"The Majestic Hill-Station"
The capital of Himachal Pradesh is Shimla. Shimla lies between the longitude 77degree-0" and 78degree-19" east and latitude 30degree-45" and 31degree-44" north. It is surrounded by Mandi and Kullu in the north, Kinnaur in the east, the state of Uttaranchal in the south, Sirmaur, district in the west. Shimla district derives its name from Shimla town which was once a small village. Shimla came into existence from 1st Sept,1972 on the reorganisation of the districts of the state. History of Shimla starts from the period of Anglo-Gurkha war which was held in the beginning of 19th Century.Gurkhas built many forts around Shimla. Later Britishers took over the charge of Shimla. There is a great debate over the origin of the name Shimla. The name Shimla was derived from 'Shyamalaya' meaning blue house said to be the name of house built of blue slate by a faqir on Jakhu. According to one story Shimla takes it name from 'Shamla' meaning a blue female another name for Goddess Kali. There was a temple of Goddess Kali on the Jhaku Hills. The image of the Goddess was shifted to new place by the Britishers, now named as Kali Bari Temple.
In 1864 Shimla was declared as the summer capital of India. After Independence, Shimla became the capital of Punjab and was later named the capital of Himachal Pradesh. In 1903 a rail line was constructed between Kalka and Shimla.
Shimla is one of the favourite tourist place and is occupied with full of boundless beauty like hill resorts,forests, trees and mountains. There are many places to visit in and around shimla like Indian Institute of Advance Studies, Glen, Ridge, Mall Road, Lakar bazaar, Jakhu Temple Fagu, Kufri, chail etc. The Ridge road is also the venue for Summer festival, government functions and local celebrations during the New Year’s Eve. There are at least three statues on the ridge; that of Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, and founder of Himachal Pradesh Dr. Y.S. Parmar, the first chief minister of Himachal Pradesh.
How To Go Shimla
By Air Jubbarhatti Airport which is around 20 km away from the main city and it is not functional throughout the year so it is advisable to take Chandigarh or delhi flight and from there one can book the taxis/cabs to reach Shimla. From Delhi by cab it will take around 7-8 hours and from Chandigarh it will take around 3-4 hours to reach.
By Rail Kalka Railway Station is the nearest railway station to Shimla which is around 90 km. Chandigarh Railway station is nearby around 113 Km . Although Shimla has its own Railway station but only some trains arrive here and it takes around 5-6 hours to reach Shimla from Kalka by train.
By Road Many buses, Volvos run from major cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Punjab, etc…Many Taxis/cabs are available.
Spring (March-June) This is the best time to visit as there is a little cool sun in the sky and lots of people come in these season to enjoy the vacations. Autumn (August-November) The days are pleasant and nights are cool,this is one of the favourite season for some people to visit Shimla. Winter (November-January) Best season for the snow lovers, snowfall starts somewhere around December and covers the entire city in snow, Shimla at this time looks really beautiful.
There are number of Dhabas, Bakeries,Local eating points,Restaurants are available with different cuisines like North Indian, South Indian, Chinese, Continental etc.
Restaurants Cafe Sol, Cecil Restaurant, Ashiana & Goofa, Wake & Bake Café, Indian Coffee House,
The Ridge has three historical statues of the great Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Y.S. Parmar, the first chief minister of Himachal Pradesh. A good time to visit the place is during the summer festival. The local authorities organize the summer festival every year. During this period the Ridge becomes the cultural activities hub of Shimla. Vehicles are not allowed on this street. The Ridge is a open street and located on the side of Mall Road. It has everything shops, snow capped mountains, sightseeing covered with pine, firs, Himalayan Oak and Rhododendron trees. The Ridge also supplies water to the entire town, the water tank was built in the 1880s.
Mall Road is the heart of the town, it is in the main street and is filled with countless restaurants, clubs, banks, shops, post offices and tourist offices. This place is the busiest and commercial areas of Shimla. For shopping this is the best place there are lots of showrooms, stores and shops are available from where you can buy handicraft products such as pottery items, jewellery, and woollen clothes. The place is also famous for its colourful and lively Himachali caps all around the globe. These caps are affordable and comfortable and come in a lot of colours and designs with embroidery on them.
