WEEKEND GATEWAYS FROM DELHI: Shimla (Himachal Pradesh)
Overview: Shimla Tourism
“The Hill-Station with Rich Colonial History”
Probably the most popular hill station in northern India, Shimla is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. Famous for its Mall road, the Ridge, toy train, and colonial architecture, Shimla is popular among honeymooners and families alike.
Situated at the height of 2200 m, Shimla is one of the most eminent tourist destinations in the country. Set amidst beautiful hills and mystical woods, Shimla is one of the most aesthetically planned cities in India. The erstwhile summer capital of British India, this town’s captivating natural beauty, and the atmosphere are bound to leave any tourist overwhelmed. The well-knit roads, impeccable cleanliness, and efficient administration make for a perfect combination for any tourist destination in the world. This town has colonial-style buildings alongside the historic temples, and the amalgamation of the worlds leaves everyone visiting this region spellbound. Within this city, one must visit the Mall Road, The Ridge, Institute of Advanced Studies, and Jakhu Temple. Shimla is also used as a base to cover other nearby places like Chail, Kufri, Naldehra, Mashobra, Tattapani, and Narkanda. The toy train to Shimla from Kalka passes through beautiful hills and valleys and is one of the most beautiful train routes in the world.
Places to Visit:
Located in the heart of the ‘British Summer Capital’ – Shimla, The Ridge is a wide-open street located on the side of mall road. The Ridge has everything, from shops selling some exclusive artifacts to the spectacular view of the snow-capped mountain ranges set against an orangish hued sky. It is famous for a lot of things, but best known for shopping. This place is a delight for all kinds of tourists, and the old British establishments beckon visitors from all over to this center of the beautiful hill station.
The Ridge is not just a marketplace but also the social hub of the city. This wide-open space is thronged by locals and nature enthusiasts as well as travelers bored of the sightseeing. The road is lined with cafes, bars, boutiques, shops, and restaurants attracting the huge crowd that visit the famous Mall Road. It runs from east to west on the side of Mall Road and connects it to the famous Scandal Point on the west end. On the east end, it is connected to the Lakkar Bazaar, which is the most famous wooden crafts market in Shimla.
The Ridge is the most recognized face of Shimla. It is often the most photographed part of the hill station covered with pine, firs, Himalayan Oak, and Rhododendron trees. Shimla’s rich past is evident from the Gothic buildings standing in this part of the town. Visiting The Ridge will surely leave you impressed if you are interested in history and architecture. If not, you can always take home your photos set in the spectacular beauty of Shimla, juxtaposed against the snow-dusted mountains, leaving your friends and family in awe!
While in Shimla, visit its colder, higher, and less crowded cousin, Kufri just 13 km away from the main town. The views and sceneries here only get better, and the landscapes more flattering, a bit untouched with the tourist rush.
However, Kufri is becoming increasingly popular with visitors, especially due to the zoo here. One must visit Kufri’s zoological park which is famous for having rare species of Antelopes, Felines, Bears, and birds including the Himalayan Monal, which is the state bird of Himachal Pradesh.
Mashru Peak is the highest point here and one can reach by trekking up to that point. Otherwise, Kufri itself is very cold and is used as a ski ground during winters. There are accommodation options also available here. Wildflower Hall is also located nearby.
Toy Train to Kalka:
An enjoyable train ride through much of Kalka and Shimla and a little of what the British left behind, this is a must-try experience, while here. This route is one of the most picturesque train routes in the world and it passes through more than a hundred tunnels It is a narrow-gauge train route and it connects Kalka to Shimla.
This route has also been declared as a World Heritage Site.
Set amidst the lush green background of the Shivalik hill ranges on Jakhoo Hill, the highest point in Shimla, the Jakhoo temple is an ancient site shrouded in legends and offers a mystical vibe to visitors. The Jakhoo Temple is dedicated to the Hindu monkey god – Hanuman. The site is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in Shimla, attracting tourists and visitors of all ages and religions apart from Hindu pilgrims and devotees. This temple has the world’s largest Hanuman statue, which is visible from most parts of Shimla. Visit the temple, to view this statue upright and strain your neck a bit admiring its magnificence.
Overlooking the sister town of Sanjauli, the amazing setting of the temple in the thick of beautiful Deodar trees is complemented with an abundant monkey population in and around the Jakhoo Hill area which serves as a fitting tribute to the monkey god. It is located approximately 2 kilometers from the Ridge in Shimla’s center, a journey of about 30 minutes. Shimla’s most famous temple houses one of the tallest statues in the country, a 33 meter (108 feet) tall Hanuman statue that dwarfs the trees below it. The construction is a marvelous piece of engineering as it is situated at the height of over 8000 feet, making it the tallest statue in the world at such a height above sea level, surpassing Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio De Janeiro which is 30 meters tall (excluding its pedestal of 8 meters), at the height of 700 meters (2,300 feet).
According to the legend that surrounds this temple, Lord Hanuman stopped at this spot to take some rest before resuming his search for the SanjeevaniBooti to revive Lord Lakshman. Your visit to Shimla would be incomplete without visiting the scenic Jakhoo Temple!
The Christ Church in Shimla is the second oldest church in entire northern India and is a site of pure devotion as well as architectural beauty. The church, which took 11 long years to complete, today stands as a reminder of the British colonization in India. There is something unique and exciting about the Christ Church that makes it the favorite destination of people of all age groups. At night, the church literally glows when it is lighted up, while in winters, it dons the look of a magnificent castle.
