The building of Viceregal Lodge or presently as it is known as Indian Institute of Advanced Study is the most prominent building in Shimla. Still the largest in size and marvelous in beauty, this Scottish structure was built under the viceroyalty of Lord Dufferin between 1884 and 1888. It remained in use as the Viceregal Lodge till the Indian independence and then came to the hands of the Indian Government when it became the presidential palace. In 1965 it was handed over to the Ministry of Education and they converted it into the Institute of Advanced Study.

This is where we end our Heritage Walk.

Important Meeting in the Viceregal Lodge

The building of the Viceregal Lodge has been the seat of the imperial government from 1888 to 1947. Before the Indian partition, many important conferences and meetings took place in this building, finally leading to the Independence. The Simla Conference in 1945 and the Simla Cabinet Mission in 1946 were the landmark meetings in this house. Some part of the building is open for the general public and tourists to visit. Otherwise, the whole of British India was ruled from here during the summer months during the Raj. For nearly six months the Government was run from here.


The building of the Viceregal Lodge is located at the western end of Shimla Ridge which is 4.5 kilometres from the main square. From the main entrance to the building near the main parking lot, a gradual climb up nearly 500 meters takes you to the top of Observatory Hill on which this lovely edifice is built. You can drive up to the main house for which there is an entry charge of rupees twenty. Your vehicle must drop you there and your driver should bring it back to the main parking lot. When the tour is over you may call your driver to come up to pick you or you may choose to walk down the hill to the main parking.

The Inside Tour of Viceregal Lodge

  • The Institute organizes a tour of inside of the Viceregal Lodge. The first tour begins at 10.40 am and the last at 4.50 pm.
  • In one group only 50 people can go.
  • They have professional Guides who conduct the tours. These guides keep a thorough knowledge of the history of the building and the events that took place in it.
  • They do the tours in – Hindi and English.
  • Your guide is the most important part of your trip inside. He completely knows the building, its history, and its events. So kindly listen to him carefully and ask him any questions you have.
  • Kindly listen to your guide carefully and follow his instructions.

The Displays in the Viceregal Lodge

  • Do not damage the furniture, fixtures, photographs, paintings, decoration pieces, and antiques inside the building as they are only for displaying and not to be used.
  • The furniture pieces, carpets, chandeliers, and curtains are as old as the building is and are a part of our Heritage. Kindly respect them.
  • A security guard is also a part of the tour as he keeps an eye on you and your security. He would be the last person to leave the room after you. So in case you want to spend some more time in the room shown and described by the guide, kindly tell your security guard.
  • You may decide not to join the group and remain outside on your own. You can roam around the building and you must follow the following rules.

Walking on the Lawns of the Viceregal Lodge

  • The building has got lovely vast lawns around it. Under its front lawn a rainwater harvesting tank has been built, so walking on the grass of the lawn is not allowed. Kindly use the pathway to enjoy the view of the building. The southwest corner near the Tulip tree is the best place to have a photo with the building behind you. There some area has been left for the tourists to be used.
  • Behind the lawn also there are some grass lawns. Kindly avoid walking on them as walking on the grass damages the grass.

Photography in the Viceregal Lodge

  • You are welcome to make good use of your camera outside but inside photography is not allowed.
  • At the ticket counter lovely postcards are available for sale with photos of the building, inside and outside. You may choose some of them to buy for your records of to send to nears and dears.

Smoking in and around Viceregal Lodge

  • Like the rest of India, Shimla is also a smoking-free city so it is not allowed to smoke in public. In other parts of the country, people do not follow the rules but in Shimla, we do. Locals do not want any visitor to violate the rules so do not tolerate anyone making such offenses.
  • All shops, bazaars, restaurants, offices, or any other public place are banned from smoking. So is here in the complex of the Institute. Anyone found smoking shall be fined Rs. 500/-, instantly.

Littering around the Viceregal Lodge

  • Shimla is one of the most neat and clean places in the world. The administration is strong enough to manage this town and locals love their town as their home. So please do not litter around.
  • Dustbins have been installed by the Municipal Corporation everywhere in Shimla, including this place. Please make use of them.
  • Do not throw any empty packets, plastic wrappers, peal-offs, plastic bottles, or any other garbage on the road, down the hills, or in the forests. Keep it with you till you find a dustbin and throw it in them.

Making Noise

  • Please mind your behavior while within the complex as the institute is also running in it. Nearly 40 to 50 scholars are studying here, so any type of noise can be a problem for them.
  • Although kids are allowed to enter the building you must try to avoid taking them with you as their noise and crying become a problem for the other visitors to listen to the guide.
  • Please maintain silence inside the building.

Picnics in the Viceregal Lodge

  • Although the public is allowed to visit the building it is not allowed at all to have picnics on the lawns.
  • DO NOT make any campfire or bring your eatables to be used within the complex.
    No camping is allowed in the forests around the building.

The Cafeteria in the Viceregal Lodge

  • The building has its own cafeteria where tea, coffee, and light snacks are available for visitors. The menu with its rates list is available for you to choose from.
  • The rates are fixed for everything to insist on receipt kindly.

Safety and Security

  • The guards and other members look after the building very well. Kindly cooperate with them. It is always in your favor to listen to them and follow the instructions.
  • Do not climb on the wall or cause any damage to the plants.
  • Do not also cause any damage to the balustrades, stairs, retaining walls, trees, or any part of the building. Anyone found doing so shall be suitably punished.
  • In case of any accident or mishap please contact the security guards of any other staff members of the building so that the medical facility can be arranged.

Toilets and Washrooms

  • There are no toilets and washrooms inside the building for the visitors, but outside, near the ticket counter there are, for everyone. Kindly use them before or after the tour.
  • Sometimes they are closed due to some repair work so kindly ask the attendant sitting at the ticket counter about the alternate.

At Last

  • Be a good visitor and leave your mark of presence in a good way in the hearts of locals without damaging the heritage, ecology, and your world.
  • You are a guest here so kindly behave like a guest and do not try to play with the rules and regulations. They are made to make your trip memorable and your cooperation is highly appreciated.
  • Take Nothing But Photographs – Leave Nothing But Footprints is the rule that applies to every tourist and applies to you too. Kindly follow it.


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    By . . . . . . . . . Sumit Raj

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