Century-old heritage theatre at Shimla a major tourist draw

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Shimla, May 17 (ANI): A larger number if domestic and foreign tourists are thronging the Over a century-old Gaiety Theatre at Shimla that has been thrown open recently.

Built by the British in 1889, in Victorian gothic style and said to be a replica of the Royal Albert Hall of London. It remained closed over six years for renovation.

The prime attraction of this vintage theatre is its unique Gothic architecture.

Though the renovation work completed on June 25 2009.

But the enthusiastic people had to wait for some more time since it's been thrown open for public in this April only.

The Language and Cultural Department of Himachal Pradesh took the initiative to restore it historic beauty and opened it for the public.

The authentic colonial architectural beauty has been retained.

"After restoration, the government of Himachal Pradesh is very pleased to open it to the public because the tourists coming from international sector, they are having a keen interest to see such a theatre, which is a real replica of the London theatre. When they find the great architectural work and workmanship on this particular building, they are very happy to see it," said Prem Sharma, Director, Language and Culture Department of Himachal Pradesh.

Renowned Bollywood and Indian theatre actors, such as Prithvi Raj Kapoor, Pran Sikand, Naseerudin Shah, Prem Chopra, Anupam Kher, Shashi Kapoor and Jennifer Kendall and Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling have performed at this historical theatre.

London's Gaiety theatre was renovated several times, but was closed from the beginning of World War II in 1939 and never reopened after having suffered damage by bomb during the hostilities.

Since its reopening, a large number of domestic and foreign visitors have visited to see the aesthetic beauty of this theatre.

"Well, it's quite exciting to see such an old theatre so beautifully restored here because I had read about it before I came here on the Internet and I had hoped to find it and see it. So when I get home, I will tell people about it," said Katherine Hardy, a tourist from London.

The visitors have to pay a nominal amount as entry fee. For Indians it is rupees 10 while for the foreign tourists - rupees 25 (54 US cents) without camera and rupees 50 with camera.

"This theatre is quite interesting. I came here earlier also but at that time, it was not open. Today, I have seen the beautiful historic theatre from inside and it is very good that they have made it open for public by charging a nominal amount of entrance fee," said Roshan Hablani, a tourist from Bhilai, Chattisgarh. By Hemant Chauhan (ANI)

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