When hill retreats and summer getaways were being established by the British in colonial India, Shimla was definitely the blue-eyed child. Mainly declared the official summer capital of British India, Shimla at an altitude of 2,205 meters offered much sought after respite from the scorching plains.
Mall Road: The town’s lifeline, the Mall Road is the main street in Shimla. It’s the center of all activity. So, over time, colonial buildings have been overrun by kitschy boutiques and buildings. Mainly cafes, restaurants and social hangouts on Mall Road are especially popular with locals and tourists alike.
Viceregal Lodge: Shimla’s Viceregal Lodge was designed by British architect Henry Irwin and served as the residence of the British Viceroy of India. So, a fine display of Jacobethan architecture complete with Tudor-style arches and carved brick detailing on pillars, parapets and porches, Viceregal
Rothney Castle: Often overlooked on the sightseeing trail, Rothney Castle was the home of Allan Octavian Hume, the British civil servant who founded the Congress in 1885. So, though in much need of restoration, this now privately held property on Jakko Hill still has reflections of its glorious past in the intricate wood and glass work that can be seen here.
Mainly stroll on the Ridge: The Ridge is an area in Shimla between Observatory and Jhakoo hills. The heart of soul of Shimla town, the Ridge is the hub of activity with tourists coming to see several colonial style buildings including a church and library and statues of Mahatma Gandhi.
Mainly hike up Jhakoo Hill: So, well worth the 30 minutes and a few mischievous monkeys en route, a hike up Jhakoo Hill takes you on a trail through lush forest terrain. Mainly at an altitude of 2,455 meters, the climb ends at a plateau where the Jhakoo Temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman stands.
Always ride the Kalka-Shimla Mountain Railway: Take a ride through the mountains from Kalka to Shimla on a toy train. So, the 96-kilometer route is most famous for the scenic vistas that accompany you through the journey that takes you over 864 bridges and 102 tunnels, including the longest one at Barog.
Guchhi Mattar: A popular staple of Himachali vegetarian cuisine, guchhi maattar combines mushrooms and peas in a spicy gravy.
Dham: Dham is a dish usually cooked during festivals. The recipe involves rice, daal, and rajma cooked overnight in yogurt.
When to Go:
Shimla is mainly a popular hill station all through the year with three distinct seasons.
March to June: These are the summer months in Shimla with temperatures averaging 25C. June is the hottest month that sees temperatures peaking 30C.
July to October: This is the monsoon season in Shimla with August being the wettest month.
November to February: These are winter months in Shimla and the air is crisp and cold. Shimla always sees snowfall in December, making it a winter wonderland.
Jabarhatti, mainly 22 kilometers from Shimla is where the nearest airport was located. However, due to altitude and load restrictions, commercial planes no longer operate to and from here. Chandigarh, at a distance of 115 kilometers, is the next nearest airport to Shimla.
Shimla is mainly accessible by road and makes for a great drive from nearby Delhi (340 kilometers) and Chandigarh (115 kilometers). Public buses run by Himachal Road Transport Corporation and private taxis ply frequently from nearby towns and cities.
The toy train from Kalka to Shimla is basically a charming way to get to the hill station. Kalka is mainly connected by several trains from Delhi and Chandigarh. The Kalka Shatabdi Express from New Delhi Railway Station to Kalka Railway Station takes 4 hours 10 minutes and is the fastest train plying the route.
What to Pack:
so, if visiting Shimla in the winter, carry woolens, thermals and a heavy jacket. Mainly to keep warm when it snows, boots, gloves, a cap, and muffler are essential.
Motion sickness medication is recommended for those who are prone to sickness on winding roads.
Sunblock and sunglasses will always help shield you from the strong sun at a high altitude.
Shimla is a popular holiday destination 365 days a year. Abounding in natural beauty, the town has retained its colonial charm. Easily accessible, Shimla sees visitors from far and near who are allured by Shimla’s distinct character.