Sightseeing Near the Mall Road
1. Scandal Point: Scandal Point is a name wrapped in mystery.It is located at the end of Shimla where Mall Road joins the Ridge Road.The name comes from the scandal caused by the elopement of the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh with the daughter of the British Viceroy.
2. Gaiety Theatre: Gaiety theatre has a rich history. It was the centre for entertainment and socialization. Gaiety Theatre is one such buildings that brings back the old and pride memories of those past eras. The theatre was built in the gothic style and was designed by the renowned English architect Henry Irwin. It was first opened in 1887.
3. Kali Bari Temple: The famous Kalibari Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali, who is also known as Shyamala. This majestic temple was built in the year 1845, the name Shimla derives from the Gooddess name Shyamala.
4. Town Hall: The Town hall was built in 1910 by the Municipal Board of the British. The building was established to administer the water-supply, sanitation, roads and taxation needs of the city.
Best time to visit Mall Road
Anytime between March and June is the best season to visit this place, temperature at this time lies inbetween around 15°C and 30°C.
Kufri is one of the highest point around shimla .Kufri is around 10 km away from Shimla , there is not much to see in Kufri but it is still the attraction point due to heavy snowfall during (Jan – March) and rest of the month if some wants to spend quality time in calm Himalayas then also can visit this place. Around Kufri one can also visit The Himalayan Nature Park and Indira Tourist Park. In January month, National Snow Statue Competition is conducted here.
Toy Train to Kalka
It is a narrow estimate train route and it connects Kalka to Shimla. This route passes through more than a hundred tunnels and one can enjoy the picturesque scenery on the route. This route has also been declared as a World Heritage Site.
The biggest Hanuman temple is situated on Jakhoo Hill and has a large Hanuman statue which is around 108 feet in height .The whole area is surrounded by pine trees. According to the myth, Lord Hanuman stopped at this spot to take some rest before resuming his search for the Sanjeevani Booti to revive Lord Lakshman.
Theog is around 32 kms away from the main town of Shimla. October and November is considered best months to visit this place as weather is in its best form at that time, you can also visit all around the year. This are is less crowded area one can come to enjoy the weekend from their busy city life schedule. Theog is also considered one of the most favourite camping site options for campers. In Theog Tattapani is known for water sports like rafting.
Institute of Advanced Studies
Indian Institute of Advanced Study is earlier known as “The building of Viceregal Lodge”, it was built under the viceroyalty of Lord Dufferin between 1884 and 1888. The building is located to the western end of Shimla ridge that is 3.5 kilometers from the main square. The tours inside are organized by the Institute after every half an hour. The first tour begins at 10.15am and the last tour at 4.50pm. All tours are done in both the languages – Hindi and English. The building has its own cafeteria named "The Fire station Cafe" where tea, coffee and light snacks area available for the visitors.
Mashobra is at a height of approx.7700 feet.People who are looking for a calm weekend can visit this place. If you are visiting this place in the May month then you can attend the Mahasu Fair and Festival and if not then you can enjoy trekking to the Reserve Forest Sanctuary and camp.
If you are planning for a short holiday you can visit Chail, it is a perfect place honeymoon couples and family. It merely take 2 hours drive from shimla to this place and there is almost 8 places you can visit in chail.
Best Season to Visit
Summer (March end to mid June) The weather during this season stays pleasant, one can enjoy sightseeing and relax.
Autumn (September to November) In this season less tourist are available, weather is pleasant at this time, one can find a good deal in hotels booking in this time frame.
Winter (December to mid March) Those who want to enjoy the snowfall can visit this place in this season.
Attractions in Chail
- School Play Ground: This is a small town once served as the summer capital of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh an passionate cricket lover. This cricket ground is at an altitude of 7500 ft and is the highest cricket ground in the world. The ground is maintained by Army officials as it is a part of the cantonment region.
