Shimla's State Public Library - a fascinating Neo-Gothic Tudor style heritage building

Shimla -Public state library, the ridge.

The Ridge, Shimla,once the summer capital of the Raj, still has countless  colonial buildings and, with some exception they are being well maintained by the state government. The British who had discovered the summer resort in 1880s, primarily used it for their military and there was a sanatorium for the sick British soldiers to convalesce on the hill with comfortable weather amidt wooded areas. Since the early 1900s, it growth was phenomenal and many Europeans moved up hill and settled down there to be free from scorching summer heat and dust. In August 1947 when the colonial rulers had left India for good, the left behind a rich legacy of British legacy and culture and the impact is very much even today.

Shimla state public library. Christ church in the

Shimla -Public state library, the ridge.

One of such British-era buildings on the Ridge is  an example of Neo-Gothic tudor-style building known as the State Library. The unique architecture and design of such buildings  in  the backdrop of the hill  make them stand apart and impart an irresistible charm of an English town. The Ridge, a large open space, just above the Mall and immediately in front of Christ Church and the nearby areas are dotted with many structures of architectural splendor. The ridge still remains a promenade and in the colonial day it would have witnessed so many government functions, military parades on the occasions of Queen and king's birthday.

It was almost like an English town in a hilly area and the presence of   the impressive Christ Church,  a few British buildings including the one that housed the public library, no doubt, created the look of a British commercial street. 

Made in typical tudor style with stone and gables in the facade, it was designed by architect, James Ransome, then Consulting Architect for the Government of India.The access to the building is on the right side and the stone clad exterior  front part enhances its impressive look. James was chosen for the job with his experience in designing he High Court building in Rangoon. The building came up in the 1860s during the transitional period from the oppressively English company to the Crown administration.  

At present the State Library with thousands of well-reserved  rare books  is a hub of cultural activities and is being used by lots of  readers.  The state library is about 10 km from the airport.