We were giddy with excitement after our visit to Rashtrapati Niwas. So much history, such grandeur and beauty in the creation of men! From the enthusiastic approval of my friends, It seemed that our passion for history had just been kindled! Eager for more, we headed towards the Shimla State Museum, 2 kilometers from the Viceregal Lodge. We decided to make the trip by foot, a chance to stretch our rusted joints, after weeks of training and a sedentary life at the city.
The State Museum Shimla is a tourist spot every visitor must visit. This is unlike any museum I have ever explored, with exquisite items unique to the little hill town of Shimla. The artifacts are housed in an old Victorian mansion, perched a lonely hilltop, ‘Inveram’. The climb is exhilarating, with clean mountain air and tranquil surroundings a balm to your city-worn spirit. The view from the hilltop is splendid. I clicked away until my friends had to force the camera in my bag and drag me into the museum, our purpose here. As with the Rashtrapati Niwas, the state museum was once a British stronghold, the private residence of Lord William Beresford, Military Secretary to the serving Viceroy, Lord William Bentick. When Lord Beresford left India for good, he turned the building over to Sir Edwin Collan which was later trusted to Sir Edward Law, the Finance Minister of the Council. After India won her independence, the building served as the residence of Indian government officials in Shimla.
The State Museum was opened in the building on January 26, 1974 to amass, preserve and showcase the archaeological, historical, artistic and ethnological masterpieces for posterity. The museum houses a fantastic collection of Mughal and Kangra, Chamba embroidery, 8th century stone images of from Masrur and Bajaura, an impressive weapon collection, local handicrafts, coins from the early ages, local and English Jewellery and temple carving. The highlight of the museum is the doll gallery that showcases a collection of Himachali bride and tribal dolls. Given our newly kindled interest in history, we enjoyed our visit to the museum immensely. After an array of interesting sight seeing spots, we were hungry for more, and we were hungry for some delicious local treats in the hill retreat of Shimla. After our sojourn with history, we embarked on our next fun adventure! A quest for delicious food to satisfy our ravenous stomachs.