Blessed with a vast treasure of natural bounties, Shimla the state capital of Himachal Pradesh is an ideal holiday resort for those seeking a respite from the excruciating heat of Indian summers. Located on the slopes of lower Himalayas, surrounded by green hills with snow-capped peaks, and magnificently robed in dense forests of oak, pine, fur and rhododendron, Shimla is today one of the most sought after hill stations.
Spread across 12 kms along a ridge that overlooks terraced hillsides and cultivations, this queen among the hill stations in itself is a very small town. In the central part of the town is the famous Mall, which almost divides the city in two parts. The Ridge is the main hub of activity where all tourists flock to spend their leisurely time. A stroll in the evening on the mall too, has a pleasure of its own.
Jakhoo Hill, Glen, Summer Hill, Chadwick Falls, Navbahar, Sanket Mochen, Tara Devi Temple, Institute of Advance Studies, the Tibetan Monastery and Dhengu Mata Temple which is a 5 kms drive from Shimla, are the chief sight seeing attractions for a casual tourist. On the Observatory Hills is located Viceregal Lodge, which is also, called Rashtrapati Niwas. Close to the Viceregal lodge is the Himalayan Aviary or the Himalayan Bird Park. This park has a very good collection of birds found in Himachal.
A pony can be hired from the ridge to other places in Shimla. While from the busy Cart Road a lift has been provided to the eastern Mall road. This lift carries people from lower to upper Shimla. Unnamed and steep lanes and steps connect the rest of Shimla.
A stay in Shimla cannot be marked by a single dull moment. If tired of sightseeing, you can try your hands at a whole range of adventure sports from Skiing and Trekking to Fishing or Golfing. Trout fishing is available at Rohru, 110 km from Shimla and at Seema 1 km from Rohru. Mahaseer fishing is available at Tattapani, a place 43 km from Shimla. For golf lovers, Shimla offers nine hole Golf Course at Naldhera. But if skiing happens to be your first love, then instead of summers it is best to schedule your visit anytime between first fortnight of January to Mid-March, depending upon snow conditions. The Shimla-Kinnaur region, with Shimla to Kulu via Jaloni Pass (66 kms), Shimla to Kulu via Bashleo Pass (56 kms), and Sarahen to Sangla, offers some of the most exciting trekking opportunities.
There is something for a compulsive shopper too. The Mall has good garment and woollen material shops, which are all brought from Ludhiana and adjoining places. The State emporium on the Mall offers many handicrafts and handloom items, which are made by the artisans of Himachal. Lakkar Bazaar is famous for items made from soft wood found in the region.
The best season to visit Shimla is between April and August. The summers are marked by rainfalls and it is preferable to avoid the rains. The maximum temperature here rarely crosses 25 degrees during summers, but the nights of summers are cool and light warm cloths are required.
Shimla, as a hill station has all the facilities required for tourists but these can be very expensive particularly during the peak season. Another word of warning is its crowdedness. During the peak seasons it attracts tourists in huge number, so for those seeking a quiet getaway, places near Shimla like Mashobra, Kufri, Naldehra, could be the secluded retreat, and the right choice too. These places also offer excellent trekking and angling facilities.
How to reach?
The Jubbarhatti airport is 23 kms from Shimla. Major domestic airlines cater their services to Shimla. The flights are mainly from Delhi. Shimla is connected by a narrow gauge railway line with Kalka (90 kms), which in turn is connected with the major cities in India. Roads connect this capital city of Himachal with other places in the state as well as other major towns and cities. There is regular bus service from Delhi and Chandigarh. Ordinary, semi deluxe, deluxe and AC coaches are available for Shimla. One can also cross over to Leh and Ladhak via Rohtang pass from here. Local transportation is very good, with taxies and buses available for the nearby places.
However it is best to travel here on the slow train from Kalka. The train cruises its way through valleys and beautiful landscapes at a very slow pace making the journey very pleasant.
For further information contact:
- Ashina Regency (91)-(177)-222472/222658
- East Bourne Resorts (91)-(177)-223669/70/71
- Gulmarg Hotel (91)-(177)-253168/255454/256968/20311169
- Alpine Heritage Inn (91)-(177)-213452
- Asia The Dawn (91)-(177)-231162/231163
- Bridge View Hotel (91)-(177)-6131/78537
- Hotel Chanakya (91)-(177)-3338/4465/211232
- Kufri Holiday Resort (91)-(177)-280300/280341/280343
- Director, Department of Tourism & Civil Aviation,
Govt. of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla- 171 001,
Tel: (0177) 203346, 3517. Fax: 203346.
- Tourist Information Centre,
Government of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla- 171 001,
Tel: (0177) 4589.
- Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation Limited (H.P.T.D.C.),
Marketing Office, The Mall, Shimla- 171 001,
Tel: (0177) 78302, 78311. Fax: (0177) 212591.