Chief Minister will inaugurate Shimla Heritage Museum on 6th August, 2011 at U.S. Club, Shimla. Dr. Arun Kumar Sharma, Director, Tourism & Civil Aviation told that the purpose of establishment of the heritage museum is to increase the stay of tourists visiting Shimla and acquaint them with the popular & prevalent history & heritage of Shimla town.
He further said that the department has started Shimla City Tour in association with Tourism Industry Stakeholders Welfare Society, Shimla and the museum would be the base for heritage walk in the city also. In future the heritage tour would be started from US Club. In the museum one can take the glimpse of Town Hall, Viceregal Lodge, Post Office, Gaiety Theatre, Vidhan Sabha, Barnes Court, Rippon Hospital, Combermere Bridge, Gorton Castle etc., he added.
Built in 1860 from stone and timber, the Town Hall represents typical European architecture, housed the Municipal Corporation offices. Being a best example of Imperial City planning, the sober yet architecturally magnificent, Town Hall was built on a commanding ridge at the confluence of the grounds of the ridge and the Mall.
The building of the General Post Office, Shimla, the oldest post office of Northern India was constructed in 1882 and earlier known as the Conny Cottage. Mr. F. Dalton Is supposed to be its first Post Master and Mr. L.G. Pigott was the last English Post Master till December, 1946 and Mr. A.K. Hazari was the first Post master of Indian Origin in 1947. Before the establishment of rail or road links with Shimla, mail was sent through a special “dak gari” from Ambala to Kalka. It was further transported by postal employees using horses, ponies and even elephants.
Gaiety Theatre : Built in 1887, this five storey building which was amongst the tallest buildings of its times was inaugurated in 1888 and served as a major place of entertainment for the Anglo-Indian society as it housed a stage for Shimla Amateur Dramatic Club. Built in stone, with artistically shaped windows, doors, lintels and openings, it also possessed boxes, galleries, beautiful paintings and sculptures. It was one of its kind in Asia during that period.
Viceregal Lodge: Constructed during the Viceroyalty of Lord Dufferin during 1884-1888 by architect Henry Irwin, this building with Neo-Gothic architecture was the first building to have electric lighting in Shimla. This building, spread over 123 acres has been a witness to several historic moments. It was the venue of Shimla Conference in 1945 and it was here that the decision of partition of India was taken in 1947. After Independence in 1947, the building became the property of the President of India and was renamed Rashtrapati Niwas. Now it houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies.
The Combermere Bridge across a chasm and the water tank on the hill above were built at the behest of Lord Combermere, the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army in 1828. This tank located at the site of the present day Indira Gandhi Sports Complex was the primary source of water before piped water was introduced to the city.