Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
be taken for granted that the British acquired
the land easily, but this was not always the case
and Pradhan (2007) reveals considerable ten-
sions in some places between the colonial power
and the hill tribes.
When, after the mid-19th century, Simla,
Darjeeling, Mahabaleshwar and Ooty received
visits from governors and governors-general,
the imperial government, which was based on the
plains, was persuaded of the benefi ts of spend-
ing at least part of the year in the hills, and
subsequently, hill station development became
incorporated in state policy (Kennedy, 1996,
p. 12). Construction on the hill stations was
swift and their physical transformation rapid.
Timber was needed for building on the plains
and for building on the hills, and this period saw
the removal of much of the forest around hill
stations. In addition to the need for timber, a
more open landscape generated feelings of
security in visitors and reassurance that nature
was not overtaking human existence. However,
within two decades, the folly of heavy felling
became apparent: soil erosion became a major
problem and landslides increased in number
and frequency (Kennedy, 1996). The British
response was to re-forest the land using species
imported from Australia such as wattle, Austra-
lian blackwood and Eucalyptus, species it was
believed would further improve the appearance
of the hills and encourage settlement. As
Table 1.1 shows, hill stations increased signifi -
cantly from the 1840s to the 1850s and though
their numbers grew more slowly after that, the
British consolidated their position in the hills
(Kennedy, 1996).
Several factors came into existence in the
mid-19th century, all of which had a bearing on
the development of hill stations: fi rst, the colo-
nial administration had become more estab-
lished by the middle of the 19th century and
with thoughts of India becoming a settler col-
ony, the marriage of Crown employees to Indi-
ans and Anglo-Indians was restricted. This had
been encouraged and became common prac-
tice earlier in Britain's presence in India and as
a consequence, a signifi cant Anglo-Indian popu-
lation had grown up (Stoler, 1989; Joseph,
2004; Ghosh, 2006). The restriction on mar-
riage to Indian women saw many more British
women coming to India as wives of colonial
administrators and soldiers, and travel to India
was made infi nitely easier by the opening of the
Suez Canal in 1869. Unused to the extreme
heat of the Indian plains, it was usual for wives
and children to spend at least the hottest months
of July and August in the hills and this alone
contributed to the growth of the hill stations.
From the mid-19th century, British women on
hill stations outnumbered British men, the only
place they did in India, and in their cottage
homes and gardens, women reproduced the
homeland and its culture. The strict social eti-
quette that developed on the hills, and that was
sustained by women through the home, was per-
ceived as fundamental to the continued survival
of the Empire (Kennedy, 1996; Clayton, 2006).
Second, the colonial government's support
for spending part of the year in the hills saw hill
stations become linked with the administration
of the colony. By the turn of the century, hill
stations had become the focal points from which
the British ruled India. As a consequence, hill
stations most closely linked with the colonial
administration such as Simla, Darjeeling, Maha-
baleshwar and Ooty saw particularly rapid
expansion. Simla, which became the seat of the
Viceroy and the summer capital for the Raj,
developed fi ve satellites, some of which were
specifi cally for the military. Cash crops such as
tea, coffee and cinchona had been introduced
on hill stations and these too became increas-
ingly important after the mid-19th century.
Darjeeling and Ooty benefi ted economically
from tea production, as did Coorg and Yercaud
from coffee.
A third reason for the growth of hill stations
was that after the Indian Mutiny of 1857, the
Table 1.1. Growth of hill stations in the
19th century.
Number of hill
Date founded
1820s and 1830s
1840s and 1850s
Derived from Kennedy (1996, pp. 12-13).
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