Shimla is beautiful, and so are these colonial-era structures!


For the British, Shimla came as a blessing which provided them an escape from the suffocating heat of the plains. It was here that they sought to fulfill their nostalgic yearnings for Britain. This they did by building Gothic styled churches, offices and homes. The rest was done by its landscape, which certainly bore a strong resemblance to the forests back home. It was therefore, quite natural, that Shimla came to be known as the “summer capital of British India”. The locals would wonder with curiosity and amusement at this cultural contrast. When the British left, they left behind their past, the influence of which still hangs heavily to this day. Today, that past makes for some wonderful sightseeing. In this blog by YOHO Travels, we tell you those places in Shimla where you can get a glimpse of the colonial past. Viceregal Lodge The Viceregal Lodge is one of the prime examples of Gothic architecture in Shimla, and a great place for witnessing its colonial legacy. Heavily influenced by English Renaissance styled structure, it is located on Observatory Hill. Known today as Rashtrapati Nilayam and Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), it was built using local grey stone along with light blue limestone. It provided a luxurious retreat for the Indian Viceroy who wanted to escape the stifling heat of the plains. It’s also interesting to know that this grand structure was associated with several interesting episodes of the Indian independence movement. Christ Church Another place for exploring the colonial past during your Shimla trip is Christ Church. Located in The Ridge, it is an important landmark. Besides being the oldest church in India built in neo-Gothic architecture, it has also featured in several movies. Not only is it the second oldest church in India, its construction took nearly 13 years. Standing against the background of snow dressed pine trees, it is an amazing sight to come across. There is also a pipe organ in the church, which is the largest in the subcontinent. There are several paintings in the church which depict various scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. The Gaiety Heritage Complex The British built several impressive structures in Shimla, and you can visit them with Delhi to Shimla tour packages. It is an impressive piece of Gothic architecture. The main attraction inside the complex however, is the Victorian theatre which witnessed performances by renowned celebrities like Baten Powel, Prithvi Raj Kapoor, K.L.Sehgal and Rudyard Kipling. The complex, with its art gallery, exhibition hall, amphitheatre and old theatre hall, witnesses spectacular cultural performances. Town Hall The Town Hall is one of the best places to visit with Shimla travel packages when you want to explore its colonial past. Located on the Mall Road, its architecture has a very distinct British feel to it, with its tiled roofs and large windows. Built by the British in 1910, it serves the function of a Municipal Corporation today. Visitors to the building are thoroughly fascinated with the large steps which mark the entrance to the building and love to click a photo alongside them.