Sunday, September 23, 2018 | ePaper

A British landmark in Shimla set to become wellness centre for tourists

The Government after reducing a British colonial landmark is introducing a wellness-cum-interpretation centre in it's place. This retreat in a nature park will be surrounded by tulips. It is located where the baker to Viceroy of Lord Mayo built his villa

  • Print


Weekend Plus Desk :
After reducing another British colonial landmark to rubble, the state government is now coming up with a wellness-cum-interpretation centre to attract tourists to this place, now being developed as a nature park amidst blooming red and pink tulips.
A pre-Independence retreat situated at a height of 7,700 feet, Craignano, just 12 km from the state capital and close to quaint Mashobra, the abundance of oak, pine and rhododendron groves had attracted the British here. They had constructed a dak bungalow or rest house that was used as a reading room and to play billiards.
It was located at a place where Italian hotelier and photographer Chevalier Federico Peliti, who was the baker to then Viceroy of Lord Mayo, had constructed his villa. Peliti named this place after his own hometown Craignano, say the state's archives.
“It’s really sad to see that Shimla has lost yet another landmark with the decision to raise a wellness-cum-interpretation centre on the debris of a reading room built centuries ago,” British tourist Mark Dickson said, while pointing towards the remains of the dak bungalow.
He was perturbed to see the condition of the kitchen, the last British remembrance located close to the demolished dak bungalow, which is succumbing to the ravages of time and neglect.
“This structure (kitchen) is threatened with destruction if no substantial restoration work is done immediately,” remarked another tourist, Jayanta Mukherjee.
“If it crumbles, it will be a death of another iconic structure. The government should immediately take it over and restore it like Shimla’s Town Hall and Gaiety Theatre,” he added. His wife Swastika said developing this place as a nature and wellness park would serve no purpose to attract the tourists, especially for ayurvedic therapies, from Shimla.
The nature park, spread over 9.60 hectares of forest land, was inaugurated in May 2017. The Forest Department has been developing a tulip garden with the plantation of 4,000 red and pink tulips in the park and the ayurveda wellness-cum-interpretation centre.
Octogenarian Ashok Guleria, who has been residing in Mashobra since his childhood, said the dak bungalow in Craignano was the famous haunt for Britons before India's Independence.
Riding on horses, they used to come here to play billiards and read books. There was a small collection of books and dinnerware in the dak bungalow. Divisional Forest Officer Amit Sharma, who is in charge of the park,  said that since the dak bungalow was in a state of disrepair, the government decided to demolish it.
“All British artefacts, comprising books and cutlery, stationed in the dak bungalow were shifted to a nearby place before its demolition and would now be displayed in the interpretation centre which will come up shortly along with the ayurveda wellness centre here,” he said.
The interpretation centre would talk about the grand British legacy and the historical importance of the place, he said. The permission for constructing the double-storeyed wellness-cum-interpretation centre has been granted by the state Town and Country Planning Department, he added.
Wildlife experts say the area supports rich bird species like the monal, the red jungle fowl, the rufous-breasted accentor, the black lored tit, the jungle owlet, the Alexandrine parakeet, the grey-headed woodpecker and a host of mammals including the leopard.
Craignano is also known for the world's highest water lift located at an altitude of 7,657 feet. It was developed by the British and is still quenching thirst of residents of Shimla and other areas. Shimla served as the summer capital of British India between 1864 and 1939.

More News For this Category

Nasir Ali Mamun’s 58th solo photo exhibition, book launched

Nasir Ali Mamun’s 58th solo photo exhibition, book launched

Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Over the span of a decade, Nasir Ali Mamun recorded the one-man journey of the ‘fugitive’ and bohemian painter SM Sultan - his pathos, darkness and

From milk to bananas

From milk to bananas

Weekend Plus Desk :If there are times when you struggle really hard to get a good night’s sleep, getting away with all that tossing and turning might be as

Guru Rajjob Ali Dewan devotee passes on

Sir Frank Peters :An entire village is in deep mourning over the death of one of its most revered and respected members, Guru Suruj Dewan. Guru Suruj, 78, was a

‘Wonder drug’ aspirin’s harms outweighs its benefits in healthy elderly

‘Wonder drug’ aspirin’s harms outweighs its benefits in healthy elderly

Weekend Plus Desk :Elderly people who have never had a heart attack in their life can avoid taking a baby aspirin every day, as per a US Australian study

Poet Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal

Poet Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal

Ahmad Kabir :Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal (1936-1989) poet educationist and composer of songs, was born in The village Gobinda of Ullahpara upazila in the district of Pabna on 11

Comrade Muzaffar Ahmed

Comrade Muzaffar Ahmed

Ranjit Roy :Comrade Muzaffar Ahmed (1889-1973) was a revolutionary and pioneer of the Communist movement in India. Affectionately called Kakababu (uncle) by party comrades and sympathisers, his way of

Journalist, writer Qazi Afsaruddin Ahmed

Mir Farjana Sharmin :Qazi Afsaruddin Ahmed (1921-1975) was a journalist, writer. He was born on 24 September 1921 at Chatmohar in Pabna district. His paternal home was at village

POEMS

MarsiyaHusain of Karbala-Ameen KhorasaneeMen weep for you today in many landsAnd on their breasts in bitter anguish beatAnd in sad, mournful tunes, the tales repeat of how youLost your

Scholar, writer Girish Chandra Sen

Scholar, writer Girish Chandra Sen

Sambaru Chandra Mohanta :Girish Chandra Sen (1835-1910), religious scholar and translator, who made the first creditable and full translation of the holy Quran into Bangla, was born in the

Purify the air in your house with  these easy-to-grow indoor plants

Purify the air in your house with these easy-to-grow indoor plants

Weekend Plus Desk :According to WHO, of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, 14 are in India and indoor pollution is as bad as outdoor pollution. Stagnant