Known as the Queen of Hill Stations, Shimla became the summer capital of the British Raj during the latter half of the 19th century when the soldiers of the British army, merchants and civil servants moved up here to get relief from the scorching heat of the plains.Shimla derives its name from "Shyamala";- the goddess Kali, whose temple existed in the dense forest that covered Jakhu Hill in the early 19th century. The English named it Shimla. Located at an average height of 2,200 meter, Shimla is unique with its unparalleled glittering beauty.
Set in the midst of impressive hills and dense jungles this hill town has its own charm. Its elegant streets, plummeting torrents and salubrious climate make it a thriving hotspot for honeymooners. Shimla is also the kick off point for the rest of Himachal, with well-knit roads and tourists should also include Manali tour package when in Shimla.
This erstwhile Nepalese state Syamala, gained prominence as the most sought after hill station under the auspices of the progressive British officers who had acquired its control in the year 1819. The snow-capped mountains, quaint surroundings and the mighty formations of Victorian style that dot the city, reverberates the colonial texture of the city.
PLACES TO VISIT
The Mall Road:
Located at the heart of the town, the Mall Road in Shimla is one of the busiest commercial areas of this place. Built by the British during the colonial rule in India, the Mall Road is a popular promenade as no vehicular traffic is permitted. The Gaiety Theatre has pride of place on the Mall Road.
The Ridge is the hub of all cultural activities of Shimla. It is situated along the Mall Road, which is the famous shopping center of Shimla. Most major places of Shimla like Lakkar Bazaar, Mall, Scandal Point, Jakhoo hill, etc. are connected through the Ridge. The most famous landmark of the Ridge is the Christ Church. This beautiful building is constructed in Neo-Gothic style of architecture.
2 kms. from Shimla, at a height of 8000 ft, Jakhu Hill is the highest peak and offers a beautiful view of the town and of the snow-covered Himalayas. At the top of the Hill, is an old temple of Hanuman, which is also the home of countless playful monkeys waiting to be fed by all visitors.
Shimla State Museum:
The Museum, which was opened in 1974 to project the cultural wealth of the state. There is a collection of miniature Pahari paintings, sculptures, bronzes wood-carvings and also costumes, textiles and jewelery of the region.
Indian Institute of Advance Studies:
Housed in the magnificent Viceregal Lodge, built in 1884-88 during the British times, the Institute has spacious gardens and is ringed by beautiful pine trees
Situated at a distance of 5 kms. from the Ridge is the lovely township of Summer Hill at a height of 6,500 ft. on the Shimla-Kalka railway line. Mahatma Gandhi lived in these quiet surroundings during his visits to Shimla. The Himachal Pradesh University is situated here.
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.
11kms. from the Shimla bus-stand. Tara Devi has a temple dedicated to the goddess of stars on top of the hill. There is a military Dairy Town here as well as the headquarters of Bharat Scouts and Guides. At a height of 6,070 ft. Tara Devi is an ideal place for a person wanting peace and some rest.
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.
13 kms. away from Shimla, Mashobra has several excellent picnic spots. Mashobra is the site of the annual Sipi fair in June. The nearest rest house is at Craignano which is 3 kms. from Mashobra, and is a beautiful holiday resort.
16 kms. from Shimla at a height of 8,600 ft. Kufri is the winter sports capital. During winter, visitors have the facility for skiing. The skiing season is at its best during January and February. Equipment for skiing is available from HPTDC winter sports club at Kufri. Apart from skiing, Kufri is a lovely picnic spot with a beautiful view of the hills around and the snowy peaks. There is also a zoo that delights children.
22 kms. from Shimla and surrounded by beautiful deodar trees. Naldehra has a well kept nine-hole golf-course. It is a lovely, popular picnic spot.
Chail is a little mountainous heaven 45 kms. from Shimla. It was the summer capital of the Maharaja of Patiala before Independence. The forests near Chail have many species of birds and deer. Chail is also known for its cricket pitch which is the highest cricket ground in the world.
HOW TO GET HERE
Shimla has its own airport that offers connections for Delhi and Kullu. The Jubbarhatti airport is 23-km from Shimla and major domestic airlines cater their services from here to Shimla. One can catch direct flights from Delhi. Chandigarh also well connected with Delhi by many domestic flights, and is the gateway to Shimla.
Access to Shimla by road is made possible by the well-maintained and efficient network of roadways and National Highway 22 that links the town with Chandigarh. The transport system within the town is also good and bus or private vehicles can be used to travel from one part of the town to another.
Shimla has a meter gauge railway station. It connects to the nearest broad gauge station at Kalka, which is at a distance of 89 km from Shilmla. Kalka has good connectivity from Chandigarh (Kalka Shatabdi), Ambala (Barmer Klk Exp), Delhi (Himalayan Queen), Mumbai (Paschim Express) and Kolkata (Howrah-Kalka). There are no direct trains from Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. Taxi services are available from Kalka to Shimla and charge is about Rs 1,750. Kalka is well connected to all major cities in India by rail.