Narendra Nagar - History

History

The present town of Narendra Nagar came into existence in 1919, when Maharaja Narendra Shah of Tehri Garhwal moved his capital from Tehri to a more picturesque locale. The small town of Odathali nestled in the Shivalik foothills was chosen not only for its extraordinary scenic beauty, but also for its proximity to the plains below. On a clear day one can get aerial view of Rishikesh, Haridwar and Ganga flowing from mountains to Plains of Haridwar.

'Odathali' is a place of historic and mythological significance. It has been known to be a seat of spirituality and meditation since ancient times. According to legend, the sage Udhav is known to have performed severe penance at this spot. Also, Purasar, the founder of astrology, has been known to conduct various experiments on the movements of planets and stars. His observatory has now been converted into the local polytechnic.

Narendra Shah was an enlightened ruler, as you can see in the well ordered civic buildings of the neat little royal township of Narendra Nagar. Some of the buildings like the hospital and the secretariat are still in use today. The bazaar buildings too are a century old.

In the early 1900s, Narendra Nagar became a popular destination with the British Viceroy's of the time. The Palace 'Annexe' was added to the original palace building in 1910 to house the Viceroy and his entourage who visited Narendra Nagar fairly often. Over the years, the regal corridors of the Palace has echoed with the footsteps of many distinguished guests - Late Lal Bahadur Shastri and Late Mrs. Indira Gandhi- Prime Ministers of India and spiritual leaders like Anandmayi Ma and Swami Sivanand as well as the last British Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten of Burma.

The last Maharaja, His Highness Manabendra Shah took over the reins of Tehri Garhwal in 1946, from Maharaja Narendra Shah, who abdicated in the favour of his son. The province was eventually merged with the territory of Uttar Pradesh shortly after India gained her independence.

'The Narendra Nagar Palace', is now home to 'Ananda - In the Himalayas', a destination spa, that looks down into the Doon valley from its majestic height of 3000 feet. Crowning a picturesque ridge of the mighty Himalayan ranges, the palace is a symbol of the grandeur and splendour of an era gone by. Original relief work still adorns the palace walls and two magnificent World War I cannons flank the royal gateway.

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