Why this blog is called "Gallimaufry".

gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun.

Originally meaning "a hash of various kinds of meats," "gallimaufry" comes from French galimafrée; in Old French, from the word galer, "to rejoice, to make merry"; in old English: gala + mafrer: "to eat much," and from Medieval Dutch maffelen: "to open one's mouth wide."

It's also a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a heterogeneous mixture; a hodge-podge; a ragout; a confused jumble; a ridiculous medley; a promiscuous (!) assemblage of persons.

Those of you who know me, will, I’m sure, understand how well some of these phrases (barring the "promiscuous" bit!) fit me.

More importantly, this blog is an ode to my love for Shimla. I hope to show you this little town through my eyes. If you don't see too many people in it, forgive me, because I'm a little chary of turning this into a human zoo.

Stop by for a spell, look at my pictures, ask me questions about Shimla, if you wish. I shall try and answer them as best as I can. Let's be friends for a while....

4 April 2009

The House That Was....

I spent all of today exploring two wonderful places, Dhami and Arki. In this post, I'm going to you pictures of the old "palace" of Dhami. I love old buildings, especially crumbly ones with character. One wasn't allowed inside, but walking around this old structure was a treat in itself! Every grand edifice has a spirit, an emotion. I sensed a deep nostalgia and a wistfulness around this building..... The palace seemed a little meditative, a little forlorn, but not wholly disconsolate!

Dhami, an old pricely state, is also known as Halog. Initially, it was a part of Bilaspur, it became an independent state in 1815. Dr. Usha Bande, who has undertaken extensive research on the forts and palaces of Himachal Pradesh, informs that Dhami is famous for its "patthar ka khel" (a game of stone-throwing) held shortly after Diwali. The village divides itself into two parties and each participant from each party must simultaneously throw sotnes at the other's and dodge the stones chucked at it by the opponents. Sounds gruesome, but apparently, the game is greatly enjoyed by locals. No fatalities have been reported.

Of the old house, only a few crumbled

Courses of brick, smothered in nettle and dock,

Or a squared stone, lying mossy where it tumbled!

Sprawling bramble and saucy thistle mock

What once was firelit floor and private charm

Where, seen in a windowed picture, hills were fading

At dusk, and all was memory-coloured and warm,

And voices talked, secure from the wind's invading.

Of the old garden, only a stray shining

Of daffodil flames amid April's cuckoo-flowers,

Or a cluster of aconite mixt with weeds entwining!

But, dark and lofty, a royal cedar towers

By homely thorns: whether the white rain drifts

Or sun scorches, he holds the downs in ken,

The western vale; his branchy tiers he lifts,

Older than many a generation of men....

~ Lawrence Binyon ~


Deep Sea said...

Hi, sorry to send this through your comment box. I was on a short break in Shimla (hence the earlier googling for info which had gotten me to your blog)..and as it happens, am kind of stuck here for two days on my own. Any recommendations on walks (keeping my fingers crossed re the rain stopping tomorrow) that one can take and any nice cafes to hang out in, over evenings?
Thanks in advance.

Gallimaufry said...

Yes, there are a few lovely walks to be done in Shimla. I suggest you head out to Minerva bookshop on the Mall to get Raaja Bhasin's lovely little book "Shimla On Foot". He's listed 10 walks there.
You could start from the Mall, come down to the Railway Board building, past the AG's office, past Vidhan Sabha, to Hotel Cecil and onwards until Viceregal Lodge, now known Indian Institute of Advanced Study.
Another walk is to turn off at Vidhan Sabha towards Annadale, but be warned it's a bit steep and a failry long one. The tiny Army Heirtage museum is worth a look.
Still, do have a look at "Shimla On Foot".

Deep Sea said...

Thanks. Looking forward to exploring the town today.

LivinginOz said...

I especially love the image of the stairway, Geetali. Stairways are always so evocative!

Sauron said...

Geetali, nice writing and nice pictures too! I stayed in Solan for about 10 years, and I love the hills!

Will be back to read much more... :)

Gallimaufry said...

Ozluv, aren't they pretty? That place got me by the scruff of the neck :)

Sauron, Thanks for dropping by & for your kind words.

Sanjeev said...

You have a great eye for photography!

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