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 who started here the Institute of Advance Studies and till now it is the same.
The building 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. Simla Conference in 1945 and 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 it. Kindly note the following To Do and Not to Do to make your trip memorable:
The building is located to the western end of Shimla ridge that is 3.5 kilometers from the main square. From the main entrance to the building near the main parking lot, a gradual climb up nearly 300 meters takes you to the top of Observatory Hill that is crowned by this lovely edifice. You are allowed to take your vehicle to the main house by paying a nominal fee of Rs. 10/- per vehicle. But you are not allowed to park the vehicle near the building due to lack of space. So your driver must bring the vehicle 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.
Tours Inside: The Institute remains open to the tourists from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (16 July to 15 May) and from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm (16 May- 15 July) (National holidays and Monday closed).
- The tours inside are organized by the Institute after every half an hour. The first tour begins at 9.30 am and the last tour at 4.50pm.
- In one group only 40 people are allowed to go in.
- All the tours are conducted by the professional guides who keep a thorough knowledge of the history of the building. And the events took place in it.
- All tours are done in both the languages – Hindi and English.
- Indian National (above 5 years) : Rs. 40/- per person
- Foreign National : Rs. 85/- per person
- For Gardens Rs. 20/- per person
- Government school Students in groups with their teachers : Free Entry
- You guide is the most important part of your trip inside. He keeps a complete knowledge of the building, its history and its event. So kindly listen to him carefully and ask him any question if you have related to your trip.
- Kindly listen to your guide carefully and follow his instructions.
- Do not make any damage to the furniture, fixtures, photographs, paintings, decoration-pieces and antiques inside the building as they are only to display and not to use.
- The furniture pieces, carpets, chandeliers, curtains and are as old as the building is and are a part of our Heritage. Kindly respect them.
The Security Guard
- A security guard is also a part of the tour as he keeps an eyes 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 following the following rules.
Walking on the Lawns
- The building has got lovely vast lawns around it. Under its front lawn a rain water 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 South West 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.
- You are welcome to make good use of your camera outside but inside photography is not allowed.
- At the ticket counter lovely post cards are available for sale with the 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.
- Any kind of commercial videography is restricted in the premises of the Institute without the prior permission of the authorities of the Institute.
- Flying any kind of remote operated flying devices such as Drones, flying toys is strictly prohibited within the campus premises.
- Like 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 for smoking. So is here in the complex of the Institute. Anyone found smoking shall be fined Rs. 500/-, instantly.
- 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 administration of the Institute in various places. 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.
- Please mind your behavior while within the complex as the institute is also running in it. There are nearly 40 to 50 scholars studying here so any types of noise can be a problem for them.
- Although kids are allowed to enter the building but you must try to avoid taking them with you as their noise and crying becomes a problem for the other visitors to listen to the guide.
- Please maintain silence inside the building.
- Although public is allowed to visit the building but 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 / Fire Station Cafe
- The building has its own cafeteria named "The Fire station Cafe" where tea, coffee and light snacks area available for the visitors. The menu with its rates list is available for you to choose from.
- The rates are fixed for everything to kindly insist on receipt.
Safety and Security
- The building is very well looked after by the guards and other staff members so 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 make any damage to the plants.
- Do not also make any damage to the balustrades, stares, retaining walls, trees or any part of the building. Anyone found doing so shall be suitably punished.
- Arms, ammunitions,knives,smoking items, tobacco products, liquor are prohibited.
- In case of any accident of 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, separately for ladies and gentlemen. Kindly use them before or after the tour.
- Sometime they are closed due to some repair work so kindly ask the attendant sitting on the ticket counter about the alternate.
- 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 own 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.
- Do not damage, remove or destroy historic sites or monuments, or any artifacts associated with them. Avoid touching and scratching the walls and surfaces of the monument as these are heritage sites and need special care.
- Parking facility is not provided to the tourists inside the main gate of the Institute.
- Take Nothing But Photographs – Leave Nothing But Footprints is the rule that applies to every tourist and so it applies on you too. Kindly follow it.