Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations

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Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations by Sreshti Verma

Man has stepped on the moon, occupied the remotest places and exploited the best of nature. Here are pictures of India's favourite hill stations (synonyms with summer vacations) and how we have transformed them over a duration of 100 years.

I have categorized the images as before and after the Independence.

Nainital

The foot hills of Kumaon had a major landslide in 1885 giving it the flat lands which were occupied and transformed into one of the most popular hill stations in the country.

Before Independence

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 1/15 by Sreshti Verma

Credits: Wikipedia

Now

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 2/15 by Sreshti Verma

 Credits: Wikipedia

Mussoorie

The Queen of Hills was occupied by barely 5000 people before 20th century. But after become an escape from mainland's scathing heat, Britishers and Indians started occupying the quaint town. Now the place suffers with overdevelopement of hotels and tourist lodges. Here is a picture of Mussoorie bazaar in 1890's.

Before Independence

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 3/15 by Sreshti Verma

Credits: Old India Photos

Now

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 4/15 by Sreshti Verma

 Credits: Flickr

Ooty

Once occupied by tribals Ooty was a part of Tipu Sultan's dynasty. After coming across it's beauty and captivating environment British Government in 1819 and became the summer capital of Madras Presidency. And is now the haven for honeymoon travelers.

Before Independence

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 5/15 by Sreshti Verma

Credits: Desinema

Now

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 6/15 by Sreshti Verma

 Credit: Wikipedia

Dalhousie

Established by the British Empire and named after England's Lord Dalhousie, this quiet place became a summer retreat only after discovery in 19th century. Despite being located over 7000 ft over sea level, Dalhousie continues being flooded and inhabited by Indians all over.

Before Independence

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 7/15 by Sreshti Verma

Credits: Hotel Monal

Now

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 8/15 by Sreshti Verma

 Credits: Hotel Mount View

Darjeeling

Being one the Tea capitals of India and having the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), this hill station has always attracted flocks of people but with increasing migration and ever-expanding tourism, Darjeeling is falling prey to infrastructure and pollution related problems.

Before Independence

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 9/15 by Sreshti Verma

Credit: Indian Gorkhas

Now

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 10/15 by Sreshti Verma

Credits: Flickr

Shimla

Shimla or Simla was the summer capital of British India and has evidences of British architecture which stand tall even after centuries. But being the capital of Himachal Pradesh and a tourist hot-spot, Shimla faces dangerous expansions in the face of growing population.

Before Independence

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 11/15 by Sreshti Verma

Credits: Wikimedia

Now

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 12/15 by Sreshti Verma

Credits: Wikimedia

Almora

The cultural capital of Uttrakhand, Almora was a British Empire favorite. But due to undafe and rapid expansion it has become synonymous with congestion, unsanitary conditions and unexpected presence of pollution. 

Before Independence

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 13/15 by Sreshti Verma

Credits: Wikipedia

Now

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 14/15 by Sreshti Verma

Credits: Wikimedia

The consequences once unprecedented are now the reality of these popular hill stations. And though the photographs paint a clear picture of a dark future, we and authorities remain blind to the damage we do.

And for those who believe that  development has to be at the price of encroachment, check out this No Honking Hill-Station .

Matheran

Photo of Look What We've Done to Our Favourite Hill Stations 15/15 by Sreshti Verma

It might not be too late for us take a step back from this blind encroachment, and move forward with much needed caution and care.

21 Comment(s)
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Though we may all bemoan the changes that the march of history has wrought on what we love to label as quaint and charming, one has to remember that the "hill stations" in India were all established during the hey day of the British Raj for a very specific reason : for the sahibs and memsahibs of the rulers to escape from the pestilential plains of India which took their toll with the tropical diseases that decimated their bodies which were used to a more congenial temperate climate! Even after Independence, the hill stations were primarily the holiday destinations of the upper class and the privileged bureaucrats who could afford to have a vacation. Thus obviously the impact on the infrastructure in these fragile locations was sort of contained. Today, almost 70 years after Independence, and with a population of over 1.2 billion people and the world's largest chunk of upwardly mobile middle class with a mind boggling disposable income, we should not be really surprised at the results
Mon 11 21 16, 07:05 · Reply · Report
Yes the change is pretty visible, The photographs are more sharper and cameramen have developed a better sense of photography
Mon 11 21 16, 01:57 · Reply · Report
I find this article pointless. If you compare before independence day pictures of Delhi with present day pictures, there is going to be huge difference. It is not called ruining. It is called population growth and development.
Tue 06 21 16, 11:55 · Reply (1) · Report
unplanned development with population explosion actually is the path to irreversible ruin.
Sun 11 20 16, 09:24 · Report
Photo of Roy Thompson
Roy Thompson
Good Research Sreshti.... that shows what we Indians are good for...if people get a chance they will make house on the Himalayas also and then we we blaim mother nature or god
Tue 07 07 15, 21:55 · Reply (1) · Edit · Delete ·
what the hell Indians have to do with this global change, its every where and this is called modrenisation. Stop criticising Indians for every thing, not sure if you will agree that Trump winning the poll is also because of Indians
Mon 11 21 16, 02:01 · Report
Photo of Worrell Lewis
Worrell Lewis
Silly article. With time there will also be more development. I think all of the places are still very pretty and have not lost their charm.
Tue 07 07 15, 06:38 · Reply (3) · Edit · Delete ·
Exactly!
Fri 07 28 17, 01:48 · Report
Inappropriate pucture selection..they look more or less same with some new development
Thu 05 05 16, 22:28 · Report
I agree inappropriate picture selection.
Wed 05 04 16, 00:05 · Report
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