Once we’d seen the Mall the previous afternoon, we’d considered leaving a day sooner than planned. I’m glad we stayed back instead.
The next morning we first visited the magnificent Vice Regal Lodge. There is enough and more to admire within those premises and while we waited for the conducted tour to begin, we looked around the sprawling garden admiring the lovely roses and other blooms.
Built during the time of the British rule of India, the massive structure dates back to the 1880s and was occupied by the British Viceroys who ruled the country those days. Look inside and you’ll see beautiful antique furniture, portraits and photographs of much historical import and any bibliophile’s dream, a fabulous library. Photography though allowed in the lawn, is not permitted within the mansion.
A little further away from the Vice Regal Lodge, you’ll come to the bird park.Enter this small enclosure and take a walk with different kinds of pheasants and their disciplined brood trooping behind their mater…the cheer pheasant, the Monal bird with its iridescent plumage and even the reserved peacock!!!
We stopped at the State Museum next. With exhibits which date back to as early as the 8th century to modern times, this museum makes for an interesting visit. The building itself was built during the late 19th century. After that we visited the Military Museum where one can walk down the patriotic path and view weapons, photographs, uniforms and even portraits of famous generals and other officers.
This was followed by lunch at a popular pizza outlet at the Mall. We’d have preferred a good Punjabi meal but the boys wanted their fast food fix. Although the husband and I’d have loved to look around the Mall and visit the library and theatre, we could sense that the boys had had enough of sightseeing. After indulging ourselves with an ice cream treat, we went back to the guest house. The two of us returned to the Mall an hour and a half later, hoping to see what was left of the Mall, but sadly most of the places of interest were closed to public by then. We walked from one end of the Mall to the other and stopped at Ashiana restaurant which has a lovely view of the hills all around. Though we stopped for tea, we ended up having cold coffee and pakodas. The rest of the evening went in repacking and preparing for the next day’s long drive.
PS : It would make sense to stay in a hotel or resort on the outskirts of the town while visiting Shimla and take a day or two to see the sights there…that way you’d have the best of both worlds.