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Rothney Castle, Shimla Overview

Rothney Castle is a heritage monument located on Jakhoo Hill of Shimla on a steep slope amidst lush green natural vegetation. The site is a treat to the explorer due to its historical significance and the natural beauty of the location. As one climbs up the steep slopes of the Jakhoo Hill, they are bound to be greeted by the enchanting chirping sounds of the birds. The beauty of the ruins increases ten folds by the colourful wildflowers and wild berries growing around. Most explain the site of Rothney Castle as ordinary or in a dilapidated state while many find it to have a unique quality that attracts tourists from all over the world.

Rothney Castle was once home to a British officer, A.O.Hume who is also known as the Father of Ornithology and the founder of the Indian National Congress. It comes under the heritage zone of Shimla and is included in the heritage walks for tourists. The castle is surrounded by lush greenery that resembles an overgrown or a rarely maintained garden. The site is of immense historical and architectural significance in India. 

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History of Rothney Castle and A.O. Hume

AO Hume resided in Rothney Castle when he was posted in Shimla in late 1850. He was allocated the site which he renovated while he lived there. It is believed that he had spent about GBP 200,000 during the time for renovation alone. It was here that A.O.Hume began his study and documentation of the birds found in the Indian Subcontinent. He even had a collection of birds from the region. Later on, he started a Museum in the castle to exhibit the variety of bird species he had acquired over the years. Today, most of the specimens of bird species are found in England. A.O.Hume is also the founder of the Indian National Congress. The party was formed in 1885, and its first meeting was held in the Rothney Castle. His political views and contributions had an enormous impact on Indians before Independence.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Rothney Castle is between March and May as the weather stays pleasant and the skies are clear, making it an easy trek up the Jakhoo Hill. It is best if tourists begin their walk up the Jakhoo Hill in the morning as they will have the entire day to explore the castle and the region nearby and return before it gets dark.


1. The Castle is still private property. Tourists have to speak to the caretaker to seek entry.
2. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes as you will have to walk up the steep slopes of Jakhoo Hill to reach the Castle.
3. Wear a mosquito repellent as the route to the castle goes through natural vegetation that attracts a lot of insects.

How To Reach Rothney Castle

Rothney Castle is easily accessible by road. Tourists can walk or hail public transport to reach the castle premises. Rented taxis or auto-rickshaws are the best means of local transportation here. Those exploring the city by private vehicles can drive via Forest Hill Road and Cart Road to reach the castle.

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