Iconic Bantony Castle, Shimla - British -Era structure to be restored soon!!

Dilapidated Bantony Castle, Shimla thestatesman.com

Dilapidated Bantony Castle, Shimla. timesofindia.indiatimes.com

The unique aspect of the  Himachal Pradesh state's capital city Shimla is it is dotted with innumerable  beautiful colonial structures, each one with an interesting story to tell you of its hey day when it was the summer capital of the Raj.  They are just architectural masterpieces  built by the British. So if you walk down the streets, quite indispensable is the colonial aura and old world  charm.

.Bantony Castle, Shimla, restoration is on.tribuneindia.com

The 125-year-old Bantony Castle was the summer palace of the Maharaja of Sirmaur. The main building is a two-story structure constructed in the mock Tudor style, part chalet and crowned with a sloping roof with mini-towers. The building is said to have been designed by TEG Cooper and before its construction began in 1880, the site had a cottage belonging to Cap  A. Gordon which housed army officers. It had housed the office of the Himachal Police since 1957.and it  was after the  last owners won the legal battle that the police vacated the building.

Restoration work at Bantony Castle, Shila.tribuneindia.com

Heritage structure Bantony Castle, Shimla himachalwatcher.com

The legal  battle over  the ownership of the property located on the Kali Bari road  and  near the Scandal point  the Mall   ended in the past with the court interference. and the private property was  finally transferred to the government under  the Himachal’s Department of Language, Art and Culture  in the revenue record. The registry of the Bantony Castle was done in the office of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Shimla (Urban), at a sum of Rs.27.84 crore ( Rs.27,84,65000)  in the 3rd week of Feb. 2017. The old structure was in bad shape because of lack of periodic maintenance story building. 

.Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India.prokerala.com

Location map, Shimla, HP. tribuneindia.com

The estate was on the verge of near collapse owing to long-drawn legal dispute. The govt  was fully committed to renovating the building and had a proposal   to convert  it into a museum along with recreational park and a restaurant. Thanks to the regular media reports and the  efforts heritage lovers who were keen to see the vintage building back to old charm.. Since independence, successive  state governments had made a futile attempt to acquire the property from the descendants of the Sirmaur, rulers who wanted the govt. take over the entire plot covering 22000 sq. meters.  The contention of the owners was acquisition of  the site that has the heritage structure (only  3,874 square meters) would reduce the market value value of the remaining area  and the court litigation lasted for a long time. Lying .between Circular Road and Mall Road, the Bantony estate  a huge one  the main site is along the kalibari road.

Dilapidated Bantony castle, Shimla sunpost.in

Restoration  and conservation work on  Shimla's  more than 125 year old colonial Bantony Castle started  in earnest amid lockdown  and the HP tourism  Dept  was renovating the building involving migrant workers who wanted  to stay here till  Covid- 19 lockdown would be lifted. The cost of project was  Rs. 26 crore and  the work began in  2016. The workers on the project were careful and observed social distancing and taking precautions to avoid infection. If  repaired and restored, Bantony castle along with restored town Hall and gaiety theater  will resonate with the history and colonial era fervor of Shimla.  Bantony Castle being in a vantage location perched atop the ridge, the HP Tourism department  has an excellent tourist potential. Visitors can view the  breath-taking snow-clad western Himalayan range. This property and the surroundings that have expansive lawns and fine deodar forest form a lively  heritage zone that will include the Ridge, Gaiety Theatre, Town Hall , of Couse, along with Bantony Castle.  The state government's idea to make it  not only  a tourist attraction but also a center of rich cultural diversity of the State and the past legacy of colonialism. is an innovative one..  The total cost of restoration will be around Rs.35 crores.