The former summer capital of the British in India, and the present capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is situated in the lower ranges of the Himalayan mountains, surrounded by pine deodar, oak and rhododendron forests. Nature has whole heartedly bestowed the place with infinite natural beauties. It has got a scenic location, surrounded by green hills with snow capped peaks. The whispering streams in between the hills and the swaying fields offer even an added beauty. These spectacular hills dotted with the structures made during the colonial era add a completely different colour and impression, thus making the place unique among the other hill resort.
Places to see in Shimla: The serene surrounding of Shimla is dotted with a no. of sight seeing destinations. These include:
Christ Church in Shimla is the second oldest Church in India. It is one of the prominent landmark of Shimla. The silhouette of Church is visible for miles around the vicinity of Shimla city. One of the enduring legacies of the British Raj, this masterpiece was designed by Colonel JT Boileau in 1844; but the Church was consecrated only after 1857. There is a beautiful clock adorning the ChristChurch which was donated by Colonel Dumbleton in the year 1860 and porch was added in the year 1873. Christ Church has survived partition and the subsequent political upheavals of the Indian subcontinent. It continues to be very well maintained and remains in good condition. However the mechanical appendages of the Church like the clock does not function-a natural progression of entropy through time. You could not help but notice the stunningly beautiful stained glass windows inside the Church. There are five exquisite stained glass windows in Christ Church Shimla. One of them represents the virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Patience and Humility. The Pipe-Organ of Christ Church is the biggest in the Indian subcontinent and was erected in September 1899.
Popular as the ‘Hanuman Mandir’ among the localities of Shimla, the Jakhoo (or Jakhu) Temple has been on the ‘must visit list’ of almost all travellers. The devotees of the ‘Pawan Putra’ – Hanuman make a frequent visit here. One would get to hear about different versions of legend behind this temple that is mainly related to the phase of the Ramayana where Lord Hanuman took rest on his way to fetch Sanjeevani Booti (a therapeutic herb) required for healing Lord Ram’s brother, Lakshman. The temple is situated on the Jakhoo Hill which is also Shimla’s highest peak (at an altitude of about 8,050 feet). While trekking up to the temple, one can see the magnificent, 108 feet tall Hanuman statue behind the deodar trees. The main temple complex has Lord Hanuman’s foot prints engraved on a marble (as believed by the devotees), paintings and statues of Lord Hanuman and Lord Ram. The pious chants (or Bhajans) and the ringing bells fill up the entire complex thus creating a spiritual ambience.
Ridge of Shimla
The Ridge of Shimla is a large open spacious platform from where you can have a panoramic view of the mountain peaks of Shimla. The snow capped mountain ranges engulfed in the beauty of the nature is a phenomenal view that the Ridge of Shimla offers to the crowd. The Ridge at Shimla also provides the tourists a view of the age old ChristChurch built in the Neo-Gothic style of architecture as well as the new Tudor library. These two are the milestones of the town of Shimla. The movement of vehicles is strictly prohibited here. As such the Ridge in Shimla always remains crowded with hundreds of people.
Shimla State Museum
The Shimla State Museum is another popular tourist destination housing a huge collection of magnificent paintings, sculptures, coins, handicrafts, photos, etc of not only the state of Himachal Pradesh but outside too. The state museum is a major attraction of the Mall area of Shimla built in the style of colonial edifice with sprawling lawns all around. This museum was inaugurated in 1974. The museum is open from ten in the morning to five in the evening. It is open on all days except Monday and the national holidays. The state museum of Shimla also comprises a library that is loaded with historical books and manuscripts. The Museum was erected solely with the purpose of preserving the rich cultural heritage of the state and to spread the message of cultural legacy over generations. The paintings depict the life and culture of the hilly people. Beside there is also a huge collection of Mughal and Rajasthani paintings. The museum holds the sculptural merit of the 8th century stone works of Masrur and Bajaura. Also a wide lay out of Himachali dolls are displayed here.
Located on the highest point in the depth of the National Park, George Castle was built in 1911 by Jivaji Rao Scindia. It is a two-storey structure that was erected for an overnight halt for the King of the United Kingdom, George V. On his trip to India, George V was supposed to stay here for a tiger hunt. Imported English tiles and attractive windows were used in the construction of this exclusive castle. But, having killed a tiger on his way, the king did not stop here and the palace was abandoned. Being situated at the highest point, the George Castle offers a magnificent view of the national park. Standing at the castle one can see Nilgai, Blackbucks, Sloth Bear, Wild Pigs, Jackals and several other wild animals. The point where the three lakes, Jadhav Sagar, Sakhya Sagar and Madhav Sagar, interlink with each other is located right next to the castle. Even though George Castle remains as a desolate building now, it is still the best place to enjoy the whole forest at a glance.
