Visit Shimla - Simla
शिमला, originally called Simla, is the capital city of Himachal
Pradesh. In 1864, Shimla was declared the summer capital of the
British Raj in India. A popular tourist destination, Shimla is often
referred to as the "Queen of Hills" (a term coined by the British).
Located in the north-west Himalayas at an altitude of 2,128 metres
(6,982 ft), the city of Shimla, draped in forests of pine,
rhododendron, and oak, experiences pleasant summers and cold, snowy
winters. The city is famous for its buildings styled in tudorbethan
and neo-gothic architecture dating from the colonial era. Shimla is
connected to the city of Kalka by one of the longest narrow gauge
railway routes still operating in India, the Kalka-Shimla Railway.
Shimla is approximately 115 km (71.4 miles) from Chandigarh, the
nearest major city, and 365 km (226.8 miles) from New Delhi, the
national capital. The city is named after the goddess Shyamala Devi,
an incarnation of the Hindu Goddess Kali.
Shimla is located in the north-western ranges of the Himalayas. At
an average altitude of 2397.59 meters (7866.10 ft) above mean sea
level, the city is spread on a ridge and its seven spurs. The city
stretches nearly 9.2 km from east to west.
The climate in Shimla is predominantly cold during winters, and
moderately warm during summers. The temperatures range from 3.95 °C
(39.11 °F) to 32.95 °C (91.31 °F) over the year. The average
temperature during summer is between 14 °C and 20 °C, and between -7
°C and 10 °C in winter. Monthly precipitation varies between 24 mm
in November to 415 mm in July.
How to go Shimla?
The nearest broad gauge head is at Kalka - a four-hour journey from
Delhi. After that, take the mountain train from Kalka to Shimla.
This railway track has recently been granted the status of a UNESCO
World Heritage Site. The view is stunning, with the line passing
through an amazing 103 tunnels. The fastest way to get to Kalka is
to catch the Shatabdi Express, which departs early morning from the
New Delhi Railway Station, arriving at Kalka four hours later. A
detailed list of trains between Delhi, Kalka and Shimla is available
at and . You can also choose to get off at Chandigarh (en-route to
Kalka), and catch a taxi from there.
Shimla has its own airport at Jubbarhatti (IATA code:SLV) that
accommodates turbo-props Dorniers, while Jet, Airbus A310, 320s and
Boeing 737s can all land at the larger Chandigarh (IATA code:IXC)
airport. Commercial service at the Jubbarhatti Airport is limited
with six flights a week operating to and from Delhi, all operated by
Jagson Airlines. Chandigarh offers far better options. Major
airlines including Indian, Jet Airways and Air Deccan operate
flights to Delhi, Jammu, and Mumbai. Most of the flights to Mumbai
require a stop-over in Delhi, but low-cost Indus Air operates a
daily non-stop flight in the afternoons. Kullu and Dharamsala are
smaller towns which are connected to Chandigarh through Jagson
Airlines bi-weekly flights. Tip, confirm the flights till the very
last moment, bad weather often delays flights during the winter fog.
After landing at the airport, take a pre-paid taxi to minimize
hassle. Chandigarh is a good four-hour drive away, so stop for a
bite on the Kalka-Shimla highway.
Place to see, Place to visit in
* The Mall: The mall is the
main shopping centre of Shimla. This shopping centre has a good
number of banks, restaurants, post offices, clubs, bars and tourists
offices. There is a famous theatre of Shimla called Gaiety Theatre.
The Mall is also the main meeting place for the people of Shimla.
* Jakhu Temple, Jakhu Hill. Open every day. Offers spectacular views
of the mountains from its location above the town. According to the
epic Ramayana, the monkey god Hanuman rested here during his journey
to the Himalayan mountains. The climb up is a physically demanding
one-hour walk. However, you can drive up the hill - a 4WD is
recommended. The temple and hill side is populated with very
aggressive and cunning monkeys. Be extremely careful with your
camera, glasses, bag and (especially) food. Entry free, donations
welcome (Sticks for warding off the monkeys can be rented at the
entrance to the temple for Rs 5).
* Dorje Drag Monastery, Sarasvati Garden Estate, Kusmuti. A
monastery in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, also known
as Thubten Evam Dorje Drag. Entry free, donations welcome.
The Ridge, Jakhu Hill (North of The Mall). Built at the top of the
town at 2230m, The Ridge is the center of Shimla's cultural and
social life - an excellent place to view the surrounding mountains.
* Christ Church, The Ridge (Near Municipal Library). Open every day,
services Su 8AM-11AM. Constructed in 1846, this is the second oldest
church of the North India. The stain-glass windows,representing
charity, faith, patience, hope, fortitude and humility, and 19th
century organ are particularly impressive. The fresco that surrounds
the chapel window was designed by Lockwood Kipling, Rudyard
Kipling's father. Entry free, donations welcome.
* Lower Bazaar, The Mall (Below Central Section). Shops Open Mo-Sa.
The Lower Bazaar is home to the city's less expensive hotels,
cheaper restaurants and stores, and a congested wholesale vegetable
market. Although less opulent than its upper neighbor, the Lower
Bazaar retains an old worldly charm and is an excellent place to try
some Shimla specialty dishes, like Uradh Dal with rice or Shepard's
* Viceregal Lodge, The Mall (Atop Observatory Hill), +91 177
283-1375. Open every day (Only the entrance hall and gardens are
open to the public). An imposing British-raj mansion built under the
guidance of Lord Dufferin in 1888. Manicured British style gardens
surround the mansion on three sides, while the fourth side is a
place to relax and watch the sun dip below the Himalayan foothills.
The teak-paneled interior is impressive, and well worth a viewing.
Entry Rs 10, cameras not allowed inside (Guided tours available).
Tara devi is famous for the temple of Goddess of stars. This temple
is located on the top of the hill. Tara devi is located at the
distance of around 11 kms form the bus stand of Shimla. This is a
perfect location for the people who are looking for some rest and
peace at a high altitude of around 6070 ft.
Shimla houses a few excellent museums. The State Museum is perhaps
the most well-known.
* State Museum, Chaura Maidan (Near Oberoi Cecil), +91 177 280-5044.
Open Tu-Su, 10AM-5PM. Housed in a reconstructed Raj-style building,
the State Museum displays a collection of around 10,000 artifacts
gathered from all over Himachal Pradesh. The Pahari miniatures and
6th-11th century Gupta sculptures are especially impressive. Entry
Rs 10 (Cameras free, flash prohibited).
* Photo Art Gallery, Potter's Hill (Near HP Univ.), +91 94180-11172.
The gallery displays more than 20,000 photographs of Himachal taken
by the celebrated photographer Inder Pal. It's a wonderful place to
explore and learn more about the beauty, culture and flora and fauna
of this Himalayan state. In addition, Potter's Hill is scenic area,
so as well as visiting the gallery, visitors can also enjoy hiking,
climbing, observing wild life and enjoy the fresh Himalayan air.
Entry Rs 5 (Cameras free, flash prohibited).
Sankat Mochan: A popular Hanuman temple is located here. We
get an excellent view of Shimla from the temple. It can be reached
by car or on foot. .
There are lots of options from dormitories to luxury resort
hotels. Online booking is the most convenient way to reserve a room.
Alternatively, the tourist office can supply a list of hotels, and
you can phone or trek over an reserve a room in person. Rooms in
Shimla range from as low as US$ 5 to a whopping US$ 600.