The British empire may have ceased to exit, but its echo lingers on in Shimla (2205m). 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. Today, it has well developed facilities, easy accessibility and numerous attractions making it one of India's most popular hill resort. Situated in the lower ranges of the Himalayan mountains, it is surrounded by pine deodar, oak and rhododendron forests. Towards the north lie the snow-covered high-ranges, while the valleys breathe whispering streams and swaying fields. Within the town are host of splendid colonial edifices, quaint cottages and charming walks. Shimla offers a variety of shopping, sport and entertainment activities
Access : The airport is at Jubbar-Hatti, 23 km away. Shimla is connected to Kalka by an enenchanting narrow gauge railway line where even a quaint rail car ply. By road, Chandigarh is 117 km, Manali is 280 km, Chail is 45 km and Delhi is at a distance of 370 km. From Delhi, Manali and Chandigarh, luxury coaches and taxis ply to Shimla. During tourist season HPTDC also operates regular deluxe buses from Delhi and Manali to Shimla.
Climate : In winter, the temperature can drop below freezing point when heavy woolens are required. Summer temperature are mild and light woolens/cottons are recommended.
Places of Interest
- The Ridge : This large open space in the heart of town presents excellent views of the mountain ranges. Shimla's landmarks - the neo- gothic structure of Christ Church and the neo - Tudor library building - are worth seeing.
- Lakkar Bazar : Popular for its wood crafts and Souvenirs, this is just off the Ridge.
- Jakhoo Hill (2.5 km) : At 2455m, this is the town's highest peak and a famous point for Shimla's famous views. The summit is crowned with a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The hill is full of paths and narrow roads which are enjoyable walks.
- St. Michael's Cathedral : This dressed-stone church with fine stained glass has a cruciform design. It is located just off the Mall, below the District Courts.
- State Museum (3km) : This houses a representative collection of Himachal's rich heritage. Exhibits include archaeological artifacts, carvings, paintings and sculptures. Closed on Monday and holidays.
- Indian Institute of Advanced Study (4 km) : At 1983m, this magnificent English renaissance structure was the former Viceregal Lodge. Its lawns and woodland are added attractions. Entry by ticket ( nominal charge ). A portion of the interior is also open to the public, except on Sundays and holidays.
- The Glen (4 km ) : At 1830m, It is a thickly wooded ravine through which a stream flows. It is a popular picnic spot.
- Annandale (4.5 km) : Surrounded by a thick deodar forest, this large glade has an ancient temple on the edge.
- Prospect Hill and Kamna Devi ( 6 km) : At 2125m and crowned by a temple dedicated to Kamna Devi, the Hill offers spectacular wide views of the city and its environs.
- Sankat Machan (7 km) : This is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman.
- Tara Devi (11 km) : 2044m, A thickly wooded hill with a temple dedicated to Tara Devi.
- Mashobra (12 km) : At 2149m, this beautiful suburb is surrounded by thick forests. From here, a track leads down to Sipur which is an exquisite glade shaded by ancient deodar trees. There are old temples a fair is held every April.
- Kufri (16 km) : At 2501m, this is famous for its wide views and ski slopes. An enjoyable walk leads up to the Mahasu Peak. At Kufri, Himachal Tourism runs Cafe Lalit.
- Fagu (22 km) : At 2510m, Fagu has some enchanting views. Himachal Tourism run Hotel Peach Blossom offers spectacular views.
- Chall (45 km) : This was a former Summer Capital of the Patiala State. The Palace has been converted to a Luxury Hotel by Himachal Tourism.
- Tattapani (51 km) : At 656m, there are hot sulphur springs believed to have medicinal value.
- Sight-Seeing tours : Himachal Tourism conducts a variety of sight-seeing tours from Shimla.