Himachal Pradesh: Shimla


Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh, and one of the most famous and favored hill stations of India. Its is connected by the greatest narrow gauge toy train, acknowledged by the Guinness Book, from Kalka. The 5.5 to 7 hours journey by train is simply mesmerizing and you will pass through pine forests, long tunnels, rivers, streams, waterfalls, scenic beauty if the Magnificent Himalayas. Choose Shivalik toy train from Shimla, and you will cherish the journey for ever.

The peak season of Shimla are the months of May, June and July. Everything is expensive at this time. Rest of the year, the rates are at a discount, and factors are subject to bargaining as well. October and November and February and March are the best periods to be here. However, barring the rainy season of July and August, you can go to Shimla anytime you want. End December to February, it snows here.

It is situated at a height of 2213 meters. It is popularly known as the queen of the hills. It was made by the British. You can still find remnants of British influence in the streets of Shimla.

The Mall is the beauty spot of Shimla and is the most loved place. It adorns itself with beautiful lights in the evenings. Savor the hot soups, or the fresh cookies out from the bakery here. Boiled eggs are also a big hit with the gripping cold.
Cars are not allowed in Mall, adding to the enjoyment of strolling in the place. Local shops, hotels, travel agency offices, fruit vendors, restaurants, all are jostling for a space here. Tourists have a gala time, by just being there. You can also have the kids enjoy a little pony ride. And if the skies are clear, you can see ranges of snow clad Himalayas right from the Mall.

Anglican Christ Church: Situated at the end of the Mall, it was built as per design of Cornell J T Boileau, in 1844 to 1857, in Neo Gothic architecture. It is the second oldest church in India. The stain glass works in its windows are beautiful.
Next to is is the State library of 1910. The Gaiety theater built in 1887 still hosts theaters.

The Mall road and the Ridge meets at the scandal point. This is the highest point of the town. You will find state tourism offices of HTDPC, HRTC here. You can also check out the GPO, Town hall, roman catholic church and the municipal building, all in the vicinity. There is also the YMCA, YWCA tourist hotel, St. Andrews church, The Gorton Castle built is Neo Gothic style and the St. Michael cathedral.

A bit far off, keeping the Shiml Kalibari on your right, is the Legislative assembly house. Climb up a bit, and you will reach Kenedy's house. About an hour's distance from the church is the State museum, which is a visual store house of the rich culture of this state.

A narrow path goes down past the mall to lakkar bazar. Visit this bazar to buy anything that is produced in the Himachal and at good rates. You can check out walking sticks, Kinnaur mufflers, Kulu caps, Shawls and woolen products.

Close by is Buntoni hill, where the residence of William Bentick has been turned in to Grand hotel. Uphill is the Shimla Kalibari, a favorite place for all Bengalees travelling here.
There is very good bengali arrangement for staying and fooding here at inexpensive rates. Rooms range from Rs.110 to Rs.150. You will have to book in advance, by sending draft for at least 1 day to Secretary, Kalibari, Shimla, H.P. You should also call 0177 2652964, which is their phone number.

Jaku Hills: A steep uphill of 1.5 Kms from the ridge will take you to Jaku Hills, at 2455meters. The scenic beauty from here is picturesque, to say the least. It is known for Sunrise and Sunsets. The Shimla town is also visible from here. The top of the hill has the Hanuman mandir. Legend has it that Mahavir Hanuman rested here while returning with Sanjivani. The temple has a large fearless monkey population and care should be exercised while visiting. En route is rothni castle. You can hire horses from Mall to tour Jaku and back, because the slope might be too daunting for most, especially for kids. While returning, you can take the roundabout way to ridge via five benches road, Govt. Art college, a distance of 2 kilometers.

Glen: 4 kilometers from the town, via Sisil hotel, at a height of 1830 meters, is Glen, a coveted spot for picnics and whole day outings. The pathway is beautiful, and through the reserved forests. You might be lucky to catch a glimpse of a wild animal or two. At times, mountain streams will accompany you. You can trek to the place or hire horses to go to the place. A must visit, if you love nature.

Annandale: Another 4.5 kilometers east of Glen is Annandale. There is a racecourse and a footbal ground here. The evenings here are good with different entertainment options. At the top of Rivoli bus stand, you can do skating at the ice skating rink, in the months of November to January. Another 4 kilometers off is the zoo, flower plantations. You can also check out the Brahma Samaj mandir, the the Tibetan Monastery.

Summer Hill: Summer hill is the penultimate railway station in the Kalka Shimla route. It is 5 kilometers from Shimla and is at a height of 1983 meters. The place was frequented by Gandhi. Now, there is a AIIMS guest house here. The Himachal University is also located here. One can take the train or just enjoy the walk in the beautiful surroundings. Another 2 kilometers in the north is the Chadwick falls, a fall of 67 meters. But the pathway is quite steep.

Prospect hill: About 5 kilometers from the town, this is another picnic and outing place. It is known for the priest line views it offers of the Himalayas. You can see the Shimla hill, Taradevi's temple, Lower sohasu, Kamanadevi's temple from here. On the full moon night, you can see both the sunset and the moon rise from here. The Kamana Devi temple is at its peak, and it is a small temple, over 300 years old. The Sutlej river looks like a silver ribbon from here.

