fifty years ago, JUNE 24, 1972 Archives

Venue for Indo-Pakistan summit

New Delhi, June 23: The Retreat, the week-end refuge of the Viceroys from the tiresome gaiety of Simla during the heydey of British rule, is one of the stately homes with an aura of imperial past which are being hastily refurbished and given a quick face-lift for the Indo-Pakistan summit next week. A 100-year old country house with a chequered history, it was originally built by an enterprising British medical officer before it was extensively remodelled and converted into an official residence for the Chief Commissioner of the Simla Hills. Nestling amidst giant oaks, pines and maples in a secluded estate aside the India-Tibet border road, it commands a panoramic view of the Himalayan snow-line. After Lord Elgin acquired the property in 1896 for vice-regal use, it was decorated by Lockwood Kipling, father of Rudyard Kipling, who at that time was Principal of the Mayo Art College in Lahore. During the days of Minto, Hardinge, Chelmsford, Reading, Lytton and Curzon to Irwin, Willingdon, Linlithgow, Wavell and Mountbatten, it served as a rendezvous for official conferences in a country home atmosphere away from the stuffy atmosphere of the Viceregal Lodge in Simla. 


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