IIAS Shimla was no exception. The place was way down on my to visit list. In the beginning, it meant just some structure from British era that one can visit.
We walked to IIAS Shimla from our hotel at Shimla British Resort. It was a 2.5-3 km walk. Beautiful sunny day outside with monkeys jumping on the tall deodar trees, and tourists walking by. A perfect day to go out. After walking for 20 minutes or so, we entered the massive gates of the property. We had arrived.
For those of you who don’t know much about this place, these pointers will give you some idea.
#1 It was home to Viceroy of India from 1884 to 1888
If you are wondering who/what is this viceroy, don’t worry…I was in the same boat as you sometime back *major Alia Bhatt moment* Shimla was the summer capital of Britishers and the main person of authority they sent to rule India was called the Viceroy. This happened to be his pretty abode.
#2 The property sits on one of the seven hills, called Observatory Hill on which Shimla was built.
Prospect, Summer, Inverarm, Bantony, Jakoo, Elysium, and Observatory are the seven hills of Shimla. Each one of them has a distinct history and places of interest to visit. The Observatory Hill is famous for IIAS Shimla.
#3 It cost a total of 38 lakh rupees to make this property back in 1884
#4 The building had electric lighting even back then
Talk about luxury living.
We wanted to take a peek inside the building, but unfortunately, the visitor time was out. I am sure the interiors of this mansion must be as spectacular as its structure and view outside. If any of you have visited inside, do comment and tell me what I missed?
#5 The decision of India Pakistan partition was taken in this very building
#6 The estate is spread across 330 acres of land with beautiful gardens
One of the things I loved about this place was the gardens. The sheer variety of flowers all around, some of them I saw for the first time. The gardens are gorgeous. Bonus points to the authorities for maintaining the property so well.