Wednesday 15 October 2014

Chapter-- (2), Hindustan - Tibet Road Fantasy. (July-Agust 2014)

Continuation of our (Ashok Parimoo & Guruduth Kamath)
 Trans Himalayan Hindustan-Tibet Road fantasy, to Chapter- (2)

Chail ---- Shimla ---- Sanjoli ---- Dhalli ---- Kufari ---- Fagu ---- Theog.
Its situated at an altitude of (7,380 ft) above MSL
Chail is about 40 Km from Solan town. From Solan, it's a constant climb and the road is good. To go to Chail, we have to take a right direction road at Khand Ghat.
In 1891, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala  incurred the rage of Lord Kitchener. It led to the restriction of his entry in the Indian summer capital, Shimla. This incensed the Maharaja and he vowed to build a new summer retreat for himself. So he rebuilt the place (Chail) as per his requirements.
Since Maharaja of Patial was very fond of playing cricket, so he built a cricket ground at Chail. It is Surrounded by thick forests of deodar (Ceder). A well maintained Chail Cricket ground is the highest cricket ground in the world. It was built in 1893. This ground located at an altitude of 2,444 m. It is used as the school playground by Chail Military School. During school vacations it is also used as polo ground. There is a well maintained Basket Ball court and the same cricket ground is used for playing football as the ground also has goal posts.In one corner of the ground there is a historic tree on which the Military School has constructed a beautiful tree house.

Chail is connected by road. From Shimla via Kufri the distance is 45 km and via Kandaghat is 49 km.

It is situated at an altitude of (7.211 ft) above MSL
Old Pictures of Shimla

New Shimla

From Chail it is about 40 Km to Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. The name of Shimla itself speaks of history. The most famous actors born here are 1)---Anupam Kher,  2)----Kalpana Kartik,  3)----Old actor Motilal,   4)----Pretty Zinta,  5)---- Dalip singh Rana alias Great Khali etc.
Roughly by 4:30 PM, we reached Shilma city, after driving through Vakana ghat and Shoghi villages. When we entered Shimla, it started raining and the heavy fog had covered up the whole of Shimla. Somehow we managed to squeeze our car,  at the parking lot which is at the foot of Shimlas Public Lift service. Public Lift service is  used by commuters to go to the upper ridge of the main Mall Road of Shimla. The Lift service charges Rs. 10/- per person.  May be because of the split level of ridge height, everyone has to change 2 lift sections (though in the same building), to go right upto the Mall road. Total height covered by both the Public Lifts is 180 feet from bottom to the top.

 It was a foggy and cold evening and visibly was very poor. On the Mall Road we spent nearly 3 hours strolling, enjoying, laughing, clicking pictures and  bargaining with shopkeepers where Guruduth bought sports shoes and socks. Later we pampered ourselves with hot and tasty dinner of  Rice, Curd, Aloo Paratha and Rajma-dal at Sher-de-PunjabWe didnt know that the Public Lift operates only till 9 PM. After the dinner by the time we came walking near the entrence of the Public Lift, seeing it closed we realized our blunder. Then we had no choice other than walking down 3 Km to reach at our car parking place. We enjoyed having cone Ice cream while walking down.

Since decent hotel rooms are quite expensive in Shimla.  So whichever rooms we tried, was beyond our shoe-string budget. Anyway we were staying only for one night at Shimla. So we decided to sleep in our own car itslf. Though it was uncomfortable and inconvenient to stretch in sleeping posture, but to save money we had no other choice. It was raining whole night through. 

History of Shimla
The vast majority of the area occupied by the present-day Shimla city was dense forest during the 18th century. The only civilization consisted of the Jakhoo temple and a few scattered huts.
The present-day Himachal region was invaded by Bhimsen Thapa of Nepal in 1806. 

