Top 6 Places in Shimla, Temperature, Best Time to Visit, Hotels etc. – A Complete Guide
Plan your perfect holiday with Surreal Shimla
If India would prepare a list of the favorite and most visited tourist destinations of our country, Shimla is likely to headline the list. This small hill town has enjoyed the status of being the favored one for almost 2 centuries now. Located about 2,200 meters above sea level, Shimla attracts thousands of tourists every year.
Shimla is an absolute getaway for the people living in the hot lands of northern states of India and a pure blue-eyed child for all, who spend some quality time here. Amidst the lush surroundings, Shimla’s rich heritage and natural beauty have kept it a dreamy and divine destination.
Gorgeous peaks, crisp mountain air, and charming residents make this spot a must-visit for every person looking to escape the city stress and pollution. If traveling is your question, Shimla is the solution for it.
It was first mentioned in the ancient Hindu scriptures of the Vedas as the place where Lord Hanuman rested while looking for the healing herb in Ramayana. The region remained a forest till it came under the British East India Company and was governed by the erstwhile Maharaja of Patiala who assisted the British during the Anglo-Nepalese war.
British arrived here in the early 1800s and liked the place so much that they declared it as their summer capital in 1864. They even took all the hassle of building a railroad to Shimla.
Shimla is a desired destination for thousands of people, however, it is perfect for all kinds of vacations. From honeymooners to adventure seekers to families, the city serves as a charming retreat to a large number of people.
This erstwhile summer capital of the British, still retains its colonial-era charm through its spectacular historical churches and institutes, like Christ Church, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and many more.
How to reach Shimla
Due to its overwhelming popularity and acceptability amongst all sorts of travelers, Shimla is easily reachable via all different means of transportation, except water. Reaching Shimla will really be the easiest part of your vacation here. You just have to pick the means to reach here.
1. Flight: Shimla has its own airport, Jubbarhatti Airport, located about 20 km from the main town. This airport is one of India’s new ones, and it is one of the few airports located at hill stations in the country. Chandigarh, at a distance of 115 kilometers, is the next nearest airport to Shimla.
The airstrip is quite small, so aircraft do not have a long runway and hence, a long time to take off or land. Also, the Jubbarhatti Airport is not functional for certain times of the year, especially during snowy weather in winter and hard rainfall. Shimla travel guides update the functioning times for this airport every year, so study these in detail.
Also, the number of flights is very less due to the novelty of the airport. People often choose Delhi or Chandigarh airport since you are guaranteed regular flights to these airports, irrespective of the weather. They reach Shimla via bus or road from there.
2. Road: Shimla is well connected by road to many Indian cities. The best Shimla travel guides list many routes to reach Shimla from the rest of Himachal Pradesh
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.
3. Train: The nearest railway station to this hill station is located at Kalka, about 96 km away. It connects Shimla to other Indian major cities like Chandigarh and Delhi.
You can board the Kalka-Shimla toy train from Kalka, established by the British in the early 20th century. It is an engineering and rail wonder for the ages. Going through hundreds of bridges and tunnels, the five-hour journey will leave you awestruck with the amazing vistas it shows, throughout the entire journey.
What to see in Shimla?
A brief summary, below are some of the best places you can visit during your trip:
1. Mall Road: The town’s lifeline, Mall Road is the main street in Shimla. It’s the center of all activity. Over time, colonial buildings have been overrun by kitschy boutiques and buildings. Cafes, restaurants, and social hangouts on Mall Road are especially popular with locals and tourists alike.
2. Christ Church: It is the second oldest church in Northern India, dating back to 1857. Situated on The Ridge, it is one of the prominent landmarks of Shimla and a fine display of neo-Gothic architecture.
3. Viceregal Lodge: Shimla’s Viceregal Lodge was designed by British architect Henry Irwin and served as the residence of the British Viceroy of India. A fine display of Jacobethan architecture complete with Tudor-style arches and carved brick detailing on pillars, parapets, and porches, Viceregal Lodge dates back to 1888.
4. Scandal Point: It is known so because this is where the Maharaja of Patiala had eloped with the daughter of the British Viceroy. Back then, it was the scandal of the highest order.
5. 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. 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 glasswork that can be seen here.
6. Jakhu Hill: The highest peak around Shimla, at a height of 8,000 ft, offering a magnificent view of the valley around. There is a 108 feet tall statue of Lord Hanuman at Jakhu Hill, standing at a height of 8,500 ft above sea level.
Things to do
1. A walk on the Ridge: The Ridge is an area in Shimla between Observatory and Jhakoo hills. The heart of the 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. The Ridge is also where Shimla’s fairs, festivals, and functions are held.
2. Trek to Jhaku Hill: At a height of 2,455 meters, the top of Jhaku hill offers a mesmerizing view of Shimla and the entire Shivalik range around. It is a fun trek of about 30 minutes to the top through lush forest terrain.
3. Shop at Mall Road: While you are in Shimla, do not forget to do some shopping at the famous Mall road and buy yourself some souvenirs. Of course, do not miss the ride on the toy train.
What to Eat?
In Shimla, you can feed upon Guchhi Mattar- A popular staple of Himachali vegetarian cuisine, Guchhi Maattar combines mushrooms and peas in a spicy gravy. You may also try Dham, a dish usually cooked during festivals. The recipe involves rice, dal, and rajma cooked overnight in yogurt.
When to go?
Shimla is a popular hill station all through the year with three distinct seasons.
Shimla is a popular getaway for tourists throughout the year. The destination usually remains busy throughout the year. However, different seasons charm a wide variety of travelers to the hills of Shimla.
March to June are the summer months in Shimla with temperatures averaging 25 degrees celsius. June is the hottest month that sees temperatures peaking 30 degrees celsius.
July to October are the monsoon season months in Shimla with August being the wettest month. People usually avoid traveling during the season due to frequent landslides. Spring and post-monsoon are the best seasons to visit Shimla.
November to February: These are winter months in Shimla and the air is crisp and cold. Shimla also sees snowfall in December, making it a winter wonderland. People often travel to Shimla to enjoy winter sports.
Where to stay?
Shimla provides a vast choice of accommodation according to your pocket size. No matter what your budget is, you will easily find a place to stay in Shimla.
We recommend Ashiana Clarks Inn for Shimla, simply for its magnificent location and world-class amenities. This is a beautiful property in Shimla.
The view from most of the rooms is fantastic overlooking the valley on one side and the Shivalik range of the Himalayas on the other. It is a full-service hotel with services like Room service, Multicuisine Restaurant, bar and laundry service, etc.
Things to Remember
If you are visiting Shimla in the summer, carry light cotton for the day as the sun is quite strong. The evenings require a light jacket as temperatures tend to drop. However, your plans fall in the winter season, carry woolens, thermals, and a heavy jacket. 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 help shield you from the strong sun at a high altitude.