With all its intricacies, history seems to have been the mortar for every brick and stone that has built Shimla. As the Summer Capital of the British in India, Shimla was the country’s focus for the better part of every year and now, is the state capital of Himachal Pradesh. The town of Shimla rose in the nineteenth century when the Gurkha Wars came to an end in 1815-16 and the victorious British decided to retain certain pockets as military outposts and sanitaria.
Today the town is distinctive for its variety of architecture. It has one of the rare surviving urban forests, made all the more unique, for its species are temperate to alpine ones in what is otherwise a tropical zone. And then Shimla’s famous Mall offers one of the longest stretches of pedestrian shopping in the world.
How to Reach
By Road – Broad well surfaced road connects to Kalka, Chandigarh, Delhi, etc.
By Rail – Broad gauge track upto Kalka connecting to Delhi, Kolkata and Amritsar. Narrow Gauge from Kalka to Shimla
By Air – Daily Flights from Delhi and Kullu. Airport at Jabbarhatti 23 kilometers from the city.
Top Attraction in Shimla
The Mall is the hub of Shimla’s social life. Lined by shops and restaurants this pedestrian thoroughfare loosely resembles an English Home County’s marketplace. The Gaiety Theatre, which is a reproduction of an old British theatre is a center of cultural activities. A passenger lift operated by HPTDC can be taken from the Cart Road to The Mall. Lakkar Bazaar adjacent to the Ridge is popular for its wood crafts and souvenirs.
The large open space in the heart of town presents excellent view of the mountain ranges. It is situated along the Mall Road, which is the famous shopping center of Shimla. Most major places of Shimla like Snowdon, Mall, Jakhoo hill, etc. are connected through the Ridge.
2 Km from city centre, this is Shimla’s highest point and offers a panoramic view of the town’s hills and distant mountain ranges. There are picturesque views at sunrise and sunset especially during the monsoons. The peak has a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Legend has it that he stopped here while searching for the sanjivini plant – the herb required to cure Laxman who lay mortally wounded on a battlefield in Lanka in an episode from the epic Ramayana. A variation of the legend says that his sandal fell here. The temple has been exhaustively renovated and this vantage point is being connected by a ropeway. At the top of the hill in the temple complex is a 108 feet tall idol of Lord Hanuman is a big attraction for the tourists.
Kamna Devi Temple
Situated above Boileauganj, the temple offers splendid views of the town, the airfield and the ranges.
Standing tall through the tough rapids of time, the Christ Church is one of the most important buildings of Shimla. It tells the story of a part of the town’s rich history – and its pews mark the seats of the Viceroy, the Commander-in-Chief and the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab, while the fascinating memorial tablets in brass and marble sound a roll call for some who shaped what was the British Empire.
4 Km away, this is a thickly wooded ravine through which a stream flows. This is a popular picnic spot and is especially attractive after crossing the initial two hundred metres or so.
5 Km away from the city centre, this place is best known for a helipad. This large glade has a golf course surrounded by thick deodar woods and has a charming temple by an edge
A beautiful place in Karsog Valley. Himachal tourism’s tourist Resort is opening shortly. One can also visit famous mahunag Temple (18 Km). Mamleshwar mahadev Temple (13 Km) Kamaksha Devi temple (19 Km) Pangna Killa/temple (8 Km) and Shikari Devi Temple (18 Km).
Tattapani has hot water springs having sulpher contents, also Hindu temples and Shiv Goofa at Saraur (4 Km) are worth seeing places.
Chail was the summer capital of the former princely state of Patiala built by Maharaja Bhupender Singh on a hill that was within sight of Shimla but a good hundered meters above Shimla’s average height. There is a famous shrine known as the Sidh Baba Ka Mandir and is revered by many who claim that the sage has the power to grant boons. Bhupinder Singh had another site levelled out and a splended mansion was built and sumptuously furnished.
The property including peripheral cottages, woods, sport and recreation facilities and even an orchard – passed into the hands of Himachal Tourism. This is now the Palace Hotel – a full- fledged destination resort. The small wild life sanctuary has a variety of wild life that includes the ghoral, kakkar, sambhar, red jungle fowl, and the khalij and cheer pheasents. Chail is 86 Km from Kalka via Kandaghat and 45 Km from Shimla via Kufri.
A picturesque superb on Shimla-Kalka Railway line. Offers shady walks in quiet surroundings. The Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to Shimla lived in the elegant Georgian House of Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur. HP University is situated here.
On the Hindustan Tibet road, Narkanda offers spectacular views of snow ranges. An uphill trek through Deodar woods leads to Hatu Peak (8 Km). Ancient temple of Hatu Mata is alive with skiers. In winters short skiing courses are organised by Himachal Tourism.
7 Km away from the town, past the Summer Hill, surrounded by woods, rain-fed falls greet the visitors here.
State museum & other museums
The State Museum lies atop mount pleasant in a house called ‘Inverarm’. It has a rich display of the state’s cultural, artistic and archaeological heritage, ancient historical sculptors and paintings of Himachal Pradesh. Visiting hours 10 AM to 5 PM. Closed on Monday and gazetted holidays
The way to the temple is, on foot, from the Ridge near Christ Church. Other option is to hire pony from the Ridge or drive taking via the Cart Road.