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Shimla :: City Information

About Shimla

Pine forests and apple orchards, crisp, clean air and breathtaking views - that's Shimla in a nutshell. Sprawled over 12 kms on a crescent shaped ridge lies Shimla, the largest hill station and erstwhile summer capital of the British in India. Descending in layers from the top of the ridge, at 2,213 metres, Shimla straddles several hills, including the Jakhu, Prospect Hill, Observatory Hill, Elysium Hill and Summer Hill.

Though Shimla town, which is now the capital of Himachal Pradesh, has come a long way from the days of the Raj, the old British buildings, quaint cottages and churches still remind visitors of an era long gone by. In the heyday of the Empire, officers and their wives strolled down the Mall of Shimla, exchanging pleasantries with fellow officers. Many a grass widow spent time wandering along walks through Shimla's pine forests, while dashing Indian princes left many an English lady heartbroken.

From the days of the British, when it was the popular retreat of the sahibs, Shimla has now become the hub of major activities in Himachal Pradesh. Being the seat of government and a major tourist attraction in north India, Shimla has grown to bursting point. In peak tourist season, traffic jams and crippling water shortage are common. Nevertheless, the fresh air, magnificent snow peaks and refreshing green all around make Shimla worth a visit.

Places to Visit

Rashtrapati Niwas

Description: Rashtrapati Niwas shimal

The six-storeyed Vice-Regal Lodge or Rashtrapati Niwas, about 4.5 km from Scandal Point, attracts many visitors. It was built in 1888 and was formerly the residence of Lord Dufferin, the British Viceroy. The style of architecture is English Renaissance, the masonry of the walling is light blue limestone and the wrought stonework is done in sandstone in a beautiful light gray tint. It has magnificent lawns and houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Nearby is the Himalayan aviary that has a good collection of birds, including the Monal pheasant, Himachal's state bird.

imachal State Museum

Description: Himachal State Museum shimla

About 2.5 km from Scandal Point is the State Museum, which has a good collection of statues, miniatures, coins and photos from in and around Himachal Pradesh. It was built in 1974.

Jakhu Temple

Description: Jakhu Temple

Jhaku temple, dedicated to Hanumanji, the attendant of Lord Rama, is to the east of the town center, near the highest point of the Shimla Ridge. It is at a height of 8048 feet above sea level and offers a panoramic view of the city.

Walks

 

Summer Hill (16187 meters) is five km away on the Shimla to Kalka Railway line and has pleasant, shady walks.
Chadwik Falls (1586 meters) are 67 meters high but are only really worth visiting during the monsoon, between July and October. The falls are seven km from shimla and reached via Summer hill.
Prospect Hill (2145 meters) is five km west from Shimla and a 15 min climb from Boileauganj. the hill is a popular picnic spot with fine views over the surrounding country and a temple of Kamna Devia.
Sankat Mochan (1875 meters) has a Hanuman Temple and a fine view of Shimla and can be reached on foot or by car.
Tara Devi (1851 meters) is a hilltop temple seven km from Shimla by rail or car.
Wildlifeflower Hall (2593 meters) 13 km from Shimla on the road to Kufri, was the former residence of Indian Commander-in-chief Lord Kitchener.

Chail

Description: Chail

Chail was created by the Maharaja of Patiala as a summer capital after his expulsion from Shimla. The town is built on three hills - one is topped by the Chail Palace, one by the village itself and the other by the Snowview mansion. Three kilometres from the village is the world's highest cricket ground built in 1893. There is also a wildlife sanctuary 3 kms from Chail.

Kufri

Description: Kufri

Kufri, at distance of 16 km from Shimla and at an altitude of 2510 m above sea level, is a site offering some famous hikes and wonderful snow for skiing. An enjoyable walk leads up to the Mahasu Peak. The Himalayan Nature Park here has a good collection of animals and birds found in the region.

Narkanda

Description: Narkanda

Narkanda, 64 km from Shimla, offers wonderful slopes for skiing. At an elevation of 2708 m, it has dense pine forests. Hatu peak, 8 km from Narkanda, provides a striking panorama of the plains below.

Sarahan

Description: Sarahan

Sarahan is a small village worth visiting. It provides a spectacular view of Shrikhand Mahadev and hiking opportunities to the nearby villages such as Ranwin and Bashal Peak. The Bhimakali temple, dedicated to Goddess Durga, is the finest example of Himachali architecture.

Naldehra

Description: Naldehra

Naldehra, at an altitude of 2050 m and 23 km from Shimla, houses the oldest and the highest golf course in India. In the middle of the course is a temple, Mahunag Mandir. It was a favorite pastime spot of Lord Curzon.

How To Get To Shimla

By Air:

 

The airport at Shimla, 22 km from the main city, has connecting flights to Delhi and Kullu. The nearby Chandigarh airport is, however, handier as it is connected to all the major airports in India.

By Rail:

 

Only train plying between Shimla and Kalka joins them through railways network.

By Road:

 

Shimla is well connected by road to most towns within the state and to all major towns in Punjab and Haryana. It is linked by bus and coach to Delhi and Chandigarh as well.