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Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/364

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[ch. xxix
CITIES

History.— Part of the site was retained at the close of the Gurkha war in 1816, and the first English house, a wooden cottage with a thatched roof, was built three years later. The first Governor General to spend the summer in Simla was Lord Amherst in 1827. After the annexation of the Panjab in 1849 Lord Dalhousie went there every year, and from 1864 Simla may be said to have become the summer capital of India. It became the summer headquarters of the Panjab Government twelve years later. The thirty houses of 1830 have now increased to about 2000. Six miles distant on the beautiful Mahasu Ridge the Viceroy has a "Retreat," and on the same ridge and below it at Mashobra there are a number of European houses. There are excellent hotels in Simla, and the cold weather tourist can pay it a very pleasant visit, provided he avoids the months of January and February.

Srinagar (34.5 N., 74.5 E.), the summer capital of the Maharaja of Kashmir, is beautifully situated on both banks of the river Jhelam at a level of 5250 feet above the sea. To the north are the Hariparvat or Hill of Vishnu with a rampart built by Akbar and the beautiful Dal lake. Every visitor must be rowed up its still waters to the Nasim Bagh, a grove of plane (chendr) trees, laid out originally in the reign of the same Emperor. Between the lake and the town is the Munshi Bagh, in and near which are the houses of Europeans including the Residency. The splendid plane trees beside the river bank, to which house boats are moored, and the beautiful gardens attached to some of the houses, make this a very charming quarter. The Takht i Suliman to the west of Srinagar is crowned by a little temple, whose lower walls are of great age. The town itself is intersected by evil-smelling canals and consists in the main of a jumble of wooden houses with thatched roofs. Sanitary abominations have been cleansed from time to time by great fires and punished