If you have decided to visit Shimla, there are many places that you can consider to visit during your trip. There are many destinations worth your time and money and would definitely make your journey memorable.
Shimla is considered to be the ‘Queen of Hills’ for a reason. It is the most popular destination among the Indian tourists visiting north India after buying the Himachal tour package. It is truly worth visiting because of the various attractions it has to offer. Indian families choose to visit Shimla during the summers to escape the heat. Shimla is an ideal destination for small groups and it is family friendly place where everyone can enjoy the scenic beauty of the hills. Shimla offers a view of the mountains and a wonderful clean air which is not available in the bustling cities on India.
Himachal Pradesh has declared the city of Shimla as the capital of the state. Shimla is situated at the height of over 2206 meters above the ‘mean sea level’. Shimla was built by the British during their rule in 1864. The British officers during that time considered Shimla to be their Summer destination. The architecture of the buildings made by British can be seen in the many buildings on the Mall Road along with many churches that can be found in Shimla.
Shimla is one destination which offers variety of experiences for all sorts of travelers visiting the city. Along with the natural beauty of its snow peaked mountains and rivers, Shimla has enough for tourists seeking adventure as well as a vacation for themselves and their families. The popular activities that tourists engage in while they are in Shimla are adventure sports, trekking and skiing. There are many hotels and accommodation options that available for all budgets. All the hotels will provide the necessary amenities and services that people expect during their vacation.
The city of Shimla contains the following popular hilltops. These are Jakhoo Hill, Elysium Hill, Summer Hill, Bantony Hill, Prospect Hill, Observatory Hill and Inverarm Hill. When Shimla was built, it started with these hills and slowly it grew in various directions.
Shimla has also be popular due to the fact that it is a host to the MTB Himalaya. It is one of the largest mountain bike racing events in the entire South Asia. Another sport that Shimla is popular for is Ice Skating. The city of Shimla also has a natural ice rink which is also the only one in the entire India.
14 Best Travel Destinations in Shimla
1. The Mall
Shimla Mall Road ( Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)
The main street also known as the Mall Road is popular among travelers for its Gaiety Theatre, Church, Restaurants and shops. The road is only meant to be walked upon. No vehicles are allowed on this street. So, one can take a stroll of the Mall road with view of the mountains in the background. There are many government offices located on this road along with various banks and clubs as well.
The most popular place to witness the cultural activities of Himachal is at Gaiety Theatre. Tourists can also find many locally made handicrafts, souvenirs and art.
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2. Jakhoo Hill
Jakhoo Hill (Image Source Wikimedia Commons
This hill is known to be the highest point in Shimla. Jakhoo Hill is situated approximately 2 kilometers away from the city of Shimla. The altitude of this hill is almost 2400 meters above the sea level.
Because of the high altitude the magnificent view of the mountains is something to behold. Another popular attraction of Jakhoo Hill is the Hanuman temple. This ancient temple is very popular among the pilgrims visiting Jakhoo Hill. People can trek to the Hill or they can hire a taxi. It can take an hour of walking from the Ridge Road Church to reach the Hill.
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3. The Daranghati Sanctuary
Daranghati Sanctuary( Image Source-Mysterious Himachal)
This sanctuary was previously owned by the Royal family of Rampur Bushaher. The area of the sanctuary was used for hunting by the Royals. However, in the year 1962, it was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary.
This sanctuary is a home to many rare species of birds and animals. The most popular species are Monal, Musk deer and Thar. The sanctuary is also popular among the trekking enthusiasts who love to walk through the many paths around this sanctuary.
The best time to visit this sanctuary is during the summer season as the weather is very pleasant compared to the heavy snowfalls in winter and rainfalls during the monsoons.
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4. The Summer Hill
Summer Hill(Image Source- Wikimedia Commons)
This hill is situated just 5 kilometers away from Shimla city. The Summer Hill is now known as a town and the popular Shimla-Kalka Railway line passes through it. Because of the altitude, the winters on the Summer Hill are very cold. The nights are known to be cold even during the summer season.
This is a very well-known destination for the tourists who want to escape the city heat during the summer season. Another attraction is the Christ Church which is situated on the Ridge. The Church is a beautiful place with all its art and architecture.
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5. The Chadwick Falls
This waterfall is only 7 kilometers away from Shimla. The height of the waterfall is approximately 65 meters. Many tourists visit this waterfall while they are in Shimla.
The best time to visit Chadwick waterfall is during the monsoon season. This is because of the fact that the flow of fall increases and water falling from that height is something to behold.
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6. The Temple of Tara Devi
Tara Devi Temple(Image Source-Wikimedia Commons)
This 250 years old temple is located on the top of a hill. With its scenic background of the Himalayas, it makes into the list of the most visited tourist attraction. The temple is dedicated to the Tara Devi Goddess.
Many people who are devoted to the temple, consider their visit to be spiritual. One can reach the temple from Shimla and is approximately 10 kilometers away from Shimla.
7. The Kali Bari Temple
This temple is visited by hundreds of pilgrims every year. The temple was constructed in the year 1845 and was dedicated to the Goddess Kali.
The is temple is worth a visit because of its scenic background with an amazing view of the mountains. The temple has a significant resemblance to the popular ‘Dakshinerwar Temple’ in Kolkata. The old temple architecture can be seen which is present in all Hindu temple buildings.
