Tuesday, May 18, 2010

English Garden in the Himalayas

The British , who ruled India for 200 years, could not bear the summer heat of Delhi. So, during summer, the whole government would shift to Shimla, which is located in the Western Himalayas. Naturally, the Viceroy had to have a castle, and this Scottish castle came into being in 1888, complete with electric lights, running hot and cold water in all the bathrooms and an indoor tennis court! A beautiful English garden with box hedges, manicured lawns and English flowers was made around the castle. Rain water was harvested in an underground tank to water the extensive lawns and tennis courts.
Now the building houses the Institute for Advanced Study, a post doctoral research Institute. Since it is no longer the seat of power, the gardens are not given much importance.
Besides such English flowers like carnations and cornflowers, there were these flowers whose name I could not find. They are not Alstromeria.

A great attraction was the profuse flowers of the 'Whistling Rose', shown above. I don't know who named it and why, but I think it was called Whistling Rose because of the hundreds of little birds in the bushes.

Although the Viceregal Lodge had an imposing appearance, some of the ladies who inhabited it did not like it. Lady Curzon thought its appearance ludicrous, calling it a building "a Minneapolis millionaire would delight in".


  1. I hope someone could confirm the name of the flower plant for you. It's pretty! I like that lodge as well :-D What an interesting post, thanks.

  2. I read all four posts on your recent trip to the Himalayan region in one go. I’m feeling a little breathless, but beautiful places all! I must say Lady Curzon was a woman of dubious taste besides being a snob!

  3. Beautiful place, beautiful castle and great photographs as always. The conquerors just wanted their comfort at all times.

  4. Wonderful castle! Both the architecture and the stunning garden make it appear to be sitting somewhere on the British isles. The long porches seem a little out of place on a castle, but I absolutely love that touch! How wonderful it would be to sit out there on those porches and feel the breezes.

  5. Interesting post! Those pink flowers you took pictures of are varieties of Clarkia amoena, an annual native to the Western United States. It is also known as Godetia and grows quite quickly from seed.

  6. Yes the pink flowers are Clarkia....sometimes called "pink ribbons".... great photos

  7. Stephanie, friends have identified the flower as Clarkia.
    Shailaja, I remembered my mother who went to school in Shimla all through our stay!
    Costas, yes. The conquerors want their comforts.
    Floridagirl, I too liked the castle. It now houses post doctoral scholars, who, I am sure, enjoy living and working there.
    College Gardener, thanks for the information. Clarkia is such a beautiful, delicate flower.
    Ian, thanks.

  8. These flowers are Grace very much.

    Bright Scarlet!

  9. I have been to the Lodge. Such a beautiful place. Lady Curzon seems to have no taste! And what lovely flowers!

  10. Hi, I was just lookimg through the images on the internet trying to identify a flower i have had growing in my garden for the last 2yrs, when I came across this image, it is without a doubt the flower you have on this page, it is quite similar to a godetia but it isn't one. Have you identified it yet as I would also like to know what this is.