The hill station of Shimla is an epitome of flawless natural beauty on earth. The resplendence of the snow-clad mountains and the sun setting behind just takes your breath away. The majestic beauty of these hills has always allured thousands of tourists from around the world. There are many places to visit in Shimla that will make you fall in love with the place.
Once a small hill station that was transformed into a sophisticated summer getaway for the British officers during the colonial era, Shimla offers ample opportunities to the tourists for a memorable holiday, be it with friends, family or your beloved better half. It has many calm and pleasant destinations worthy of a romantic vacation.
Places to visit in Shimla
There can be nothing more romantic than a simple walk along the hilly track with a scenic Himalayan vista. There are also many opportunities for thrill and excitement through various adventure sports. You can try trekking with your friends or even alone, if you’re on a solo trip.
There are also a number of spots of religious significance here, like the temples of Dhanu Devta, Kamna Devi, Tara Devi and the temple of Hanuman, the monkey-God, locally known as Jakhu. Owing to its colonial heritage, one would also find quite a dew Anglican churches built by the British, replicating the architecture of the traditional Elizabethan style.
Reasons to visit Shimla
If you are up for some trekking excitement, Shimla is the place to go for it. This small town has got ample opportunities for trekking tours. Be it to the Dhanu Devta or the Kamna Devi temple. Another place to see in Shimla, while on a trekking tour would be the Chadwick falls. Jakhu Temple is also a good place to go for a hike while in Shimla. But the best trekking expedition would have to be to Tara Devi. This place is a popular trekking destination for the locals as well as the tourists looking for places to visit in Shimla.
If you want to go the outskirts, you can go trekking to the Kuppar Bugyal. There are many organized trekking trails at certain times of the year from Shimla to Banjar via the Jalori Pass, or from Shimla to Chakrata. You can also choose round trekking tours between from Shimla and Sungri. There are also other options like the Bashleo Pass and the Buran gGati. These trekking trips can offer a vivid and lively feel of the hilly Himalayan tracks and the heavenly air of the mountains.
A Shopper’s Paradise
Yes, of course! One of the most popular destinations in North India would have to have a nice offering for the shopaholics. Whether you are out shopping for souvenirs or just searching for some tribal handicrafts, even handmade wooden furniture for your home! Shimla has got everything for you.
Hosting one of the busiest markets in the area, the Mall Road is a must-visit point if you’re looking for good deals. There are also lines of stalls selling off hand-knit woolens and tonnes of other local products. It showcases some of the best quality Pashmina shawls and also the more exotic Tibetan carpets. Another place to see in Shimla is the Tibetan market. This one’s just like a little Tibet housed in Shimla. It displays some of the most ethnic Tibetan artifacts, the hand-crafted articles woven and dyed by local Tibetan artisans.
If you have a fetish for the interior decors of your home, then one of the most important places to visit in Shimla would be the Lakkar Bazaar. This one has the most exquisite collection of wooden tables, handcrafted by local craftsmen from Shimla. These tables boast of the most detailed and skilled craftsmanship which is sure to lure you.
While sightseeing in Shimla, you can also stop by the Government Emporium to buy some of those signatures Shimla hats. These hats are a trademark of the traditional attire of Himachali mountain folk, which also make great souvenirs. You can also check out the traditional bead jewelry from the Lakkar Bazaar. They mostly contain necklaces and earrings made out of colorful beads and traditional stones. So, don’t miss strolling down the local markets, picking out the colorful items while you go sightseeing in Shimla.
A Foodie’s Heaven!
If you’re looking for a break from all the shopping, there are plentiful places to stop for some freshly brewed coffee and delightful munchies on Mall Road. Wake & Bake, Hideout Cafe and Krishna Bakery are just some of the many popular food joints in the locality. These places serve some of the best coffee and snacks in town. Another place, also at the Mall Road, which definitely deserves a mention in the list is the Kewal ka Dhaba. The place gives you some serious British vibes. Their most sought after items would have to be the amazing tea they serve and the very famous butter buns.
If you are up for some street food, you have to visit the Biharilal Sharma stall at the Jakhu oRad. This place, just at the entrance to the Jakhu, has been serving street fruit chats since 1948. If you are out sightseeing in Shimla and end up at Lakkar Bazaar, you can try out The Sitaram & sons’ for some chole–bhatures or naans and kulchas. For all the vegetarians out there, there is the famed Guptajees Vaishnav Bhojanalaya serving you delicious vegetarian food at very reasonable prices.
The Heritage Pride
Heritage walks across Shimla would transport you to a bygone era. With churches, cathedrals, streets lined by lamposts reminiscent of a rich colonial heritage, you can explore the town on foot and witness it for what it truly is.
