Shimla is currently the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. Under its former name, Simla, it was the summer capital of the British Raj. As temperatures and humidity soared on the sweltering plains below, the ruling classes of the sub-continent would head to the mountains, climbing into the cooler climes of the Himilayan foothills.
Apparently a slice of Surrey in the foothills, it is an architecturally arresting sight. Sir Edward Lutyens was on his way to his commission to build the imperial capital at New Delhi, and inspected Simla. He wasn’t impressed:
“It is inconceivable and consequently very English! – to have a capital as Simla, entirely of tin roofs … if one was told monkeys had built it all one could only say ‘What wonderful monkeys! They must be shot in case they do it again’.”