Shimla, popularly known as the “Queen of Hills” or “Simla”’. Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and it is the largest city of Himachal Pradesh. It is the chief commercial, cultural and educational centre of Himachal Pradesh. The Queen of Hills is located in the southwest of the Himalayas with the height of 2206 metres. It is a famous hill station popular among tourists and newly married couples from all over the world.
In the 18th century, the only civilization in Shimla was Jakhoo temple and few houses. Shimla is also known as Simla, named after a Hindu goddess, Shyamala Devi, an epitome of Kaali. In 1806, Shimla was captured by Bhimsen Thapa of Nepal. From 1814-1816, The British East India Company took control of the territory.
In 1832, the first political meeting between the governor-general Lord William Bentinck and the entries of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was held in Shimla. Under British rule in 1864, Shimla was declared as the summer capital of India due to its immense beauty. As summer capital, many political meetings were hosted by Shimla. This includes Simla Accord 1914, Simla Conference 1945 etc.
After that, the town was under Nawab Kumar Ghosal of bally. After Independence, Shimla became the capital of Punjab and then later it became the capital of Himachal Pradesh. In 1830, the city became the centre for theatre art and exhibition.
Shimla, the land of hills, located on the south-western region of Himalayas. Shimla was built on the top of the seven hills. Deodar forest, colonial architecture building & sunset views makes the Shimla popular among tourists.
The capital of Shimla is Himachal Pradesh. Himachal Pradesh is situated in the northern part of India, with the area of 55673 sq. km. Himachal Pradesh is popularly known for its beautiful mountains, rivers, resorts and adventurous activities.
How to Reach Shimla?
Shimla is the most visited and easily accessible city of India. You can visit Shimla via air, road and train.
You can take a flight to Shimla airport, Jubbarhatti which is about 23Km from the city. It is the closest airport to the city. The flights are available from Delhi and Chandigarh.
There are regular flights to Shimla from Delhi and Chandigarh. There are five flights available per week from Delhi. You can book your private cab or local taxi from the Shimla airport to reach your destination. It takes 1 hour and 10min.
Taking a road trip to shimla is a mesmerising idea in itself. You can enjoy the scenes & feel the magic through the journey. The highways are well maintained & well connected to the city. There are three routes you can take by CAR:
The Ambala Route
- It is the smallest route and takes 7-8 hours via NH-44, NH-152 & NH-5.
The Yamunanagar Route
- It takes 10 to 11 hours. Via NH-44 & NH-5.
The Dehradun Route
It takes 12 to 13 hours via NH-334 & NH-7.
Bus services are also available to Shimla from Delhi. National highways, NH-1 and NH-22 lead to Shimla from New Delhi. You can get luxury buses from ISBT Kashmiri gate. The buses started from evening in Delhi and took roughly 8 to 9 hours.
There is no direct train available from Delhi to Shimla. So you can travel from Delhi to Shimla via Delhi – Kalka railway line and then Kalka – Shimla railway line. The Kalka railway station is the nearest railway station connecting Shimla to its neighbouring cities. The distance is 96 km.
Shimla Toy Train
The Shimla toy train was declared as a heritage site in 2007 by the State Government of Himachal Pradesh. In 2008, it was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It gives you a scenic view of deodar trees, whitish mountains, tropical views and what not! It was built in 1903.
This Kalka-Shimla toy train ride will give you the most incredible experience, covering 102 tunnels, 864 bridges, and 919 stunning curves. The train, Kalka-Shatabdi, leaves early in the morning.
When to visit Shimla?
The beauty of Shimla is divine and the weather is always pleasant so you can visit it anytime. But the best time to visit Shimla is from May to June and December to January, when the romance and beauty is at its peak.
If you visit in the month of May, it welcomes you with the clear skies, silvery mountains and lots of deodar greenery. If you plan to go Shimla in January, you can see Shimla blanketed in the snow.
- Summer season- March to June
- Average temperature- 15℃ to 30℃
- Monsoon season- July to September
- Average temperature- 15℃ to 25℃
- Winter season- October to March
- Average temperature- 0℃ to 17℃
Hindi and English are the most spoken languages in Shimla. A sizeable population of the minority does speak Punjabi. Pahari language was also spoken by the native residents of this city.
Fairs and Festivals in Shimla
There are various fairs, festivals and events celebrated in Shimla. The most famous are Shimla summer festival, Ryali festival and Winter Carnival.
