Shimla has always alluded me. Even through my years spent in the North of India, I could never make it to Shimla for some reason. Here is a guest post by Anaya, who visited Shimla earlier this year. In this blog, she recounts her experiences she had, in this quaint little place called Shimla.
After waiting for so many years, I finally got a chance to visit Shimla this summer. Visiting this beautiful city in the Himalayas was my dream since childhood. Now that I have finally realized this dream, I am writing a brief article about this amazing travel destination and my experiences in the hills.
Shimla, also known as Simla, is the capital of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It derives its name from the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kali, whose temple existed in the dense forests of Jakhu Hills in the 19th century. During the colonial era, the British were attracted towards the climatic conditions of the region, and, therefore, made Shimla the summer capital of British India and called it the “Queen of Hill Stations”. After independence, the city became the capital of Punjab and was later named the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Its colonial architecture, the temples, the churches and other structures attract tourists from all over the globe.
Situated at an altitude of 7,238 ft above mean sea level, Shimla is well connected by road, rail and air to the neighboring states. A narrow-gauge railway track connects Shimla to Kalka which is about 30 km away from Chandigarh. The Kalka-Shimla Railway line built by the British in 1924 is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also a major tourist attraction. A domestic airport is located in Jubberhatti which is 22 km away from Shimla. The only direct flight available at the moment is from Chandigarh.
While Shimla is very cold in winters, moderately warm temperatures are experienced during summer. Temperatures typically range from -4 °C (25 °F) to 35 °C (88 °F) over the course of a year.
Places to Visit in Shimla
- The Mall, the Ridge and the Scandal Point
- Gaiety Theatre
- Lakkar Bazaar
- Institute of Advanced Studies
Famous Temples in Shimla
- Jakhu Temple
- Kali Bari Temple
- Sankat Mochan Temple
- Tara Devi Temple
Besides these places, there are lots of other places to chill out with family and friends. Hot & spicy momos and spring rolls at Krishna Bakers, a drink at the Ice Bar, a horse ride at the Ridge and some Ice Skating are more than enough to make your day.
One needs to have at least 3-4 days to fully explore Shimla and nearby areas. With new parking lots coming up in the city, I would suggest travelling through your own car. Three huge parking spaces are available near the lift which will take you to The Mall in a matter of 5 minutes. You will find several eating joints – big and small catering to the population with varying budgets. Hotel New Plaza near Mall Road is a very nice place to have a luncheon in a decent budget. Other options are available like Devico’s and Alfa restaurant near the Scandal Point.
For shopping, I liked the Lakkar Bazar near the Ridge. Though the items were a bit expensive, you may find a good deal with great bargaining skills. It is a good place to go for buying antique items made up of wood. You can also have some good time in the roller skating rink in the Lakkar Bazar. Another spot that nobody can ever afford to miss out on is “Takka Bench” near the Christ Church on way to Jhakhu. It’s 2-3 outlets are famous for their golgappe, tikki, chat and bhelpuri. I simply loved their special dahi golgappa.
More details about Shimla can be found on the website www.shimlahp.com which is the best informational resource of authentic information about Shimla and its nearby areas.