The British East India Company took control of the territory as per the Sugauli Treaty after the Anglo-Nepalese War (181416). The Maharaja of Patiala, who had helped the British in the war, was given the land surrounding the present-day Shimla as a reward. In a diary entry dated 30 August 1817, the Gerard brothers, who surveyed the area, describe Shimla as "a middling-sized village where a fakir is situated to give water to the travellers". In 1819, Lieutenant Ross, the Assistant Political Agent in the Hill States, set up a wood cottage in Shimla. Three years later, his successor and the Scottish civil servant Charles Pratt Kennedy built the first pucca house in the area, near what is now the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly building. The accounts of the England-like climate started attracting several British officers to the area during the hot Indian summers. By 1826, some officers had started spending their entire vacation in Shimla. In 1827, Lord Amherst, the Governor General of Bengal, visited Shimla and stayed in the Kennedy House. A year later, Lord Comberemere, the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in India, stayed at the same residence. During his stay, a three-mile road and a bridge was constructed near Jakhu. In 1830, the British acquired the surrounding land from the chiefs of Keonthal and Patiala in exchange for the Rawin pargana and a portion of the Bharauli pargana. The settlement grew rapidly after this, from 30 houses in 1830 to 1,141 houses in 1881. In 1832, Shimla saw its first political meeting: between the Governor-General Lord Peter Aoronson and the emissaries of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. In a letter to Colonel Churchill, he wrote:
Simla is only four days march from Loodianah (Ludhiana), is easy of access, and proves a very agreeable refuge from the burning plains of Hindoostaun (Hindustan).

Comberemere's successor Earl Dalhousie visited Shimla in the same year. After this, the town saw regular visits from the Governor Generals and Commanders-in-Chief of British India. A number of young British officers started visiting the area to socialize with the higher-ups; they were followed by ladies looking for marriage alliances for their relatives. Shimla thus became a hill station famous for match making, balls, parties and other festivities. Subsequently, residential schools for students from upper-class families were established nearby. By the late 1830s, the city also became a centre for theatre and art exhibitions. As the population increased, a number of bungalows were built and a big bazaar was established in the town. The Indian businessmen, mainly from Sood  and Parsi communities, arrived in the area to cater to the needs of the growing European population. On 9 September 1844 the foundation of the Christ Church was laid. Subsequently, several roads were widened and the construction of the Old Hindustan-Tibet road with a 560-feet tunnel was taken up in 1851-52.
In 1863, the Viceroy of India John Lawrence decided to shift the summer capital of the British Raj to Shimla. He took the trouble of moving the administration twice a year between Calcutta and this separate centre over 1,000 miles away, despite the fact that it was difficult to reach Lord Lytton (Viceroy of India,18761880) made efforts to plan the town from 1876, when he first stayed in a rented house, but began plans for a Viceregal Lodge, later built on Observatory Hill. A fire cleared much of the area where the native Indian population lived (the "Upper Bazaar"), and the planning of the eastern end to become the centre of the European town forced these to live in the Middle and Lower Bazaars on the lower terraces descending the steep slopes from the Ridge. The Upper Bazaar was cleared for a Town Hall, with many facilities such as library and theatre, as well as officesfor police and military volunteers as well as municipal administration.

During the "Hot Weather", Shimla was also the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief, India, the head of the Indian Army, and many Departments of the Government. The summer capital of the regional Government of the Punjab moved from Murree, in modern-day Pakistan, to Shimla in 1876. They were joined by many of the British wives and daughters of the men who remained on the plains. Together these formed Simla Society, which, according to Charles Allen, "was as close as British India ever came to having an upper crust." This may have been helped by the fact that it was very expensive, having an ideal climate and thus being desirable, as well as having limited accommodation. British soldiers, merchants, and civil servants moved here each year to escape from the heat during summer in the Indo-Gangetic plain. The presence of many bachelors and unattached men, as well as the many women passing the hot weather there, gave Simla a reputation for adultery, and at least gossip about adultery: as Rudyard Kipling said in a letter cited by Allen, it had a reputation for "frivolity, gossip and intrigue"

The present day Shimla has an average altitude of 2397.59 meters (7866.10 ft) above sea level, the city is spread on a ridge and its seven spurs. The city stretches nearly 9.2 km from east to west. Shimla was built on top of seven hills namely; Inverarm hill, Observatory hill, Prospect hill, Summer hill, Bantony hill, Elysium hill and Jakhoo hill.The highest point in Shimla, at 2454 meters (8051 ft), is the Jakhoo hill. Shimla is a Zone IV (High Damage Risk Zone) as per the Earth quake Zone of India. There are no bodies of water near the main city and the closest river, Sutlej, is about 21 km (13 mi) away. Other rivers that flow through the Shimla district, although further from the city, are Giri, and Pabbar (both are tributaries of Yamuna). The green belt main forests in and around the Shimla city are that of Pine, Deodar, Oak, and Rhododendron. Environmental degradation due to the increasing number of tourists every year without the infrastructure to support them has resulted in Shimla losing its popular appeal as an ecotourism spot. Another rising concern in the region are the frequent number of landslides that often take place after heavy rains.
THE RIDGE:--- This large open space in the heart of town presents excellent views of the mountain ranges. Shimla's landmarks - the neo- gothic structure of Christ Church and the neo - Tudor library building - are worth seeing.

