Shimla's Grand heritage hotel consumed by fire

Grand hotel, Shimla,

Above image: Grand Hotel, Shimla-  The colonial building of Victorian era had lots of wooden interior with large -well furnished rooms and washrooms.  The Suits had extra attraction -  a balcony that will offer a vista of the surrounding places and hills far off. It was huge and something like a castle. This was according to some who stayed in the hotel in the mid 1990s.   Clarkes Hotel is a grand heritage property and one of Shimla's oldest hotels. The story of Clarkes Hotel dates back to the 1920s, when Mr. Ernest Clarke was Manager of the then Cecil Hotel...........................

Federico Peliti in an Indian attire 

Nothing is more saddening than seeing a 127 year old heritage colonial building going up in flames  and getting reduced to ashes because of prompt action.  May 14, 2019 it was  a poignant event for the citizens of Shima because the  Grand Hotel was the first hotel to have been built in the hill resort.  Confectioner to the viceroy  Chevalier Federico Peliti, bought the  property in 1892 for ₹2 lakh, a huge sum in those days. He was a baker, confectioner, hotelier, manager of restaurants in Shimla and Calcutta, and an amateur photographer in British India. His restaurant in Shimla, Peliti's, was very popular and finds mention in numerous writings of the period including those by Rudyard Kipling (wikipedia) The hotel embodied old world charm and beauty and modern amenities 

2019 fire mishap Grand hotel, Shimla, HP.

The hotel faced fire mishap several decades ago and in  1922, the hotel fell on bad time and  three of its  buildings were entirely destroyed in fire.  Undaunted, the Grand hotel was given a new lease of life and  rebuilt in stages in the1930s and  is close to  Scandal Point of the main Mall Road near the historic Kali Bari temple. 

1922 Peliti's Grand Hotel at Shimla

Above image : Peliti's Grand Hotel at Shimla was destroyed in a fire in 1922.

The unfortunate thing was  the fire started in the reception room of the heritage hotel that had three floors in the Mayo block  renovated recently.  The block  being a VVIP wing of the hotel, was richly  renovated and  furnished. A major portion of the hotel was consumed by the fire that had spread fast primarily because of lots of wooden structures, It is assumed inflammable paints, curtains, etc., would have hastened the destruction. 

Because of water shortage problem due to influx of more people to the hill station and rapid deforestation on the fringe areas of the town, the popular hotel lost its charm for  some time and gained its reputation in the later years with better amenities. 

The fire service men with their fire truck were unable to access the site as the road was narrow and yet another problem was they were unable to draw water from the FH - fire hydrant due to lack of pressure. 

Owned by the government, the building housed  many central government offices and was  managed by the Central Public Works Department. Actually,  the Union ministry of urban development has the administrative control of the heritage hotel.