Artist: Simpson, William (1823-1899)
This chromolithograph is taken from plate 46 of William Simpson's 'India: Ancient and Modern'. Simla (the present-day capital of Himachal Pradesh) was the largest of the Indian hill-stations and derives its name from the mountain goddess Shyamla Devi. Discovered by the British in 1819 after it had been recovered from the Gurkhas of Nepal, its temperate climate and spectacular scenery made it popular with British residents of India by the 1820s. It even became the summer capital when the Governor General began to take his council there to escape the intense heat of Calcutta 1,300 miles away. Foreign travellers called Simla the 'English Convalescent Station'. They were surprised by the rigid etiquette observed there, which was often in great contrast to the conditions they had encountered while travelling.