Kalka to Shimla by Road – Distance, Time and Useful Travel Information

Shimla is the largest and the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. This beautiful hill station is a cosmopolitan city owing to its ethnic communities, early Tibetan and Chinese settlers, German, Dutch, and English colonies. The city is famous for nature walks, classic Himalayan experiences, the biggest ice-skating rink in India, old Gothic monuments, and a multi-cuisine culinary experience.

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Why travel from Kalka to Shimla?

With stunning views of the Himalayan peaks, alpine forests and an underlying colonial charm, Shimla is truly the Queen of the Himalayas. Just like the destination itself, the journey to this magical mountain town becomes equally interesting when you do a road trip from the nearby town of Kalka.

When you book a cab with Savaari, you can turn your ride into an experiential journey by customizing the trip to your liking, and enjoying the interesting pit stops en route.

Let us help you discover how to make the most of traveling from Kalka to Shimla by road.

Kalka to Shimla by road

Traveling from Kalka to Shimla by car

The road from Kalka to Shimla is quite an exquisite experience. The road passes from the foothills of the Shivaliks to the upper reaches of the mountain range. As the altitude rises on your drive, you can experience the changing landscape from rolling hills and bluffs to pine forests and mightier mountain peaks.

Along your way, you will pass other offbeat places like Parwanoo, Barog, Shogi, Dagshai, Solan, etc. You’ll also cross the Shimla Airport, depending on which route you take.

With your customized Kalka to Shimla itinerary, you can tour apple orchards, waterfalls, or even detour to Kasauli for a spontaneous trip.

Kalka to Shimla Roadtrip

Best Time To Visit

From the golden sunshine in summer with a lush green environment to the charming, white winter wonderland, every season paints a different picture of the town. The most popular season to visit Shimla is between March and June when the temperatures are perfect for outdoor adventures and nature is also in full bloom in the hills.

However, if you like to experience the winter chills, you can travel during the winter holiday season (December and January). If traveling in winter, snowfall in some parts of Himachal can impact your travel.

Popular Routes from Kalka to Shimla

Route 1: Distance and Time taken from Kalka to Shimla via Kalka-Shimla Road

This is the shortest, fastest, and most popular route to travel from Kalka to Shimla. It is also the major route, used by most interstate travelers/tourists. The traffic on this route is also minimal, and there are no road closures like other inner roads. There may be tolls on the way. Kalka to Shimla distance on this route is only 83 KM and takes nearly 3 hours. Always check live maps and instant traffic updates for the latest information on Kalka to Shimla road conditions. 

Here’s the basic route map from Kalka to Shimla-

Kalka — Parwanoo — Dharampur — Subathu — Shimla Airport — Rauri — Barohi — Shimla
Kalka to Shimla via Kalka-Shimla Road

Popular sights/monuments that you will encounter along this route:

  • Timber Trail Ropeway, Parwanoo – This cable car ride above the Kaushalya Valley, from a height of 5000 ft, gives a 360-degree view of the mountains, good for a day tour. 
  • Jab Waterfall, Jabli – A small, lesser-known waterfall on the hills, surrounded by forests, good for a short trek or picnic. 
  • The Gilbert Trai, Kasauli – The most famous walking trail through the hills leading to a vantage point, best for viewing sunsets and sunrises.
Timber Trail Ropeway
Timber Trail Ropeway, Parwanoo

Places to eat along this route:

  • Sharma Vegetarian Dhaba, Parwanoo – Standard highway side eatery serving dhaba-style food in vegetarian menu, good for late nights and big groups.
  • Haveli, Dharampur – Themed restaurant serving vegetarian and non-vegetarian, north Indian meals in a plush setting, good for families and groups.
  • GFC 2 Food Corner, Subathu – Local eatery serving meals, snacks, and beverages, good for tea breaks, or quick meals.
  • Shimla 17 Food Corner and 1857 Homestay, Jubbarhatti – Casual restaurant serving café style menu, near Shimla Airport, good for breakfast and quick stops, kid-friendly.

Kalka to Shimla Condition via route 1:

This is the shortest and fastest route to travel from Kalka to Shimla and is used by regular travelers. This route has standard highway tolls and the road conditions are great since there are no road closures as of July 2022.

Route 2: Distance and Time taken from Kalka to Shimla via NH5

This is the alternative route to travel from Kalka to Shimla. The distance between Kalka and Shimla on this route is about 94 KM and takes nearly three and half hours. There are tollways on this route and traffic may vary. Always check live maps and instant traffic updates for the latest information on Kalka to Shimla road conditions. 

