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Notes on the Geography of Northern India: Shimla: Approach and Mall: Photo 9

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Shimla is draped over a sharp ridge, and though there's a road up top traffic is almost entirely forbidden and instead forced to use roads down on the steep slopes below the ridge. Here's one of those roads. Buck writes that Combermere, Commander-in-Chief and Governor General in the late 1820s, "amused himself, and benefited the public, by superintending the formation of a fine, broad, level road round the Mount Jako, about three miles in length. It was worked entirely by hillmen and exceedingly skilfully done." A few years later, in 1834, M. Victor Jacquemont paid a visit to Major Kennedy. "We gallop an hour or two in the morning on the magnificent roads which he has constructed... At sunset fresh horses are to the door, and we take another ride, to beat up the most friendly and lively of the rich idlers and imaginary invalids whom we may chance to meet.... I do not recollect having tasted water for the last seven days... I cannot tell you how delightful this appears to me, after the dryness, insipidity, hardness, and brevity of my solitary dinner, during two months in the mountains." Work continued on these roads. Buck writes: "I believe... that it was Lord William Beresford... who suggested to His Excellency [Lord Lytton, viceroy in the last 1870s] the widening of the road round [Mt.]Jakko, and was the first to drive over it with a phaeton and pair."(Quotations from Edward J. Buck, Simla: Past and Present, 1904, 2nd ed. 1925.)

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