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<< Indian Himalayas << Himalayan Destinations >> <<Himachal Pradesh Travel >> << Shimla>>

Tourist Destination Shimla

About Shimla  - 

Shimla was once par of the Nepalease king-dom and called Shyamla, another name for the goddess Kali, but Shimla never gained any fame until it was 'discovered' by the British in 1819.  Three years later, the first 'British' house was erected, and in 1864 Shimla became the summer capital of India.  Shimla is the State Capital of Himachal Pradesh, with its population around 1.6 lacs (Shimla town). It was the Summer Capital of India under the British rule. Shimla has witnessed many important historical events, such as the famous Shimla Pact between India & Pakistan, which was signed here. The place is also famous for its natural beauty, architectural buildings, wooden crafts and apples.

Shimla is magnificently robed in dense forests of oak and pine, fur and rhododendron, and it is best to travel here on the slow train from Kalka. Shimla also is a convenient base for variety of adventure sports such as Skiing, Trekking, Fishing and Golfing etc.

How to reach there  -

The airport is at Jubbarhatti, 23km away. Shimla is connected to Kalka by an enchanting narrow gauge railway line- where even a quaint rail-car plays.
By road, Chandigarh is 117 km Manali is 280km, chali is 45km and Delhi is at a distance of 370km. From Delhi, the driving time is about eight hours from Delhi, Manali and Chandigarh, luxury coaches and taxis ply to shimla.

Places to Interest in Shimla -

Himachal State Museum & Library

About 2.5km west of Scandal Point, the state museum has a good collection of statues, miniatures, coins, photos and other items from around Himachal Pradesh and is worth a visit.  Entry to the museum is free and it's open daily 10 am to 5 pm (closed Monday and public holidays). Photography is strictly prohibited.

Jakhu Temple

Dedicated to the monkey god, Hanuman, Jakhu Temple is east of the town centre near the highest point of the Shimla ridge (2455m). It offers a fine view over the surounding valleys out to the snow capped peaks, and over Shimla itself.  Appropriately, there are many monkeys around the temple.  It's a steep 45 minute walk from Scandal Point.

Viceregal Lodge & Botanical Gardens

The Viceregal Lodge, also known as Rashtrapati Niwas, was formerly the residence of the British Viceroy Lord Dufferin, and is where many decisions affecting the destiny of the subcontinent were made.  Incredibly, every brick of the six storey building was transported by mule (the railway wasn't built at that stage).  The lodge was eventually finished in 1888. There's magnificent lawns, botanical gardens and a small cafe; the lodge also houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. The lodge is a pleasant 2km walk west of the museum - 4.5km from Scandal Point. It's open 9 am to 8:30 pm daily in summer, but closes a little earlier the rest of the year.

Christ Church & St. Michael's Cathedral

The second oldest church in northern India (the oldest is in Ambala), Christ Church was built between 1846 and 1857.  The clocks were added three years later, but none of them now work.  The church is one of Shimla's major landmarks and is renowned for its stained glass windows.  You can discreetly have a look inside the church, or attend English-language service every Sunday morning during the tourist season.

Excursions from Shimla

The excursions around Shimla are equally interesting experience as they unveil to you the glory of the Raj era. You can arrange a tour to the oldest and highest golf course in India and to the world's highest cricket ground. For the religious minded, the ancient temples around the Shimla are worth a visit. Naldhera is a small but pleasant town, which houses the highest golf course in the country. Tattapani is known for its hot water springs. Wildflower Hall is the former residence of British Commander-in-Chief Kitchener, now run as a hotel.

Mashobra is a small village surrounded by thick forests and offers pleasant walks. Craignano is a beautiful picnic spot with a rest house on the hilltop. Kufri is a great place to enjoy its sylvan atmosphere and go for some adventure sports like hiking and trekking. Chail is a lush green town formerly capital of the Maharaja of Patiala.

East of Shimla - Chail & Kufri

Kufri (2510m) is a nondescript little village, but the nearby countryside offers some good hiking, including a hike to nearby Mahasu peak. Hrses can be hired for trips around the valleys and hills. The Himalayan National Park has a collection of animals and birds unique to Himachal Pradesh, but you won't seemuch unless youhave your own vehicle or you're on a tour.

The region around Shimla including Kufri was once a part of the Kingdom of Nepal. This region remained obscure from the rest of the world until the British 'discovered' it in 1819. The British made Shimla their summer capital in 1864 and it remained so until 1939. As Shimla gained importance, Kufri also began to be recognized as an important place to visit near Shimla. An annual winter sports festival is organized every year in the month of February in Kufri. Skiing enthusiasts and adventure seekers participate in this festival.

Chail has lobely walks and trails that meander through the dense pine forests - the home of barking deer, wild boar, pheasant and a variety of birds. Forest rest houses make overnight halts possible. For those interested in sports, Chail has fine tennis and squash courts and a putting green. There are excellent spots along the River Gaura with opportunities for anglers to tangle with the Himalayan mahaseer. Chail has also the highest cricket ground in the world - 2,250 m above sea level.

Nearby Travel Destinations, From Shimla -  Himachal Pradesh

Shimla

Take a trip on the toy train to experience the decrepit grandeur of the the Raj in this pleasant hill station. Shimla was once par of the Nepalease king-dom and called Shyamla, another name for the goddess Kali, but Shimla never gained any fame until it was 'discovered' by the British in 1819.  Three years later, the first 'British' house was erected, and in 1864 Shimla became the summer capital of India.

McLeod Gunj or Dharamshala

Home of the Dalai Lama, this is the place to head for Tibetan culture (and chocolate cake). While Dharamshala is synonymous with the Tibetan Government in Exile, the actual headquarters is about 4km above Dharamshala at.....

Kullu Valley

Scenically pretty valley and adventure playground. Kullu was once known as Kullanthapitha - the end of the habitable world. Beyond rose the forbidding heights of the Greater Himalaya, and by the banks of the shining river Beas, lay the fabled Silver Valley.

Chamba

A beautiful town with ancient Hindu temples hidden in winding backstreets. Situated in the bosom of the middle Himalaya, Chamba has preserved its identity inviolate through a period when the plains of India were ravaged by fanatical hoarders from Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Manali

Manali situated in the north Indian hill state of Himachal Pradesh. Situated at the Northern end of the Kullu valley with its spectacular views of the snowcapped peaks and wooded slopes, the Beas rushing along its rocky course amid grassy wild flowered meadows, is ideal for honeymooners and adventure sport lovers.

Sarchu

The picturesque town of Sarchu is located at the height of 4253 meters and 105 km from keylong. This is the last point on the Himachal Pradesh - Ladakh border that offers splendid views of snow capped mountains. The unspoiled natural beauty of Sarchu offers a perfect ambience to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

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