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. So, Shimla’s rich heritage and natural beauty make it a popular holiday destination even today.
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.
Enjoy the Hike up Jhakoo Hill: 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.
Catch a Performance at Gaiety Theatre: Gaiety Theatre first opened its doors in 1887. It was a platform for dramatic arts with performances and plays taking center stage. The Victorian façade has been restored and preserved over the years and the grandiose of the interiors have often been compared to great theatres like London’s Albert Hall.
When to Go:
Shimla is mainly a popular hill station all through the year with three distinct seasons.
From 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 mainly 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.
Via Air: Jabarhatti, 22 kilometers mainly 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.
Via Road: Shimla is easily 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.
Via Train: The toy train basically from Kalka to Shimla is 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 summer, carry light cotton for the day as the sun is quite strong. The evenings mainly require a light jacket as temperatures tend to drop.
Mainly visiting Shimla in the winter, carry woolens, thermals and a heavy jacket. So, 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 also 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. And yes it is safe to visit Shimla now because of it’s easy accessibility, Shimla sees visitors from far and near who are allured by Shimla’s distinct character.