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President Pranab to get taste of Shimla’s colonial past


Shimla, May 21 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee will visit this hill town for one-and-a-half days beginning on Thursday. During his stay, he will get a taste of British era heritage.

Mukherjee will stay at The Retreat, the summer holiday resort of the president, on the outskirts of Shimla, an official told IANS.

Constructed in 1850, The Retreat was once the summer residence of the British viceroys when this hill town was the summer capital of British India.

"The president will visit the historic Barnes Court, the Vidhan Sabha, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies and Himachal Pradesh University Friday," the official said.

Barnes Court is where the Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan was inked after the 1971 war. It is now the residence of Governor Urmila Singh, who is hosting a dinner in honour of Mukherjee Thursday.

Constructed in 1832, this elegant building was the residence of former lieutenant governor of Punjab Sir Louis Dane.

During his visit, Mukherjee will address the assembly.

The Council Chamber, the building which houses the state legislative assembly, was inaugurated by Lord Reading, the then viceroy of India, August 27, 1925.

The president will also deliver a lecture at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) that is housed in the century-old Viceregal Lodge.

Built during the viceroyship of Lord Dufferin, the Viceregal Lodge is among the most impressive buildings built by the British here.

"President Pranab Mukherjee will deliver the first Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Lecture and open a study centre-cum-museum dedicated to the life and works of Rabindranath Tagore," said IIAS's public relations officer A.K. Sharma.

Later, the president will visit Himachal Pradesh University where he will be the chief guest and deliver the convocation address.

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