Shimla is the capital city of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, located in northern India. It is bounded by Mandi and Kullu in the north, Kinnaur in the east, the state of Uttaranchal in the south-east, and Solan and Sirmaur to the south. The elevation of the city ranges from 300 to 6000 metres. Shimla is well known as a hub for India's tourism sector. It is among the top 10 preferred entrepreneurial locations in India.
In 1864, Shimla was declared as the summer capital of British India, succeeding Murree, northeast of Rawalpindi. Afterindependence, the city became the capital of Punjab and was later named the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Shimla came into existence from 1st Sept,1972 on the reorganisation of the districts of the state.
After the reorganisation, the erstwhile Mahasu district and its major portion was merged with Shimla. Its name has been derived from the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kali. As of 2011 Shimla comprises 19 erstwhile hill states mainly Balson, Bushahr, Bhaji and Koti, Darkoti, Tharoch & Dhadi, Kumharsain, Khaneti & Delath, Dhami, Jubbal, Keothal, Madhan, Rawingarh, Ratesh, and Sangri.
As a large and growing city, Shimla is home to many well-recognized colleges and research institutions in India. The city has a large number of temples and palaces. Shimla is also well noted for its buildings styled in Tudorbethan and neo-Gothic architecture dating from the colonial era.
Shimla, along with Almora, Kumaon, Garhwal, Sirmaur, Dehradun and Kangra, was invaded and captured by Prithvi Narayan Shah of Nepal. Shortly later, the British East India Company with local kings went to war with Nepal from 1814 to 1816. At the conclusion of the war, as a result of the Sugauli Treaty, all these captured parts of North India were ceded to the British East India company. At that time, Shimla was known for the temple of Hindu Goddess Shyamala Devi, and not as a city as it is today.
Not long after gaining possession of Shimla, the British began to develop the area. The Scottish civil servant Charles Pratt Kennedy built the first British summer home in the town in 1822. Lord Amherst, the Governor-General of Bengal from 1823 to 1828, set up a summer camp here in 1827, when there was only one cottage in the town, and only 'half a dozen' when he left that year. There were more than a hundred cottages within ten years. Shimla soon caught the eye of Lord William Bentinck, the next Governor-General of Bengal from 1828 (later of India, when the title was created in 1833) to 1835.
One of his successors, Sir John Lawrence (Viceroy of India 1864–1869), decided to take the trouble of moving the administration twice a year between Calcutta and this separate centre over 1,000 miles away, despite the fact that it was difficult to reach. Lord Lytton (Viceroy of India 1876–1880) made efforts to plan the town from 1876, when he first stayed in a rented house, but began plans for a Viceregal Lodge, later built on Observatory Hill. A fire cleared much of the area where the native Indian population lived (the "Upper Bazaar"), and the planning of the eastern end to become the centre of the European town forced these to live in the Middle and Lower Bazaars on the lower terraces descending the steep slopes from the Ridge. The Upper Bazaar was cleared for a Town Hall, with many facilities such as library and theatre, as well as offices—for police and military volunteers as well as municipal administration.
During the "Hot Weather", Simla was also the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief, India, the head of the Indian Army, and many Departments of the Government. The summer capital of the regional Government of the Punjab moved fromMurree, in modern-day Pakistan, to Shimla in 1876. They were joined by many of the British wives and daughters of the men who remained on the plains. Together these formed Simla Society, which, according to Charles Allen, "was as close as British India ever came to having an upper crust." This may have been helped by the fact that it was very expensive, having an ideal climate and thus being desirable, as well as having limited accommodation. British soldiers, merchants, and civil servants moved here each year to escape from the heat during summer in the Indo-Gangetic plain. The presence of many bachelors and unattached men, as well as the many women passing the hot weather there, gave Simla a reputation for adultery, and at least gossip about adultery: as Rudyard Kipling said in a letter cited by Allen, it had a reputation for "frivolity, gossip and intrigue".