The city spreads over a 12km ridge with just two main roads – The Mall which runs from the far west to the lower eastern side, and the Cart Road which circles the southern part of Shimla. This is where the railway station and the bus and taxi stands are located. The crescent of the wooded Ridge stretches from the lofty 2476 m high Jakhu Hill and Chhota Shimla in the east, to the Observatory (2,148 m) and Prospect hills (2,176 m) in the west. The best time to travel to Shimla is in autumn, when the days are warm and bright and the nights crisp and cool. Summer sees a burgeoning tourist population and this is precisely why you should avoid going there at this time.
Shimla is a tourist paradise through out the year. The town itself is worth a visit in the off-season when it is less crowded and can be explored to one’s heart's content. In the season, most of the over 1000 hotels in Shimla are filled to capacity and getting a room in a hotel in shimla can be ardous task.The interior part of the Shimla district gives one a fine view of how rural or rather real hillside folks live like. The district offers something to any kind of a visitor. The young, the old, the writers, adventurers, nature lovers and peace lovers can all find their bit of heaven here.
How to Reach Shimla
Shimla is well connected by road to all the major towns of state and other major cities of country. Kalka (80 Kms), Chandigarh (119 Kms), Ambala (166 Kms), Delhi (370 kms), Agra (568 Kms), Amritsar (342 Kms) are the major cities tourists can board buses from. Deluxe as well as ordinary buses are also available from all these places. One can hire taxis too.
Kalka, at the distance of 96 km, forms the nearest railhead from Shimla. The duration of journey from Kalka to Shimla, in the toy train, is around six hrs. Frequency of trains between these two cities is regular. You can take Kalka Mail from Delhi that takes you to Kalka early in the morning and from there, one can catch connecting train, on the splendid narrow-gauge track, to Shimla.
Jubbarhatti Airport of Shimla, located at the distance of 23 kms from downtown, is the one that connects it with the rest of the country by air. Shimla has regular flights to all the key cities in and around Himachal, like Chandigarh, Kullu, and Delhi. In fact, it has daily flights to Delhi and Kullu. Jagson Airlines also operates a bi-weekly flight on Delhi-Shimla-Kullu-Gaggal route.
Places to Visit in Shimla
The Mall is the main shopping street of Shimla hill station. 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. The mall is dotted with many eating places .The most famous among them is Trishul bakery which is known for its pastries.
Situated on the Ridge, Christ Church is the second oldest church in Northern India. Built with a new gothic architecture, it was consecrated in 1857. 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 km 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 Lord 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 protect 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 Study
This institute is housed in the Viceregal Lodge, built in 1884-88.
Situated at a distance of 5 km 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 km from the Ridge at a height of 6,117 ft. It is a favourite spot for cricket, picnics and polo.
11 km from the Shimla bus-stand. Tara Devi hill 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.
A Lord Hanuman temple is located here.
Junga is a Tehsi 26 km from Shimla ; its original name (with diacritics) is Junga and is a former royal retreat of the princely state of Junga (also known as Keonthal Estate).
16 kms. Well known for its ski slopes. Commands good views. It also has a Potato Research Station. Shimla has an added attraction of Mini zoo amidst dense forest to the tourists where a rare breed of wild animals and pheasants species commonly found in Himalayan forest region have been kept in natural habitat. Spread over an area of twenty hectares of land with rich flora and fauna about 140 wild animals including pheasants of different verities 'Monal' the State bird of Himachal Pradesh and one of the endangered species of Himalayan region has been the other attractions of this zoo also been placed safely in this mini zoo. The other attraction of this zoo are Tibetan wolf, Brown Bear and Barking Deer. There are other popular wild animals species in the Mini zoo such as leopard, Ghoral, Samber, Himalayan Thar, Yak, black bear and number of pheasants varieties. Himalayan Nature Park has been set up at Kufri in 1992 which is spread in 90 hectare area and mini zoo has been set up in this Park.
55 kms. A verdant place of considerable scenic charm and beauty affording extensive views of high mountains stretching range after range and valleys swooping down the Haryana and Punjab plains.
Chharabra13 km from Shimla on route to Kufri.
Naldehra22 km from Shimla, with a nine-hole Naldehra Golf Club. The annual Sipi fair in June is held in Naldehra.
43 kms. (via Kufri) and 62 km. (via Kandaghat). Chail, at a height of 2,250 metres, combines the charm and beauty of a remote and peaceful mountain resort with the splendor and elegance of a princely reserve. Chail was the summer capital of the Maharaja of Patiala before Independence. The verdant forests around Chail are alive with many species of birds and deer.
Arki(46 km) is the site of an 18th century fort built when Arki was the capital of the erstwhile hill state of Baghal
TatapaniLocation of sulphur springs which are found near the Tatapani mandir(holy temple)
SanjauliThe main suburb of Shimla.
Kasauli61 kms. from Chandigarh, 77 kms. from Shimla, Kasauli (1,927 metres) is charming and quiet; an ideal place for those in search of peace and relaxation.
Solan48 kms. A popular place, named after Shoolini Devi is a Mushroom City of India. The Dr. Y S. Parmar University of Horticulture & Forestry, one of its kind in Asia, is situated here.
Best Time to Visit Shimla
Best time to visit Shimla is April to July, September to November & December to January.
Adventure Sports In Shimla
The skiing season generally commences in the first fortnight of January and continue till mid- March depending upon snow conditons. HPTDS organises ski courses of 7 days and 15 days duration at Narkanda, every year. The facilities for the participants include boarding, lodging and equipment.
Trout finish is available at Rohru, 110-km from Shimla, at Seem, 9-km from Rohru in river Pabar, and in river Baspa in the Sangla Valley. Mahseer fishing is available at Tattapani, 46-km from Shimla.
Nine-hole Golf course at Naldehra, 23-km from Shimla, is one of the oldest Golf courses in India.
The Shimla- Kinnaur region offers some exciting trekking opportunities. Narknda to Banjar (Kullu) over the Jalori and Bashleo Passes and Sarahan to Sangla are some of the popular treks, both for the domestic and foreign tourists.
Shimla to Kullu via Jalori Pass (3,300m).
Shimla to Kulu via Bashleo Pass (3,250m). Sarahan to Sangla.
Hotels in Shimla
Below are some budget hotels in Shimla:
Amar Palace Hotel
Camp Potters Hill
Hotel Crystal Palace
Hotel De Park
Hotel Himland East
Hotel Himland West
Hill Top Hotel
Hotel Moon International
Hotel Shiwalik Regency
Sukh Sagar Resort
3 Star Hotels in Shimla
Hotel Ashiana Regency
East Bourne Resort
Fair Mount Shimla
Himani's Premium Shimla
Hotel Willow Banks
The Destination Resort
Hotel Leela Regency
5 Star Hotels in Shimla
Hotel Wildflower Hall
Toshali Royal View