The capital city Shimla (between 1950 m and 2300 m) is a beautiful place with a number of tourist spots like Mall Road, Lakkadmandi, Jakhoo Temple, Viceregal Lodge & Botanical Gardens, The Ridge, Summer Hill and many others. Located in the mid hills of the Western Himalaya, the town of Shimla came up in the wake of the ‘Gurkha wars‘ that came to an end in 1815-16. From a small village, it grew to become the ‘summer capital‘ of British India and from its heights almost one-ﬁfth of the entire human race of the world was ruled for well over a century. Steeped in history, Shimla presents excellent examples of Colonial architecture. Set under the
gaze of the snow-clad mountains – Shimla is now the State capital of Himachal Pradesh. With its easy paced life, enjoyable walks, well-developed facilities, year-round salubrious climate and a variety of sightseeing and other activities, Shimla has long been one of India’s most popular tourist destinations.
SEVEN HILLS : Shimla is built on Seven Hills which are —
(1) Prospect Hill in western Shimla, which has the Kamna Devi temple
(2) Summer Hill in western Shimla, where the campus of Himachal Pradesh University is located,
(3) Observatory Hill in western Shimla, has the former Viceregal Lodge presently the premises of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study,
(4) lnverarm Hill in western Shimla where the State Museum is housed,
(5) Bantony Hill in central Shimla, which has the
Grand Hotel and ancient Kalibari Temple,
(6) Jakhoo Hill in central Shimla is crowned by the temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman and
(7) Elysium Hill in north-western Shimla on which are located the Auckland House, Longwood and which further reaches out towards the Bharari spur.
GETTING THERE :
- By Rail: Kalka railway station is 90 kms away and Chandigarh
is at a distance of 125 kms. Shimla is connected by the
charming heritage Narrow-gauge Kalka — Shimla train.
- By Road : Chandigarh is at a distance of125 kms and Delhi is
375 kms away.
- By Air : Chandigarh airport is at a distance of 130 kms, Delhi
395 kms away and Shimla airport at Jubbarhatti is at a
distance of 22 kms.
CLIMATE : Summer is mild and cottons and light woollens are suggested.
In winter, the sunny days are pleasant – though the nights are
cold and heavy clothing is required. Through the rest of the
year, light woollens / cottons are suggested.
- The Mall (2200 m) is the hub of Shimla‘s social life and is lined by shops and restaurants. It is a pedestrians haven with no vehicular traffic.
- The Ridge (2250 m) Iies just above the Mall and has wide of the mountains and valleys. A place for the family Shimla & Suburbs with ice-cream shops, balloon-sellers and horse-rides. It is ﬂanked by the Christ Church consecrated in 1857, with
ﬁne stained glass windows and memorial tablets, and the neo-Tudor building of the Library.
- Himachal’s State Museum (2150 m) 3 km. from Scandal Point. has a rich display ofthe state’s cultural, artistic and archaeological heritage. Open from 10 AM to 5 PM. Closed on Mondays and ‘Gazetted Holidays‘.
- The Gaiety Theatre complex is on the Mall. A part of the old neo-Gothic Town Hall that was partially demolished as far back as in 1911, the buildin
g has recently been
restored and adaptively rebuilt. The jewel-like Victorian theatre, where several notables have performed, has all its glory back. Drama, music, dance and other
performances are held regularly at the Gaiety which also has an art gallery.
- The Lakkar Bazaar (2255 m) lies just 0.5 km off the Ridge and has budget~range souvenir shops. The Bharari spur (5 km round trip) is approached through Lakkar Bazaar and makes a good walk.
- The ‘Tibetan Market‘ sells a variety of inexpensive imports— primarily apparel and electronic trinkets.
- Jakhoo Temple The Jakhoo (2455 m) hill towers over Shimla. The top is
crowned by the temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman (2.5 km). The views from the top are fantastic and you can hire a pony (from the Ridge ) ora taxi (via Sanjauli) to go to the top.
- Kali Bari Temple (2100 m) 1 km, lies past the half- timbered General Post Office and the deconsecrated church of St. Andrew (now a wing of the State Library). The temple is dedicated to the goddess Kali and is believed by some, to hold the original stone image of the goddess ‘Shayamala’ after whom the town of Shimla may have been named.
- St. Michael’s Cathedral lies just below the Deputy Commissioner’s office and is built in the French-Gothic style. Overthe altar is a rich tapestry of glass that depicts
a group of the cruciﬁxion. A statue of Our Lady of Guadulupe, presented by the people of Mexico has also been installed in the church.
- Indian Institute of Advance Studies The former Viceregal Lodge (1983 m) 4 km. from Scandal Point today houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Completed in 1888, this combines a variety of architectural styles like Scottish Baronial and English Renaissance. The interior has remarkable woodwork. The building is surrounded by attractive gardens while the hill has some good short walks. Entry by ticket. (Also accessible by car via Boileauganj). Open 10AM to 5 PM on all weekdays.
- The Glen (1830 m) 9 km round trip by foot going downhill. It is a thickly wooded ravine, through which a stream flows. It is a popular picnic spot and is quite pristine after crossing the initial stretch. lt can be approached by small vehicles or on foot.
- Annandale (1864 m) 9 km round trip. (Downhill going, uphill returning. Also accessible by car), is best known as a helipad. lt is a large glade that has a golf course and is surrounded by thick deodar woods. There is an attractive little temple, built in the local style on its periphery. A museum of army history and a large green house are also located here.
- Kamna Devi Temple (2150 m) 5 km, is revered by many and lies above Boileauganj. This offers good views of the town, the airfield and the mountain ranges.
