Shimla, also called as 'Simla', is a true paradise for nature lovers, lying amidst of Himalayan cedars and pines. Its elevation at 2,205 m above sea level attracts people from all over the world. Sprawled over an area of 18 sq km, this spectacular town is adorably dubbed as the 'Queen of Hill Stations'. With its features like dense woodlands, gorgeous landscapes and apple orchards, it has also served as the erstwhile summer capital of the British. This spectacular hill station derives its name from "Goddess Shyamala", an incarnation of Goddess Kali. Lying amidst the soaring snow-clad Himalayan ranges, it is enveloped by lakes and lush green meadows that create a beautiful picture. While summers are warm with pleasant evenings, winters are bone chilling and that is what makes Shimla more momentous.
The term 'Shimla' was originated from 'Shyamali Devi'. The altar at Jakhoo Hill was previously shifted by the British to the place, called as Kali Bari Temple at present. The hill station is surrounded by seven hills including Bantony Hill, Jakhoo Hill, Summer Hill, Prospect Hill, Invererarm Hill, Observatory Hill and Elysium Hill. The historic Hindustan Tibet Road was accredited in 1850 starting from Kalka to Shimla and then to the Chinese ruled territory, Tibet. In 1864, the town was declared as the summer capital of the British Empire in India. The foundation stone for the Kalka-Shimla railway line was established in 1903.
Major Tourist Attractions in Shimla
Referred to as ‘the Heart of Shimla’, the Mall serves as the main shopping centre of the area. It is bustling with colourful shops, selling different curios and trinkets to travellers. For gourmets, the place is ideal with a variety of exotic cuisines as well as local delights.
Situated in the heart of Shimla, The Ridge is a spacious area that runs east to west alongside the Mall road. It connects the place at the Scandal point on the west side. The road leading to wooden crafts market is known as the Lakkar Bazaar. The large water reserve at the Ridge also serves as the main supply of Shimla. The Ridge road also serves as the venue for summer festival, organized in May. Sprinkled with a library, church and statues, the Ridge is a preferred choice of travellers for a long walk.
Located on the Ridge, the Christ Church is known to be the second oldest church in North India. This pale yellow structure dominates the skyline of the Mall. The stained glasses installed on its large windows enhance its beauty.
Lies 2 km from Shimla, Jakhoo hill positions itself at an elevation of 8000 ft. This is the highest peak of Shimla from where you can enjoy the charm of its landscape. It houses an old Hanuman temple, which is frequented by devotees from different parts of the world.
Shimla State Museum
This museum was started in 1974 and serves as a repository of different relics related to art, cultural anthropology and archaeology. The museum secures a collection of 9000 objects that highlight the cultural richness of Himachal Pradesh. It has various galleries, showcasing artwork of various patterns and periods.
Cascading from a height of 67 m, this Chadwick Falls stream down from the summer hill. Settled amidst a thicket of deodar trees, it looks spectacular. Travellers can take delight in the bracing environs of the place or simply can go on trekking in the adjoining forested areas.
Referred to as the 'Rashtrapati Niwas, it lies atop the Observatory hills. The place also served as the abode of erstwhile British Viceroy, Lord Dufferin. This astounding Scottish structure after independence was used as the summer retreat of the President of India.
Adventure in Shimla
Tourists can indulge in a number of various adventure sports like skiing, trekking, para-gliding, golfing, heli-skiing, river rafting and fishing.
Best Time to Visit
October to November and from March to May.
Shopping in Shimla is a delight for shopping lovers as it offers handicrafts, shawls, metal objects, wood articles, pullover, caps and Tibetan carpets. Jams, pickles and squashes are another good buying options.
Being a famous hill station, Shimla has a plenty of accommodation options. Hotels in Shimla include 5-star hotels, lodges, resorts, guest houses and budget hotels.
How to Reach
Jubbarhatti (23 km) serves as the nearest airport from Shimla.
Shimla boasts of a narrow gauge railway line, connecting to all the important parts of India via Kalka.
Shimla is well-linked to all the main cities of India by road.