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Shimla | Ultimate Travel Guide: Explore The Queen of Hills

Riti Paul 

Shimla is a beautiful hill station with its endless beauty and very peaceful atmosphere, which is nestled away in the center of the beautiful Himalayas. Known by its previous name, “ Simla, this beautiful location was the summertime capital of British India during the period of colonization. Its natural beauty, colonial structure and rich heritage of culture keep running to attract tourists today.
Shimla, the beautiful hill station is located in the state of H.P. (Himachal Pradesh) in the northern side of India. The elevation of Shimla is 2,205 meters above sea level. The town is a preferred destination for nature lovers , adventure seekers and honeymooners also. Its peaceful temperature, plentiful greenery and stunning view of snow covered mountains attract a huge amount of tourists.

Why is Shimla famous For

  •  Historical Importance :The most beautiful hill station of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla has got its name from Hindu goddess Shyamala Devi. The city is also renowned as the Queen of hills in India. The old architecture made by the British attracts tourists from different places across the globe. Apart from the historic architecture, tourists also can find various religious places like Jakhoo temple and many more that have historical importance. In addition the British viceroys have selected Shimla as a summer capital of India because of excessive heat and humidity in different parts of the country.  
  • Adventurous Activity : Shimla is a perfect destination for honeymooners because of the good ambience as well as natural beauty. During winter the government and administration of Shimla organize a winter carnival for everyone that contains some of the famous adventurous activities like ice skating, snowball fights and many more. Apart from this, In Shimla, River rafting is one of the most famous activities among youngsters  Paragliding also provides thrilling as well as exuberant activities that a tourist can avail during their stay in valleys. In addition, Shimla is known for its paramount beauty and snow-capped mountain at the far side.

How to reach Shimla

By Air

The nearest Airport of Shimla is Jubbarhatti Airport Which is located 23 kilometers approx. from Shimla. This airport has limited connectivity and is mostly used for domestic flights. This airport has no commercial flight services due to high altitude. The next nearest airport is Chandigarh which is 115 kilometers from Shimla. Most of the tourists use this airport (Chandigarh) to reach Shimla.

By Train

Kalka railway station is the nearest railway station to reach Shimla . The Kalka railway station is well connected to Delhi , Kolkata and Mumbai. From New Delhi Railway Station to Kalka Railway Station will be reached by The Kalka Shatabdi Express which takes near about 5-6 hours . You can also travel to the UNESCO world Heritage Site Kalka-Shimla railway which provides a beautiful journey through the hills.

By Road

  • From Delhi: Shimla is about 150 kilometers from Delhi by road to cover this 150 km distance takes 7-8 hours. You can drive by car or take a taxi.
  • From Chandigarh: Shimla is about 120 kilometers from Chandigarh. Many tourists are coming from Chandigarh . They can easily hire a car or taxi to reach Shimla; it takes approximately 3-4 hours by road. Chandigarh to Shimla by road is the best route for tourists. Many tourists follow this route to reach the destination.

Best Places to Visit in Shimla

Shimla, the winter capital city of  Himachal Pradesh, is famous for its beautiful landscapes, colonial buildings, and dynamic culture. Here are the top five places to visit in Shimla:

  • Christ Church: Christ Church is located on the ridge. This church is one of the most beautiful and oldest churches in the northern side of India. This church is set up in the Neo-gothic style. The Church is well decorated with glass windows,wooden pews and also provides a scenic ambience.
  • Shri Jakhoo Temple: Shri Jakhoo temple is dedicated to lord Hanuman and has a good mythological significance. The temple is situated in Jakhoo hill, which is Shimla’s highest peak ( 8054 ft). 
  • Shimla Mall road: Mall road is one of the busiest spots in Shimla. Mall road is bound with different types of shops like woolen garments shop , food stall , cafe and boutiques. Tourists can enjoy the colonial architecture by walking the mall road. 
  • Scandal Point: This point is located in western edge of Shimla, where the Mall road joins the reach road on western side. The famous story behind the spot was that the maharaja of Patiala, Bhupendra Singh ran off with the British viceroy’s daughter in 1892.
  • Viceregal Lodge: The construction was done by Lord Dufferin during the period of 1888 and it was designed by British architect Henry Irwin. The place attracts tourists because of colonial Vibes and historical buildings maintained by the Indian government built during the British era. Apart from this, the area is surrounded by a lush green botanical garden and the presence of an indoor tennis court. 
  • Kufri: Kufri is a little town near Shimla City situated at a height of 8607 ft. The place provides the best panoramic view of snow capped mountains and reaches with natural beauty. 
  • Shimla water catchment wildlife sanctuary:  The area is located at 9 km distance from Shimla railway station and also is situated on the eastern exit of the Hindustan Tibet road in Shimla. The place covers an area of approximately 10.25 square kilometers with a variety of species like leopard, Musk deer, Kashmir flying squirrel, Indian sambar and many more. The wildlife sanctuary is also famous for providing a major source of water supply to the beauty queen of Himachal Pradesh. The timing to visit the sanctuary is from Tuesday to Sunday between 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the entry charges are 25 rupees per person and rupees 50 for the camera. In addition, the area provides forest rest houses to the tourists for 2 hours at 250 per person.

Best Time to Visit Shimla

The best time to visit Shimla, a beautiful hill station, mainly depends on tourists’ preferences and activities they want to do. Shimla travel guide present the best tour experiences to the tourists.

