Shimla, popularly nicknamed as the Queen of Hills, was the Summer capital of India under the imperial British regime . It is the state capital of Himachal Pradesh, with its population around 1. 6 lacs (Shimla town only). Shimla has witnessed very significant historical events such as the famous Shimla Pact between India & Pakistan which was actually signed here. The place has also gained fame around the world for its natural beauty, architectural buildings, wooden crafts and apples.
Shimla is connected to Kalka (96 kms) on Meter Gauge and it takes around 6 Hrs from KALKA to reach SHIMLA. There are 3-4 trains daily from Kalka to Shimla and vice-versa. Shivalik Express is luxury Deluxe Train on this route with less stoppages and decent pantry facility. One can also travel through Rail car (highly unique and mainly running on this route in India itself). The overnight Kalka Mail from Delhi reaches Kalka in the early morning and that is the time to catch connecting trains for an unprecedented journey to the aesthetically grandiose city Shimla.
Shimla Airport is at Jubbarhatti, 23 kms from city and is connected to Chandigarh, Kullu, Delhi. It has daily flights from Delhi and Kullu. On Tuesday and Thursday Jagson Airlines flies Delhi-Shimla-Kullu-Gaggal and return. Archana and KCV fly between Delhi and Shimla on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Local bus services is frequent in Shimla City from 7 am to 9 pm and buses are available to all the places in the City. Buses runs mainly on the Ring Road. Taxis are freely available from all the points in Shimla for local travel and site seeing. Daily Tourist Buses are run by HPTDC for local sight seeing and booking in them can be done beforehand.
Some religious centres include Christ Church and Saint Michael Cathedral, Sankat Mochan, Tara Devi Temple and Kali Bari Temple.
Shimla is full of Hotels and Restaurants and there are around 500 hotels in and around Shimla.
The best shopping area in Shimla are The Mall, Lower Bazaar , Tibetan Bazaar and Lakkar Bazaar. There is a wide range of goods that Shimla has to offer. This includes handicrafts, wood, and metalwork, shawls, pullovers, local tweeds, Wooden articles and caps, toys, Tibetan carpets and pickles, jams and squashes.
Mall has many good restaurants serving Punjabi, South Indian, Chinese and Continental Foods. One can find good Punjabi Dhabas and Vaishnav Dhabas near the mall and lower bazaar having reasonable price range.
Shimla is highly renowned for its scenic beauty , apples & Wooden Craft, skeeing, trekking and mountaineering . Among special dishes Sidku or Sidu is very famous which is a thick fermented Roti of wheat flour with paste of opium seeds ( afimdana) mixed with either gur or salt which makes it simply delicious and mouth watering.
- HIMACHAL STATE MUSEUM AND LIBRARY: The museum is situated 2. 5-km west of the scandal point and opens daily except on Mondays and public holidays. It has got an enticing collection of ancient historical sculptures, paintings, coins, photos and other items.
- VICEREGAL LODGE AND BOTANICAL GARDENS: On the Observatory Hills is located Viceregal Lodge, which is also known as "Rashtrapati Niwas". This magnificent building was once the residence of the British Viceroy Lord Dufferin.
- INDIAN INSTITUTE OF ADVANCED STUDIES: Housed in the former Viceregal Lodge, it was built in 1888. The style of architecture is English Renaissance, the masonry of the walling is light blue limestone and the wrought stonework is done in sandstone in a beautiful light gray tint. It has lovely lawns. The entry in the institute is by ticket and only on Sundays the grounds are open for the public.
- THE RIDGE: The large open space in the heart of town presents excellent panoramic view of the mountain ranges.
- THE MALL: Most of Shimla's landmarks are situated here. The Mall further joins the Ridge at the ‘Scandal Point' of Kipling's Shimla, where a statue of the nationalist leader Lala Lajpat Rai has been erected. This is the major area for shopping with restaurants.
- PROSPECT HILL: adorned by a temple dedicated to Kamna Devi 15-minutes walk from Boileauganj on Shimla-Bilaspur road. The hill at an altitude of 2, 155m offers a spectacular and magnificent view of the area.
-SUMMER HILL: At an altitude of 1, 283m, 1 KM from boilaeuganj. Summer Hill is a picturesque spot on Shimla-Kalka Railway line offering shady walks in quiet surroundings. Mahatma Gandhi on his visit to Shimla lived in the elegant and fabulous Georgian House of Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur located here. HP University is also situated in this area.
- POTTER HILL: Situated at a distance of 1 Km from Summer Hill is very serene, enchanting beautiful Picnic spot with all the natural beauty. Ecological Park is situated here as well.
- GLENN: Its about 4 km walk from the Ridge through dense Forests, a gurgling stream flows through the Glen forests at an altitude of 1830 meters. It is a secluded and serene picnic spot.
- ANNANDALE: Annandale is another famous picnic spot. It is covered with deodar forests and once served as the playgrounds of Shimla, where racing, polo and cricket rejoiced the Britishers. Surrounded by deodar trees, this glade is having an ancient marvellous temple on the edge.
- ELYSIUM HALL: On the road leading through Lakkar Bazaar, houses the famous Auckland House, the former residence of Viceroy Lord Auckland. It is a famous girls’ school now. Nearby is the Stirling Castle, now an orphanage for the Tibetan children and a center for the Tibetan migrants who have settled locally.
- TATTAPANI: 51 km from Shimla, is a spot highly famous for hot sulfurous springs. Shiv Goofa at Saraur (4 Km) is also worth visiting. One can enjoy fishing.
- NALDEHRA: Naldehra, at an altitude of 2050 m and 23 km from Shimla on Shimla- Tattapani road, houses the oldest and the highest golf course in India.
Shimla apart from being an ideal respite from scorching summers is a suitable spot for enjoying the idyllic environment and ethereal grace bestowed by Mother Nature. Many creatively enriched people love visiting Shimla for rejuvenating their hearts and minds and enhancing their innate skills. F
For a layman, Shimla is truly a nature's captivating paradise and one can rejoice in the realm of celestial beauty and tranqill surroundings with unceasing fervour.