Here’s the basic route map from Kalka to Shimla-

Kalka — Parwanoo — Gumahrada — Barog — Solan — Kandaghat — Shogi — Taradevi — Shimla
Kalka to Shimla via NH5

Popular sights/monuments that you will encounter along this route:

  • Timber Trail Ropeway, Parwanoo – This cable car ride above the Kaushalya Valley, from a height of 5000 ft, gives a 360-degree view of the mountains, good for a day tour. 
  • Dagshai Jail Museum, Dagshai – Built in 1847, this British era prison is now a tourist attraction museum, good for a short tour.
  • Riva Waterfall, Tikar – A scenic waterfall off the main highway with rocky beds and lush surroundings, good for a day hike or picnic.
Dagshai Jail Museum
Dagshai Jail Museum, Dagshai

Places to eat along this route:

  • Sharma Vegetarian Dhaba, Parwanoo – Standard highway side eatery serving dhaba-style food with a vegetarian menu, good for late nights and big groups.
  • New Barog Valley Restaurant, Barog – Casual restaurant serving meals, snacks, and bar menu, with views of hills and valleys, good for a day respite or late-night stops.
  • Delux Dhaba Restaurant, Solan – Casual eatery off the highway serving meals, snacks, and beverages, good for quick stops and breakfasts. 
  • 13 Miles Food, Shogi – Highway side diner with lodging options, serving meals and café menu, good for families and kids.

Kalka to Shimla Condition via route 2:

This route is also good to travel from Kalka to Shimla and is used by many travelers. There are no tolls on this route. The traffic on this route is minimal with no road closures as of July 2022.

Kalka to Shimla Best Route:

Both the above routes are good to travel from Kalka to Shimla. But the second route seems more scenic with plenty of pit stops and food options. However, the first route seems faster with minimum traffic, maximum highway access, and better road quality. If you want to travel faster, then route 1 is a better choice but if you want a more experiential journey, then opt for route 2.

Other means of traveling from Kalka to Shimla

By Train

There is no regular railway connectivity between Kalka and Shimla. However, you can take the single-gauge trains from Kalka to reach Shimla. It’s a narrow-gauge train and takes about 6 hours to reach Shimla. There’s also the Shivalik Express Luxury Deluxe train which has fewer stops between Kalka and Shimla. The only other option is to travel by road.

By Flight

Although Shimla has an airport, there is no flight connectivity between Kalka and Shimla. Shimla is served by the Shimla Airport, at Jubbarhatti, 22KM from the city center. You can fly from Chandigarh to Shimla. Chandigarh is 39 KM from Kalka. However, you should check for flight availability from Chandigarh to Shimla, since they aren’t many and not frequent. The best way to travel from Kalka to Shimla is to book an outstation cab and drive to the capital city.

Attractions in Shimla for Sightseeing

The bustling Himalayan town of Shimla is the perfect order among chaos, albeit with breathtaking views of mountains and valleys.

  • The Ridge – The most popular and biggest public square of the city, with promenades, shopping, dining, and other tourist attractions, and offering stunning views of the Himalayas.
  • Kufri – The winter adventure capital of Shimla, this valley offers uninterrupted views of the snow-capped mountains and winter sports like skiing, sledding, snowboarding, etc. 
  • Christ Church – Built in 1857, this is the second oldest church in North India and features neo-Gothic-style architecture, stained glass windows, and ornate interiors.
  • Jakhoo Temple – Set against the backdrop of Shivalik hills, this temple sits on Jakhoo Hill, the highest point of the city, and is a sacred site for locals and pilgrims alike.
  • Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex – A Victorian-era building, this is a heritage structure of the city comprising theater, galleries, administrative offices, bars, and a ballroom. 
  • Visceral Lodge – Built in the 1800s, this Gothic structure is the best cultural landmark of Shimla and was dedicated to the then viceroy. The building is now used by the Ministry of Education but also houses old photographs, antiques, and colonial memorabilia.
  • Annadale – A hilltop grassland comprising a golf course and a museum of the Indian Army, showcasing historical weapons and ammunition.
  • Himalayan Bird Park – A avifauna reserve housing several species of native and migratory birds, mostly the state bird, Monal Pheasant. 
  • Himachal State Museum – A state museum preserving ancient coins, paintings, handicrafts, and collectibles showcasing the local Pahadi culture. 
  • Chadwick Falls – A small but gorgeous waterfall surrounded by dense pine forests and a calming environment, making it a popular picnic spot. 

Savaari recommends – Popular places to eat in Shimla

  • Café Shimla Times, Hotel Willow Banks, 
  • Cecil Restaurant, The Mall, Mall Road.
  • Himachali Rasoi, Middle Bazar, Mall Road.
  • Goofa Ashiana Grand, The Ridge, Mall Road. 
  • Eighteen 71 Cookhouse & Bar, Near Tourism Lift Hotel Willow Banks.
  • The Brew Estate, Near Christ Church, The Ridge

Hotels and Resorts in Shimla

Hotel Name Address Phone Number
Shimla British Resort Annadel Road, near Vidhan Sabha, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001 09816326000
The Chalet’s Naldehra Shimla – Tatapani – Mandi Road, Durgapur, Shimla, Naldehra, Himachal Pradesh 171007 01772747715
The Oberoi Cecil Chaura Maidan Rd, Nabha, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171004 01772804848
Woodville Palace Hotel Raj Bhawan, Road, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171002 01772623919
Meena Bagh Shimla Sanjauli Engine Ghar Rd, Engine Ghar, Sanjauli, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171006 08091232988
Kamna Hill resorts Gahan, Summerhill, Summer Hill, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171005 09218557741