- Tara Devi (1851 m) 12 km is crowned by a temple of the same name. Vehicular access to the shrine is along a road that bifurcates at Shoghi. The views are spectacular. Sunday mornings witnesses a throng of devotees while the temple administration offers a lunch ‘Bhandara’.
- Sankat Mochan Temple (1250 m) 6 km, is dedicated to Hanumanji, and lies just short of Shimla by the highway and is accessible by vehicle
- Both Potter’s Hill (1280 m) 7 km and the Chadwick Falls (1586 m) 9 km, lie past the university campus at Summer Hill. As the name suggests, Potter’s Hill was where Shimla once got its clay for pots and pitchers. Ahead of this lies the rain-fed Chadwick Falls. Summer Hill and Potter’s Hill are accessible by car. The former residence of Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, where Mahatma Gandhi often stayed is also located here.
- Bihargaon On Shimla’s southern slope, lies the village of Bihargaon (An 8 km hike going downhill). This has excellent examples of traditional Himachali architecture. The main temple dedicated to the deity of harvest, Dhanu Devta is located by a glade looking up at the town of Shimla. It is approached through the old cemetery below St. Edward’s School or via ‘Mist Chamber‘ in Khalini through Tuttikandi.
- Arki (1045 m) 52 km, was the capital of the erstwhile princely state of Baghal. The old palace has some ﬁne wall paintings. There are many old temples in the area – one ofthe interesting ones is that of Luturu Mahadev that lies in a deep cave accessed by a sharp climb. Picturesque picnic spots are there at Kaliseiil, Brahmpuhkar, Bari Dhar and Ghanagu Ghat.
Buddhist monasteries are at Kusumpti (Nyingma-pa sect, accessible by vehicle, 7km) and at Sanjauli (Geluk-pa sect, 5 km).
- Hewan Village : At an altitude of 1486m, Hewan is 9 km from Shimla and 4 km from the University Campus at Summer Hill. Surrounded by thick woods of pine and oak, the village has the rustic shrines of Gan Devta and is well-known for the rain~fed Chadwick waterfall. This also has the art-gallery of the internationally renowned artist and sculptor. Sanat Chatterjee whose work has been supplemented by his talented artist family.
- Kushala village is 8km from Shoghi and has an attractive temple.
- Junga (1500 m) 26 km, has an old palace, the State Police Training Centre and the Ashwani stream. A hike trail leads from Shimla’s Kasumpti locality to Junga. Dhami (2090 m) 28 km, was the seat of the erstwhile princely state of the same name and lies just off the highwaythat leads from Shimla to Mandi. The remains of its old palace may still be seen. lts thick woods of oak and deodar were popular hunting grounds of the British viceroys.
- Mashobra (2149 m) 12 km is a well wooded suburb with good views. Nearby is the pleasant picnic ground of Craignano, the site of the celebrated confectioner Cavalier Peliti and the Fruit Research Station where the English varieties of apple were first grown in the 19th century. Down the valley is the beautiful glade of Sipur.
- Naldehra (2044 m) 23 km, has a thick cedarforest, grounds and a nine-hole par 68 golf course. One of the the oldest golf courses in the country, it was designed by Lord Curzon, the British Viceroy of lndia (1899 — 1905).He often camped here for days on end and even named his daughter as ‘Naldera‘ after this spot. The Hotel Golf Glade, a Restaurant and Log Huts are located here.
- Tattapani (650 m) 51 km, has hot sulphur springs that are known for their healing powers.
- Kufri (2510 m) 16 km, is one of the early places to be associated with skiing in India. It has fine views of the deep valleys and thick forests that are framed by a backdrop of unmelting snows. This also has the Himalayan Nature Park.
- Fagu (2450 m) 22 km, is a small village on the way to Narkanda. It offers wonderful views and walks in the area.
- Narkanda (2700 m) 64 km, is famous for its ski slopes and wide views of the snow covered mountains. This place lies close to Himachal’s apple-growing heartland of Kotgarh and Thanedar.
THE HOLIDAY HOME – Premium Hotel
The Hotel Holiday Home is Himachal Tourism’s ﬂagship hotel and is conveniently located in the heart of Shimla with a drive-in and car-parking. It serves as an ideal leisure and business destination. Its imposing building faces the heart of town and all major places are within easy distance.
ADDRESS : Hotel Holiday Home, Shimla – 171001 (HP)
Tel. = (0177) 2812890-95, 6533169, Fax = 2801705
E-mail : email@example.com
THE PETERHOF – Premium Hotel
This is a luxurious hotel on a historical site. lt has housed at least seven Viceroys and Governor-Generals. The ﬁrst Viceroy to move into Peterhof was the Earl of Elgin who arrived in Shimla on the 4th April, 1863. After Independence the building served as Punjab High Court and it was here that the trial of Nathu Ram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, took place in 1948-49. When Himachal became full
fledge State, the building became the Raj Bhawan. The old wooden house burnt down in 1981 and the present palatial structure was built in 1991.
ADDRESS : Chaura Maidan – 171004 (HP)
Tel. : (0177) 2812236, 2652538 Fax : 2813801
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
GOOFA & ASHIANA RESTAURANTS
These are conveniently located on Shimla’s Ridge. Both are multi-cuisine restaurants having all varieties of Indian, South Indian, Continental and Himachali traditional cuisines. Fine trout fish is also served here. The Goofa restaurant also has a bar.
ADDRESS : Ashiana and Goofa Restaurant, The Ridge, Shimla -171001, Tel. : 0177-2658464