Season  Climatic condition  Guest Appearance 
Months Temperature (Max/Min) Rainfall/ Snowfall Approx. Weather 
Summer  April  19°C to 8°C 90 MM
  • Pleasant evenings
  • Hot Days
  • Populated market areas. 
Peak season (High) 
May 25°C to 11°C 70 MM
June 28°C to 14°C 160 MM
Monsoon  July 22°C to 14°C 400 MM
  • Clear skies, charming weather, and freshness in the air. 
  • Heavy rainfall. 
  • Pleasant Weather. 
  • Budget friendly tour. 
Off season (Low) 
August 21°C to 15°C 360 MM
September 21°C to 13°C 330 MM
October  20°C to 9°C 180 MM
Winter November 16°C to 6°C 30 MM
  • Chilly Weather 
  • Snowfall 
  • City with fewer crowds. 
Moderate season (Medium)
December 12°C to –1°C 20 MM
January  9°C to -1°C 80 MM
February  12°C to 2°C 110 MM
March 15°C to 4°C 100 MM

Some offbeat places of Shimla

  • Moshbara: It is a sleepy town not too far from Shimla City, the place is famous for orchards, lush Oak forest, Moshbara waterfall and babbling stream. The area experiences its first usual snowfall in the last week of December and provides off beat, crowd less experience to the tourists. 
  • Annandale: The place is located in western part of Shimla and is famous for its former race course. During the winter season it is totally covered with snow and provides the experience of white beauty with adventurous sports to the tourists. 
  • Narkanda: This is considered as the ultimate snow destination of Himachal Pradesh located at a distance of 60 km from Shimla. The area is also famous for crimson red apple orchids with a panaromic view of mountain ranges surrounding it including the Pir Panjal range. 
  • Kotgarh: The area is located at a distance of 75 km from Shimla and it is famous for the forest view as well as stays in houses made up of woods, mud and dung. 

Top  adventure activities in Shimla 

  • River Rafting The famous river rafting in Shimla done on river Satluj. Tourists can enjoy 12 km of river rafting at tattapani for 1.5 hours. 
  • Paragliding: The best season to try paragliding in Shimla is in between March to may and October to November. The paragliding spot in Shimla is located in Kangra valley that is known as the hub of gliding activities. 
  • Horse Riding: Horse riding is considered as one of the most favorite activities among tourists. The horse riding activities start from Mall road in Shimla to Mahasu peak of approximately 40 minutes. 
  • Trekking: Shimla is located in Himalayan range with amazing trekking spots like Jakhoo temple trek, Banjar valley trek, Karol Tibba trek and more. 
  • Ice Skating :The best season for ice skating in Shimla from December to February. Ice skating in Shimla is considered as one of the most popular activities among tourists within a short period of time.

Another Famous Activity for Tourist 

  • Himalayan Queen Kalka-Shimla Toy Train:

    The well known Kalka-Shimla toy train is famous for UNESCO heritage sites. The toy train crosses 102 tunnels and 94 bridges to cover the distance of a 96 kilometre trip.This journey is surrounded by beautiful scenery.  

  • The Heritage walks:

     The Queen of hills can explore better on foot. The heritage route covers some of the famous places like Vice Regal Lodge, Town hall, Gaiety Heritage cultural complex, council chambers of the state legislative building and the famous Kennedy cottage. In addition, The Heritage walk encourages tourists to support projects in Himachal like conservation and protection of historical monuments from exploitation.

Where to stay in Shimla

Shimla has a wide range of budget friendly hotels, Heritage hotel and Deluxe hotels with luxury as well as ordinary rooms. Tourists can book their stay both from online as well as offline sources. The hotels are available in Make My Trip, Oyo hotels at an affordable cost with Hassle free experiences. Some of the best places to live in Shimla are Hotel Sky Pie, Koti resort and many more. Apart from this, there are various famous and popular cafes and restaurants present in Shimla which includes a Hide out cafe, enlighten71 cook house and many  more. 

Shimla Famous Traditional Food

  • Dham: Dhaam is a food with healthy nutrients and greatest because it is made up of dal, rajma, rice and curd. 
  • Sidu: Sidu is a popular food in Himachal Pradesh made up of wheat kneaded with yeast for 2 hours before preparation of bread. Sidu is shocked with a mashed boiled egg and roasted peanuts. 
  • Chicken Anardana: The chicken Anardana is a dish with highly spicy and oil. Apart from this, special smoky flavours are added to make the dish more tasty.

    Things to carry for Shimla Trip

  • Tourists must carry light cotton shirts during summer season with light jackets for evening. 
  • If tourists visit in winter, they must carry woolen clothes, thermals and heavy jackets along with snow boots, caps and gloves. 
  • Tourists must carry their recommended medicines or prescribed medicines by doctors. 
  • Tourists also need to carry sunglasses, which helps from strong sun rays at high altitude.
  • Individuals should carry snow boots if visiting in winters. 
  • Electronic gadgets like Power Bank, headphone, chargers. 

Itinerary For Shimla Trip 

3 days plan 

Day 1- Delhi to Shimla. 

Day 2 – Spend a full day in Shimla by visiting local places like Jakhu temple, Mall road and nearby areas includings shopping. 

Day 3- Return to Delhi. 

4 days plan

Day 1- Delhi to Shimla. 

Day 2 – Spend a full day in Shimla by visiting local places like Jakhu temple, Mall road and nearby areas including shopping, night walk in Mall road.

Day 3- Take a drive to off beat areas like Narkanda and stay there. 

Day 4- Return to Delhi. 

5 days plan

Day 1- Delhi to Shimla. 

Day 2 – Spend a full day in Shimla by visiting local places like Jakhoo temple, Mall road and nearby areas including shopping and try to have a glimpse of nature along with a toy train ride. 

Day 3- Take a heritage walk and look for some adventurous activities as well as make a plan to visit the Shimla water catchment wildlife sanctuary

Day 4-  Take a drive to off beat areas like Moshbara and stay there. 

Day 5- Return to Delhi. 

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Riti Paul

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