Shimla also famous by the name of “Queen of Hills” is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh state in Northern India. It was the summer capital of India under British Government before Independence and was declared as the capital of Punjab after the independence of India. Then it was made the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Shimla is the principal commercial, cultural and educational center of the state.
Shimla is at a distance of approximately 150 KM from Patiala and I have been there twice before this third visit. I planned this 3rd trip to Shimla in the month of November 2021. Previously I traveled there via my personal car, but this time I completed my journey via the famous Kalka-Shimla Heritage Toy Train. If you are interested to know more about the Kalka Shimla toy train (travel experience, timing, fare, and other facilities), then you can read my previous blog post by clicking on the link is https://singh-life.com/kalka-shimla-railway-ksr/
I will talk about the best places to visit in Shimla with important tips. To make things easily understandable, I have designed this blog in FAQ format.
- Where is Shimla situated?
- How did it get its name as Shimla?
- What are the best places to visit in Shimla?
- Which is the best time to visit Shimla?
- What are the best hotels to stay in Shimla?
- What type of food is available in Shimla?
- What to pack for the Shimla tour?
- How to reach Shimla?
- Is it worth visiting Shimla?
Where is Shimla situated?
Shimla is located at 2276 meters (7467 ft) from the sea level in northern India against the snow-covered mountains of the Great Himalayas. It is also spelt as Simla. It is situated at the distance of approximately 110 KM from Chandigarh, the capital city of Punjab, and 350 KM from Delhi, the National Capital of India. It is a famous hill station in India.
How did it get its name as Shimla?
It gets its name from Shyamala Mata, an incarnation of goddess Kali and a temple is dedicated to the Goddess which is known by the name of Kali Bari Temple situated near the Ridge.
What are the best places to visit in Shimla?
Shimla is famous for its natural beauty and picturesque views. Moreover, the weather in Shimla is cold and pleasant. There is a number of places where you can go and enjoy but I will discuss only 5 top-most famous places of Shimla.
- Heritage Walk on Mall Road
- Jakhu Temple
- Kali Bari Temple
- Viceregal Lodge
Heritage Walk on Mall Road:
The first and foremost thing to do in Shimla is to have a walk on Mall Road which is approximately 2 Km long.
No 2-wheeler or 4-wheeler is allowed on this path. People have to go through this pathway either on foot or by horse (which will charge for 500/- per person for half an hour).
It is the busiest road in Shimla city and always remains flooded with tourists. Here you can expect various hotels, restaurants, shops, and full scenic views of mountains on the periphery.
Several benches are placed on the side of the road for resting purposes.
There is a Lakkar bazaar (Wood Market) on the one end of this road where you can do the shopping for wooden articles.
It is the place on mall road where tourists can sit, relax and enjoy the landscape view of mountains and heritage architecture of the buildings.
The famous building here is the “Christ Church” which was built in 1857 and is the 2nd oldest church in Northern India. It is one of the prominent landmarks of Shimla and a fine display of neo-Gothic architecture. The church is as beautiful from the inside as it looks from the outside.
A huge Indian tricolor flag makes this place more attractive and creates a scenic view for photography.
One can relax here for 2 to 3 hours and can enjoy the beauty of nature and the activities of people on the Ridge.
The view of this place becomes mesmerizing at the time of Sunset and you can click beautiful pictures at that time with golden color in the sky.
A temple of “Hanuman Ji” is situated on the Jakhu hill which is the highest point of Shimla at the height of 8000 ft offering a magnificent view of the whole city from the top. It is located at a distance of 2km from Ridge.
According to Hindu mythology, Hanuman rested on this peak on his way to find Sanjeevani Herb to cure Lakshman, brother of Lord Ram. The temple is built at the site where Hanuman put his one foot. There are a lot of monkeys here and these are known to be the descendants of Lord hanuman.
You can reach here either by booking a cab or through cable ropes.
Kali Bari temple
It is a Hindu temple and dedicated to the reincarnation of goddess Kali known by the name of Shyamala Mata. It was the originally built-in year 1845. It remains open from 6 AM in the morning to 7 PM in the evening. It is nearby Mall Road and one can reach here either by walking or hiring an autorickshaw.