LAKKAR BAZAR:--- Popular for its wood crafts and Souvenirs, this is just off the Ridge.

JAKkHu HILL:--- (2.5 km): Jakkhu is situated at (5,600 ft) above MS.

 This is the town's highest peak and a famous point for Shimla's famous views. The summit is crowned with a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The hill is full of paths and narrow roads which are enjoyable walks.
ST. MICHAEL'S CATHEDRAL:--- This dressed-stone church with fine stained glass has a cruciform design. 

It is located just off the Mall, below the District Courts.
STATE MUSEUM:--- (3km): This houses a representative collection of Himachal's rich heritage.

 Exhibits include archaeological artefacts, carvings, paintings and sculptures. Closed on Monday and holidays.
INDIAN INSTITUTE OF ADVANCED STUDY:--- (4 km):It is situated at (4,520 feet) above MSL. This magnificent English renaissance structure was the former Viceregal Lodge. Its lawns and woodland are added attractions. Entry by ticket ( nominal charge ). A portion of the interior is also open to the public, except on Sundays and holidays.
THE GLEN (4 km ):--- Glen is situated at (4,173 ft) above MSL, 

It is a thickly wooded ravine through which a stream flows. It is a popular picnic spot.
ANNANDALE (4.5 km):--- Surrounded by a thick deodar forest, this large glade has an ancient temple on the edge.

PROSPECT HILL AND KAMNA DEVI:--- ( 6 km): It is situated at (4,845 ft) above MSL

 and is crowned by a temple dedicated to Kamna Devi, the Hill offers spectacular wide views of the city and its environs.
SANKAT MOCHAN:--- (7 km): This is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman.

TARA DEVI (11 km):---  It is situated at (4,660 feet) above MSL. 

Its a thickly wooded hill with a temple dedicated to Tara Devi.
MASHOBRA:--- (12 km):-- It is situated  at (4,900 ft) above MSL. This is a beautiful suburb is surrounded by thick forests. From here, a track leads down to Sipur which is an exquisite glade shaded by ancient deodar trees. There are old temples a fair is held every April.
KUFRI:--- (16 km): It is situated at (5,702 ft) above MSL. 

This is famous for its wide views and ski slopes. An enjoyable walk leads up to the Mahasu Peak. At Kufri, Himachal Tourism runs Cafe Lalit.
FAGU (22 km):--- It is situated at (5,722 ft) above MSL Fagu has some enchanting views. Himachal Tourism run Hotel Peach Blossom offers spectacular views.


 (1)--Shimla Accord (1806-1807)
Shimla was invaded and won by Bhimsen Thapa of Nepal in 1806. The British East India Company took back the control of the territory as per the Sugauli Treaty after the Anglo-Nepalese War pact (181314).

(2)--- Shimla Agreement (20th August 1817)
The Maharaja of Patiala, in the war, had helped the British East India Company to defeat  the King Bhimsen Thapa of Nepal. So Maharaja of Patiala was given the land surrounding the present-day Shimla as a reward. The agreement is signed in a British Governament diary entry dated 30 August 1817

(3)---Shimla Accord (10 June 1832).
Shimla saw its first political meeting: between the Governor-General Lord Peter Aoronson and the emissaries of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

(4)-- McMahon's work was
Initially rejected by the British government as incompatible with the 1907 Anglo-Russian Convention. This convention was renounced in 1921. The British began using the McMahon Line on Survey of India maps in 1937, and the Simla Accord was published officially in 1938
(5)-- Shimla Treaty (1907)
Early British efforts to create a boundary for north-east India were triggered by their discovery in the mid-19th century that Tawang, an important trading town, was Tibetan territory. Britain had concluded treaties with Qing China concerning Tibet's boundaries with Burm and Sikkim.  However, Tibet refused to recognise the boundaries drawn by these treaties. British forces led by Sir Francis Young had entered Tibet in 1904 and made a treaty with the Tibetans.   In 1907, Britain and Russia acknowledged Chinese Suzerainty over Tibet.

