"This rambling Scottish baronial edifice was designed by Henry Irvine, architect to the Public Works Department of the colonial government in India. The south facing entrance portico sees the visitor into the reception hall.The hall is marked by a grand staircase which springs from the right and spirals up three full floors. Facing the main entrance is the grand fireplace.A gallery with well-appointed teak panelling is the central space of the building around which the other rooms are arranged.The state drawing room, ballroom, and the wood-panelled dining room – decorated with coats of arms of former Governor-Generals and Viceroys – lead to the gallery at the lower level.Verandas and terraces surround the entire building at different levels. Those at the lower level link the lodge to the magnificent grounds while those on other floors provide superb views of mountains. Way back in 1888 this Lodge had electric light – when nobody else in Shimla did – and, would you believe it, an indoor tennis court!The lodge had extensive facilities including huge kitchens; separate rooms for storing table linen, plates, china and glass; laundry; boilers for central heating and running hot and cold water in the bathrooms.Pretty much as in Delhi’s Viceregal Palace, the Viceroy hosted lavish parties and entertained the royal princes and nawabs (governors in the Mughal Empire) in style."
It surely was a royal encounter, some places speak through their architecture and this is one of them, it took me to the times when India was still in the making, an infant trying to walk its way to Independence, today I can proudly say that my country has come a long way, there are many things that need change but its progress through the years cannot be denied. My land today has given me the opportunity to hold my head high and enjoy the beauty of a place which would otherwise had been out of my reach.
India has been a home for innumerable cultures and has blended the goodness of all, the different architectures, be it British, Mughal or traditional Indian, every brick laid by the great artists is a masterpiece of its own kind.
On my way back from the Viceregal Lodge, I visited the Shimla State Museum, which houses a huge collection of magnificent paintings, sculptures, coins, handicrafts and photos.
From there I took off, tracing my steps back home.
However high an eagle may fly, it settles on its nest by the end of the day, and as I hit the plains from my flight to the beautiful mountains, I could feel the comfort of coming back home, as a caravan does once it reaches its destination.
The next day my drive from office and back was not the same, something had changed....for the better.