Shimla Hill Station
Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and is the most popular and established hill station of Northern India. It is situated at an altitude of 2, 130 m. Shimla (also spelt as 'Simla') derives its name from goddess 'Shayamla Devi', which is another manifestation of Goddess Kali. Shimla was the most important British hill station, prior to India's independence. It provides superb panoramic sights of the valleys, and the lofty peaks of the great Himalayan range, on both sides. The colourful local bazaars of Shimla are sprawled over the southern slopes of the ridge. The capital of Himachal Pradesh came into light when the British discovered it in 1819. Till then, it was a part of the Nepalese kingdom. In 1864 Shimla was declared as the summer capital of India. After Independence, Shimla became the capital of Punjab and was later named the capital of Himachal Pradesh.
The Mall: All visitors to Shimla inevitably walk down the Mall, the main promenade that runs along the top of the ridge - a busy shopping area with old colonial buildings, souvenir shops and restaurants. Narrow cobble-stoned paths wind down to the middle and lower bazaars where tribals from the hills around gather to sell their quaint and colorful artifacts. At the top end of the Mall is the Scandal Point, a large open square with a view of the town - a favourite rendezvous for visitors and the local people.
Rashtrapati Niwas: About 1 km west of the centre of Shimla, on Observatory Hill, Rashtrapati Niwas was formerly the residence of the British Viceroy. The huge, fortress like building has six storeys and magnificent reception and dining halls. Set in beautiful gardens, it now houses the Institute of Advanced Studies.
Viceregal Lodge: It once served as the seat of power, from a hillock west of Shimla. The imposing six-storey edifice, with its manicured gardens is today the institute for advanced studies. It overlooks the Shimla State Museum, which is a treasure trove of Pahari art and sculpture.
St. Micheal's Cathedral: Situated on the Ridge, it is regarded as the second oldest church in north India and is known for its fine stained glass windows.
Annandale: 2 kms below the Ridge in Shimla, is Annandale glade, once the playground of Shimla, where racing, polo and cricket were legendary during the British era. Today, it is still a favourite with fun-loving picnickers, for a leisurely game of cricket or for the more princely game of polo.
Summer Hill: This is a quiet suburb of Shimla, 5 km from the ridge and on the Kalka - Shimla line. Its peaceful environs and secluded walks were endorsed by a personage no less than Gandhiji, who once made this his retreat.
Jakhoo Temple : 2 km east of the city on the Jakhoo Hill is the small Jakhoo Temple. Atop the highest point in Shimla, it keeps the visitors in constant company of the playful monkeys, who inhabit the environs of this Hanuman temple in hundreds.
Chadwick Falls (8 km): At 2149 m this beautiful suberb is surrounded by a thick forest. From here, a track leads down to Sipur which is an exquisite glade shaded by ancient deodar trees. There are old temples on a side and a fair is held here every year in April.
The Glen: About 4 km from Shimla, a sprightly stream flows through a clearing in dense woods. This is The Glen, a popular picnic spot. It is at a height of 1830 mtrs and is very scenic.
Prospect Hill: At a distance of 5 kms from Shimla, this popular picnic spot is a 15 minute climb from Boileauganj. It has imposing views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. From the temple of Kamna Devi, one can catch a glimpse of the toy train threading through the stretch from Tara Devi to Jatogh.
Sankat Mochan: About 7 km from the town of Shimla and at height of 1875 mtrs is the scenic spot of Sankat Mochan, with its Hanuman Temple and a lovely view of Shimla.
Mashobra : Pine and oak woods frame the beautiful retreat of Mashobra, 12 km out of Shimla. Enchanting trails wind through the forest to lovely gardens. Through thick woods, a side road leads to Bekhalty. From the heart of Mashobra, a pedestrian track leads down to Sipur. This is a large and exquisite glade shaded by ancient cedar trees. Streams of cool water gently divide it. The pastoral picture is completed by the temples on the edge. A trek to Shali Peak - the highest in the area, can be made from Mashobra.
Kufri : A little hamlet, just 16 km away from Shimla, offers unparalled views of the countryside and the majestic HImlayan mountains. The Winter Sports capital, Kufri is the focal point of a large number of ski enthusiasts who come here to enjoy the fine ski slopes.
Fagu : 6 kms from Kufri, it is a place of great natural wealth, with its woods, ferns and apple orchards.
Naldehra: 23 km from Shimla, at a height of 2044 mtrs, is a mini golf course (9 holes) which must be one of the most picturesque in the world. The surrounding country, bouncy turf and a grove of deodars which are its crowning glory, caught the eye of Lord Curzon, and the golf course was laid under his personal supervision.
Tattapani: Tattapani is just 28 kms from Naldehra, along a road winding through the scenic countryside. The hot sulphur springs here, are noted for their invigorating and curative powers.
Narkanda : An enchanting 64 km drive from Shimla, brings you to Narkanda, which is a popular skiing resort in winter. It has a choice of ski slopes - a beginner's run and sharper descents for the seasoned foot. Narkanda is well poised to hold out some of the finest views of the inner Himalayas.
Hatu Peak: Rising above forests of spruce, the Hatu peak is a vantage point with spectacular views. An annual fair is also held here .This peak is at a distance of 8 kms from Narkanda.
Baldehan: It is 15 Kms. from Simla on the Shimla - Mashobra - Naldhera golf course road. Here one can experience astounding views of nature. Baldehan is overlooked by snow capped mountains.
Golfing: Nine hole Golf Course at Naldhera, 23 km from Shimla. It is open to all at a nominal green fees. Golf sets, balls and caddies are available on hire. The course is closed from 15th Dec to end Feb.
Fishing: Trout fishing (from March to October)is available at Rohru 110 km from Shimla and at Seema 1 km from Rohru. Mahaseer fishing (throughout the year) is available at Tattapani 43 km from Simla. A license has to be obtained for this.
Skiing: The skiing season generally commences in the first fortnight of January and continues till Mid-March depending upon snow conditions. It can be done at Kufri (16 km from the ridge) and Narkanda (64 km from Shimla) from January to March.
Skating: One can do skating at the ice skating rink below Rivoli Cinema at Shimla from November to February.
- By Air: Shimla airport is 23 kms from the city connected by daily flights from Delhi and Kullu.
- By Rail: Broad-gauge trains run till Kalka, from all the parts of the country. From Kalka onwards, a rail car on narrow gauge takes you to Shimla which offers some fantastic sights. You can also take a bus from Kalka to Shimla.
- By Road: Shimla is connected by road to Chandigarh, Delhi, Dehradun, Kalka, and to many other places as well.