The former summer capital of the British in India, and the present capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla has been blessed with all the natural bounties which one can think of. It has got a scenic location, it is surrounded by green hills with snow capped peaks. The spectacular cool hills accompanied by the structures made during the colonial era creates an aura which is very different from other hill.
Bulging at its seams with unprecedented expansion, Shimla retains its colonial heritage, with grand old buildings, among them are the stately Viceregal Lodge, charming iron lamp posts and Anglo-Saxon names. The Mall,
packed with shops and eateries, is the centre of attraction of the town, and Scandal Point, associated with the former Maharaja of Patiala's escapades, offers a view of distant snow clad peaks.
Shimla is ideally located, and though there is an air service to the town, it is best reached by road that takes in the charms of the HIMALAYAN countryside at its best. There is a sense of nostalgia about SHIMLA, with its oldbungalows and their gabled roofs and beautiful gardens.
Also Known As: The Summer Refuge
Location : In the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
Altitude : 2,130 m above sea level
Temperature : Between sub zero in winters and 30 C in summer. Through out the year.
Climate : Being a hilly region, here Climate is generally unpredictable. Generally Summer Starts from March-April onwards and extend till Oct-November. It is very very cold in Winter. The temperature in winter falls below O degree centigrade.
STD Code: 0177
Languages: Hindi, Himachali, Garhwali, English
History: The British discovered Shimla in the form of a little village in 1819. Until then, it was a part of the Nepalese kingdom. It was during Lord William Bentinck's time that Shimla was truly acquired by the Government of India. The British persuaded the local Raja to part with the land in 1830, and the settlement became the subcontinent's most fashionable summer resort. In 1864, Shimla was declared the summer capital of India. After the independence of India, Shimla became the capital of Punjab until 1966, when it came under Himachal Pradesh.
PLACES TO VISIT IN "SHIMLA"
The Mall : All visitors to Shimla inevitably walk down the Mall, the main promenade that runs along the top of the ridge-a busy shopping area with old colonial buildings, souvenir shops and restaurants. At the top end of the Mall is Scandal Point, a large open square with a view of the town-a favourite rendezvous for visitors and the local people. Overlooking it is the elegant Christ Church with its fine stained glass windows. The labyrinth of Shimla's bazaars spill over the edge of the Mall.
Viceregal lodge : Housed in the Gothic splendour of the Viceregal Lodge is the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, India's premier academy for higher research.
Himachal State Museum : Very close to the Institute, in a colonial building set in spacious lawns, is the museum. It has collections of Pahariminiatures, stone sculpture, local handicrafts, textiles and embroidery.
Jakhoo Hill : Hill, Shimla's highest point, is rewarding for there are superb views of the town and its surroundings. At the top is an old Hanuman temple.(2Km).
Annandale : Hill, Shimla's highest point, is rewarding for there are superb views of the town and its surroundings. At the top is an old Hanuman temple.(2Km).
Glen : A pretty picnic spot beyond Annandale is located in the thickly Wooded Glen , beside a sparkling stream.(4 Km).
Summer Hill : The quiett and lovely suburb of summer Hill has secluded, shady walks and charming views. It was here that Gandhiji stayed on his visits to Shimla, in the elegant Georgian mansion that belonged to Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. Summer Hill is located on the Shimla - Kalka railway line.(5 Km).
Chadwick Falls : Just beyond Summer Hill is the 67 m waterfall, cascading into a deep gorge. The Falls are best seen after the monsoon.(7 Km).
Prospect Hill : A 15 minute climb from Boileauganj, Prospect Hill is another favourite walk and vantage point with breath taking views. There is a little temple to Kamna Devi on the top of the hill.(5 Km ).
Sanjauli : A serene location with delightful walks, Sanjauli is ideal for a tranquil weekend. There are fine vistas and the lights of Shimla and Chail can be seen twinkling at night. On the other side, Mashobra and Naldehra are visible. (3 Km)
Temples : Among the little temples dotted around Shimla is the ancient temple of Bihargaon - a splendid example of traditional Himachal architecture.
