Book on British colonial era cemeteries in Himachal

Shimla: To woo foreign tourists -- especially from Britain -- to the hills of Himachal Pradesh during the Commonwealth Games, the state government has brought out a book on British colonial era cemeteries and churches, an official said here Tuesday.

Tourism director Arun Sharma told IANS that the tourism department has published a book: "The Churches and Christian Cemeteries of Himachal Pradesh".

"The book has detailed history of various graves and cemeteries where thousands of Europeans had been laid to rest across the state. It also has information about various churches built by the erstwhile colonial rulers," he said.

Thousands of graves and churches are located in the once British-dominated settlements like Shimla, Dharamsala, Kasauli, Dalhousie, Dharampur, Dagshai and Subathu.

Sharma said the book would be available during the Games in New Delhi.

The book talks about the oldest cemetery in the `Queen of Hills` as Shimla was fondly called by the British.

It`s near Oak Over where the burial ground was opened in 1828 and the first grave is dated 1829.

It also chronicles details about memorials. There is a memorial to Penelope Chetwode at Khanag near Ani in Kullu district.

Penelope was the daughter of Field Marshal Baron Philip Chetwode, who had served as commander-in-chief of the Indian Army (1930-35).

More than 60 years after the British left, Himalayan towns still attract their descendants who are eager to know about their roots.