There are a number of monuments in Himachal Pradesh, comprising of colonial buildings, palaces and castles of the former rulers, memorial sites and Buddhist monasteries. Viceregal Lodge in Shimla, also known as ‘Rashtrapati Niwas’ deserves to be mentioned at the top of the list of such monuments. It houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies today. Other famous monuments in Himachal Pradesh are Norbulinka Institute of Tibetan Culture, Lord Elgin’s Memorial Maharaja Palace of Chail, Rang Mahal of Chamba, Padam Palace of Rampur, Gurkha castles and forts, etc.
One of the major attractions of Dharamsala, the War Memorial reminds us of the post independence war heroes of Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. These martyrs lost their lives in the Indo-China war of 1962, the Indo-Pak wars of 1947, 1965 and 1971 as well as the UN peace operations. Situated amidst lush green forests, the war memorial stands surrounded with narrow winding pathways and beautiful lawns.
In the history of Himachal Pradesh, one finds a mention of the Gurkha rulers also. Gurkhas gained control over some princely states of Himachal and ruled them until 1815, when British drove them away from the region.
One of the most famous landmarks of Shimla, the Viceregal Lodge situated on the Observatory Hill and also known as the Rashtrapati Niwas now. The building lies at a distance of just 2 km from the Himachal State Museum.
Tabo Monastery is situated in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh. The great teacher and translator Rinchen Zangpo founded the monastery in 996 AD and till today, it holds the distinction of being the largest monastic complex in the Spiti region.
Rang Mahal Built by Raja Umed Singh in the mid-18th century, Rang Mahal is also known as the ‘Painted Palace’. It is situated at Chamba and was meant to serve as the residence of the royal women. The influence of Mughal, Colonial and Saracenic architectural style can be seen in its construction.
Situated at a distance of approximately 125 km from Shimla is Padam Palace, one of the major attractions of Rampur. It once served as the Winter Capital of the former princely state of Bushair. Raja Padam Singh laid the foundation the palace on the left bank of River Satluj in the year 1919.
Situated at a distance of 4 km from Dharamsala, Norbulinka Institute has a mission to preserve and promote. It is a picture of old rural Tibet with all its shady paths, wooden bridges, small streams and tiny water falls, along with wooden carvings, Tibetan Thangka paintings, Tibetan handicrafts and arts.
Situated at an altitude of 2250 m, Chail is a very small but delightful hill resort. One of its major attractions is the Chail Palace, constructed by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala in 1891, as his residence.
Sonam Gyatso, the third Dalai Lama, founded Namgyal Monastery in the year 1575. During that time, it was situated at the Potala Palace in Tibet. Its purpose was to assist the Dalai Lama in his spiritual duties and public religious activities.