The Mall of Shimla
The Mall of Shimla is the prime attraction for the tourists as it is the centre to a large number of shops, restaurants, a heritage theatre and above all a hub of merriment. Adjacent to the Mall of Shimla are the Tibetian and the Lakkad bazaar. The Mall has a number of restaurants that offers a wide range of cuisines from Punjabi and South Indian to Chinese and Continental dishes. Besides there are also a number of good dhabas and fast food joints where you can look out for some yummy pizzas and burgers. The Mall of Shimla holds the age old amateur theatre- The Gaiety theatre. This building has a great appeal to the tourists and is a focal point of cultural activities. The Shimla Mall also owns a number of emporiums and showrooms which is the storehouse of shawls, caps, pullovers, jewelery, potteries, books and other handicrafts and toys of Himachal Pradesh. The place looks wonderful during the evening hours as the entire place glitters with lights and crowds of people. The Mall in Shimla is referred to as the ‘heart of Shimla’. The Mall extends from Barnes court in the eastern side to Vice Regal lodge in the western side. Movement of vehicles are prohibited in the Mall of Shimla.
The famous Kalibari Temple of Shimla is a popular tourist attraction and is situated at a very strategic location. The temple was built in the year 1845 and is dedicated to Goddess Kali who is also known as Shyamala. It is from the name of Goddess Shyamala that Shimla derives its name. The Kali Bari temple of Simla is a very well known religious place of India and people who come to Shimla never miss out on visiting this temple. The Kalibari temple was primarily located in Jakhu hill. The British brought it to its new site.
Sankat Mochan Temple
Sankat Mochan Temple is a popular temple which attracts pilgrims of all age groups. Many religious persons visit Sankat Mochan Temple to pay obeisance to the deities of Lord Rama and other notable gods of the Hindu pantheon. SankatMochanTemple is adjacent to National Highway 22. SankatMochanTemple is about 5 kilometers from Shimla. The temple is the second most popular tourist spot after JakhuTemple. The temple complex houses a number of structures housing the deities of Lord Rama, Lord Shiva and also includes Hanuman. The complex also includes a three storey building, a portion of which is used for a Langer/ Prasad hall. The rest of the building are hired out as marriage halls for a nominal fee.
Nearby attractions from Shimla: There are a no. of attractions around Shimla besides the grand sight seeing spots. These include:
One would always prefer visiting Manali or Shimla, but have you ever thought of visiting the summer capital ‘Chail’ of Patiala’s Maharaja Adhiraj Bhupinder Singh. This hill station is well-known for its remarkable history. In the late nineteenth century, His Highness of Patiala was expelled from Shimla, which was then known as British Raj’s summer capital, because he misbehaved with the daughter of the British Commander-in-Chief of that time. He then promised of building his own summer capital ‘Chail’. From Shimla, Chail is just 49 kilometres away. Chail appears as a peaceful and calm place because it is far away from Shimla’s hustling-bustling life. This hill station is located in the state of Himanchal Pradesh in Solan. It is very close to Kandaghat Mandal. Chail is located at a higher altitude than Shimla. Due to this, one and enjoy the glance of snow-covered Himalayan ranges which appear as lit during the sunset and sunrise. This small hamlet is surrounded by gigantic and big deodar trees and chir pine forests.
Naldehra is 23 kilometers from Shimla. It has India’s oldest nine hole golf course laid out by Lord Curzon during the era of the British Raj.
Kufri is a winter sports capital. Kufri is situated at an altitude of 2622 meters above sea level Skiing can be pursued in Kufri. It takes approximately one hour to drive to Kufri from Shimla city.
Things to do in Shimla: Walk the long and winding roads and breathe in the deodars cone scented air. Drink Coffee at Indian Coffee House, Shop at Lakkar bazaar (wood market) for souvenirs, Hang out at the Ridge in the Evening and feel the energy of the place, Climb Jakhoo peak, a hiker’s delight,
Best time to visit Shimla: The best time to visit Shimla would be October to November and from March to May.
How to go ?
Shimla’s Jubbarhatti Airport is nearly 25 km away from the heart of the city. It is connected with regular flights from Chandigarh and Delhi. Delhi International airport is the nearest major airport. Delhi airport is connected to all major cities in India and many cities abroad. Regular buses are available from Delhi to Shimla. This apart hiring private car is a good option. Shimla is 358 km from Delhi. You can also avail the rail route from Delhi. A number of trains leave from Delhi headed to Shimla.
Shimla has a meter gauge railway station. It connects to the nearest broad gauge station at Kalka, which is at a distance of 89 km from Shilmla. Kalka has good connectivity from Chandigarh (Kalka Shatabdi), Ambala (Barmer Klk Exp), Delhi (Himalayan Queen), Mumbai (Paschim Express) and Kolkata (Howrah-Kalka).
HPRTC buses offer bus connectivity from all cities in Himachal Pradesh to Shimla. Frequent ordinary and deluxe bus services are available from Delhi to Shimla.
Where to stay ?
You will find a number of nice resorts and hotels in Shimla. Some
Hotel Holiday Home (HPTDC): +91-0177- 281- 2891
Hotel Peterhoff (HPTDC): +91–0177- 281- 2236
Hotel Blue Diamond: +91-0177 -280- 3092
Hotel Dreamland: +91-0177- 265 3005 Website: www.hoteldreamlandshimla.com
Hotel Apsara: +91-0 177 -281-1652 Website: www.hotelapsarashimla.com
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.