Shimla – The Queen of the Himalayas | A Complete Travel Guide

shimla-travel-guide

Table of Contents

About Shimla

Shimla is the largest and the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. The location of this hill town is what makes it popular among tourists, travellers, and explorers alike. Until the 18th century, the entire region was nothing but dense forests, except for local tribes and natives scattered around Jakhu.

By 1864, Shimla was declared as the summer capital of British India. After independence, the city briefly served as the capital of Punjab, before it finally became and remained the capital of Himachal Pradesh.  

everything about shimla

What is Shimla famous for?

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. 

Hidden Facts about Shimla

The oldest post office in India
The oldest post office in India

Here are some interesting trivia about this hill town – 

  • The city was named after the goddess Shayamala Devi, an incarnation of Kali. 
  • Shimla houses the largest natural ice-skating rink in India
  • Established in 1882, Shimla also owns the oldest post office in India.
  • It was the first place where capsicum cultivation was introduced by the British.
  • Shimla is also host to the MTB Himalaya Mountain Biking Race – the biggest mountain biking race in the South East Asia.

Best places to visit in Shimla 

With Himalayan peaks, valleys, waterfalls, and lush natural surroundings, coupled with colonial structures, there are ample places in Shimla to see and explore. Here are some of the must-visit and must-see Shimla tourist places – 

The capital city of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla has all the spoils for a perfect vacation. You can explore all of Shimla’s nature, culture, art, history, and religion,

Jakhoo Ropeway

Jakhoo Ropeway Shimla
  • How to Reach – The ride starts at the Ridge, 
  • Timings – 9.30AM-6.15PM
  • Entry Fee – 
    • Adults- INR 250
    • Children (3-12 years) – INR 200
    • Children (below 3 years) – Free
  • Time Required – 1 Hour
  • Tips – Also visit the locally sacred Jakhoo Temple on the hilltop

Kali Bari Temple

  • How to Reach – The temple is located within a walking distance from Mall Road. You can also take an auto to reach.
  • Timings – 6AM-7PM
  • Entry Fee– Free
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours
  • Tips – Enjoy authentic Bengali food at the temple guest house or canteen

Christ Church

Christ Church Shimla
Christ Church
  • How to Reach – The ancient church is located on Mall Road, 1KM from the bus station and 1.5KM from the railway station. You can easily walk or take a local bus, auto or car to reach.
  • Timings – 8AM-6PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours
  • Tips – Visit the Christ Church library, known for a huge collection of classic literature and ancient scriptures.

Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex

  • How to Reach – The complex is located at 1KM from the bus station. You can easily walk or take an auto to reach.
  • Timings – 11AM – 1:15PM, 1:45PM – 7PM
  • Entry Fee – INR 10, For camera: INR 25
  • Time Required – 2-3 Hours

Mall Road

Mall Road Shimla
  • How to Reach – This famous road is located at 1KM from the bus station and 1.5KM from the railway station. You can walk or take a local cab or auto to reach.
  • Timings – 9AM-9PM 
  • Entry Fee – NA
  • Time Required – 2-3 Hours

Himachal State Museum

Himachal State Museum
  • How to Reach – The museum is located at 2.5KM from the Mall Road. You can take a local bus or a cab to reach.
  • Timings – Tuesday-Friday: 10AM – 1:30PM and 2PM – 5:30PM (Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays)
  • Entry Fee – INR 20
  • Time Required – Less than 1 Hour
  • Tips – Don’t forget to explore the Doll Gallery.

Anandale Army Heritage Museum 

  • How to Reach – The museum and golf course is located at 3.3KM from Mall Road. You can take the local bus or car to reach. 
  • Timings – 10AM – 2PM, 3PM – 5PM 
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 2-3Hours 
  • Tips – Also visit the Annandale Golf Course, adjacent to the museum.

Gorton Castle 

  • How to Reach – The old castle is located at walking distance from Mall Road. You can also take an auto to reach. 
  • Timings – 9AM – 5PM 
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – Less than 1 hour

Places to visit near Shimla

Apart from all the famous places in Shimla, there’s a host of scenic locales and smaller hill stations near Shimla. With a Shimla tour package, you can include these destinations in your Shimla sightseeing – 

Naldehra Golf Course

  • How to Reach – The golf course is located at 23KM from Shimla. You can rent a local car or book a cab to reach. 
  • Timings – 8AM-6PM (all days)
  • Entry Fee – INR400
  • Time Required – 3-4 Hours
  • Tips – Visit the Sipi Fair in June – a local matchmaking fest and art expo

Tattapani River Rafting

Tattapani River Rafting
  • How to Reach – The rafting starts at Chhaba, 45KM from the hill town. You can take the local bus or rent a car to travel and return.
  • Timings – Sunrise to Sunset (October to July)
  • Entry Fee – INR 700-6000 (based on time and distance)
  • Time Required – 1 Day
  • Tips – Take a dip in the hot springs or enjoy Zorbing, Skiing, Paragliding, Trekking and Camping

