Located in the northwest Himalayas in the state of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is famous for all its natural beauty, forests covered in oak, pine ad rhododendrons and snow-clad Himalayan peaks. It is also famous for its neo-gothic and tudorbethon style of architecture. The buildings in Shimla still remind us of the colonial heritage especially the Viceregal Lodge and the enchanting iron lamps and Anglo Saxon names. The Mall is one of the best places in Shimal which offers a good view of the snow-capped mountain peaks
Location of Shimla
Located at an altitude of 2,130mts, Shimla is a popular tourist destination in Himachal Pradesh. Known as the "Queen of Hills", Shimla was once the summer capital of the erstwhile British Raj in India. Shimla is bounded by Mandi and Kullu in the north, Kinnaur in the east, Sirmaur district in the west, and Uttarakhand in the south. Shimla derived its name after the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Kali.
Places to see in Shimla
The Mall: The Mall in Shimla started developing in the 19th century with the need to accommodate different commercial and social establishments. The Mall looks more like an English market place with row of decorated shops, varied roofline, intriguing architecture reminding one of the colonial times. The 5km stretch contains pockets of pine and cedar trees, municipal offices housed in stone buildings, the general post office, and the famous Scandal Point from where it is believed that a former Maharaja of Patiala carried off a British commander-in-chief's daughter. Apart from the charming old buildings, the Mall also holds the famous Gaiety Theater built after the prize winning design of Bijou theater. The architectural brilliance is such that even the lowest whisper can be heard from the farthest point.
Mahatma Gandhi's Retreat: Gorgian Mansion: This majestic mansion stands close to the 'Administrative Block' of Himachal Pradesh University at Summer hill. It was the house of Late Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur, a close associate of Gandhiji and a veteran freedom fighter. It was from this place that Gandhiji along with noted leaders like Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Dr. Rajender Prasad and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad went on to meet Lord Wavell, the then Viceroy of India in 1945 to discuss about the country's independence.
Inverarm and Bantony Hills: Shimla's famous landmarks are situated on Inverarm Hill, the fourth hill of Shimla. Himachal State Museum and the Grand which was the former residence of Governor-General William Bentinck are located on Bantony Hill.
Jakhu Hill: You must visit the Jakhu Hill which looms over Shimla and its geographical diameter. The highest point of Shimla is located here.
Christ Church And St Michael's Cathedral: This is the second oldest church in northern India designed by Colonel JT Boileau in 1844.
What to do in Shimla
Apart from the leisure walks down the Mall, you can also enjoy skiing between January and mid-March depending upon the snow conditions. You can also go for trout fishing at Rohru, 110-km from Shimla and mahseer fishing at Tattapani, 46-km from Shimla. There is also a nine-hole golf course at Naldehra, 23kms from Shimla. You can also go for trekking at the Shimla- Kinnaur region or Shimla-Kulu via Jalori Pass or via Bashleo Pass.
Excursions from Shimla
Kufri: 19kms from Shimla, Kufri is a great place for skiing and hiking. Adventure lovers throng the place during winters.
Solan: Named after Goddess, Soloni Devi, Solan lies 48kms from Shimla and is the district headquarters of Mashru.
Chail: 43kms from Shimla, lies Chail, the former summer capital of Patiala. The world’s highest cricket pitch and polo ground lies in Chail.
Fagu: 16kms from Shimla on the Hindustan-Tibetan Road lies the picturesque town of Fagu. It is an ideal trekking place serving as an entry point for Kinnaur.
Tara Devi: 11 kms from Shimla it has a temple dedicated to Tara Devi.
Accomodations Hotels in Shimla
HP Tourism has premium class hotels in Shimla. The Holiday Home and Hotel Peterhof are two main hotels of HP Tourism. Other hotels are The Cecil at Chaura Maidan, Chapslee near Lakkar Bazaar and Woodville Palace on Raj Bhavan Road.
Best time to visit Shimla
Best time to visit Shimla is during the summer months between April and August.
How to reach Shimla
By Air: The nearest airport is Jubbarhatti, 23kms from Shimla.
By Rail: The nearest arialhead is Kalka. You can hire a taxi to reach Shimla which is 92 kms from Shimla.
By Road: Regular bus services operate from Delhi and Chandigarh.