Rothney Castle, Shimla, HP ,once the residence of founder of Indian National Congress Allan Hume,

Rothney Castle, Shimla

Rothney Castle, also known as  Sheeshe Wali Kothi is a heritage colonial rusty mansion located  on a slope near the famous  Jakhoo hills in Shimla city, Himachal Pradesh. It is one of the most notable buildings of Shimla and what is unique about the structure is it has   eye-catching long glass windows, a distinctive glass ceiling, wooden doors, a pyramid-shaped sliding roof and locked gate hanging from its hinges. It is set in a nice quiet ambiance surrounded by tall  deodar trees greeted by the enchanting chirping sounds of the birds. The site greeted by  colorful wildflowers and wild berries growing around  has been open since 1974 and currently it is a private property.

Rothney Castle, Shimla, HP.

Rothney Castle, Shimla

Rothney Castle, Shimla

This  colorful colonial era building  was once the  residence of Allan Octavian Hume, a co-founder of the Indian National Congress (in 1885). who played no less role than others in India's freedom struggle against  the British misrule. He was posted to Shimla in 1850 by the English company on transfer.  Standing as a testament to his contributions, both political and ornithological that  Rothney Castle was  in a state of neglect until the recent past due to official apathy is unfortunate. I 've no idea about the current status of the historical mansion.

The government both central and state should take into account the neglected buildings and their historical connection and come up with funds and proper conservation plan  to restore  them for the posterity. Preservation of the past is very important to maintain historical continuity.  Since Hume happened to be the resident of this mansion it played significant roles in shaping modern India. Hume laid the foundation for the Indian National Congress which began shaping up after his departure.

The potential conversion of Rothney Castle into a heritage site or a museum dedicated to Hume’s work in ornithology is an excellent suggestion. This honor will preserve both his political and scientific legacies. The  reasons for the lack of preservation, whether due to political sensitivities, financial constraints, or simple negligence, underscore the complexities in managing heritage sites  across India. The historical narratives are meant to be  maintained and not to be forgotten.

The study of  Rothney Castle reveals the blend of history, memory, and proper preservation, prompting a deeper reflection on how we honor the multifaceted legacies of historical figures  like Octavian Hume who never failed to express his anger and frustration against the colonial misrule in India and the treatment of the aspiration of native Indians. He set the stage for the Indians to light the lamp of freedom.     /

Allan Octavian Hume,  ICS

Allan Octavian Hume, ICS ( June 1829 - July 1912) was a British political reformer, popular ornithologist, civil servant and botanist who worked in British India under the English company., As a British administrative officer, he toiled to improve the lives of the common people   He not only  founded the party Indian National Congress but also  supported the idea of self-governance by Indians.. An ornithologist of repute,  here  Hume began his study and documentation of the birds found in the Indian Subcontinent, no doubt Hhe is known as "the Father of Indian Ornithology" and  countless species carry his name.  He invested roughly £200,000 in Rothney Castle's refurbishment when he purchased the property. He acquired the largest collection of Asiatic Birds for the property before converting it into a museum to put on display the variety of bird species he had acquired over the years.. His vast collection included birds from this region as well.  Alas; British colonists took them away when they had left India for good and to day their home is the British Museum, London. \