Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Fig. 1.1. Location of India's major hill stations. Source: Kennedy, D. (1996): The Magic Mountains:
Hill Stations of the British Raj . University of California Press, Los Angeles, California.
the 'hills' were veritable mountains, clearing the
land and keeping it clear was a major problem
as the vegetation in this tropical domain grew
literally twice as fast as in the temperate zone
(Oades, 1988; Kirschbaum, 1995; Six et al .,
2002). In an attempt to pacify the environment
and to create a sense of the familiar, John Sul-
livan, the founder of Ooty in 1819, was one of
the fi rst Europeans to introduce the seeds and
cuttings of trees, fl owers and shrubs from Britain
and thus to create an illusion of rural Britain in
India; an image of Eden.
From the late 1820s, efforts were directed
towards making hill stations places that felt safe
and familiar. Houses built were of cottage style,
with gardens and hedges reminiscent of village
England, and familiar seeds and plants from Brit-
ain and Europe fortifi ed this image (Figs 1.3a
and 1.3b). Darjeeling, Shillong, Ooty, Conoor
and other hill stations were the sites of Govern-
ment Botanical Gardens where saplings of trees,
fruit and fl owers, garden plants, plants from the
wild and from other parts of the Empire were bred
and spread through the local hill communities.
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