You can start your walk from the Anglican Church, an old church giving you a nice vibe of British traditional architecture. Walking ahead, along with the cedar trees and buildings in ancient British styles, you would reach a temple called as the Kalibari. You can walk on to the Fingask estate which is just lined with modern buildings and houses.
Moving further, you reach Northbank, a beautiful building that once served as the residence of the author Rudyard Kipling, the author of Jungle Book. Ahead of it, you would reach the Kaithu which has lines of simple houses. This is mainly the area where the locals reside. From there, you can walk ahead to reach your final spot, the Annadale Ground, a plateau, perhaps the only one in entire Shimla.
You can follow another route for sightseeing in Shimla, that is, through the Christ Church and the Jakhu hill into the Ballyhack Estate. Going further, you come to the Town Hall, the GPO, the Convent of Jesus & Mary and the Governor’s House. Further, you would see the Woodville Palace, the Cemetery, and the Cedar Lodge. Finally, you come to the well-known Mall area. Initially, it would be still and silent and you would notice a waterfall called as the “churail baoli.”
Walking a little further, you come across the busy street of the Mall Road and you experience the hustle and bustle of Shimla town. You can walk on further to the Chalet of Sima, an amazing piece of architecture in pure Swiss style, built during the British colonial era. Just a little farther from it is the Combermere Bridge, built by the British officer, Lord Combermere.
These walks would be around 7-8 km in length and would require an entire day. Taking these heritage walks could be an enjoyable way for sight-seeing in Shimla.
The Jakhu is one of the main places of religious significance in Shimla. It is a temple atop a hill, away from the hustle and bustle of the main city. This temple is dedicated to the monkey lord Hanuman. And rightly so, because you would find quite a few monkeys dominating the towering trees around!
There is every chance that the pedestrians to the temple would be attacked by the monkeys. It is very much advisable to carry sticks with you while on the way to the Jakhu temple. While some find the antics of these monkeys amusing, others might not. The menace is such that you also have the option of renting sticks from the shops around the temple. Jakhu is a great place for a peaceful break in the hills while sightseeing.
This is one of the major places to visit in Shimla. It is basically a broad road that is closed to vehicular traffic. Enjoy a stroll down the Ridge with a view of the mountains in the beautiful weather. The ridge-like stretch connects the Jakhu hill on the east to the Observatory Hill on the west. The road is flanked by numerous buildings and houses reminiscent of the British era. The Ridge comes to an end at the Scandal Point, another important place to see in Shimla.
The Kalka – Shimla railway
The historic Kalka-Shimla railway is a must-have fun ride for all the tourists to Shimla. The narrow gauge railway line was built during the British colonial era. The train from Kalka to Shimla “the Himalayan Queen” gives you picturesque views of the Himalayan foothill ranges as you go up the Shivalik, where a breathtaking vista of Shimla awaits.
The beautiful weather
Shimla is blessed with a very pleasant climate. It is predominantly cool throughout the year, with the temperatures rising a bit during summer. Nothing as bad as the scorching heat of the polluted city, though. And if you want to enjoy snowfall, the best time to visit Shimla would be in the winter. Snow apart, Winter also happens to be the time when the sheer charm of the hill station comes alive, especially around the time of Christmas and New Year.
Shimla witnesses heavy rainfall during this time as the pristine view of the snow-clad mountains enhances the serenity of Shimla. Maybe this was the reason why British chose this hill-station to develop as one of their own.
This neo-Gothic styled church in Shimla and one of the oldest ones in India stands on the Ridge, the road devoid of traffic connecting the two major hill ranges on the eastern and western sides of the town.
This church was built during the British colonial era, showcasing the grandeur of the Elizabethan style of architecture. This church was mainly built to serve the Anglo-British community, largely based in Shimla.
This is a small picturesque hill lying just outside the main town area. Situated just at a few kilometers’ distance from the Ridge, the serenity of the hill and the dense woods of alpine trees is sure to soothe your senses. It also stands in the way of the Kalka-Shimla railway line, the narrow gauge where the famous toy train of Himachal “the Himalayan Queen” runs.
The Summer Hill has also seen a lot of historical events on the event of India’s struggle for independence. It was the place where Mahatma Gandhi resided during one of his Shimla visits. The Shimla Hill also has the privilege of being the residence of the famous Indian painter Amrita Shergill.
The Shimla Glen is a reserved forest in Shimla, surrounded by dense forests of oak, cedar, deodar and pine trees. It houses much rare flora and fauna. A variety of birds flocks the forest during some parts of the year. There are also many wild animals in the forest for which it is advisable not to visit the forest at night.
But during daylight, the Shimla Glen is the place to be. The addictive quietude only interrupted by the sounds of nature is an experience that can only enrich your holiday with serenity. Owing to the natural beauty of this hill station, tourists flock to this place all throughout the year.