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8. The Ridge
The Ridge(Image Source-Wikimedia Commons)
The Ridge Road area is large open area near the Mall Road and the popular ‘Lakkar Bazaar’. The Ridge Road leads up to the Christ Church.
The Ridge Road area is also known to host many festive events along with various kinds of fairs where people come together to sell Arts, Handicrafts and other Souvenirs. During the time of the Summer Festival, people particularly visit Shimla to purchase the locally produced goods and handicrafts.
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9. The Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex
Gaiety Theatre(Image Source-Wikimedia Commons)
This theatre is known as the hotspot for all cultural events. It attracts large number of people visiting Shimla who are interested in the events and local performance arts. It is known to host the shooting of many Bollywood musicals.
This theatre was inaugurated in the year 1887. The theatre has an old Victorian style architecture which was popular in the old Britain. The theatre has the capacity to host around 300 people at one time. This Theatre has been built with the state of the art sound systems and it is known to be the hub for all cultural events.
The Gaiety Theatre also has an Art Gallery, Exhibition Hall and an Amphitheatre. The place is ideal for the hosting of events related to culture and art.
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10. The Lakkar Bazaar
This old market area is located just below the Mall Road. This market is full of old shops and stalls with various traditional handicrafts, clothing and souvenirs. People also visit this bazaar during the festive seasons to purchase winter clothing such as Shawls and Woolen textile products.
The Lakkar Bazaar is most famous because of its Wooden toys and walking sticks made of wood. This bazaar was started by the settlers from Hoshiarpur who came to Shimla and started their wood carpentry business. Hence the name ‘Lakkar Bazaar’ was given to this old market. The market still sells lots of items made from wood and even toys. Food stalls are also many in number in this market where you can enjoy all kinds of traditional Himachali and Punjabi foods.
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11. The Kalka-Shimla Railway
Kalka Shimla Railway(Image Source-Wikimedia Commons)
This railways runs a narrow gauge train which runs from Kalka to Shimla. The railway is an old construction dating back to the 1890. This railway line has been declared as a UNESCO Heritage Site.
The train journey is very popular among the tourists and the train is also known as the ‘Toy Train’ because of its old style built. One can enjoy the beautiful landscapes and scenic views while on the train. The train still has booking options and timings that anyone can check and schedule a memorable journey.
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The Hill station of Kufri is another favorite destination among the travelers visiting Shimla. Kufri hill station is just 20 kilometers away from Shimla. The name of this hill station was derived from the local word ‘Kufr’ which meant ‘Lake’. There are many tourist attractions in Kufri which can be experienced during the vacation to this beautiful hill station.
There is an amusement park known as Kufri Fun Campus which has many rides for children along with ‘Go-Karting’ sports in Kufri which people indulge in during their visit.
There is a Wildlife Zoo where travelers can get a chance to see many rare species of the Himalayan birds and animals.
However, the most popular reason for people visiting Kufri is Skiing. From December to February, the snowfall is ideal for Skiing activities.
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13. Reserve Forest Sanctuary, Shimla
This forest area can be reached by road travelling 11 kilometers from Shimla city. This forest sanctuary is an ideal attraction for the bird watchers, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts. The whole forest is spread across over more than 900 hectares.
The scenic view from this sanctuary is beautiful and leaves a memorable impression on the mind. Other places that can be seen from the sanctuary are Rakta Dharand, Deo Tibba and many other small villages. Another famous sanctuary that is close this forest is the ‘Chail Sanctuary’. This sanctuary also houses many species of birds, plants and animals. It is rich in its bio-diversity.
Tourists who are interested in trekking and mountaineering, this forest has plenty of trails to trek on and mountain climbing sites for the interest travelers. However, a prior permission from the forest department is needed in order to enter the forest perimeter or to engage in other adventure activities.
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Annadale(Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Annadale is considered to be one of the most important tourist destinations in Shimla. This site was considered a popular vacation sport for the British Officers before India’s independence. The site first used by the ‘East India Company’ and many officers engaged in sports such as Polo at this site.
At present, Annadale is currently under the control of Indian Army and is considered an army territory. The Army Museum is a popular attraction among the tourists along with a Cactus Museum. Tourists can either drive to this place or even take a walk to visit this site.
These are some of the famous tourist destinations for people who wish to explore and enjoy the scenes of Shimla which is rightly called ‘The Queen of the Hills’.
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Weather and Time to visit
Usually the best time to visit Shimla is Mid-March to the month of June. During the time, you can expect lot of tourists since, people for the other cities of India visit Shimla to escape the heat wave of the summer season. The weather during this time is quite pleasant.
The months from July until September makes the city very wet due to the rainfalls. It is during these months, that the city will feel empty since, it is quite slippery to walk and during this the weather is quite gloomy. However, during this time Shimla has the least amount of visiting tourists.
During the winter season, most of the tourists choose Shimla as their primary choice for their vacation. This is because of the sports like Ice Skating and Skiing which many people are attracted to. Temperatures during the winter season drops significantly below the freezing point. It is crucial to prepare oneself before travelling to Shimla during winter season in terms of keeping oneself warm.
This article is originally published in Traveller of India