As the Summer Capital of the British in India, Shimla, is the state capital of Himachal Pradesh. The town of Shimla rose in the nineteenth century when the Gurkha Wars came to an end in 1815-16 and the victorious British decided to retain certain pockets as military outposts. Lured by the climate and terrain scores of European invalids began moving to the station and the only stipulation of the local chief who owned the land was that no tree be cut or cattle slaughtered.
In 1864 the Viceroy, John Lawrence anointed Shimla – then spelt Shimla, as the summer capital of British India. As the town grew to become the workshop of the Empire. Despite the fact that up to the time of Indian independence in 1947, Shimla officially remained only the summer capital, yet the Government spent more time in these hills than at the actual capital Calcutta and later New Delhi. There was a popular local saying that went, “You cannot sleep the nights in Shimla for the sound of grinding axes”. A social whirl of parties, gymkhanas, balls, fancy fairs and affaires du Coeur ensured that a heady mixture of scandal and intrigue constantly wafted through the town.
And while the British Empire may have ceased to exist, its echoes linger on in the architecture and ambience of this hill resort. Its easy accessibility and several other attractions have made it one of India’s most popular hill resorts. There are many unforgettable walks, day-excursions by the dozen, a variety of convenient shopping and entertainment museums, and ice-skating in winter. Shimla is the base or the unwinding point for numerous exhilarating routes to the state interior.
Today the town is distinctive for its variety of architecture. Spread across 12 kms of various cultivations, Shimla is magnificently robed in dense forests of oak and pine, fur and rhododendron, It has one of the rare surviving urban forests, made all the more unique, for its species are temperate to alpine ones in what is otherwise a tropical zone. And then Shimla’s famous Mall offers one of the longest stretches of pedestrian shopping in the world.
This is the hub of Shimla’s social life. Lined by shops and restaurants this pedestrian thoroughfare loosely resembles an English Home County’s marketplace. A passenger lift operated by HPTDC can be taken from the Cart Road to The Mall. Lakkar Bazaar adjacent to the Ridge is popular for its wood crafts and souvenirs. The Gaiety Theatre, which is a reproduction of an old British theatre is a center of cultural activities.
The large open space in the heart of town presents excellent view of the mountain ranges.
Two Km from city centre, this is Shimla’s highest point and offers a panoramic view of the town’s hills and distant mountain ranges. There are spectacular views at sunrise and sunset especially during the monsoons. The peak has a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. At the top of the hill in the temple complex is a 108 feet tall idol of Lord Hanuman is a big attraction for the tourists. This is the World’s Highest Hanuman statue. Legend has it that he stopped here while searching for the sanjivini plant. People who have never visited Shimla, know Jakhu for hundreds of monkeys around it. A variation of the legend says that his sandal fell here. The temple has been exhaustively renovated and this vantage point is being connected by a ropeway.
Situated above Boileauganj, the temple is dedicated to Lord Kali and offers splendid views of the town, the airfield and the ranges. Normal timing to visit this temple is from 08:30 AM Till 06:00 PM.
Standing tall through the tough rapids of time, the Christ Church is one of the most important buildings of Shimla. It tells the story of a part of the town’s rich history – and its pews mark the seats of the Viceroy, the Commander-in-Chief and the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab, while the fascinating memorial tablets in brass and marble sound a roll call for some who shaped what was the British Empire. It is the second oldest Church in the entire Northern Regions of India
4 Km away, this is a thickly wooded ravine through which a stream flows. This is a popular picnic spot and is especially attractive after crossing the initial two hundred metres or so. It is one of the more popular walks in Shimla. It is surrounded by pine & Deodar trees.
5 Km away from the city centre, this place is best known for a helipad. This large glade has a golf course surrounded by thick deodar woods and has a charming temple by an edge Having altitude of 6117 feet from sea level, Annandale is situated in the deep valley of the village Kaithu.
Motorable on Shimla-Mandi highway via Tattapani - A beautiful place in Karsog Valley. It offers some beautiful views of Karsog Valley. It is the wheat & Corn farms which gives a lush green carpet like appearance when viewed from the road above. One can also visit famous mahunag Temple (18 Km) – dedicated to Karn . Mamleshwar mahadev Temple (13 Km) – constructed by Pandavas. Kamaksha Devi temple (19 Km) – Lord Parshuram meditated here. Pangna Killa/temple (8 Km) and Shikari Devi Temple (18 Km).
Motorable on Shimla-Mandi Highway via Naldehra. Tattapani means Hot water and is believed that this water can cure joint pain & certain skin diseases, and is having sulpher contents, also Hindu temples and Shiv Gufa at Saraur (4 Km) are worth seeing places
Located at distance of 22 Km from Shimla, Naldehra is a heaven for tourists. The game of golf is the reason most people come to Naldehra It boasts of the oldest 9-hole golf course in the country. The well groomed Golf Course is a lovely verdant, perhaps one of the finest and sporty in India. You’ll never get such a high teeing-off anywhere else in the world. Minutes away here is a tiny Mahunag Temple, dedicated to the snake god. That’s where Naldehra gets its name from: (maha) nag and dehra – the Abode of the King of the Snake’s.
Most of the town lies between 2,100 m and 2,300 m
Hindi. Also English, Punjabi and Pahari.
Mostly Hindu. Also Sikh, Muslim and Christian
Climate in Shimla is predominantly cool during winters and moderately warm during summer. Temperatures typically range from −6°C to 31 °C over the course of a year.
The average temperature during summer is between 19°C and 28 °C and between −1 ° C and 10 °C in winter.
Snowfall in the city, which historically has taken place in the month of December, has lately (over the last twenty years) been happening in January or early February every year.
Heavy woolens are required.
Broad well surfaced road connects to Kalka, Chandigarh, Delhi, etc.
Broad gauge track upto Kalka connecting to Delhi, Kolkata and Amritsar. Narrow Gauge from Kalka to Shimla
Daily Flights from Delhi and Kullu. Airport at Jabbarhatti 23 kilometers from the city.