Known as the Queen of the Hills, Shimla is the capital and the largest city of Himachal Pradesh. The pleasant climate of the city made Shimla the summer capital of the British and there are loads of colonial influences to be found in the city, especially with respect to architecture. Shimla tourism has helped promote the economy of the state, with people flocking to the city to escape the sweltering heat of the plains. During winter, Shimla is blanketed with snow and becomes a gorgeous winter wonderland, attracting tourists to enjoy ice skating and other such activities.
The Himachal Pradesh capital is on the south western ranges of the Himalayas and was built on top of seven hills. The highest point in Shimla is Jakhoo Hill where there is a temple and the city has no major water sources near it. The nearest river Sutlej is 21 km away. Shimla is surrounded by forests with trees such as pine and deodar. Shimla is prone to landslides during the monsoons.
Shimla has a highland climate with cool winters and moderately warm summers. Temperatures can vary during a year, ranging anywhere between -4 to 31 degrees Celsius. Monsoon begins in July and there can be heavy rainfall. Snowfall during winter turns Shimla into a gorgeous wintery landscape.
Shimla has an old-world charm about it, something that has rapidly evaporated from many Indian states today. The culture of the city maintains a balance between tradition and modernity. People here rely on agriculture as a way of making their living. However, Shimla tourism has helped the economy significantly. Festivals are often celebrated with music and dance with the idea that both helps invoke the gods so they can seek their blessings. The people are warm and friendly and are known to be hospitable.
For a taste of old-world charm right here in India where you can enjoy magnificent views and brilliant landscapes, there’s nothing better than Shimla. With its equable temperature during summer, it’s no wonder then that there’s a sharp increase in tourists from nearby Chandigarh or Delhi. People from other parts of the country and even abroad too love to visit Shimla to enjoy the beauty of this untouched city.
For lovers of adventure sports, summer is a great time to visit the city especially for trekking, camping, and activities such as paragliding. The scenery in any case is brilliant and you will feel like you have been transported into another world. Shimla tourism sees a significant spike in tourists during the summer months especially.
For some fantastic views of the mountains in Shimla, one of the best places to go is the Ridge. The highest point of this flat platform is known as Scandal Point and is a great place to see the sunrise or sunset. Apart from the breath-taking views of the valley, one can also find the famed Tudor library as well as Gaiety theatre here. Both these are known for their beautiful colonial architecture. The Ridge is an important cultural centre here, where many celebrations and events are held regularly. Since it is closed for traffic, it’s an excellent place for walkers to enjoy the feel of the place without the rush of oncoming cars and vehicles.
Mall Road which is a part of the Ridge itself is the main shopping area and has several restaurants, bars and coffee shops, making it the ideal place for tourists to browse the shops and grab a quick bite to eat.
The Lakkar Bazaar is located near the Ridge and is one of the best places to buy wooden toys or souvenirs. A stroll through this bazaar is highly recommended if you want to see some beautiful work by local artisans and support them.
There are several beautiful buildings here such as Christ Church which is majestic and has an immense presence. This is supposed to be second oldest church in North India and during the early morning prayer, it’s simply lovely to be here.
Most people who are visiting Shimla head to Jakhoo Hill, the highest peak in Shimla where there is a historic 108 feet tall statue of Hanuman. The trek to the top of the hill is nothing short of adventurous with the misty mountain air swirling around you. On Jakhoo Hill, there’s also Rothney Castle former home of naturalist Allan Octavian Hume.
A popular tourist draw here in Shimla is the Chadwick Waterfall, surrounded by dense forest and water tumbling down from a height of 1586 metres. Despite the roar of the waterfall, there is a sense of peace here although it is advisable not to visit after dark. The Himalayan Bird Park which is open only during summer houses several native and exotic birds and is a great place to visit in Shimla, especially for nature and photography lovers.
Other places that have contributed to Shimla tourism are Kufri which is ideally visited in winter for winter sports, Chail Palace for its architectural magnificence, Green Valley which has been featured in several Bollywood films, Himachal State Museum, Gorton Castle, and the Naldehra and Shaily Peak which are known for their excellent viewing points. The Kali Bari Mandir built for Goddess Kali, who is also known by the name Shyamala and inspired the name of the city is also an excellent spot to visit.
If you are keen to visit Shimla and enjoy these experiences for yourself, do remember to check the SOTC website for some attractive offers and deals on Shimla tour packages and Himachal tour packages.
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Dos and Don’ts in Shimla
The following are some of the do's and don'ts to keep in mind during your trip to Shimla.