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Simla British India’s Summer Capital – Old Photo 1890

Old photo of British India’s summer capital Simla, or Shimla of 1890. Shows besides the locals an English lady with her two children on the Mall. Today it is the capital of Himachal Pradesh at the foothills of the Himalayas. Discovered by the British in 1815 it slowly developed as their summer capital by 1864.

After India’s independence, it first became the capital of Punjab then Himachal Pradesh. The remoteness of the place coupled with the enormous difficulty of moving all the apparatus of the government twice a year back and forth to Calcutta. It meant that for six months of the year the capital was not Calcutta or Kolkata but Simla. This affected the attitude of the British Government officials to the problems of India.

Like Kashmir was beloved of the Mughals, Shimla became the beloved of the colonial masters. There were many hill stations, and most foreigners as a matter of course fled to them during the hot weather. The officials with their families in Madras (now Chennai) fled to Ooty or Kodaikanal, same as that of Lucknow and Meerut rushing to Mussoorie or Naini Taal. It was also the case with Darjeeling, officials from Calcutta would retreat there.

See post British Family At Tea Simla – Old Photograph 1895. Read also History of Shimla Town. 

Did you know- it is situated atop seven major hills at the foothills of the Himalayas.

From the collection- Raja Ravi Varma Painting – 2 Old Postcards 1976., Opening Of The Madras Railway – Old Print 1856., Bombay University Hall & Rajabai Clock Tower – Old Postcard., WWI German Cruiser Emden’s Sea Route Map 1914

The images are of the actual items from my collection. And Not a photocopy, pirated, reproduced, or stock photos or taken from other sources.

Photo Details

Year -


Photograph Size -

10 x 8 inches

Photographer -

Samuel Bourne