Courtesy of New Pictures and Channel 4 for MASTERPIECE with All3Media International

The series, which premieres on PBS this weekend, takes place in 1930s Simla, a small town in the Himalayas that served as the summer capital of British India.

September 25, 2015

Already mourning the final season of Downton Abbey? Preemptively fill the Tom Branson-shaped hole in your heart (and your television line-up) with Indian Summers, Masterpiece's latest historical drama, set during the decline of the British Empire in India.

The series, which premieres on PBS this weekend, takes place in Simla, a small town in the Himalayas that served as the summer capital of British India when temperatures in New Delhi rose too high. Told from both the British and Indian perspectives, the show aims to explore a critical piece of the U.K.'s national identity as it passes, says writer Paul Rutman, "from memory to history."

Plot promises of forbidden romance and the seeds of revolution alongside an international cast helmed by Oscar nominee and Harry Potter-alum Julie Waters are enough to intrigue audiences initially. But they'll stay for the gorgeous costuming and the jaw-dropping Himalayan landscapes, which were actually shot in Penang, Malaysia; Modern Simla is too developed for an authetic period piece.

In fact, according to a PBS spokesperson, many of the buildings used for filming had to be reclaimed from the jungle for the production. It doesn't get more authentic than that.

Indian Summers airs Sundays, September 27 through November 22 at 9 p.m./ 8 p.m. central, on PBS.

Caroline Hallemann is the associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @challemann.

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