Location : 90-kms From Kalka, Himachal Pradesh
Altitude : 2,159m.
Main Attractions : The Mall, Christ Church, Kufri, Narkanda
Best Time To Visit : April To August & December To January
The Summer Hideout
A quaint little hill train chugs up into the Shivalik foothills, over dramatic loops and high arched bridges to the hill resort of Shimla, the capital of the mountain state of Himachal Pradesh.
Shimla was one a string of hill stations that the British established to escape from the scorching heat of the plains. The 12-kms, crescent shaped ridge on which it is located was first occupied by the British troops, in the early part of the 19th century, during the Anglo-Gurkha War. The little village of Shymala, a retreat for British officers, soon grew to become the glamorous summer capital of the British, in India.
Shimla's salubrious climate, easy accessibility and numerous attractions have made it one of the most popular hill stations in northern India. The splendid views of the snow clad ranges of the Himalayas, fine walks through oak and flowering rhododenron, enchanting resorts within easy reach, golf at naldehra and skiing at kufri and narkanda make shimla an attractive destination throughout the year.
PLACES TO VISIT IN SHIMLA
This is the main shopping centre of Shimla with restaurants. The Gaiety Theatre, which is a reproduction of an old British theatre is a center of cultural activities. A passenger lift of HPTDC can be taken from the Cart Road and the Mall. Lakkar Bazaar adjacent to the Ridge is popular for its wood-crafts and souvenirs.
Christ Church & St. Michael's Cathedral
Built in 1846-1857, Christ Church is the second oldest church of Northern India. The Church overlooks the ridge and is one of the landmarks of Shimla. Shimla's other important churches is St. Michael's Cathedral and Roman Catholic Cathedral, which is just off the Mall.
Crowned by a temple dedicated to Kamna Devi 15-minutes walk from Boileauganj on Shimla-Bilaspur road. The hill is situated at an altitude of 2,155m offers a spectacular view of the area.
The large open space in the heart of town presents excellent view of the mountain ranges. Shimla's landmarks - the Neo-Gothic structure of Christ Church and the new - Tudor Library building is worth seeing.
Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, this temple is at an altitude of 2,455m near the highest point of Shimla ridge. It offers a fine view over the surrounding valleys, out to the snowcapped peaks, and over the town itself. The temple is a 45-minute walk from the Mall. Jakhu is a vantage point for witnessing the changing skyline as the sun rises or sets.
Surrounded by thick forests, one can reach these falls by taking about 45-minutes (7-km) walk from Summer Hill Chowk.
At an altitude of 1,283m, Summer Hill is a picturesque spot on Shimla-Kalka Railway line offering shady walks in quiet surroundings. The Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to Shimla lived in the elegant Georgian House of Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur located here. Himachal Pradesh University is also situated over here.
This small village is famous for the hot water sulphur springs. Unlike the springs in Manikaran and Manali, these springs are not so eye-catching at first, but their setting is very beautiful. The village is very relaxed and peaceful.
Great hiking, skiing, some beautiful scenes and a cool environment that's what Kufri is all about. In the winters Kufri attracts ski-lovers from all across the world.
Chail is hiker's paradise. Chail was the summer capital of Maharaja of Patiala, the area is spread over three hills. One has the village of Chail, the other has the Snow View mansion and the third one has the Palace cum hotel of Chail.
Narkanda is basically a transit point between Shimla and Rampur. This place is famous for Hiking and Skiing but only during the season.
In recent times Kasauli has developed as an alternate accommodation for Shimla. It is 12-km from Shimla on the way to Kalka. Kasauli has been coming up as a side trip from Shimla. It has some great walks. The walk to Sanawar is very pleasing and full of natural beauty. Sansar has the potential to become another hill station in the area as nature has provided abundance of beauty and scenery to this place.
Solan is the district headquarters and is the home to Meakin Brewery. Solan is 48-km from Shimla and is at an altitude of 1,342m. It is also the bifurcation point for Rajgarh with it's orchards and enchanting villages.
ADVENTUE SPORTS IN SHIMLA
The Shimla- Kinnaur region offers some exciting trekking opportunities. Narknda to Banjar (Kullu) over the Jalori and Bashleo Passes and Sarahan to Sangla are some of the popular treks, both for the domestic and foreign tourists. From Bharari you can walk to the villages that lie to right of the Seismic Recording Centre, or to the villages of Pabo and Kamiana. Longer treks can be made to Kiar Koti and Tattapani, but for taking-up these treks you better take a guide along.
