Woodville Palace Hotel India

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Woodville Palace Hotel Shimla

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WOODVILLE PALACE HOTEL on Raj Bhawan Road has an interesting history. To begin with, the name of its builder is not known. It served as an official residence of the British Army’s Commander-in-Chief. Over the years the property changed many hands before passing into the ownership of its present proprietor. In the late seventies it was converted into a resort. Many Mumbai films and the much talked about British TV series Jewel in the Crown were shot here.

The real beauty of Shimla can be observed when one moves out of the city. We drove out to CHAIL. On both sides of the road rhododendrons were in bloom. Chail was the summer capital of the princely state of Patiala. Chail Palace has now been converted into a hotel. The place also boasts of having the highest cricket pitch in the world.

It started pouring on our way to Chail. A hail storm followed. People outside took shelter under courtyards of houses and tea shops. When the sun came out everything wore a freshly washed look. Birds circled over houses in the distance. On our return to Shimla moon light was slowly filtering out from behind the web of clouds overhead. As the mist slowly lifted the phoenix seemed to

The capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is named after its patron goddess, Shamla Devi and was a tiny village until it was popularised as a hill resort by the British who established their summer capital here in 1864. A quaint mix of colonial and oriental charms, Shimla resonates with the memories of the Raj. Be sure to visit the Christ Church. a prominent landmark with its five beautiful stained glass windows.

Visit the bustling bazaar off the Mall and lose yourself in the exquisite Pahari miniatures in the State Museum. For more of the Raj flavour, visit the Viceregal Lodge which has been converted into a conference centre. It was built in 1888 for the Viceroy Lord Dufferin as a Tudor mansion and boasted of landscaped gardens and a staff of eight hundred. Visitors to Shimla have a plethora of accommodation to choose from—there are old-style luxury heritage hotels, cheap hostels as well as midrange hotels.

Shimla also makes for a convenient base to set off for short excursions to places such as Sarahan, the site of the famous Bhima Kali temple or to Narkanda, an ancient staging post on the Hindustan-Tibet caravan road or to Rampur, the erstwhile capital of the princely state of Bhushar. Sarahan at a height of 2165 m is 174 km southwest of Shimla and offers some extremely beautiful pastoral scenes — fields and orchards surrounding slate-roofed houses. Once the summer capital of the Bhushar rajas, Sarahan’s most outstanding feature is the Bhima Kali temple with its twin wooden pagodas, gleaming spires and a wealth of carvings. The temple was once associated with human sacrifice till the British banned it. However, the tradition of blood sacrifice continues till today — during the annual Astomi festival, before the end of Dussehra, animals are sacrificed in a grand spectacle which attracts thousands of people of the Himalayas and in winter functions as a ski-resort.

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