Just short of Shimla are the temples of Tara Devi and Sankat Mochanb. (8 Km)
Daranghati Sanctuary : This sanctuary located in the upper area of the Shimla district has an undisturbed forest area with plenty of wildlife-monal, tragopan, koklas and khalij pheaseants and musk deer, ghoral and thar. There is a network of bridle paths in the sanctuary. Visitors are advised to seek assistance from the forest staff posted at Dofda and Sarahan. The area is ideal for those who love to trek.
Mashobra (2,149 m)
Noted for its apple orchards and thick woods of oak and pine. Mashobra is a sylvan retreat with pretty walks and pIcnic spots. A little track leads down to Sipur a grassy glade with a stream wandering through it. Excursions are possible to Shali Peak - the highest point in the area or to Craignano (3 km) with its elegant guest house set in a delightful flower-filled garden. (9.6 km)
Kufri (2,622 m)
Kufri is a noted summer and winter resort with its glorious views of forested slopes and tall ranges iced in a covering of perpetual snow. A fine ski resort, Kufri has a winter season that extends from January to March. A sparkling winter sports festival is held each year in February. (16 km)
Fagu (2,509 m)
Just 6 km from Kufri, Fagu is a vantage point with panoramic views of the ranges and valleys. Picturesquely located amid forests and orchards, Fagu has a rest house and tourist bungalow overlooking the Giri Valley.
The scenic, nine hole golf course with its springly turf and crown of deodar was laid out at the instance of the Viceroy, Lord Curzon. So enamoured was he by the beauty of the spot, that he named his youngest daughter Alexandra Naldera. (23 km)
Tattapani is just 28 km from Naldehra, along a road winding through the scenic country side. The hot sulphur springs here, are hoted for their invigorating and curative powers. (51 km)
Narkanda (2,708 m)
A hill road with superb views links Narkanda with Shimla Narkanda, located amidst fragrant pine forests is a ski resort in winter. It has a choice of slopes ranging from a beginners run and a slalom slope, to sharper descents for the experienced skier. (64 km)
Hattu Peak (3,300 m)
Rising above forests of spruce, the Hattu Peak is a vantage point with spectacular views. (8 km). The pretty orchard country of Thanedar and Kotgarh - beautiful in spring - are not far away. Khadrala and Beghi with their dense forests and Kumarsain with an interesting wooden palace are also within easy reach of Narkanda.
Hatkati (1,100 m)
In the picturesque valley of the River Pabbar, about 104 km from Shimla, is noted for its historic temple dedicated to Durga. Enroute to Hatkoti is the village of Kotkhai, splendidly located among apple orchards - a village with fine traditional architecture. Jabbal, once the capital of a princely state with its impressive palace is also on the way.
Beyond Hatkoti, 11 km away, is Rohru (1,149 m) on the River Pabbar - an excellent spot for angling, with fishing pools teeming with trout. The trout hatchery at Chirgaon, (15 km) upstream, ensures a well stocked river.
Rampur was once the capital of the princely state of Bushair and a major centre on the old trade route into Tibet. The annual Lavi Fair, held in the second week of November, is still an important event for the inhabitants of the region. They gather to buy, sell and barter their produce - homespun blankets, shawls, wool and dry fruits - and to celebrate the event with music and dance.
Rampur, on the banks of the Sutlej is on the N.H. 22 - the old Hindustan-Tibet Road that goes from Shimla into Kinnaur. The scenic village of Sarahan with its fascinating Bhimkali Temple is on this road beyound Rampur. (140 km).
Shimla Golf Course
Shimla used to be the summer capital of the British. No British township is complete without a golf course! Shimla is blessed with vast expanses of open land that is perfect for a golf course. Golf in Shimla has emerged as one of the most popular sports in the valley. Almost all tourists visiting India try their hand at golfing in Simla. The calm and serene atmosphere makes golf a more pleasurable sport. Shimla has beautiful golf courses that allow tourists to try their hand at golf. Read on further for more information on the same.
