Tuesday, September 22, 2009
“My month’s leave at Simla, or whatever Hill Station my people went to, was pure joy—every golden hour counted. It began in heat and discomfort, by rail and road. It ended in the cool evening, with a wood fire in one’s bedroom, and next morn—thirty more of them ahead!—the early cup of tea, the Mother who brought it in, and the long talks of us all together again. One had leisure to work, too, at whatever play-work was in one’s head, and that was usually full.”
I found these words, penned by Kipling between the years of 1885 – 1888, to be very fitting of my journey to Shimla last week.
My journey started in the heat and discomfort of the plains of Delhi……I traveled by rail and road to reach the city…….and it ended in a cool evening.
The only thing missing was the fireplace in the bedroom of my hotel……and the thirty extra days of leave.
Typically these trips do not lend themselves to much free time……..or “play-work” as Kipling aptly referred to it, but my colleagues and I managed to spend a few hours on The Mall…..before we descended the crisp, cool, clean air of Shimla by car to Kalka…..to board our train back to Delhi.
“Every golden hour counted” for me as well…….I managed to witness some amazing views, witness a spectacular display of cloud formations at sunset, take some photographs of some very talented Folk Dancer’s and learn more about a part of India that I had not had the chance to experience for the past year.
Despite the congestion of the traffic, I found Shimla to be a truly beautiful and unique place……some place I will return too, to spend more time exploring all she has to offer……there is so much more to see and do….I merely scratched the surface.
After one visit, of a few precious hours, there is no wonder why the British chose Shimla to be the “Summer Capital” of India for 6 months of every year……
The city still bears the influence of The British and the style of architecture they brought to Shimla. Many cottages and administrative buildings that were built during this time have not succumbed to the growth that the city has witnessed over the past several years.....some appear ready to collapse, they cling to the sides of steep hills with every ounce of strength the have in their foundations and timber frames. Others stand strong and solid as remembrances to an era that ended some 60 plus years ago....
Enjoy the photographs included in this blog entry and for those to come in the very near future.