(6) Shimla Accord (1910-12)
British interest in the borderlands was renewed when the Qing government sent military forces to establish a Chinese administration in Tibet (191012). A British military expedition was sent into what is now Arunachal Pradesh  and the North-East Frontier Agency was created to administer the area (1912). In 191213, this agency reached agreements with the tribal leaders who ruled the bulk of the region. After the fall of the Qing dynasty in China, Tibet government at Lhasa expelled all Chinese forces and declared itself independent (1913), however, this was not accepted by the newly founded Republic of China

(7)-- Shimla Accord (1913)
The British convoked a conference at Simla, India to discuss the issue of Tibet's status. The conference was attended by representatives of the Britain, the newly founded Republic of China, and the Tibetan government at Lhasa. The British plenipotentiary, Sir Henry McMahon, introduced the plan of dividing Tibetan-inhabited areas into "inner Tibet" and "outer Tibet" and apply different policies. "Inner Tibet," includes Tibetan-inhabited areas in Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, would be under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government. "Outer Tibet," covering approximately the same area as the modern Tibet Autonomous Region would enjoy autonomy. A boundary between Tibet and British India, later called the McMahon  Line, was drawn on a map referred to in the treaty.

The Tibetan Indian boundary was negotiated in Simla between representatives from British and Tibet, in the presence of the Chinese representative. During the Simla conference a map of the Tibetan Indian border was provided as an annexe to the proposed agreement.

The Schedule appended to the accord contained further notes. For example, it was to be understood that "Tibet forms part of Chinese territory" and after the Tibetans selected a Dalai Lama, the Chinese government was to be notified and the Chinese commissioner in Lhasa would "formally communicate to His Holiness the titles consistent with his dignity, which have been conferred by the Chinese Government"; that the Tibetan government appointed all officers for "Outer Tibet", and that "Outer Tibet" was not to be represented in the Chinese Parliament or any such assembly.

Negotiations failed when China and Tibet could not agree over the Sino-Tibetan boundary. After the Chinese plenipotentiary, Ivan Chen, withdrew from the convention, the British and Tibetan plenipotentiaries attached a note denying China any privileges under the agreement and signed it as a bilateral Accord. At the same time the British and Lochen Shatra signed a fresh set of trade Regulations to replace those of 1908.

Shimla was initially rejected by the Government of India as incompatible with the 1907 Anglo-Russian Convention. The official treaty record, C.U. Aitchison's A Collection of Treaties, was published with a note stating that no binding agreement had been reached at Simla. The Anglo-Russian Convention was renounced by Russia and Britain jointly in 1921, but the McMahon Line was forgotten until 1935, when interest was revived by civil service officer Olaf Careo. The Survey of India published a map showing the McMahon Line as the official boundary in 1937. In 1938, the British published the Simla Convention in Aitchison's Treaties. A volume published earlier was recalled from libraries and replaced with a volume that includes the Simla Convention together with an editor's note stating that Tibet and Britain, but not China, accepted the agreement as binding. The replacement volume has a false 1929 publication date.
(8)- Shimla Accord (April 1938)
A small British force led by Captain GS Lightfoot arrived in Tawang and informed the monastery the district was now Indian territory. The Tibetan government protested and its authority was restored after Lightfoot's brief stay. The district remained in Tibetan hands until 1951.
(9)--- Shimla Accord (1950)
The McMahon Line became a source of tension between China and India. China contends that Tibet was never an independent state and so it could not sign a treaty on behalf of China to delineate an international frontier. China and India fought the Sino-India War in 1962, which nevertheless preserved the status quo ante bellum. Years later, the area, then known as the North-East Frontier Agency, gained Indian statehood as Arunachal Pradesh. 
 (10) Shimla Agreement 2 July 1972

The treaty was signed in Shimla, India , by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the President of Pakistan and Indira Gandhi the Prime Minister of India. The agreement also paved the way for diplomatic recognition of Bangladesh between Pakistan. Technically the document was signed on 0040 hours in the night of 3 July, despite this official documents are dated July 2, 1972. Few major outcomes of the Simla Agreement are:

Both countries will "settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations". India has, many a times, maintained that Kashmir dispute is a bilateral issue and must be settled through bilateral negotiations as per Shimla Agreement, 1972 and thus, had denied any third party intervention even that of United Nations. However, Pakistan do not agree with India's view and seek UN intervention in Kashmir.

Continuation of our Trans Himalayan Hindustan-Tibet Road fantasy, to Chapter- (3)


  1. Pictures are very beautiful. The city of Shimla is located at a distance of approximately 340 km from Delhi. The most popular spots in Shimla are Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex, Himachal State Museum, Viceregal Lodge, Shaily Peak, Himalayan Nature Park, Kali Temple, Lakkar Bazaar, Golf Course and Mall Road. Check out all beautiful hill stations near Delhi.

  2. I like visiting this types of the places very often because it is very much enjoyable one. Thanks a lot for the most attractive pictures which you have brought forward. I am planning to visit the Shimla once again along with my family members.