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Shimla Overview

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Summarise the city :
A Summer Refuge

Best time to visit (High & peak months) :
Mid April to mid July (for cool retreat), mid September to November (for juicy apples), mid December to mid January (to enjoy snowfall)

Experiences :
Adventure, culture & lifestyle, shopping, wildlife, Golfing, temples & spiritualism

City calling code :
0177

Recommended no. of days for a tourist :
2

Best buys :
Handicrafts, woolen and pashmina shawls, pickles, handmade shoes, dolls, woolen caps, carved wooden sticks, toys. Tibetan jewellery and trinkets are found in the small Tibetan shops near the Ridge.

Essentials to be carried along :
Heavy woolens for winters (November-March), rain gear for the period from July to September, dark glasses and sun block lotions.

All about the city :
Among the sylvan surroundings of Shivalik hills, at a height of 6500 feet, rests Shimla, the most popular hill resort of India. As the developments that took place one after another in quick succession suggest, the time seems to have flown at a pace faster than normal in Shimla. Before the British captured it and kick started its development in 1819, Shimla was a mere village. Soon, it became their summer capital and finally the capital of Himachal Pradesh.

The legacy of British era in the form of splendid edifices, quaint cottages and the Kalka Shimla railway line form the major tourist attractions, besides the obviously beautiful lofty snow peaks, deep gorges, lush green valleys which will still your nerves like anything. The temples and facilities for mild adventure activities are an added attraction. Thus, Shimla is such a bundle of attractions that can enchant and entice people of any age bracket and varied tastes. The celebrated writer Rudyard Kipling and renowned painter Amrita Shergil were among the many admirers of serene, secluded and spellbinding landscapes of Shimla.

Existence of such a huge no. of hotels in the city goes to prove without saying that Shimla's attraction continues unabated till date. The chichi stores in the town have a lot to offer to those who would like to indulge in a shopping spree.

Although Shimla is well connected by air and road but to enjoy the true essence of Shimla board the toy train which runs on narrow gauge, through forested hills and a good 103 tunnels, connecting Kalka with Shimla.

So, gear up to beat the heat this summer by holidaying in the salubrious clime of Shimla.
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Shimla Tourist attractions

Name (suggested time required to see the place)DescriptionEntrance charges (if any) for Foreigner
The Mall (one can spend a whole evening)This is a 7 km long road running from Boileauganj in the west to Chhota Shimla in southeast. The town is approximately as big as the stretch of this road. Abounding in restaurants, bars and up market shops, it is undoubtedly the most fashionable area and thus no less than a lifeline for Shimla.The jewel like Gaiety theatre (modeled after the Garrick theatre of London) that once entertained its British masters buzzes with cultural activities upto this day. Beyond it is the Ridge- a large open space in the center of town with fabulous views of snowy peaks. A statue of great freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai marks the highest point of the Mall, the Scandal Point. The 'scandal point' refers to the so-called abduction of an English lady from this spot by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. Placing Lalaji's statue here is really ironic. Strolling on the Mall is the favorite pass time of the tourists as well as the localites.

NA

Shops remain closed on Sundays.

10 am - 10 pm

State Museum and Library (40 min) Housed in a classic colonial building, 'Inverarm', the State Museum is located about 2.5 km west of Scandal point. It has a fairly rich collection of statues, paintings, coins, photos and other articles from various parts of Himachal Pradesh. Among all of them Pahari miniatures are the ones that steal the show.

INR 50

Closed on Monday and gazetted holidays

10 am- 5 pm (closed for lunch 1:30 - 2 pm)

Christ Church (15 min) Shimla boasts of the second oldest church (1846-1857) in northern India. The first being in Ambala, a small town in Punjab. The church, lying at the eastern end of the Ridge and at the base of Jakhu hill, was designed by Col. Boileau in Gothic style. But he seemed to err on its size - it turned out to be too small to accommodate the Sunday congregations. It is said that at one stage the vicar had to advice the ladies not to wear their crinolines so that they would occupy less space. It is famous for its stained glass windows and the fresco (designed by Lockwood Kipling, father of Rudyard Kipling) around the chancel window, though nothing of it remains today.