Shimla Summer Festival
Shimla Summer Festival is celebrated to give tribute to God for good & bountiful harvest & to welcome the summer season. It is a 5-day carnival in the month of July. Shimla Summer Festival includes soulful musical shows & dance by local folks, various competitions like photography, poster making, fun activities, sports tournaments, art exhibitions makes it exciting.
A flower show is also organized which gives you a delightful experience. For fashionista, It is a must-see event as it has marvellous designs created by local designers. You can see a variety of traditional art & craft. The event has bountiful local talents.
Rhyali festival is celebrated to please the god of rain or rainy season. It is celebrated in July. The ceremony begins by sowing 5 different seeds of crops like wheat. It is done ten days before beginning the festival. People make clay statues of Lord Shiva & Parvati and pray for soil fertility & greenery of fields.
Winter Carnival is similar to the Summer festival. It started to boost tourism in Shimla. In the carnival you can see local handicrafts, handlooms, fashion accessories etc. It usually starts in December.
These festivals & events will undoubtedly leave you with unforgettable experiences.
Stay to prefer in Shimla
Shimla is a very popular tourist spot as it offers greenery, mountains, colonial architecture, Ridges etc. Before visiting Shimla, one should know about the locations which offer delightful views & comfortable staying with easily available transportation. To explore every possible opportunity without wasting much time within minimal budget. Here are some option you should consider while staying in Shimla:
Near the Mall Road or Near the Ridge: You can find Hotel Landmark, Hotel cosmos, Hotel willow bank, Hotel Gold, Hotel Eve, Hotel Mayur, Hotel Holiday Home, Hotel Shingle. These are budget-friendly hotels
- Radisson Jass Shimla Hotel
- Snow valley resorts.
- Hotel Surya
Transportation in Shimla
Local bus services are available from 7 am to 9 pm to all the places in the city. The Buses cover Main bus stand, Chhota Shimla, Kasumpti, Sanjauli, Mehi, Victoria tunnel etc. There is an Interstate Bus Terminal (ISBT) at 4 km away from main city. Daily tourist buses by HPTDC can be booked for sightseeing at the tourist information centre on the Mall road.
Taxis are freely available from all points in Shimla for local travel & sightseeing. You can also book your private cab. You can also book a taxi for entire day or hourly bases.
You can also rent a bike for exploring the queen of hills. It must be around 500 bucks.
Top Places to visit in Shimla
There are many utterly beautiful places in Shimla where you feel to leave your soul forever. These places give you peace & it will fill you with immense happiness.
Here are the places, you shouldn’t miss out when you visit to Shimla:
Heritages of Shimla
The Sacandall Point of Shimla
From this site, you can see wonderful valleys of Shimla. The name of this site originated from a story of Maharaja Patiala that loves British vice loyles’s daughter and they met here.
The General Post Office in Shimla
It is located at the site of scandal point. It is the oldest post office heritage.
Shimla Town Hall
It was the municipal corporation of Shimla during british rule. It shows the glory of british era.
Catholic Church of the Ridge
It is located on the ridge. It was constructed to serve the British people in 1857.
Gaiety Theatre of Shimla
It is located in the middle of the mall road and it is the most popular tourist spot in Shimla. It is designed in gothic victorian style.
Shimla Heritage Museum
It is located near the vicinity of HPTDC. It opened for the visitor from 10 am to 9 pm. This museum contains a glimpse of the british rule.
Gorton Castle in Shimla
It gives you a feel of a fairytale as it is located amongst the dense forest of deodar. The design is non- gothic architecture.
The Railway Board Building
This building is made up of still and cast iron. Located near the mall road.
Combermere Bridge in Shimla
It was constructed at the request of commander in chief of Indian army in 1928.
The Lodge was built in the period of 1884 – 88. The building was based on a new Gothic style.
Holy places of Shimla
Jakhoo Temple is located at the highest peak of Shimla with the height of 8000 feet above the sea level. This temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. People believe that Lord Hanuman rested at this temple for a while on his way searching for Sanjivani Booti for Lakshmana.
Timing: 5 am to 12 pm & then 4 pm to 9 pm.
Kali bari Temple
Kali bari temple is built on the incarnation of goddess Kali. It is located in the Jakhoo hills. This temple is dedicated to Shyamala. Kali bari temple is a well known religious place in India.
Timing: 6 am to 7 pm.