- Sadhupul Lake: Sandhupul Lake is the perfect place to hangout. One can enjoy the snacks like Maggi and bread-Omelette by dipping the foot in cold lake water and the enjoy the beauty of nature.
- Chail Palace Hotel: This palace was built in 1891 and was owned by the Maharaja of Patiala. Later on it got converted into a heritage hotel. Classic furniture, and historic interior are evocative of the royal lifestyle in the previous time. One can enjoy café Palace it is an open air dining area where you can have food and enjoy the royal beauty of the place.
- Kali Ka Tibba: This is a Kali Temple which is situated at the top of the hill, surrounded with few trees, you can enjoy horse riding and angling here.
- Siddh Baba Ka Mandir: Another famous religious place in Chail is Sidh Baba ka Mandir. Myth is there that he appeared in the dream of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh and said that this is the place where he meditated and thereafter Maharaja constructed this temple.
- Gurudwara Sahib: This Gurudwara looks like a church. It was built in 1907 and one of the religious to place to visit in Chail.
- Chail Wildlife Sanctuary: It is situated at a height of 7152 ft.,this is the great place for the wild life lovers. You can spot variety of animals here like Black Bear, Langur, Wild Boar, European Red Deer, Flying Squirrel, and Goral.
- Himalayan Nature Park, Kufri: This is also the one of the popular wildlife place. You can spot vaeity of animals here as well like Deer, Black Bear, Tibetan Wolf, Leopard Cat, and Cheer Pheasant , among others. One can shop for wooden handicrafts, and handloom stuff from the nearby places.
Skiing in Kufri
The best time to visit Kufri for skiing is from December to February. The snow is thick and perfect for adventure. The slopes are categorized as beginners and advanced. Equipment, guide and other benefits are provided.
The Christ Church was built at the request of the British and Anglo-Indians who are residence of Shimla, and wanted a holy place where they could pray to their Lord, Jesus Christ. It took 11 years to built this church, this 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.
As the name itself say about the wooden purchase, one can buy some fine wooden handicrafts from here. Dry fruits and natural herbs are also available here.
Himalayan Bird Park
In this park you will see the variety of colourful and a good collection of himachal state birds.
Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary
This forest sanctuary has a animals such as jackals, barking deer, monkeys and leopards are commonly sighted here. Wild life lovers can visit this place. This is a ideal place for trekking and picnic.
This is a most popular and adventurous activity in shimla. This horse riding is used to reach someplaces in shimla like Kurfi.
Wild Flower Hall Hotel
It was built as a residence of Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, this building is said to have been a favorite draw back of Lord Ripon. However, the building got burnt in 1993 and a new Wildflower building was built as a hotel by joint venture between HP government and Oberoi group of Hotels.This hotel is located in Chharabra area of Shimla, which is around 13 km from the main town.
Himachal State Museum
The Museum is located on the Mall Road and has a unique collections of ancient coins, paintings and other handicraft items. The museum also has a doll gallery.
It is about 10 kms from Shimla and is situated in Chharabara. It was built in 1850 and was part of the Viceroy of India property. The architectural pattern and the natural beauty of the place have made The Retreat a tourist attraction in Shimla.
Green Valley is the ultimate place. It is a beautiful mountain range, falling on the way to Kufri from Shimla. One of the most famous destinations and photography points in Shimla.The valley is covered with dense deodar and pine forests and surrounded with the large mountains. It is located about 26 km away from Shimla railway station and town. Best time to visit here is after monsoon and in the summer.
Naldehra hill station is the 18 - hole golf course that is measured to be the most demanding golf course. This is because it is situated at an altitude of 2044 meters! The golf course is one of the most gorgeous stretches of land in Naldehra. One can take a pony ride along the golf course.
This place is located at a distance of approx.50 Km from Shimla. Tattapani is famous for hot spring water coming out by the side of Sutlej River. Tourist enjoy this hot water bath which is reach in Sulphur and belived to have high medical value and good for skin.