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Mezze is widely served in the Greek and Middle eastern world. An assortment of little dishes and tasters which accompany a nice ouzo or a glass of wine. So when you read mezze moments you will have tasty snippets of life as I live it, India for four years and now Brisbane Australia, all served up with some Greek fervour and passion.

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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Viceregal Lodge at Shimla

You can't visit Shimla without seeing the Viceregal Lodge so I am devoting a whole post to it. It must have been such an ambitious project for its time and it was executed succesfully in every respect.
This is India in the 1880's - not much mechanization and before the hugely important completion of the Kalka Shimla railway. That will be my next post.  Difficult terrain and harsh weather but Henry Irwin, the architect entrusted with building this, used local grey sandstone and teak wood and created a magnificent building in what is called a Scottish Baronial Style that is stunning to this day.
What makes it particulalry noteworthy is that this was the first place that had electricity in Shimla, hot and cold running water and even a system for collecting and storing rain water since perhaps surprisingly water is in short supply in these hill top towns. There were extensive terraced grounds, a huge ballroom, an indoor tennis court and elaborate kitchens. You walk in to this building and you cannot help but be awed by its construction and grandeur.
Its historical significance cannot be underestimated. This was the site of the Shimla Conference of 1945. More importantly in 1947 representatives of Congress, the Muslim League and the British sat around a small circular table in one of the rooms and decided the inevitable and irreversible partition of the sub-continent.
Since 1964 however it has been the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies and has flourished under the auspices of the government and many renowned researchers and fellows. The old ballroom is now a valuable library. Times move on, buildings stand firm, but all that goes on inside them is constantly evolving.

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