No entrance charges

No close days

Every Sunday an English worship service is held at 9 am and Hindustani worship service at 11 am

Viceregal lodge and Botanical Gardens (On Observatory hill) -45 min This is the most imposing colonial building, Scottish baronial in style, at Shimla. Built under the guidance of viceroy Dufferin it was to serve as the summer residence for British viceroys. Since the building predates the railway line in Shimla every brick of this 6-story mansion was transported to the construction site on mules. Also known as Rashtrapati Niwas, it now houses the Indian Institute of Advance Studies. You will have to remain contended with a view of the magnificent teak paneled entrance hall and the lush lawns on the three sides of the mansion, as only these are open for public. Here you can see the conference hall and the table on which the historic Shimla agreement between India and Pakistan took place.

When you are here do not forget to explore the botanical garden and treat yourself at the small café.

Opposite the lodge entrance is a small aviary, the Himalayan Aviary, home to numerous species of Himachali birds including the Himalayan Monal, Pheasants and Peafowls.

Entry fee Rs. 100

No close days

Aviary is closed on Mondays 9am-1 pm & 2 pm- 5 pm in winters and 9 am - 1 pm &2 pm- 7 pm in summers

Jakhu temple (15 min) Situated at the highest point in Shimla (8038 ft), this temple is dedicated to the monkey God Hanuman. Hindu mythology has it that Hanuman, while on his way to fetch 'Sanjivni' herb to save the life of wounded Laxman (younger brother of Lord Ram), rested on this hill for some time. The hilltop flattened, as it could not bear the weight of Hanuman. On this flattened top lies the temple. Appropriately, this region seems to be the kingdom of monkeys which you can find hopping everywhere. But be careful to avoid them from becoming a nuisance.

Jakhu temple attracts devotees as well as adventure tourists, who indulge themselves into trekking and mountaineering activities organized by the Himachal Pradesh government. A 2 km steep climb from the Ridge to the summit through the deodar and oak forests offers the most spectacular views of the region. One can also hire a pony to reach the temple.

No entrance charges

No close days

7 am - 8 pm in summers & 8 am - 6 pm in winters

HikesApart from a promenade along the Mall, there are many pleasant walks around Shimla. Summer Hill (2,103 m), about 5km along the Shimla-Kalka railway line, makes a good walk. Summer Hill is also famous because Mahatma Gandhi once stayed at the Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur mansion here.

Chadwick Falls, which are about 67m high, is  worth a visit but only during or just after the monsoon i.e between July and October. The falls are 7km from Shimla and can be reached via Summer Hill.

Prospect Hill (2,176 m) is about 5km west of Shimla and a 15-minute climb from Boileauganj. The hill is a popular picnic spot with fine views. The Kamna Devi Temple is nearby.

Sankat Mochan, 7km from Shimla on the road to Chandigarh, has a Hanuman temple, and offers panoramic views of the town. You can also drive to the temple.

Tara Devi Temple, about 10km from Shimla, enshrines the Goddess of stars.

Annandale: Developed as the playground of Shimla, Annandale is 2-4 kms from the Ridge at a height of 6,117 ft. It is a favorite spot for cricket, picnics and the princely game of polo.

The Glen: At 1830 m, this is a thickly wooded ravine through which a stream flows. It is yet another popular picnic spot to the credit of Shimla.
 
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Getting there

AirRailRoad
The airport at Jubbarhati is 23 km from Shimla. 

