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Blog posted by Suparna Banerjee
Suparna Banerjee, October 08, 2010
What remains of old Simla is mostly Victorian and Edwardian, a bizarre mix of "cricket pavilion" and institutional Gothic architecture with odd mock-oriental and Tyrolean flourishes. The British liked the place so much that in 1862 they made it the summer capital of India, moving the entire administration there for up to seven months of the year, with all the files and papers carried on mule-back from Calcutta, and later Delhi, up the steep Himalayan paths. It was, of course, a completely ludicrous, impractical and ultimately disastrous idea. Simla became an increasingly claustrophobic society...
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Suparna Banerjee, October 08, 2010
Little monasteries and chortens dot the landscape. A cluster of whitewashed buildings with a playing field has a board with primary school written boldly across it. It's devoid of all touristy claptrap, and somewhere on the road you abruptly pass from thickly forested hills to bare dust ridden snow capped mountains. It's as if the curtains have parted on a grand proscenium.
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Suparna Banerjee, October 08, 2010
The lush fields turn into scrub bushes and the soil turns to sand. I cannot resist the feel of sand under my foot and decide to take a walk outside. Little do I remember that it is a desert afternoon. Within minutes I am back in the car, and with my feet nearly burnt, we roll into Bikaner. Travelling to the western and north-western part of Rajasthan by road is an experience in itself.
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