Shimla, the beautiful hill station is the capital of Himachal Pradesh. This place which is also known as ‘The Summer Refuge’ and 'Queen of Hill Stations' is perched at an elevation of 2202 m above sea level. The present Shimla District was formed in the year 1972. The place derived its name from 'Shyamala' another name of Goddess Kali. Jakhu, Prospect, Observatory, Elysium, and Summer are the important hills of the place. The place was declared as the summer capital of British India in the year 1864. It served as the capital of Punjab after independence. Later on, Shimla became the capital of Himachal Pradesh.
Tourist places in and around Shimla
Himalayan Aviary offers an opportunity to see various species of birds including the state bird, Monal. An ideal picnic spot, Glenn is located 4 km away from the Ridge. This is a beautiful site with a captivating stream and greenery. Tourists can also go for a picnic at Annandale. During the British reign, racing, polo and cricket were played in this open space. The historic toy train journey was initiated in the year 1903 by Lord Curzon. This journey offers an opportunity to cross 96 km through beautiful valleys and mountains.
Solan Brewery, Darlaghat, Scandal Point, Kamna Devi Temple, Jakhu Hill and Gurkha Gate are popular tourist attractions of the place. The Himachal State Museum & Library exhibits Pahari miniature, Mughal, Rajasthani and contemporary paintings. Various bronze artefacts, photographs, philatelic, anthropological items can also be seen here. Shimla offers exclusive shopping opportunities to visitors. Shopping areas like the Mall, Lower Bazaar and the Lakkar Bazaar are famous for unique wooden crafts and souvenirs.
This picturesque hill station offers various tourist attractions. Tourists can enjoy breathtaking views of the mountain ranges from the Ridge, a wide open area connected to the Lakkar Bazaar and the Scandal Point. The Jakhu Temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and is situated at an altitude of 8048 ft above sea level. The beautiful Christ Church, designed by Colonel J. T. Boileau is adorned with stained glasses and overlooks the Ridge.
Dorje Drak Monastery belonging to the Nyingma tradition exhibits Tibetan Buddhist culture. On the other hand, the Kali Bari Temple, dedicated to the goddess Kali is visited by numerous devotees around the year. Hindu festivals like Diwali, Navratri and Durga Puja are celebrated in this shrine with pomp and joy. Devotees can also visit the Sankat Mochan Temple, which is situated at an altitude of 1975 m above sea level. This temple was constructed in the year 1966and is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The different complexes of the temple are enshrined with various Hindu deities.
Beautiful colonial structures
Shimla is famous for various colonial heritage buildings, which represent the British architectural style. The Rothney Castle is one of such buildings, which was the residence of Allan Octavian Hume. Tourists can also see the Manorville Mansion, where Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Maulana Azad stayed during a meeting with Lord Wavell in the year 1945 to discuss the issue of independence. Another attractive heritage building is the Town Hall, constructed in 1910. Currently, this building houses the office of the Municipal Corporation office of Shimla. The Viceregal Lodge, also known as the Rashtrapati Niwas was built in 1888. It is a six-storey building encircled by well maintained lawns and gardens. The Indian Institute of Advanced Study is presently located in this building. The Renaissance architectural style of this building makes it an attractive tourist hotspot of Shimla.
The Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex representing the Gothic Victorian architectural style was designed by Henry Irwin. This building complex offers an opportunity to see a huge collection of conventional and modern artworks to visitors. The building houses a conference hall and an old theatre. Woodville was the residence of General Sir William Rose Mansfield. He served as the commander-in-chief in colonial India. This building was converted to a heritage hotel in 1977. The Gorton Castle and the Railway Board Building are also colonial architectural marvels of Shimla.
Tourist activities in Shimla
Shimla is renowned for the biggest ice-skating rink in India. During winter, the ground is covered with natural snow, and that is the time when skating is best enjoyed (December-February). Trekking is also very popular here. Places like Junga, Chail, Churdhar, Shali Peak, Hatu Peak, and Kullu are connected by various routes to Shimla. Tourists can explore Naldehra and Salogra by mountain biking from the destination. Rivers like rivers are Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Jhelum provide rafting opportunity to visitors.
Shimla enjoys a comfortable climate throughout the year, making it a year-round destination.
How to reach Shimla
Shimla is well connected by chief modes of transportation, namely air, road and rail. The Jubbarhatti Airport is the closest airbase to the place. There are frequent flights from Indira Gandhi International Airport to this airbase. Tourists can also reach the destination from the Kalka Railway Station. Besides, buses from major neighbouring cities are available to Shimla. The winter season is the best time to enjoy skiing and ice skating, whereas summers are considered ideal for sightseeing and trekking.