Hatu Peak, Narkanda

  • How to Reach – Narkanda is 61KM from the town. You can take a local bus or hire a private car to reach and start the trek to the peak.
  • Timings – Sunrise to Sunset
  • Entry Fee – NA
  • Time Required – 3-4 Hours
  • Tips – Visit the famous apple orchards and enjoy apple picking in Kotgarh, 16KM from Narkanda

Chail Wildlife Sanctuary

  • How to Reach – The wildlife reserve is located at 30KM from the hill town. You can book a cab for the day to travel and return.
  • Timings – Sunrise to Sunset
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 3-4 Hours
  • Tips – Camp in the pine forests of Chail or explore the nearby village of Shogi

Gilbert Trail, Kasauli

Gilbert Trail, Kasauli
  • How to ReachKasauli is 73KM from Shimla. You can book a cab or rent a car for the day to travel and return. 
  • Timings – Sunrise to Sunset
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 2-3Hours
  • Tips – For bird watching, visit between February and April or in November

Naggar Castle 

Naggar Castle
  • How to Reach – The castle is 230KM from the town. You can include this on your Shimla-Manali trip. You can rent a private car to travel 
  • Timings – 9AM-6PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 2-3Hours

[Also Read: Working from Naggar – Experiences and explorations]

Best time to visit Shimla 

Any season is the best season to visit Shimla. From very chilly and snowy winters to warm and pleasant summers, the hill station enjoys all kinds of weather. Shimla in winter is freezing yet beautiful, best for holiday celebrations. Shimla in summer, on the other hand, is colorful and radiant with fresh blossom and lush greenery, best for outdoor sports and travelling. The ideal time is March-April when the temperature in Shimla is neither cold nor warm. But do avoid the rainy season between July and September.

Things to do in Shimla

Beyond the traditional sightseeing, Shimla tourism also includes interesting activities you can do on your trip. These Shimla adventures will make you see the city inside out.

apple orchards in shimla
  • Enjoy skating at the largest natural ice-skating rink in the country. Open only during winter months, the city hosts the Ice-Skating Festival, with feast and festivities. You can experience skating over a frozen lake and participate in the celebrations.
  • Go on a food trail. The trail includes eateries offering the most famous Shimla foods, traditional recipes, colonial dishes, and discovering legendary Shimla food like Sidu, Dhaam, Madra, Chha Gosht, etc.
  • Shop at the Lakkar Bazaar, known for antiques, artefacts, locally handcrafted goods etc.
  • Go for a paragliding ride in Waknaghat or Kangra Valley, if traveling in spring. For winter sports, head to Kufri or Narkanda.
  • Explore the apple orchards in and around the hill town and go apple picking, orchard tours, and sampling fresh fruits and fruit-based goodies. 
  • Visit the nearby mountain retreat of Mashorba, for the best experience of camping in Shimla, known for the best pine forests and wooded trails. 

How to reach Shimla

By Train

There is no railway station in this hill station or any direct train. The nearest station is in Kalka. From there, you have to take the single-gauge rail to the hill station. There are daily and weekly trains available to Kalka from Delhi and Chandigarh, the fastest train being KALKA SHATABDI SUPERFAST EXP.

By Road

Shimla is well-connected by NH44 and NH5 to Delhi, NCR, Gurgaon, and Chandigarh. The distance to Shimla from any of these places can easily be covered at a 6-7 hours’ drive. There are frequent state-run and private buses to reach the hill town. The best way to reach the hill town is to book a private car or outstation cab from any of these cities and do a road trip through the hills. The most popular road trip routes are Delhi to Shimla and Chandigarh to Shimla.

By Flight

The hill town is served by the Shimla Airport, at Jubbarhatti, 22 kilometres from the main town. There are regular flights from Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Shillong, Guwahati, and other major cities of India. You can book a Shimla airport taxi to drive to the city. 

Best places to stay in Shimla

You can find some of the most exquisite retreats of Himachal Pradesh and the best hotels in Shimla. To make your vacation memorable, try these resorts in Shimla – 

  • The Clarkes Hotel
  • Oberoi Cecil
  • Chapslee
  • Hotel Combermere
  • The Chalet’s Naldehra
  • Woodsmoke Resort & Spa
  • Woodville Palace Hotel
  • Whispering Pines
  • Hotel Willow Banks

Best restaurants in Shimla

Here are some of the best Shimla restaurants to try out – 

  • Cecil Restaurant
  • Himachali Rasoi
  • Café Sol 
  • Ashiana Grand 
  • Eighteen 71 Cookhouse & Bar
  • Café Under Tree
  • Wake And Bake

Download our Savaari car Booking app for a smooth and pleasant journey. 

A quick summary
Shimla – The Queen of the Himalayas | A Complete Travel Guide
Article Name
Shimla – The Queen of the Himalayas | A Complete Travel Guide
Description
Shimla is the largest and the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. The location of this hill town is what makes it popular among tourists, travellers, and explorers alike.
Author
Brand
Savaari Car Rentals
Logo

About the author

Reading between lines - the ones that rhyme, on a journey with no stop sign.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *