Changing Face of General Post-office Shimla…

5 March, 2010


While reading a book that had very interesting account of Shimla or say Simla of the British days, I was astonished to see the picture of the Shimla Post-office during those days! A Tonga that served to transport Dak was visible in front of a small building which was the then Shimla General Post-office! I saw this picture in a book about Shimla and would write about the name of the photographer whenever I would be able to retrieve that book. Bur I must compliment the photographer for recording General Post Office Simla as it was during the Raj period! The building seems to be all wood, though the color can not be guessed but by no means it can be white and red!!

What I remember about the Shimla Post-office is the green and white colored buliding with a red roof in the background of green deodar trees! The earliest memories of this  post-office builiding for me go back to the beginning of the sixties and as far as I remember the building had this very color scheme. To be honest, even today, green and white buildings with a red roof would stand in my memory for a post-office building. So when I read in the newspapers that Shimla Post-office is getting a new color scheme to go along the new insignia, I was a bit preturbed. But then change is the law of nature and a must for growth. So I waited anxiously for the new looks for the Shima Post-office. I saw the first picture in the Himachal Tribune on a wednesday. It seemed like a building that was not least familiar to me. I had to see it for myself, I thought.

This recent facelift to the Post-office building in the later half of 2009 has given a  new color scheme to the previous looks and it is red and white colors that replace the white and green colors. The roof is also red! The old deodar tree standing in the background, though, remains green! I am sure they must have thought of some plan to change the background as well, but Mother Nature still is far superior than human endeavor! The backgroud deodar has still retained its proud looks!

During my recent visits to the Mall, I captured a picture of the Post-office and am posting it here for my readers to see and comment upon. As for as I am concerned, the red and white colored facelift givden to the building looks very artificial. A close watch at thick layers of white paint used to cover up the earlier green has resulted in poor workmanship and to me the building that I literally revered looks like an old maiden who has paiinted her face white with foundation to cover up the wrinkles and the blood-red colored lipstick and rouge is used to make her look young. Unfortunately, I preferred the old building as it was, majestic and proud and not artificially colored as if sorry for its very existence and appearance.

On a second thought, I feel that as I am getting old, I have become more of a cynical old lady than I was earlier and have started criticizing all things around me.

8 thoughts on “Changing Face of General Post-office Shimla…

  1. aarkay

    Thank again, Ma’am for giving us a slice of history . You have given us a peep into what the GPO building looked like in the British time , when dak was carried on buggies. Every Shimlaite , who has lived in and grown with the city cannot but agree with you and I also came across the news report -referred to by you – informing that this new look was apart of changes brought about under the “Project Arrow ” and I reproduce the last lines of the report which says
    “However, conservationists are not happy with the new colour scheme and maintain that the “red and white” combination is not in harmony with the overall ambience as it robs the GPO of its heritage looks. The green colour in which the building was painted earlier was much more soothing to the eyes. ”

    This sums up our sentiments and feelings. So even if you are cynical, you are rightly so. To me the new look resembles a temporary set for a film shoot and not a permanent structure that it is. All this appears so artificial.

  2. Dear madam,

    Thank you for your sharing the latest done up of the Shimla GPO.

    According to them, those who initiated in finalising the colour scheme, it would be painting an art.
    But surely, the artpiece, the heritage building has surely been messed up with.

    Dear Madam, please do not blame your self by assigning with the adjective in summing up your views. Blamed to be are those, who should be held responsible for having destroyed all the harmony of the heritage structure with the Nature as we see in the latest picture provided from your end that the building has been r(ed)uthlessly discoloured .

    Cynical are those who irrationally opted for the rude shade with nature.

  3. Vivien

    I could not agree more- the face of the building has been completely spoilt- a bit like the make over of the Theatre on the Mall. Where do they get such tacky ideas from?

  4. shreesh

    The Chnnai Musings, an English fortnightly from Madras, carries a column in a similar vein on “The Old and the New”. Your photographs are good, and so are your sentiments and their expression. But as you rightly say, change is the law of life.

  5. Pingback: Shimla, India « Post Office Postcards

  6. Tim douglas

    Does anyone know if there is a plaque outside the post office commemorating its opening? In 1989 I visited shimla and remember a plaque stating that an Edward Douglas opened it.He Was inspector general for the post office and my great great grandfather. Does It silla exist?

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