It was the residence for the Viceroys and Governor generals during the British raj in India before independence. It is an architectural building built in 1888 also known by the name of “Rashtrapati Niwas”. Now, this building is referred to as the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. There is an entry fee if you wish to visit inside this building and the facility of Guide is also available.
Which is the best time to visit Shimla?
Although you can plan your visit to Shimla at any point of the time of year as per individual choice and interest. But from my point of view, the best time is from March to June when the weather is pleasant and suitable for all kinds of outdoor activities.
During July to September, Shimla observes heavy rainfall and landslides so this period of time is a little bit risky for travel.
If you wish to observe snowfall then December to February is the best time.
What are the best hotels to stay in Shimla?
I would suggest you book a hotel on the Ridge as you can enjoy the scenic view from the room and traveling is also easy to nearby places. Otherwise, hotels of every type and of different budget ranges are available in Shimla and you can book accordingly to your budget. Here I have enlisted some famous hotels:
- Wildflower Hall, Shimla
- Hotel Willow Banks
- Hotel Combermere
- East Bourne Resort and Spa
- Koti resort
I stayed at Hotel Gold on Mall Road. It was a budget hotel and I paid 2500/- INR for one night stay. The hotel was nice and the room has a beautiful scenic view of mountains and cityscape. Hot water in the washroom was provided. The hotel was clean and the staff was cooperative and friendly. The only negative thing about this hotel was the non-availability of room heaters as the temperature at night went below 5 Degree.
What type of food is available in Shimla?
All types of Indian food are available in Shimla. You can easily find eatery shops for the food of your choice. I enjoyed my Lunch at “Ashiana restaurant” located on the Ridge. The food here was tasty and special care is being taken for the hygienic conditions. You can have a view of Ridge from inside this restaurant.
I took my Punjabi breakfast at “Vijay Sweets” which is famous for its “Aloo Paranthas”.
I also enjoyed some snacks at “Sharma’s Burger and Tikki Corner”.
Masala Chai and coffee are easily available at a very reasonable price.
The famous food items to try here are Himachali Sopu, Momos, Hotdogs, and Maggi.
What to pack for the Shimla tour?
The weather of Shimla remains cold throughout the year. The temperature range is from 10°C to 28°C. It goes below -4° C during winters. So, bring some sweaters or jackets with you as it will be chilly weather during the early morning and late evening times. To keep yourself warm during snowfall, boots, gloves, a cap, and a muffler are essential.
How to reach Shimla?
By Road: Shimla is well connected with roads from Delhi and Chandigarh. You can reach here by using public transport like bus or by cab/taxi/private vehicle. The road condition is good and most of the road from Chandigarh (NH-22) is 4-laned. It would take around 3 hours to reach Shimla from Chandigarh.
By Air: Direct flight can be booked from New Delhi to Shimla.
By train: A famous Kalka to Shimla Toy train runs from Kalka (a city in Haryana) to Shimla which takes around 5 to 6 hours to reach Shimla. If you want to know more about the Shimla-Kalka Toy train then read my previous blog article https://singh-life.com/kalka-shimla-railway-ksr/
Is it worth visiting Shimla?
Yes, definitely, it is worth visiting Shimla. You can easily spend 3 to 4 days here to completely explore the city and its neighbouring offbeat sightseeing spots. It is the best place to do landscape and portrait photography and is also famous among couples for pre and post-wedding shoots.
I hope this article will be helpful for you and if you have further any queries then feel free to post a comment in the comment box section. I will be glad to answer.
ਇਸ ਲੇਖ ਨੂੰ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਭਾਸ਼ਾ ਵਿੱਚ ਪੜ੍ਹਨ ਲਈ, ਕਿਰਪਾ ਕਰਕੇ ਹੇਠਾਂ ਦਿੱਤੇ ਲਿੰਕ ‘ਤੇ ਕਲਿੱਕ ਕਰੋ: