The British empire may have ceased to exist, but its echoes linger on in Shimla (2130m). As the
'summer capital' of the British in India.
This was the country's focus for the better part of every year and now, it is the state capital of Himachal Pradesh. Today, its well developed facilities, easy accessibility and numerous attractions make it one of India's most popular hill resorts. Placed in the tower ranges of the Himalaya mountains, it is surrounded by pine deodar, oak and rhododendron forests. Towards the north lie the snow covered high-ranges, while the valleys broad whispering streams and swaying fields. Within the town are a host of splendid colonial edifices,quaint cottages and charming walks. Shimla holds a variety of shopping,sport
High Season :
is mid - April to mid - July, mid - September to late
October and mid - December to mid - January. The best time to visit is mid -
September to late November.
Shimla was once part of the Nepalese kingdom and called Shyamala. In 1864 Shimla became the summer capital of India. Following independence, Shimla was initially the capital of the Punjab, then became the capital of Himachal Pradesh in 1966. Today, Shimla is a pleasant, sprawling town, set among cool pine-clad hills with plenty of crumbling colonial charm. High season is mid-April to mid-July, mid-September to late October and mid-December to mid-January. The best time to visit is mid-September to late November.
The Himachal Emporium on the (eastern) Mall has a reasonable collection of local handicrafts. The Tibetan Refugee handloom shop, at the other end of the Mall, is the showroom for a local development project and sells carpets, clothes and other Tibetan crafts.
Probably the most popular, and best, entertainment is to stroll along The Mall and The Ridge. This is especially pleasant in the evenings when the views and lights are wonderful. The lovely old Gaiety Theatre often has some shows or racitals, particularly in summer.
Private airlines operates flights from Shimla to Delhi. The HPTDC offers daily buses in season to Manali, Dharamsala, Delhi and Lahaul & Spiti. The train journey to Shimla involves a change from broad gauge to narrow gauge at Kalka, a little north of Chandigarh.
A delicious range of Indian ( and Western food too) is served at this restaurant, located near the Scandal Point. A non vegetarian dish can cost Rs 100-125 (approx)
Located at the (Eastern) Mall. Both Indian and Western food are served. Services good. Prince same as at the Alfa.
Also on the (Eastern) Mall. Favourite lovers of South Indian dishes.
At Scandal Point. Famous for Indian and Thai foods moderately prices.
Another joint on the (Eastern) Mall. A very good cheap options. Famous for Channa, Chhola, Bhature and other spicy dishes.
Western & Chinese Food
Near the Mall. Famed for its noodles, dumplings and main dishes at very cheap prices RS 50 (approx)
Near Scandal Point. Noted for its fast food. A bit costlier.
A self service restaurant, near the (Eastern) Mall. Favourite with pizzas and hamburgers lovers. Also serve Indian and Chinese dishes.
(a)) Ashiana : Best of three HPTDC's three places to eat but costly.
(b) Goofa : Good breakfast at reasonable prices. (c)
For Indian food and cheap
Oberoi Clarke's Hotel
For those who want to eat in luxurious surroundings. RS 300 (approx) plus 8% tax is what you pay for a set menu.
Another place to eat near the (Eastern) Mall. Pay just RS 50 (approx) for a good pizza. Milkshakes, breakfast and late evening musical shows are other attractions.
: The Mall is the main shopping centre of Shimla. It also has many restaurants, clubs, banks, bars, Post Offices and tourist offices. The Gaiety Theatre is also situated there. People walk up and down the Mall slowly, stopping to gossip, as it is the main meeting place for everyone. The Ridge and Scandal point are the two main meeting points at the Mall.
Situated on the Ridge is Christ Church, which is the second oldest church in Northern India. It has a very majestic appearance and inside there are stained glass windows which represent faith, hope, charity, fortitude, patience and humility. Christ Church is a place all visitors should spend some time in.
2 kms. from Shimla, at a height of 8000 ft, Jakhu Hill is the highest peak and offers a beautiful view of the town and of the snow-covered Himalayas. At the top of the Hill, is an old temple of Hanuman, which is also the home of countless playful monkeys waiting to be fed by all visitors.
Shimla State Museum
The Museum, which was opened in 1974, has tried to project hill-out and the cultural wealth of the state. There is a collection of miniature Pahari paintings, sculptures, bronzes wood-carvings and also costumes, textiles and jewellery of the region.
Indian Institute of Advanced Studies
This institute is housed in the Viceregal Lodge, which was built in 1884-88 during the British times. It has spacious gardens and is ringed by beautiful pine trees. All is calm and serene just the right atmosphere for a student of literature or politics.
Situated at a distance of 5 kms. from the Ridge is the lovely township of Summer Hill at a height of 6,500 ft. on the Shimla-Kalka railway line. Mahatma Gandhi lived in these quiet surroundings during his visits to Shimla. Himachal Pradesh University is situated here.
Developed as the playground of Shimla, Annandale is 2-4 kms. from the Ridge at a height of 6,117 ft. It is a favourite spot for cricket, picnics and the princely game of polo.
11kms. from the Shimla bus-stand. Tara Devi has a temple dedicated to the goddess of stars on top of the hill. There is a military Dairy Town here as well as the headquarters of Bharat Scouts and Guides. At a height of 6,070 ft. Tara Devi is an ideal place for a person wanting peace and some rest.
A popular Hanuman temple is located here. We get an excellent view of Shimla from the temple. It can be reached by car or on foot.
13 kms. away from Shimla, Mashobra has several excellent picnic spots. Mashobra is the site of the annual Sipi fair in June. The nearest rest house is at Craignano which is 3 kms. from Mashobra, and is a beautiful holiday resort.
16 kms. from Shimla at a height of 8,600 ft. Kufri is the winter sports capital. During winter, visitors have the facility for skiing. The skiing season is at its best during January and February. Equipment for sking is available from HPTDC winter sports club at Kufri. Apart from skiing, Kufri is a lovely picnic spot with a beautiful view of the hills around and the snowy peaks. There is also a zoo that delights children.
22 kms. from Shimla and surrounded by beautiful deodar trees. Naldehra has a well kept nine-hole golf-course. It is a lovely, popular picnic spot. The annual Sipi fair in June is held in Naldehra.
The temperature range is not very high and the maximum temperature rarely crosses 25°C during summers. Winters are cold due to the chilly winds from the upper Himalayas and Shimla experiences quite a heavy snowfall. Around Christmas or last week of December Shimla gets snow. The best season to visit Shimla is between September and November.
How to Reach
: Shimla's own Jubbarhatti airport is connected by small aircrafts with Delhi, Chandigarh and Kullu. Chandigarh is major airport on the plains near Shimla.
: Kalka near Chandigarh is the main broad gauge station near Shimla. Shimla has its own narrow gage railway link with Kalka. The slow and pleasant mountain trains from Shimla are timed with main trains at Kalka that further link to main cities of India.
: A good highway connects Shimla with New Delhi and Chandigarh on one side and higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh like Manali on the other side. There are several deluxe buses in summer months connecting Shimla with New Delhi and Manali.