Shimla is the capital of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It lies in the Himalayan foothills. Once the summer capital of British India, it remains the terminus of the narrow-gauge Kalka-Shimla Railway, completed in 1903. It’s also known for the handicraft shops that line The Mall, a pedestrian avenue, as well as the Lakkar Bazaar, a market specializing in wooden toys and crafts, are quite famous among the tourists.
Best time to visit Shimla:
Winter season, which lasts from October to February, is also considered the best time to visit Shimla. Snowfall occurs around January, and the entire city is blanketed with pearly-white snow, enhancing the beauty of Shimla. You can enjoy the snow as well as adventure sports like skiing at this time. Some other activities are paragliding, river rafting (during winters) and camping. Avoid the monsoon months because there are frequent landslides happening at this time.
Ways to get to here:
- By air- The nearest airport is in Chandigarh. You can also take the flight to Delhi airport and then take a cab to Shimla.
- By train- Kalka railway station is small and there isn’t connectivity to most of the Indian cities. Shimla to Kalka trains takes 7 hours. Ambala Cantt is the next best station and you can get cabs/buses from here to Shimla which will be a 3 hr drive.
- By bus- Buses are readily available from major neighbouring cities. From Delhi, overnight buses are there (ac and non-ac) and will drop you off at Shimla in around 10 hours. Himachal Road Transport Corporation buses are also plying continuously and are a cheaper option.
- By road- Shimla by car works well when you know the rounds around well and have a lot of travelling to be done in the city. Chandigarh is 117 km, Manali is 260 km and Delhi is 343 km from Shimla.
Places to stay in Shimla:
Some of the homely stays in Shimla are-
- Hotel Woodland
- Hotel Dreamland
- Hotel City View
- Hill; Bloom Hotel
- Hotel Mayur
- Amar Palace
The prices are 2000-8000 rupees per night and rates depend on availability and type of room selected.
Places to Visit in Shimla:
- Chadwick Falls- This place is about 7 km from the main city and during the monsoon season, these falls are a treat to the eye.
- Jakhoo Hill- It is believed to be one of Shimla’s highest points and is famous for the scenic beauty that you get to see from here. There is also a small temple at the top.
- Christ Church- This is near the municipal library and is believed that the fresco was designed by Rudyard Kipling’s father.
- Dorje Drag Monastery- A monastery with the Nyingma tradition. It is famous in Tibetan culture.
- Kufri Fun World- It is an amusement park perfect for a lazy afternoon with the entire family.
- Shimla Water Catchment Sanctuary- This is full of cedar trees and is a must go for all the nature lovers.
Festivals celebrated in Shimla:
Major festivals celebrated here are-
- Bharara Fair- It is held in the first week of May and is celebrated to worship Lord Koteshwar. Goats are sacrificed for him and Natti dance is performed.
- Mahasu Jatar- It is celebrated on the 3rd Tuesday in the month of Baisakh. It is a two-day festival and Goddess Durga is worshipped.
- Rohru Fair- It is celebrated to worship the Pabbar river.
- Lavi Fair- It is celebrated in the month of November. Cereals, clothes and utensils are offered in the prayers.
Things to Eat while in Shimla:
Anything and everything is available in the restaurants here (some international cuisines as well). Some famous restaurants to check out are-
- The Oberoi
- Siver Oak
- The Devicos
- Ashiana and Goofa
- Sher E Punjab
- New Plaza Restaurant
- Wake & Bake Café
Places for shopping in Shimla:
Shimla is perfect to shop all your woollens and wall hangings, for it is famous for the hand-stitched clothes. If you are wondering what some great markets are to buy indigenous stuff from Shimla, here’s where you need to go-
- Ram Bazaar
- Lower Bazaar
- Lakkar Bazaar
- Tibetan Market
- Himachal Emporium
Tips for Shimla:
- Don’t forget to carry windcheater.
- Major languages spoken here are Pahari, Hindi, Punjabi and English.
- Keep emergency contacts always readily available with you. Police: 100, Ambulance: 102, District Control Room: 1077, Tourist Information Office (Shimla) : 0177-2658302, 0177-2652561
- Himachal is known as the fruit bowl of India. So while you are here, make the most of your time and eat as much of fruits as you can. The fruits here are naturally grown and quite tasty. Apples, litchi, strawberries, plums, you name it and Shimla has got them all.
Festival Calendar of Shimla
|Jan||1. Winter Sports Festival, 2. Ice Skating Carnival|
|Feb||1. Winter Sports Festival, 2. Ice Skating Carnival|
|Apr||1.Rohru Fair, 2.Mahasu Jatar|
|May||1. Hemis festival, 2.Bharara Fair, 3. Sipi Fair, 4. Summer Festival|
|Nov||1.Lavi Fair, 2. Bhoj Fair|
|Dec||1. Winter Sports Festival, 2. Ice Skating Carnival|