Kingfisher Red  airlines has  morning flights (except Friday & Saturday) from Delhi to Shimla
Shimla is connected by a broad gauge line up to Kalka. From Kalka to Shimla, a narrow gauge line covers 96 kilometers, of track. The journey by train, which takes about six hours, crossing 103 tunnels is one of the finest ways of enjoying the scenic beauty. There is another option for a fast train Shivalik Express or a delightful ride in the Rail Car. The Rail Car (one of its kind, running only on this route in India) takes about 5 hours. Kalka has direct rail connections with Delhi, Calcutta and Chandigarh. Regular bus services connect Shimla with Chandigarh 117 kms southwest, Kullu 220 kms north, Manali 260 kms north, Delhi 343 kms south, Mandi 150 kms northwest, Pathankot 380 kms, Ambala 151 kms southwest, Dehradun 240 kms southwest, Sarahan 175 km and Sangla 230 km in the northeast.

Shimla to Dharamshala via Hamirpur is 235 km
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Shimla Festivals

Name of festivalDates / MonthsFestival details with link for more information
Ice Skating FestivalAnytime between December and FebruaryThe town is flooded with tourists and visitors. Various fancy dress competitions, ice hockey and dance performances are organized.
Shimla summer festivalJune Men and women gather and celebrate the advent of summer. They sing and dance in gratefulness to the glory of God, offer thanks for the rich harvest and the golden crop and also requests God for a repetition of the same bliss on the following year.
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Shimla Excursions

Excursion (distance in kms / time taken)Description
Naldehra, (23 km from Shimla and 15 km north of Mashobra /35 minutes)

Note: The Golf course is closed from mid Dec to end Feb.
Renowned for one of the world's highest and oldest golf course (designed by British viceroy Lord Curzon), Naldehra is so awfully beautiful that Curzon renamed his daughter Alexandra as Naldehra after this place. The Park surrounding the golf course is a popular picnic spot. The Mahunag temple in the midst of the course attracts descent number of devotees. On your way to Naldehra do enjoy the scenic beauty of Mashobra, a small village noted for its apple orchard and thick woods of Oak and pine. The Seog wildlife sanctuary and the annual Sipi fair (May) are the attractions at Mashobra. Today Himachal Tourism maintains the course and it is possible to play by paying nominal green fees for the day.

Naldehra Golf Course: The course is open through the year (except from mid Dec to end Feb); the monsoon months between July and September are particularly good for golfing since the highly watered turf becomes springy and the yardage increases.
Tattapani (about 32 km from Naldehra and 56 km from Shimla/ 1.75 hrs) This beautiful and peaceful village is known for its hot sulphur springs that lie adjacent to the cold waters of river Sutlej. Take a bath and experience yourself its invigorating and curative effect.
Kufri (about 16 km east of Shimla/30 minutes)If you are interested in winter sports then Kufri can well be your cup of tea. Besides Kufri's small zoo, the Himalayan Nature Park nestles many birds and animals unique to Himachal Pradesh.
Chail (45 km from Shimla/1.5 hrs)Once the summer capital of Maharaja of Patiala, Chail is the proud owner of world's highest cricket ground (2444 m). In addition to this at a distance of 3 km is a wildlife sanctuary.
Narkanda (64 km from Shimla/2 hrs)Rich in apple orchards, Narkanda is the place from where Himalayan peaks are even closer and where spruce, fir and high altitude oak take over from the deodar and blue pine. Just imagine how breathtaking would be the walk through such dense forests.

The best is a 6 km hike to Hatu peak. From January to mid April the slopes here offer skiing opportunity.
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Shimla Climate chart

Month Max. TempMin. TempRainfall
January82 
February93 
March147 
April1811 
May2214 
June2316 
July2116 
August1915 
September1914 
October1711 
November147 
December104 

 
 
 
 
 
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Suggested tour program with Shimla

Tour NameNo. Of days Other places covered
Himachal Highlights12 days Delhi - Shimla - Manali - Palampur - Mc Leodganj - Dalhousie
Culture and Heritage Trail 08 daysShimla - Pragpur - Mc Leodganj - Dalhousie
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Ashoka Holiday's Special Package tours at a glance

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