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Location : Near Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Languages : Himachali, Hindi, English
Altitude : 2231 meters from sea level
Climate : Salubrious
Temperature : In summers, it ranges between 12 and 22 degree Celsius; in winters, it ranges between -7 and 10 degree Celsius
Major Attractions : Mall Road, Shimla Ridge
Best Visiting Time : All through the year
A favorite hang-out place for British colonists who would gallop to this mesmerizing hill station now and then, Shimla is one of those summer retreats that make you reminiscent of its royal History. Laced with old architectural monuments, most of which were erected by colonists, this enchanting getaway (which is now the state capital) beguiles the visitors with its duping nature and salubrious weather. Spend this summer in the lap of this awe-inspiring destination. It is a treat for those who are keen to have a glimpse of it on foot as the place leads you to those hidden sites where your vehicle would have never managed to reach. All you need is to take a break from your frantic schedule and get to this ecstatic destination.
This summer capital of British is embellished with a plethora of attractions. Allow Shimla to cajole you into its captivating nature and natural surroundings:
Natural Beauty : Nature is at its full boom here; the place is superabundant with several kinds of fauna like trees herbs, and shrubs. The weather is pleasant and the view presented by snow-covered mountains and wooded hills enamors you. The spell-binding imageries attract a large crowd of tourist every year.
Architecture : The place was a favorite haunting place of the British who constructed an array of colonial architectures here. As you will see, the place is laced with numerous structures with influences from Renaissance and Gothic styles. Gorton Castle is a neo-Gothic building that is now transformed into a legal office. Norman-styled district courts and Renaissance-influenced Viceregal Lodge paint a lovely picture of the bygone era. A number of churches, cemeteries, chalets, and libraries also form part of the old treasure.
Mall Road : One of the 'not to be missed' attractions that Shimla boasts of is Mall Road. Located centrally, this commercial hub set by the British is among the busiest places that can be seen here. Built strategically, Mall Road has an array of numerous restaurants, colonial structures, restaurants, and shopping complexes. Popular for handicraft items, ornamentation, pottery works, and woolen cloths, the place has everything that can be expected from an avant-garde commercial market. In order to prevent chaos and allow free movement, vehicles have been banned to enter here. Loiter around and make most out of your trip to the place.
Shimla Ridge : Ridge is a cultural center and an important getaway to Lakkar Bazaar, Jakhoo Hill, and Scandal Point all of which are connected via Ridge. A number of fairs and festivals including Summer Festival are organized here. Christ Church is the main attraction; this Neo-Gothic building is a nice visiting place.
Prospect Hill : A perfect place to watch the panoramic view of the surroundings, Prospect Hill is located on the road linking Shimla to Bilaspur. Atop, you will see Kana Devi temple.
Jakhu Hill : Highest peak of the region, Jakhu Hill is at a handful distance from the destination. From the top of this lovely hill, you can have the comprehensive view of the Himalayan peaks looking right into your eyes from under the layers of snow. A temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman is also present here. It is nice to watch ever-changing hues of the sky at dusk and dawn.
Summer Hill : One of the fine places to pursue trekking, Summer Hill is located at an elevation of 1283 meters from sea level. Georgian House, a place frequented by Mahatma Gandhi sits nicely over the hill.
Sankat Mochan Shrine : A temple devoted to Lord Hanuman, Sankat Mochan is known for its tranquil ambience and lush greenery. As you follow National Highway 22, you will reach this place enthused with calm surroundings. This, along with the enticing backdrop of Himalayan ranges, make the place worth dying for. Initially restricted to a small area, the temple is now sprawled over a large space and is thronged by a large number of devotees. A part of the building serves as a residential complex.
Kalibari Temple : It is a Kali or Shyamala temple that was established in the year 1845. It is after Shyamala that the place got its name. Present strategically over Jakhu Hill, the temple sees a large congregation of devotees every year.
Bhimkali Temple : While touring Shimla, it is good if you take out time to visit this sacred destination. Considered as one of the 41 Shakti Peeth, this temple of paramount importance is a nice blend of Hinduism as well as Buddhism, a feature that is visible in its architecture. Associated with many mythical stories, the shrine is surrounded by numerous palaces that served many royal families in old times.
Junga : This panoramic place is situated at about 26 kilometers from Shimla. The structures that are worth noticing here are a palace that belongs to a erstwhile pricey state. There are many easy as well as difficult treks that are available here. The surroundings are abundant with lush greenery and snow mountains. There is a thick cover of forests with trees of rhododendrons, ban, cheel, pine, deodar, and oak.
Kufri : While returning from the destination, do not forget to visit another enchanting place called Kufri which becomes a ski-paradise in the winters. Be ready to take a plunge into adventurous water sports that attracts a huge crowd of visitors. Pony and Yak rides along with a zoo are a complete delight to pursue.
Naldehra : Another lovely spot that appeals your senses is Naldhera, a beautiful spot marked with rows of deodar trees. A fair named Sipi is organized here in the month of June. It is a lovely place for picnicking.
