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Vice Regal Lodge Shimla

Shimla is full of heritage buildings. Most of the buildings and monuments of Shimla were constructed during the Victorian Era. The original structure of these buildings have been kept as they were when constructed but for better maintenance and safety issues few modern additions have been done.  One of the most famous heritage buildings of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh is the Vice Regal Lodge, which has got worldwide fame.

Visitors of Vice Regal Lodge get to see a wonderful view of the surrounding mountain ranges of Shimla especially during the winters when these lofty mountain ranges are covered with snow. Viewing the sunset from here is an experience in its own. Vice Regal Lodge is also known to be part of the Shimla Conference, the historic event of 1945, that led to the partition of India and Pakistan was formed. The meetings of Shimla Conference were held in this building.

Vice Regal Lodge in Shimla

Vice Regal Lodge was construction on Observatory Hill and was a popular place in Shimla as   Lord Dufferin, viceroy of India during the years 1884-1888 lived here. The other Governor General and Viceroys after Lord Dufferin also used to stay here. After Independence, the lodge was popularly called as “Rastrapati Bhawan” because the President of India used to come and stay here during summer months.

Uniqueness of Vice Regal Lodge in Shimla

During the time when this building was constructed, the Vice Regal Lodge was famous for its state-of-the-art architectural technology. It was the first building construction made in Shimla that had electric lighting. It was Lady Dufferin, wife of Viceroy Lord Dufferin, who had used the electric switches for the first time in Shimla.

Varandah of Vice Regal Lodge

Not only interiors of this house but the surrounding places of Vice Regal Lodge have been decorated with beautifully landscaped garden. In the garden there a tulip tree which gives a very different look to this place as the area is mainly having forests and garden made of Pine, Deodar, Cedar and Oak Trees. The tulip tree was planted during the period when Marquis of Lansdowne used to stay here. He was the Viceroy, who had replaced Lord Dufferin in the year 1988.

View from the Vice Regal Lodge

The lodge, once the residence of the Viceroy of India, still attracts many visitors towards for its outward appearances and vintage interiors. Some of the original components of this lodge are still present in the present structure. Actually the original structure of the Vice Regal Lodge has been kept as it is. The actual light panel used in the lodge is still kept there but additionally a fuse box has been put there. There had been system of hot and cold water running together at that time. The lodge also had a developed system of rainwater collection and storage. The water collection used to be done in two huge tanks kept under the front lawn.

Architecture of Vice Regal Lodge

The Vice Regal Lodge Shimla was designed by the famous architecture- Henry Irwin. The lodge had been constructed over an area of 331 acres. Before the construction, the site was leveled so that this grand building could be seen from very far and could showcase the pride of the British Empire. At the main entryway, inscriptions are there showing names of Henry Irwin, the main architect, his assistant engineers such as F.B. Hebbert and the others and Earl of Dufferin, the viceroy who occupied the building after the construction. 

Architecture of Vice Regal Lodge

The construction of this building was inspired by Swedish architecture.  In the main hall, there was a teak panel. A huge fireplace is there in the main hall. On the left is a corridor with two galleries that goes into the ballroom. The corridor has a glass window. The ballroom is now transferred into a library.  The dining room, drawing room and the lounge of this lodge were in the ground room. Viceroy’s office rooms were in the upper floors. To the right side of the main hall, there is a wonderful teak wood stair case of 3 stories. The visitor’s lounge was also beautifully decorated with ceiling made with walnut tree and intrinsically carved Kashmiri designs. Some of the wall coverings are still there in their original form. Visitors can see a Chandelier that was put during the British Rule. A large portrait of Lady Elgin, wife of one of the Viceroys of India is still there above the main fireplace in the visitors’ hall.

Location of Vice Regal Lodge in Shimla

The location of Vice Regal Lodge is on the Observatory Hills, Shimla. Observatory Hills are one of those 7 hills that form this famous hill station of north India, Shimla, and has fetched it its name, the queen of the Hills.

From Shimla City, one can actually go to this lodge via the road leading to the Summer Hills. Local conveyance like buses and taxis can be taken and it is also convenient to go by private car. It is hardly 2.1 km from the main city area.

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