1      Overview of shimla

1.1   Evolution of City

Shimla was discovered by the British in 1819, and became favorite destination of British officials in summer as a hill station and convalescent centre. Shimla was accessed by two-wheel carts drawn by ponies under the auspices of the “Mountain Car Company”. Municipal Committee came into existence in 1851 and was responsible for establishment of Town Hall and Gaiety Theatre. Shimla was declared the Summer Capital of Government of India in 1864. This paved a way to Grand Hindustan-Tibet road. Peter Hoff and Vice Regal became official residence of Viceroy.

In 1871, the Government of Punjab also decided to use Shimla as its summer capital. In 1904, the Kalka-Shimla railway line was commissioned. After Partition in 1947, offices of Punjab Government were shifted from Lahore in Pakistan to Shimla. In 1966, with reorganization of territory into Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, Shimla became capital of Himachal Pradesh.

Since then Shimla became a popular hill station and most preferred tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh.

1.2   Geographical Setting

Shimla district is a part of northwestern Himalayan Agro climatic region of Himachal Pradesh. It is located in the south of the Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 2130 m. On North East side it is surrounded by Kullu and Kinnaur district, on Southeast and West by Sirmour district and Dehradun district of Uttranchal and North West by Solan and Mandi districts.

Shimla is situated on the last Traverse spur of the Central Himalayas, south of river Satluj at 31004' North to 31010' North latitude and 77005' East to 77015' longitude, at an altitude of 2130 m. above mean sea level.

Heavy monsoon, cold winter, rugged topography, steep slopes, deep valleys and elongated spur characterize geoclimatic setting of Shimla.

1.3   Hilly Area

For delineating hill regions, Planning Commission, in 1981 accepted that any area above 600 m. in height from mean sea level be classified as hilly, however, in 1985, any area with average slope of 30 percent and above was classified as hilly. As per the above classification, Shimla town is classified as hilly town.

1.4   Geology

Shimla town is situated on the rocks of Jutogh Group and Shimla Group. Jutogh group occupies main Shimla area and extends from Annadale-Chura Bazaar-Prospect Hill-Jakhoo-US Club and highland area. Shimla Group comprising of earlier Chail Formation and Shimla Series represented by shale, slate, quartzite greywacke and local conglomerate is well exposed in Sanjauli-Dhalli area.

1.5   Climate

Chilly winds from the upper Himalayas make winters in Shimla cold. Around Christmas or last week of December Shimla gets snowfall. Temperature varies from 15 ~20ºC in summers and in winters its in the range 0~13ºC. The average annual rainfall in the region is 900mm.

1.6   Regional Linkages

Shimla is connected by road, rail and air. Shimla is connected by road with Delhi (30 km), Chandigarh (117 km) and Kalka (90 km). Shimla is connected by narrow gauge railway line from Kalka (90 km). Shimla Airport at Jubbarhatti, 23 km from city is connected to Chandigarh, Kullu and Delhi.

1.7   Defining the Programme Region

A key step in the development of the CDP is the delineation of its limits - the geographic extent to be considered in the Plan.

The spatial limits considered for developing the CDP include local bodies, which fall within the Shimla Planning Area (SPA).  Department of Town & Country Planning, Government of Himachal Pradesh has delineated this region, which comprises the urban area of Shimla and 3 Special Area Development Authorities (SADA), as a definitive planning area.  Some of the interventions may however extend beyond SPA, in the watershed areas of rivers flowing in the region to achieve the programme objectives.

Figure 3.2 explains these various planning areas, and the administrative limits included in them. The Programme region thus has as its core the urban area of Shimla town, and neighbouring SADAs.

The SPA represents an area of potential urbanization, comprising the core urban area of Shimla, its peri-urban fringe and the rural hinterland that is expected to urbanize in due course, with the development of the urban core.

The JNNURM implementation programme will consider the entire SPA as its focus region, and develop a CDP that addresses issues of infrastructural, environmental, social and economic consequence within this limit.

1.8   City Functions

As per 2001 census, Shimla is the only Class I town in entire State of Himachal Pradesh with majority of towns falling under Class IV category. This explains the dominance of this town in the State in terms of facilities, amenities and opportunities.

Shimla is a multifunctional city with dominance in tourism, administration and institutional activities. Apart from being the administrative center and capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is also the nerve center for all social, cultural, educational and tourism activities. The multifunctional activities are putting heavy stress on development activities leading to unregulated development and congestion in the core area.


Capital Function

Being state capital of a young state, it is pulsating with tremendous pressure of activities, due to numerous departmental and administrative functions of the capital, there by resulting in fast growth of population.

Administrative Centre

Shimla is the district headquarter of Shimla district. Besides, capital function it also houses a number of district administrative functions.

Education Centre

Shimla is known for better schooling facilities and is hub of schools. It is the base of the Himachal Pradesh University. Shimla is also home to the Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS). Set up in 1965, the IIAS carries out academic pursuits in areas of Indian Culture, Religion and the Social and Natural Sciences.

Tourist Centre

Shimla is the most famous hill station of India and is an important tourist destination, accounting for almost a quarter of all tourists arriving in Himachal.

Heritage City

Shimla has inherited enormous wealth of built environment created over 180 years of existence. The British created many admirable buildings such as the Auckland House, Chapslee, the Christ Church, the GPO and the Kirk, Gorton Castle, Ravenswood, etc. which form part of Heritage Plan.