Renuka Lake : A part of Sirmour district, Renuka Lake rests at an elevation of 672 meters and is accessible via road. The shape of this water body resembles a woman in reclining pose. This is supposed to be epitomizing goddess Renuka. Cuddled leisurely within lush greenery, the lake is an idyllic picnicking spot. A fair is organized in reverence to the deity. If you happen to tour Shimla in the month of November, you will be able to have a glimpse of this colorful extravaganza.
The culture of the city is basically based upon religion. Folk Music and dance are the inherent part of the city's traditional culture. Most of the dances are performed as a token of veneration to Hindu deities. Singing traditional songs is quiet common here; a number of musical instruments accompany the cultural performances. These include Ghariyal, flute, ektara, etc. Among the dances that are popular are Bakayang, Kayang, Jataru Kayanag, Shabu, and Shand dances.
Summer Festival : This joyous occasion is the center of attraction both for local inhabitants as well as the tourists. Celebrated with pomp and show, this colorful festivity is characterized by a number of cultural programs that are participated by a number of artists. Sports tournament, flower shoes, and dance performances are the highlights of the Summer Festival. A number of competitive activities are also organized for school going children.
Skating Carnival : Visiting Shimla in winter season can be a thrilling experience. It is at this time of the year that it gets showered by snowfall. Ice sports like skating and skiing. Dive yourself into spine-chilling activities and make the most out of your trip. The entire city comes to life with its snow carnivals and attracts a large crowd of adventure-seekers. The place boasts of the biggest open-air ice rink of the country. Numerous activities are organized by skating club; these along with skating, include hockey matches, fancy dress activities and dance competitions.
Rhyali Festival : This season of monsoons is very popular in the city. The festival is celebrated in order to appease the rain god on whom, according to villagers, the harvest is dependent. The festivities are initiated by sowing of seeds and the basket containing seeds is kept near idols. A mock wedding of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati is organized. The statues of clay are placed near the young saplings so as to increase the yield. The devotees chant prayers in the hope of being blessed with fertility of their fields.
Festivals like Diwali, Dusshera, Holi, Independence Day, and Shiva Ratri are celebrated with joy and enthusiasm.
Adventure Sports :
Golfing : Coming to Shimla and going back without trying a hand at golfing is considered an erroneous task. The availability of vast expanses is a boon to golf players. There are too many golf courses that are scattered all over the city. Their picture-perfect location enables the tourists to enjoy the game to the fullest. Naldhera is blessed with a spacious golf course. Opened by Lord Curzon in 1903, this golf course is considered as one of the most challenging ones. A 9-hole course is present at Annadale; there are many lovely resorts and eating joints in the neighboring areas.
Mountaineering : Another pleasurable sport that you can indulge yourself in is mountaineering. Pursuing this sport over the lofty mountains can be a thrilling experience. Blanketed under loads of snow, the Himalayan peaks are gifted with a plethora of flora and fauna. The exciting expeditions can be highly enjoyable and irresistible.
Paragliding : This sport was introduced only recently in Shimla but is gaining popularity among the thrill-seekers. Have an exhilarating experience of gliding over snowy peaks and enjoy the exaltation that makes the towering hills feel inferior. But before going on for such an activity, have the necessary training sessions.
Trekking : The uneven terrain with which the city is ordained provides a number of opportunities to trekkers. You are required to contact the authorities for proper trekking apparatus. Depending upon your skill, you can choose from easy and difficult treks. Enroute, you can sit back and relax at one of the rest houses.
Even if you are a spendthrift, you will find yourself squandering money over lovely handicraft items. Shop at Mall Road and enjoy the experience to the fullest. Bring back some souvenirs for your loved ones. You can buy some of the colorful caps that are unique to Himachal Pradesh. Their embroidered designs are worth noticing. Shopping at Lower Bazaar can be a fun in items. Here, you will come across a number of narrow lanes cris-crossing each other. At Lakkad Bazaar, you can buy beautiful wooden items.
Before setting up for a journey to Shimla, you must be aware about what to wear there. As the Climate of the city can reach sub zero in winters, it is necessary that you take heavy woolen cloths, jackets, shawls etc. along with you. In summers, light woolens would suffice. Also pack walking sticks that come handy while strolling over rugged mountain ranges. Other items that are absolutely necessary to carry along include sunglasses and sunscreen.
There are all sorts of hotels available at Shimla. Both budget as well as luxurious hotels are present here. Among the 3-starred hotels, Honeymoon Inn, Whistling Pines, Willow Banks are popular ones. Hotel Asia (Kachi Ghati), Hotel Clarke's (The Mall) are the 4 started while Radisson Jass (Goodwood Estate), Cecil Oberoi (Chaura Maidan), and Wildflower Hall (Chharabara) are the 5 starred ones. There are many heritage hotels as well here; Woodville Palace (Raj Bhawan), Hotel Springfield (Tibetan School), and Clarke's Hotel are a few examples in this regard.
Immerse yourself in the paradisiacal fantasies that are offered by this mesmerizing destination.