Shimla in Winter; Mountains and Clouds, looking South of Shimla

This photograph shows a view of Shimla during the winters from an elevated platform overlooking a snow-clad mountainous landscape covered with pine trees. Shimla, the current capital of Himachal Pradesh, was regarded as a favoured resort with the British residents in the nineteenth and the early twentieth century. It was known as the ‘English Convalescent… Read more »

View on a Stream at Larji, Kullu,

This photograph of a footbridge over a stream flowing between a valley was captured at Larji in the Kullu district by Samuel Bourne. In 1866, Samuel Bourne proposed to trek the, “rich valley of the Beas river through Kulu, penetrate into the wild and desolate regions of Spiti as far as the borders of Tibet,… Read more »

Junction of the Wanga and Sutlej Rivers

Samuel Bourne took this photograph of a bridge over the Wanga and the Sutlej river junction during his first expedition in the Himalayas in 1863. In the summer of 1863, on the 29th of July, Bourne set off from Shimla for his ten weeks journey into the Himalayas. This was his very first Himalayan expedition.… Read more »

View of the Kashmir Road, near Budrawar

This photograph of a river and a snow-clad mountain range in the background near Budrawar, a town four days from Chamba, was taken by Samuel Bourne. Bourne halted here for a day during his second major expedition to Kashmir and adjacent districts in 1864. Reflecting on his encounters with the residents of Budrawar, he wrote… Read more »

Twig Bridge On The Chenab Near Kishtwar

This photograph of a bridge over the Chenab river near Kishtwar, located in the present-day Jammu and Kashmir state, was taken by Samuel Bourne. Sharing his impression of the bridge in the British Journal of Photography, Bourne informed, “I soon found myself again at the Chenab, but this time only to cross it by a… Read more »

Source of the Ganges, Ice cave at the foot of the Glacier

This photograph, taken by Samuel Bourne, is of the ice cave at the foot of the Gangotri glacier. The image shows two men at the foot of the glacier where the river emerges out of the ice cave, also called ‘Gomukh’. Recalling his reaction upon reaching the glacier, Bourne writes, “we reached our destination at… Read more »

Shah Hamadan Masjid, Srinuggur

The Shah Hamadan or the ‘Khanqah-i-Moualla’ was built as a mosque and shrine to Mir Sayyid Ali Hamdani (also known as Shah Hamadan) in the late 14th century. Also called the Amir-i-Kabir (the Great Commander), he was a Persian Sufi saint who played a vital role in spreading Islam in Kashmir. Shah Hamadan was constructed… Read more »

View from St. Pauls School, Darjeeling

Well known as a summer resort during the British Raj, Darjeeling was one of the many hill-stations favoured to escape the Indian summer. But more importantly, it commanded entry to neighbouring regions, Nepal and Bhutan,  serving as a strategically important outpost for the British. The word Darjeeling comes from ‘dorje ling’ which means a place or… Read more »

Wanga Valley

Samuel Bourne was a banker with itchy feet. Paintings of India so enamoured him that he quit his job in Nottingham and arrived in Calcutta in 1863. Now regarded as one of the earliest travel photographers in the world, Bourne started exploring Indian landscapes in the hills of Shimla and spent months in Kashmir, returning… Read more »