Shimla Travel Guide
Shimla also spelt Simla, is one of India’s most famous hill stations was the former summer capital of the British in India, and the present capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla offers a wonderful experience to the tourists.
The salubrious air and scenic views of the Himalayas accompanied by the structures made during the colonial era creates an aura which is very different from other hill stations.
Shimla derives its name from Goddess Shyamala, an incarnation of Goddess Kali, the deity of power and wrath. However, unlike its name, Simla is a perfect heaven for the ones in search of tranquility.
Nature has blessed this capital city with innumerable gifts and man has used them to make Shimla one of India’s best locales. Discover the Queen of Hill station on foot, it’s simply the best way. The walking trails are superb with tall pines and majestic deodar and spectacular views of the brilliant Himalayas.
Perched at an altitude of 2159 m above sea level, Simla is located towards the southern parts of the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
The city spreads over a 12km ridge with just two main roads
The Mall which runs from the far west to the lower eastern side, and the Cart Road which circles the southern part of Simla. This is where the railway station and the bus and taxi stands are located.
The crescent of the wooded Ridge stretches from the lofty 2476 m high Jakhoo Hill and Chhota Shimla in the east, to the Observatory (2,148 m) and Prospect hills (2,176 m) in the west.
The temperature range is not very high and the maximum temperature rarely crosses 25°C during summers. Winters are cold due to the chilly winds from the upper Himalayas. Around Christmas, Simla experiences snowfall. Sometimes the temperature goes beyond 0 degrees in the winter months. Heavy woolens are suggested from November to February months. The rainy season is in July and august months
Simla Tourist Places
Visit Shimla anytime during the year, its forever beautiful. But it surely gets an added charm during the monsoons when the hills turn lush green. Winters too make it brilliant as soft snow covers the land and makes it shine pristine white. Ancient temples and old churches are worth visiting. Stop at one of the hills and find mist enveloping you and everything else around.
Simla has the only natural ice-skating rink in India. An Ice-skating Carnival is arranged every year by the Ice-skating Club during January. During this festival, members display their skill on ice and participate in a fancy dress competition
Shimla Religious Places
Christ Church & St. Michael's Cathedral : This famous landmark church of Simla was built over a span of 11 years (1846-1857) and its the second oldest church of northern India . The beauty of the church is enhanced by the stained glass in its windows. The building looks all the more beautiful at night when its grand architecture glows with clever lighting. Another important church in Shimla is the Church of St. Michael's Cathedral.
Jakhoo Temple : Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, this temple is at an altitude of 8048 feet above sea level and is the highest point of Simla. It offers a panoramic view over the surrounding valley.
Sankat Mochan : The famous "Lord Hanuman" temple is Situated on Ambala Shimla highway 5 Kms short of Shimla It commands an excellent view of Simla town. Temple has beautiful campus and Langar is held every Sunday.
Kali Bari : The temple is situated near to The Mall The temple is dedicated to Shyamala Devi (Shimla is named after this goddess), an incarnation of Goddess Kali.
Tara Devi :Located on Tara Parvat is the temple of Tara Devi, about 15 kilometers from Shimla. The view from the temple is very beautiful. The forested hills around lend a tranquility to the area. A road meanders uphill through the pine forest.
Main Tourist spots
Himachal State Museum & Library : Around two and a half kilometers from Scandal Point is Himachal State Museum and Library. The museum displays a collection of historical sculptors, paintings, coins and photos relating to the history of entire state.
The museum itself is housed in a colonial building perched over hill top. The gallery also has an exquisite collection of paintings which are the last pieces of the Indian art form, the Pahari miniature art form before the Western form took over. There are dozens of Mughal and Rajasthani miniature paintings. The museum opens daily except on Mondays and public holidays.
Viceregal Lodge & Botanical Gardens : On the Observatory Hills is located Viceregal Lodge. This magnificent building was the residence of the British Viceroy Lord Dufferin. The lodge has now been converted into Indian Institute of Advanced Studies and is further 2-km from State Museum.
The Ridge : The large open space in the heart of town presents excellent view of the mountain ranges.
The Mall : The hub of Simla is the Mall, which runs along the Ridge and is crowded with tourists. It is the city’s most famous shopping center, with shops selling all items, from clothes to junk food. Most of Shimla's landmarks are located here. The Mall further joins the Ridge at the ‘Scandal Point' , where a statue of Lala Lajpat Rai has been erected. This is the main shopping center of Simla with restaurants
Prospect Hill : Crowned by Kamna Devi temple, it is 15-min walk from Boileauganj on Shimla-Bilaspur road.
Glenn : Its about 4 km walk from the Ridge through dense Forests, a sprightly stream flows through the Glen forests a It is a famous picnic spot.
Annandale : Beyond the Glen is Annandale, another picnic spot. The big open ground rarely found in the hills is covered with deodar forests
Elysium Hill : On the road leading through Lakkar Bazaar, houses the famous Auckland House, the former residence of Viceroy Lord Auckland. It is a well-known girls’ school now.
Chadwick Falls : These are the 67 meters high water falls which come streaming down from the Summer Hill. The falls are set amidst thick forest at a height of 1586 meters. The falls are at their best after monsoons. You can go and explore the tracks in the forest on your own, deodar trees line the forest. There are also some old temples close by and a fair is held here in April every year.
Seven hills in Shimla
Shimla is surrounded by seven picturesque hills which are the prime attractions of city tours. These are:
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