Shimla- the queen of hills
The British empire may have ceased to exist, but its echoes linger on in Shimla (2130 m). As the summer capital’ of the British in India, this was the country’s focus for the better part of every year and now, it is the state capital of Himachal Pradesh. Today, its well developed facilities, easy accessibility and numerous attractions make it one of India’s most popular hill resorts. Places in the lower ranges of the Himalaya mountains, it is surrounded by pine, deodar, oak and rhododendron forests. Within the town are a host of splendid colonial edifices, quiant cottages and charming walks. Shimla holds a variety of shopping, sport and entertainment.
The airport is at Jubbarhatti, 23 km away. Shimla is connected to Kalka by an enhancing narrow gauge railway line – wherer even a quiant rail-car plys. By road, Chandigarh is 117 km, Manali is 219 km, Chail is 45 km and Delhi is at a distance of 370 km. From Delhi, the driving time is about eight hours. From Delhi, Manali and Chandigarh, luxury coaches and taxis ply to Shimla.
Climate: In winter, the temperature can drop below freezing point when heavy woollens are required. Summer temperatures are mild and light woollens/cottons are recommended.
Places of interest
The Ridge : This large open space in the heart of town presents excellent views of the mountain ranges. Shimla’s landmarks – the neo-Gothic structure of Christ Chursh and the neo-Tudor library building are here.
Lakkar Bazaar: Popular for its wood crafts and souvenirs, this is just off the Ridge.
Jakhoo Hill: At 2455 m., this is the town’s highest peak and a vantage point for Shimla’s famous views. The summit is crowned with a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The hill is full of paths and narrow roads which are enjoyable walks.
St. Micheal’s Cathedral: This dressed – stone church with fine stained glass has a cruciform design. It is located just off the Mall, below the District Courts.
State Museum: This houses a representative collection of Himachal Pradesh’s rich heritage exhibits inculde archeological artifacts, carvings, paintings and sculptures. Closed on Tuesdays and holidays.
Indian Institute of Advanced Study: At 1983 m, this magnificent English renaissance structure was the former Viceregal Lodge. Its lawns and woodland and added attractions. Entry by ticket nominal charge). A portion of the interior is also open to the public, except on Sundays and Holidays.
The Glen: At 1830 m, this is a thickly wooded ravine through which a stream flows. It is a popular picnic spot.
Annandale: Surrounded by a thick deodar forest this large glade has an ancient temple on an edge.
Bhargaon (4 km): Approached either past the cementry below St. Edward’s School, or through Tutikandi, this village ha splendid examples of traditional Himachli architecture.
Prospect Hill and Kamna Devi (6 km): At 2125 and crowned by a temple dedicated to Kamna Devi, the Hill offers spectacular views of the area.
Sankat Mochan (7 km): This is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman.
Chadwick Falls (8 km.) At 1586 m, these rain-fed falls are approached through Summerhill.
Tara Devi (11 km): A thickly wooded hill whose peak has a temple dedicated to Tara Devi.
Mashobra (12 km): At 2149 m, this beautiful subrub is surrounded by a thick forest. From here, a track leads down to Sipur which is an exquisite glade shaded by ancient deodar trees. There are old temples on a side and a fair is held every April.
Kufri (16 km): At 2501 m, this is famous for its wide views and ski slopes. An enjoyable walk leads up to the Mahasu Peak. At Kufri, Himachal Tourism runs Cafe Lalit.
Fagu (22 km): At 2510 m, Fagu has some enchanting Tourism runs the Hotel Peah Blossom here.
Nuldehra (22 km): At 2044 m, this is a none hole, par 69 golf course. It was designed by the British Viceroy, Lord Curzon who was so enchanted by the place that he geve his daughter Alexandre `Naldehra’ as her second name.
Chail (45 km): This was the former `summer capital’ of the Patiala State. the palace is now run as a luxury hotel bny Himachal Tourism.