Located at a distance of around 22 kilometers from Shimla, Naldehra is one of the best and the oldest golf courses in India. Lord Curzon laid the foundation of this golf course in the year 1903, during the colonial rule in India. It is said that he was so mesmerized by the natural beauty of this place that he named his daughter "Naldera" after this place! Considered as one of the most challenging golf courses in the country, this is a par 68, nine-hole golf course.
The Army manages this exquisite nine-hole golf course. There are several resorts and hotels available near this beautiful lush green golf course. Also, many resorts have come up with the concept of mini golf courses within the resort compound itself.
Adventure Sports in Shimla
The latest trend in Shimla - Adventure sports! Come and experience the thrill and set your adrenalin levels rushing by indulging in adventure sports in Shimla. This newly found recreation is fast catching up among tourists visiting the valley and everyone tries their hand in at least one adventure sport in Simla. The towering ranges of Himalayas are ideal to try out adventurous pursuits like mountaineering, trekking, para gliding, fishing and skiing among other adventure sports. Read on further about the latest craze of adventure that has gripped India.
The diverse topography of Shimla is just the perfect locale for you to indulge in some pulsating action. The variety of opportunities that you get in Shimla is truly commendable and one must try to make the most of it. Leave all your anxieties and fears behind and just surrender yourself to this mind-blowing experience. The variety of sports range from the mild rock climbing to the daring paragliding. You can choose your kind of sport and enjoy yourself to the hilt.
Though these adventure sports assure to give you the ultimate high, there are certain precautions that should be kept in mind while trying your hand at those. Do not ignore the instructions given to you by the trainer. Whatever you do, never try to take things too fast and end up in a mess. Every sport takes some time to be learnt and adventure sports require that extra amount of caution and alertness because of the risk factor involved in it. So keep these important things in mind and go ahead to try out the numerous adventure sports that are available in Shimla.
Fun in Shimla
The style of music and dance in Shimla has not gone through much evolution. People over here still follow the traditional forms of dance and music of Simla. The dance and music of Shimla is basically religion oriented. All festivals are celebrated with traditional music and dance and they are an integral part of any festivity and celebration. The main purpose of indulging in music and dance is to invoke the Gods and seek their blessings. This practice has been prevalent since old days.
The music is dominated with instruments rather than vocals. The main instruments that are used while singing are Flute, Ektara Chimta, Ghariyal, Ghunghroo, etc. Along with these instruments, experienced people sing the traditional songs that are very pleasant to the ears. The major dance forms of Shimla are the Kayang Dance, Bakayang dance, Bnayangchu dance, Jataru Kayang dance, Chohara dance, Shand and Shabu dances and Rasa dance. These dances are exclusive to Shimla and are not practiced anywhere else.
Culture of Shimla
Located on the lofty ranges of the Himalayas, Shimla is a place that has been untouched by commercialization and globalization. It is very different from rest of the Indian states and has retained its old world charm. The culture of Shimla is such that it portrays a sound balance between traditional values and modern thoughts. The cultural heritage of Simla is very traditional and rural. Read on further about the culture of Shimla.
The people in Shimla depend on agriculture as a source of their livelihood. Cattle rearing is yet another way of earning a decent livelihood. The people in Shimla live in small huts with slated roofs. Every unit of village has its own shops and other facilities and necessities. There are regular fairs and festivals in these villages. You will find more information about the culture, music, dance, people and religion of Shimla in our related sections.
Best Time to Visit Shimla
Best time might depend on the choice of the tourist but on a general note September to June are considered as the most rewarding time for Shimla travel.
How to Reach Shimla
Air - Jubbarhatti is the airport in Shimla to which regular domestic flights are available from major cities of India.
Rail - Kalka, 96 Km away, is the nearest railway station connecting Shimla to various neighboring states. Then train to Shimla from Kalka could be taken to reach in as less as 6 hours time.
Road - Chandigarh and New Delhi are connected by National highways that lure the road hitters more than anything for starters of this tremendous journey to Shimla