Tara Devi Temple
This temple is build around 250 years back. It is dedicated to goddess Tara Devi. It is situated of the top of the hill.
Timing: 7 am to 7 pm.
It is the second oldest church in North India & the timing is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. . The architecture is neon- Gothic in style.
This temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga. It is located in Saharan at the distance of 180 km from Shimla.
Timing: 6am to 7 pm.
Sankat Mochan Temple
This temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Due to the meditating atmosphere, it brings tourists in abundance.
Timing: 7am to 7 pm.
Natural Attractions of Shimla
Green Valley is located near Kufri in Shimla it is surrounded by hills that are covered with dense forest of deodar & pine. Popular animals like yak can be seen on this site.
The Ridge is located at the centre of Shimla popularly known to deliver some breathtaking views to the mountains.
Mall Road is the centre attraction for tourists in Shimla. It is popular for food items handicraft, wollen, gifts etc.
Kufri is a small hill station in Shimla at 8000 feet above sea level. Environment is pleasant and snow-covered trees can be seen.
It is one of the highest points in the City & people can visit the Jakhoo temple also.
Summer Hill is one of the Seven Hills of Shimla located at a distance of 5 kilometres from the main city.
Annandale is located near the ridge. It is a popular picnic spot with immense greenery.
Shaily Peak is located 20 km away from naldehra, near Mahakali lake. It is a great spot for adventure seekers.
Kiala Forest is located in the valley of Kotkhai. It is a great spot for wildlife enthusiasts.
Chadwick Falls is located 7 km away from Shimla. It is a popular tourist attraction. The waterfall is surrounded by forest & covered with Hills.
Things To Do in Shimla
It is now time to explore the activities you can undertake in the hill station if you’re thinking what to do in Shimla. To save you from the never-ending chaos of narrowing your list, we have prepared a list of most popular things to do in Shimla.
- Rafting at Tattapani
- Ice skating at Circular Road
- Bhoj Fair
- Lavi Fair
- Line Chain Rid
- Trekking at valley
- Go camping in Shimla
- Visit the Shimla Ridge
- Go trekking in Shimla
- Shopping at Mall Road
- Experience the Ride on Toy Train
- Skate at natural Ice Skating Rink
- Visit Chadwick Waterfall
- Witness sunset at Scandal Point
Cuisines to taste in Shimla
Dhaam is a complete meal which contains Dal, rice, rajma, curd, boor ki kadi. It’s very nutritious as well as delicious.
The preparation of sidu is done two hours before making it. The dough is kneaded with yeast powder & serves with dal along with green chutney.
Khatta meat is mutton curry which gives a sour taste. It prepared with amchur.
Aktorii is a pancake made with wheat & buckwheat leaves.
Trout fish is a traditional pahadi fish dish. It is prepared in minimal spices.
Babru is prepared with squeezed dough with black gram paste. It is crispy & delightful dish.
Madra is made up of chana & veggies. It is very popular that you can find it at almost every restaurant, every event & festive.
Anardana Murg is a chicken dish served with anardana which add tanginess to the chicken. It serves with parathas.
Souvenirs to buy in Shimla
Shimla offers a wide variety of things to buy for shopaholics. You can visit the most popular Bazar of Shimla such as Lakkar Bazar, Lower Bazar, Tibetan market, The Mall Road, Himachal Emporium & Mynchy’s.
Let’s see what you can find in these markets.
Lakkar Bazaar is the most famous spot of Shimla known for wooden items. It is located on a narrow road adjoining the ridge. You can get a wide variety of all kinds of all wooden decorative items such as wooden toys, showpieces, baskets, tables, paintings etc.
Lower Bazaar is popularly known as Sabzi Mandi, located near the Mall road. It has to offer everything to you from sabzi to wooden items to other handicrafts. Traditional jewelleries at a cheap price, etc.
Tibetan market is located quite close to the ridge. In this market, you can find Tibetan rugs, carpet, padded jackets, sweaters, bags, shoes etc. at affordable price.
The mall road is the centre of all activities in Shimla. It has authentic cafes, restaurants, theatres. You can find anything of your interest in this place.
Himachal Emporium is the home for locally made handicrafts at reasonable price. You can find famous Himachali hats of Kullu there too.
Minchy is a place that takes you to your childhood. It offers to taste delicious & tangy, sweet jams, preserve, squashes and wines. It converts the fresh fruits into delicious items. They are excellent souvenirs to take home.