MASHOBRA :- Mashobra is a Hill Station in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. The distance of Shimla to Mashobra is 11 km. situated altitude 2,149 meters. This is a popular picnic spot which offers ideal walks amidst forest of oak and pine. The area adjoining to Mashobra is famous for apple orchards. Nearby is the site of annual ‘Sipi fair’ (held in June). In May and June the heat and dusty roads of Shimla are always trying, and both then, and in late September and October, when the climate is superb, Mashobra houses are in great request, and innumerable are the Picnics which are held in the maidenhair clad forest glades. Buck wrote this in 1904 and the same is true even today.
One such point in Mashobra, a little suburban village, an ideal retreat far from the ‘madding crowd’ and hardly 11 km away from the Shimla Ridge, is the present Fruit Research Centre wing of the Yashwant Singh Parmar Horticulture University, Nauni at Solan. It is Coutts’ Garden of pre-independence India. Alexander Coutts was the official tailor to the Viceroys of India. During the tenure of Lord Dufferin, in 1887 Coutts built a cottage in Mashobra. One can see that this 100+ year-old building carries the basics of hill architecture. It is a skeletal frame of wooden beams, a mix of earth and pine needles with stucco of mud that is whitewashed when dried and covered with a gabled tin roof painted red.
Coutts had than brought one hundred different varieties of English apple saplings and planted these in the cottage garden. The lone survivor today, out of these, is a tree bearing Yellow Newton variety of apples. The loss of other has been replenished by newer varieties and the entire garden blooms with flowers in April-May and with fruits in June to August when it turns itself into ‘a thing of beauty that is a joy for ever’. There are a few rare trees other than the fruits ones that Coutts had brought with him and are the pious pilgrimage for the students of botany and great attractions for the general public. These trees, in common parlance, are called the called the Chinese and Japanese Fir and the English Oak.
Coutts was a farsighted man, a century ahead of his times. We are talking about rainwater conservation today, which he had accomplished in this garden in 1889. There still exists those three old functional tanks, with a little seepage, of course, having a capacity of collecting three lakh litres of rainwater. All this may be of interest to architects, planners and heritage conservators. But to one and all, young and old, male and female, there are the sweetest things God ever made-the flowers. Begonia, Cyclamen, Orchids, Tulips, Foliage, skillfully looked after greenhouses. These flowerpots are for sale too at reasonable prices.
NALDERA :- The distance of Naldera to Shimla is 23 km. at an situated altitude of 3,044 meters offers one of the oldest and most sporting golf courses in India, sets in the midst of thick forests. The country around Naldera is also famous for its temples which are representative of the typical hill architecture of the area. Naldera is known for its ‘nine hole golf course’ Naldera Golf course was laid by Lord Curzon in 1903.