Shimla is a beautiful snow-covered location preferred by those who are tired of the heat in the Indian subcontinent. The hilly tourist town rests on the south-western ranges of the Himalayas. Built on top of seven hills strung out along a 12-kilometer ridge, the place provides a captivating panoramic view of the mountains and the valley. The predominantly cool weather and scenic sights make Shimla a busy hill station. A series of relics from the time of British Colonial rule, which established the place as their summer capital, makes the place even more interesting to the history lovers.
You can enjoy a great vacation at this place if you love the cool climate. The foremost hill station is considered the best honeymoon location in India. Resting on the valley of the Himalaya mountains, there are many tourist places in Shimla that will capture your imagination. The geography of the place and the peculiar construction of the buildings on the sides of the lofty hills is amazing. Thus a tour to the biggest city in the state of Himachal Pradesh is surely an unforgettable experience.
Before the British established their city, there were small villages in the area secluded from the public. Shimla later became the summer capital of British India because of its comfortable weather. The Tudorbethan and neo-Gothic architecture from the colonial era can be seen in many old buildings in the region. The place hosted many historical meetings like the Simla Accord in 1914, Simla Conference of 1945, and the Simla Agreement of 1972. The biggest mountain biking race in South Asia, the MTB Himalaya, is hosted every year in the area. It also has the largest natural ice skating rink in South Asia. All these contribute to the development of tourism in Shimla.
The city center has many attractions like Viceregal Lodge, Mall Road, Shimla Ridge, Jakhoo Temple, Christ center, and so on. The snowclad mountains, beautiful lake, and exceptional greenery of Shimla make it a favorite tourist destination. There are very few places in India that are comparable to the beautiful land.
Top attractions in Shimla
Located at the center of the town, the Ridge is an open space that extends from east to west along the Mall. The spectacular view of the lofty mountains from the spot makes it a great tourism destination. The snow-covered Scandal Point in the west has a European look to it. Shimla Ridge is also the center for cultural activities, summer festivals, government functions, and so on. Under the Ridge, large water tanks with a capacity of 10,00,000 gallons were built in the 1880s which supplies water to the town. Prominent landmarks like Christ church and Library building are located close to this tourist destination.
Narkanda is a small town in Shimla at an altitude of 2708 meters on the Hindustan Tibetan road. The quiet town provides a spectacular view of the mountain ranges. Apple orchards and dense forest of Narkanda makes the place one of the most loved places in Shimla. Apart from many types of conifers growing in the land, many other trees like Maple, Oak, Hazelnut, and so on can be seen here. The town also acts as a skiing resort in winter. The exceptional view from the Hatu peak, beauty of the placid Tannu Jubbar lake, and the architectural brilliance of Mahamaya temple are the other attractions in Narkanda.
Located a level below the Ridge, Mall Road is the main street and a foremost tourist attraction in Shimla. Vehicles are not allowed in this way making it a perfect avenue for leisure walking and shopping. Tourists throng the path for snacking, walking, and enjoying the sights the place has to offer. Mall Road has several shops, restaurants, cafés and so on lining its sides. Here you can enjoy some snacks like traditional momo and coffee in the open air. The small shops are ideal for buying quality woolen clothes. Gaity Theatre, the stage where popular artists have performed, is located on this road. Temple of Kali Bari built-in 1845, the Scottish architecture of the town hall are the other attractions along the walkway.
Kalka- Shimla Railway
The railway line constructed in 1898 is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The toy train ride through the line which climbs from 656 meters to 2075 meters above means sea level is an amazing experience. The line is almost 95 kilometers long and has several stops that are great tourist attractions. Summer hill, Solan, Jutogh, and so on are great spots with historical significance. The ride is full of breathtaking views. The intermittent tunnels and bridges make the journey all the more exciting. The toy train ride is a very rare experience that you can get only in Shimla
Standing tall at a height of 8000 feet, Jakhoo hill is the highest peak in Shimla. The view of the snow-clad Himalayan mountains and the green valley from this point is captivating. The scenic sight makes it the most visited viewpoint in Shimla. The peak also houses the ancient Jakhoo Temple which is believed to be the place where the Hindu deity Hanuman rested while searching for Sanjivni Booti, the panacea used to revive Lakshmana. A 108-feet-high statue of Hanuman was erected at the spot in 2010 making it more attractive.
Summer hill is a quaint town with spectacular views of the mountain and the green valley. Hence the place is considered one of the best viewpoints in Shimla. The pine and deodar laden slopes are filled with beautifully constructed small cottages. The clay of this place is suitable for making pottery. Hence it is also known as Potter’s hill. Mahatma Gandhi stayed at Summer Hill during his visit to Shimla. Hence the place is considered a historically significant location by many.
Indian Institute of Advanced Study
The building complex of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study was originally constructed in 1885 as the bungalow of the Viceroy of India. In 1965, the Ministry of Education, Government of India converted it into the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Since then it has grown into one of the most prestigious institutions in the country. The huge structure with its brilliant architecture is an awe-inspiring sight that invites tourists visiting Shimla. You will indeed develop respect for the effort of those who opened the place for educational purposes.
Constructed in 1857, the Christ Church is now more of a tourist destination in Shimla than a religious center. The shrine which took almost 3 years to build completes the landscape of the hill station. The neo-gothic architecture style employed in the structure attracts many tourists to it. The clock tower, frescos, and stained glass windows give a unique European shade to it. The Lakad Bazar, located close to the Church, is famous for handicrafts made of wood which can be taken home as souvenirs.
Best Time To Visit Shimla
Weather in Shimla is cool all year round. Temperatures ranging from -4 to 31 degrees Celsius annually. A suitable time to visit Shimla will be from March to June when the rest of the Indian subcontinent is tormented with heat. Hence this is the time of the year that sees an inflow of tourists to the land.
If you want to see snowfall, you have to visit Shimla during winter. The whole town sleeps under a thick white blanket of snow. There are many adventure snow-activities also during this time.
How To Reach Shimla
Shimla is an easily accessible tourist destination due to its high connectivity through rail, road, and airways.
- Road: The Chandigarh-Shimla highway is the best road to reach Shimla. It only takes slightly above three hours to reach the tourist destination from Chandigarh.
- Rail: Kalka is the nearest broad gauge railway station and is almost 89 kilometers away. Once you reach the station you can take a toy train ride to Shimla which is an exciting experience. You can also avail a cab from the station.
- Air: The major airport near Shimla is the Chandigarh airport which is almost 113 kilometers away. There is a small Jubbarhatti airport at a distance of 25 kilometers. But the latter functions only occasionally. So it is better to prefer the one at Chandigarh.