Himachal Pradesh Travel

Unveiling the Natural Beauty of Shimla: A Comprehensive Travel Guide

shimla guide

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If you’re looking for a stunning hill station in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh India, you’ve come to the right place! Known for its stunning scenery, pleasant weather, and rich culture, Shimla is a must-visit for anyone who loves adventure, nature, or history. This guide will show you how to explore the best of all things Shimla.

History & Culture

Shimla is a city that has a lot of history and culture to offer. It’s the capital of the Himachal state and is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a mix of colonial and Indian architecture.

History of Shimla

Shimla started as a tiny village called Shyamala. It was situated on top of a hill with a view of the valley below. The British discovered the town in 1817 and made it their summer capital. They built lots of buildings in the area, like the Viceregal Lodge, Christ church, and lots of government buildings. It stayed as India’s summer capital until India attained its independence in 1947.

Culture Of Shimla

The city of Shimla is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, which is celebrated through various festivals, fairs, and traditional cuisine. From Diwali and Holi to the unique Summer Festival held annually in June, the city is a famous destination for tourists, who can enjoy a range of traditional and cultural activities. Additionally, the city is known for its colonial architecture and traditional handicrafts such as shawls and woolen garments. The Mall Road is a popular market and bazaar where tourists can purchase these items.

Best Time to visit Shimla

Shimla is located in the subtropical highlands, which means its winters are cold and summers are mild. The weather in the city is usually lovely all year round, but it gets pretty cold in the winter. The monsoon rains start in July and last until September, which means the city gets a lot of rain. The coldest months in Shimla are December and January when temperatures drop to -2°C. 

Shimla offers a variety of activities to suit all tastes, from sightseeing to trekking and relaxation. The ideal time to visit is between March and June and September to November when the weather is generally pleasant and conducive to exploring the picturesque hill station. Therefore, it is recommended to plan a trip to Shimla during these months to experience its beauty and charm.

How to Get There?

It’s crucial to understand how to reach Shimla if you’re thinking of going there. Shimla has excellent air, train, and road connections to the largest cities in India. To get to Shimla, follow this detailed guide:

By Air

The Jubbarhatti Airport, which is around 22 kilometers from Shimla, is the closest. However, there are few flights and the airport has poor connectivity to important Indian cities. Chandigarh Airport, which is around 113 kilometers from Shimla, is the closest big airport. So if you are traveling from let’s say; New York, USA, you can easily catch a Qatar Airways flight to reach Chandigarh Airport. You may find 1-2 stops during the journey, But trust me the journey will be comfortable and worthwhile if you select a good seat on Qatar Airways. Once reaching Chandigarh airport, You can travel to Shimla from Chandigarh via bus or by cab.

By Road

Major North Indian cities are well-connected by road to Shimla. Shimla is connected to Chandigarh and Delhi via National Highway 5, and Ambala and Kalka via National Highway 22. To travel to Shimla from these cities, take a bus or hire a cab. Approximately 8 to 9 hours are needed to travel by car from Delhi to Shimla.

By Train

For those traveling by train, the Kalka-Shimla Railway is a well-liked and beautiful route. The nearby hills and valleys may be seen beautifully from the railway track, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you enjoy traveling on trains, you must take the trip from Kalka to Shimla, which lasts for about 5 to 6 hours. It is simple to go to Kalka because it is well-connected by train to important Indian cities.

10 Famous Attractions of Shimla

Shimla is the perfect place to explore and shop for all your shopping needs! From classic handicrafts to trendy fashions, there’s something for everyone. Check out some of the best spots to shop and visit in the city!

1. Mall Road

Mall Road is known as one of the best shopping places in the city of Shimla. The Mall Road is a road full of shops selling handicrafts, jewelry, clothes, and many other items. There are several eateries and cafes along Mall Road where you can eat or have a cup of coffee after shopping.

2. Lakkar Bazaar

If you’re looking for wooden crafts or souvenirs, you can’t go wrong with Lakkar Bazaar. Located near the Ridge, it’s the perfect spot to buy souvenirs and presents for your family and friends back home. Plus, you’ll love the wooden walking sticks – they’re a must-have for tourists!

3. Tibetan Market

Located close to Mall Road, the Tibetan Market is one of the best places to go if you want to shop for clothes, accessories, and souvenirs at an affordable price. This market is famous for its colorful clothes and unique jewelry items.

4. Lower Bazaar

If you’re looking for a place to shop near the railway station, Lower Bazaar is the place to go! It’s a bustling market where you can find all kinds of spices, fruits, and veggies. It’s a great place to get your hands on some fresh produce. Plus, there are plenty of shops selling all kinds of clothes and other items.

5. Jakhu Temple

The Jakhu temple is situated on a hilltop and is the main shrine of Lord Hanuman. This temple is among the most visited places in the city of Shimla and is famous for its panoramic view of the mountains.

6. The Ridge 

The Ridge is the hub of everything in the city of Shimla. It’s a huge open space with amazing views of the mountains all around. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, and it’s a great place to chill out and take in the sights.

7. Shimla State Museum

Shimla State Museum is a great place to check out if you’re a history buff. It has a variety of exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of the history and culture of the area. It is also famous for its collections of ancient statues and coins.

8. Tara Devi Temple

The Tara Devi temple is situated on a hilltop and is well-known for its panoramic view of the surrounding hills. The trek to the temple is through a thick forest and is one of the best ways to see the beauty of the area.

9. Himachal Emporium

If you’re looking for a great place to shop for handmade goods and souvenirs, Himachal Emporium is the place to go! It’s close to Mall Road and has a great selection of hand-woven scarves, carpets, wooden crafts, and more. Plus, all the items are handmade by local artisans and are a great way of supporting the local economy.

10. Toy Train

One of the most sought-after attractions in Shimla is the toy train. This ride begins from the town of Kalka, traversing a series of tunnels and bridges, and provides visitors with a breathtaking view of the mountains. This ride is considered the favorite activity for tourists in the city and is undoubtedly a memorable experience.

Final Takeaway

Shimla is a stunningly beautiful and culturally diverse city in India, renowned for its pleasant weather and picturesque sights. It is a popular tourist destination for visitors from around the world, offering a wealth of attractions, from historical landmarks and cultural festivals to handicrafts and more. Whether you are seeking a tranquil getaway or an adventurous journey, there is something for everyone in this bustling metropolis. With its unique combination of colonial and Indian architecture, this city is sure to leave an unforgettable impression on visitors.

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Aditi Dixit

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