Taradevi Temple: Take a car, or the railways to reach Taradevi's temple, about 9.5 kilometers from the city. There is a shiv mandir too. The head office of scouts is also here. En route, about 7 kilometers from the city is the Sankatmochan mandir of Lord Hanuman. There is a Ganapati temple too.

The Retreat: 1 kilometer from the town, at the apex of the Observatory hill is the Viceroy Lord Duffrin's house The Retreat. A palace made of white marble, the ceilings are made of burma teak, and staircase of local wood. There is an indoor tennis court too. Nehru agreed to split India sitting at this place. It was later turned into summer Rastrapati Bhawan. But Dr. Sarbapally Radhakrishnan, dedicated this place to Indian Institute of Advance Studies. The library of this place has over a crore of books. It is to be noted that the ballroom was converted into the library. April to July and August to March, it is open to tourists for a ticket of Rs.10. Just beside is the Botanical garden and the Zoo.

Wild Flower Hall: 13 kilometers from the city, en route Kufri, is this place at a height of 2593 meters, spreading across 22 hectors, shaded by the pine trees. It is best to visit this place just after the monsoon months. Its a favorite place for birds too. In the winters, it is wrapped in snow. Pir panjal range, Badri Giri, and even the Shimla hill is clearly visible from here.

Kufri: Kufri is one of the better known places of Shimla. It is 3 kilometers from Wild Flower and 16 kilometers from Shimla. It literally looks like a painting. Badrinath, Kedarnath, Pir Panjal, and Shivalik range is visible from Kufri. There is also the Indira tourist park, Himalayan nature park and a mini zoo here. Tickets are Rs.10 and cameras are charged extra. You can ride a Yak or a horse here.
One can also hire horses from here to Fagu via Gollu(4.5 kms), a distance of 6 kilometers. You can also trek to , or hire horses to Mahasu peak, another beautiful destination.  Fagu is also known for its potato research center, and is the lunch destination for conducted tours, details of which are given later. Flower hall and green valley will fall en route. One can also stay at Kufri.

Mashobra: 14 kilometers from the city, at a height of 2149 meters, is Mashobra, the most beautiful area in the vicinity for picnics and outings. There are temples of Mahakali, Bhimakali and Shiva too, here, built in wood. There are hotels too, here.

Craignanor Amusement park: Another 3 kilometers off, at a height of 2279 meters is Craignanor Amusement park, a park built for entertainment of tourists. It is jointly built by HPTDC, Shimla Municipality and Himachal ropeways. It covers an area of 20 acres. There are devices like merry go round, giant wheel, magic shows, dog shows etc. Yak and pony rides are on offer too. Open from 10 am to 6 pm everyday, tickets Rs10. Buses to and fro all the time from Shimla. One can also stay here at the Municipal rest house.

Naldehra: A beautiful place, and one should try to visit it. It is on NH 22, about 23 kilometers from Shimla via Dhali. Shaped like a banana bud, the entire path is shaded with deodar trees, and the Sutlej river can be seen below. It also has the oldest 9 hole golf course. There is an ancient temple of Mahung Nag. C P fair at June is the major event. The road to Kufri also goes through Dhali. There is a HPTDC Hotel Golf Glade here, to stay. It is covered by conducted tours also, details given below.

TattaPani or Taptapani: 23 kilometers from Naldera is Tattapani, at a height of 655 meters. The Sulej river will accompany you. The bank of sutlej is scattered with colorful stones. There is a warm sulfur spring, earning the place its name. Mahung Nag temple is here too. HPTDC's tourist inn is here to stay along with some other hotels. It is the last point of one of the conducted tours.

conducted tours:

Himachal Road Transport Corporation and HPTDC jointly organises these conducted tours. You have to book in advance from Tourist information office, The Mall, Shimla. Call 2652561 for assistance.
Tour timings are 10 am to 5 pm. Tour 1 and Tour 2 are conducted everyday, while tour 3 and tour 4 are conducted everyday in season time only.

Tour 1: 190 Rs per head, 85 kms,  Places: Kufri, Indira Holiday home, Fagu, Mashobra, Naldehra.

Tour 2: Rs.245 per head, 130 kiometers, Places: Narkanda, Fagu, Matiana and Theog

Tour 3: Rs. 220 per head, 120 Kilometers, Places: Chail.

Tour 4: Rs. 220 per head, 110 kilometers, Places: Naldhera, Taptapani or Tattapani

Remember to take the bus number from tourist office, buses depart from Rivoli cinema.

You can travel to Kinnaur or Manali from Shimla. Buses leave at early in the morning or in the evenings. The tourist information center will guide you for the current status.

How to reach: Shimla can be reached by plane, train or by road. It is connected by buses from Chandigarh, Delhi and Ambala, all of which are major rail heads. It is also connected by flights.
One can also go by rail, via Kalka from Delhi. Refer to our transport links to plan your itinerary.

Where to stay :  Shimla has a huge number of hotels to choose from. The hotels at Mall are the coveted ones and they charge a premium too. You can choose a hotel a bit off the mall to save on expenses. Reaching the mall is easy. Check our hotel booking links below, for comparisons or rates and services, photos, and online booking to save on your expenditure.

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