The Christ Church was originally built at the request of the British and Anglo-Indians residing in Shimla, who wanted a holy place where they could pray to their Lord, Jesus Christ. The result of their request is this marvelous and magnificent church, the foundation stone of which was laid down in the year 1844. The yellow building and its silhouette is visible from far across in the town of Shimla and is always full of architecture lovers, and devotees who flock to this place is large numbers all year round to enjoy serenity and peace in the lap of nature. The rich historical significance of this place has rendered this church to be a significant legacy of colonial India.
The church is inspired by the neo-gothic style of architecture and is complete with a front porch, church bells, and five stained glass windows that represent different virtues of Christianity. The Christ Church is now the only place of religion that Christians have and is open for service every day. Even with the hullaballoo outside at the Ridge, the church is peaceful and indeed removed from reality. This and the fact that this majestic church has appeared in a number of famous Bollywood movies, such as Black and 3 Idiots, makes it a popular tourist attraction that people love to visit.
Mashobra is a lush green expanse in Himachal Pradesh, tucked away at a height of about 7700 feet, ensuring minimal human obstruction in the course of nature to provide you with the purest and liberating experience of your lifetime.
Mashobra’s proximity to Shimla makes it a perfect alternative for people who are looking for a peaceful little hill-station. With just about enough resorts and enchanting natural bounty, come to Mashobra if you have for a lazy weekend outing or a week-long vacation.
The Green Valley is a beautiful and breathtaking mountain range that falls on the way to Kufri from Shimla. This spectacular valley is God’s gift to the wonderful and charming city of Shimla and is every tourists’ answered prayer to being able to find a place bereft of pollution, constant traffic jams, and incessant noise and din. The greenery and beauty of this place are so mesmerizing that it makes the tourist forget everything else and simply bask in the sheer joy of being in nature’s lap. The Green Valley is surrounded by verdant hills on all sides that are covered with thick forests of pine and deodar. It is not uncommon to sight some Yaks wandering and grazing around in the valley. You will also come across some local shacks and markets on the way.
The Green Valley is a region that oozes beauty, magnificence, and splendor; and hence, tourists love to stop by at this place to enjoy the lush green environs. The scenic beauty and elegance of this valley make it one of the most beautiful and must-visit tourist spots all across the country. This is precisely why tourists especially come here to spend some time standing by the road and enjoying the marvelous views that the place offers. The place is also an ideal spot to capture some fantastic pictures. The tall mountains with greenery all around and the distant snow-capped Himalayan ranges make for a perfect background to click amazing snapshots.
Even though there is no lodging in the valley where visitors can stay, people do manage to take out some time to soak in the environment and click a picture with their family and friends. The place is undeveloped for tourism, nevertheless, it continues to be a crowd puller and captures the attention of tourists with its natural and pristine beauty. The Green Valley is imbued with natural beauty, as is evident in the dense deodar and pine trees that line the majestic hills. Rare animals are also sighted here at times. This makes it one of the most famous tourist destinations and the most loved photography point in Shimla. The Green Valley, thanks to its beauty and grace, has also featured in numerous Bollywood movies.
- Mall Road
- Skiing in Kufri
- Himalayan Bird Park
- Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary
- Gurudwara Sahib.
Events in Shimla:
Skiing in Kufri, Winter Sports Festival January – February
A picturesque hill station, Kufri has one of the oldest ski slopes in Himachal Pradesh. You can indulge in fun activities such as trekking, tobogganing, etc. Try and visit
Shimla Summer Festival 1st – 5th June
One of the most awaited festivals, Shimla Summer Festival celebrates the coming of Summer, in the form of cultural attractions, folk performances, local handicraft exhibitions, as well as with quirky activities like fashion shows and dog shows.
Annual Sipi Fair, Mashobra 1st May
Sipi Fair, celebrated in a suburb Sipur, 2 km from Mashobra, is named after the Seep deity. The main attraction is the visit of the deity from the nearby hamlet Deothi. During the festival, the place turns into a mystical setting and nobody spends the night here. The stalls are decorated and the venue hauls itself into an ad-hoc market to lure the visitors.
Best time to visit Shimla:
- March to June is a good time to Visit Shimla in Spring-Summer
- July to September is a good time to Visit Shimla in Monsoon
- November to January is a good time to Visit Shimla in Winter.
How to Reach:
How to Reach Shimla by Flight
The Shimla Airport, also known as Jubbarhatti airport is around 20km away from the main city and is one of the very few airports at any of the hill stations. However, since this airport is not functional throughout the year, hence it’s advisable to choose Chandigarh or Delhi as connecting airports. People coming by air till Chandigarh generally prefer to book cabs to reach Shimla, which will take 3-4 hours. There are regular buses too. From Delhi airport, it roughly takes around 7-8 hours to reach Shimla.
Nearest Airport: Chandigarh Airport (IXC) – 60 km from Shimla
How to Reach Shimla by Road
Shimla is a hot tourist destination and buses run for Shimla from as far as Delhi, Jaipur, Punjab, Haryana, and parts of Uttar Pradesh. Taxis are widely available to travel to Shimla from Chandigarh and Delhi or from any other local places. Shimla is also very well connected with HRTC buses from almost all parts of Himachal Pradesh.
How to Reach Shimla by Train
The nearest broad gauge railway station from Shimla is the Kalka Railway Station which is only 90 km away. Chandigarh Railway station is also just 113 km away from Shimla. From both of these railway stations, Shimla is well connected with local buses and cabs. Shimla has its own railway station, but only narrow gauge trains from Kalka arrive here. It takes around 5-6 hours from Kalka to reach here by train, but it’s a very beautiful journey with a lot of tunnels and scenery which makes up for the extra time taken on the route.