There are quite a good number of trails that can be done in the suburbs. Some are - a walk between the Catering Institute at Kufri and Wildflower Hall; a walk to Mahasu Peak from Kufri through the Himalayan Nature Park and a walk along the Bekhalty road from Mashobra and treks from Mashobra to Sipur.
SHALI PEAK TREK
Highest Altitude: 4,800m.
Duration: 18 Days
Time Period: Mid-July to September
Destinations Covered: Shimla-Mashobra-Sipur-Thaila-Kuthnol-Shali-Gulthani-Baldian
Visible from Shimla and facing Mashobra, is the Shali peak. At 3,200m this is the highest in Shimla's vicinity. The summit presents an unimpaired view of the area around and holds an ancient temple dedicated to the Goddess Bhimkali.
About The Trek
Drive upto Mashobra and walk down to the glade of Sipur. Carry on 8-km through picturesque woods, fields and orchards to the village of Thaila. Cross Nauti stream that races through a deep gorge. Here begins the 6-km climb to the hamlet of Kuthnol. Then is the final 6-km ascent to the peak.
A thick forest lies on the northern face of the Shali hill. An additional hike may be made to the adjacent 'Choti' or small Shali and the lake of Karyali. Camp overnight at Shali or at Kuthnol.
Alternatively, drive upto the village of Gulthani that lies about 8-km short of the peak and walk the rest of the way. This route is via Mashobra, Baldian and Thaila.
Hiking & Climbing
At 2455m, Jakhoo Hill towers over Shimla. Filled with history and architectural charm, there are several houses along its steep.1.5-km climb that starts from the Ridge and a temple dedicated to Lord Hanauman crowns the forested hill. Enjoy the most spectacular sunrises and sunset sights from this spot, especially during the monsoons.
Another beautiful trail takes you to Sanjuali and between Holly Lodge and Sanjauli, the distance is about 3-km. From Sanjauli, you can walk back via the Government College to the Ridge - 2-km, or via St.Bede's College and Ramchandra Chowka, 3-km. Alternatively, you can bus back from Sanjauli to Shimla.
Apart from the treks to the nearby areas, Shimla is gateway to Kinnaur and Spiti. Camp Blue Pines near Mashobra is an adventure-cum-trekking based gateway from Shimla. It has Swiss tents on a twin-sharing basis and a capacity for 7 couples or 45 children.
The skiing season generally commences in the first fortnight of January and continue till mid- March depending upon snow conditons. HPTDS organises ski courses of 7 days and 15 days duration at Narkanda, every year. The facilities for the participants include boarding, lodging and equipment.
Kufri is a popular ski resort and is at a distance of 16-kms rom Shimla. With thick woods around, Kufri offers a panoramic view of 2,000 miles of the great Himalayan ranges. Naldhera is another adventure area that is situated at a distance of 23-kms from the hill station. Naldhera is blessed with a thick cedar forest, attractive picnic spot and a 16-hole golf course. Fagu is another spot from where one can check out very fine views and has a lot of snow in winters for the delight of snow lovers and skiers.
Situated 64-kms north of Shimla is Narkanda, at an altitude of 2,700m, a ski resort and also a popular spot for viewing the Himalayas particularly from the 3,300m high Hatu Peak.
Chabba is located on the road to Tattapani and is 53-kms away from Shimla. There is the one of the oldest hydroelectric power project, which is nowadays famous for river rafting.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Jubbarhatti airport is 23-km from Shimla and major domestic airlines cater their services from here to Shimla. One can catch direct flights from Delhi
Shimla has a narrow gauge railway line on which Toy Train runs from Kalka to Shimla. The train cruises its way through valleys and beautiful landscapes at a very slow pace making the journey very pleasant. From Kalka one can take trains to other parts of India too. The Toy train from Shimla is of two types - one is the normal multi coach train and the other is the single car train, which has a glass roof giving an enthralling experience during the journey.
Roads connect Shimla with other places in Himachal as well as other major towns and cities of the neighbouring states. There is regular bus service from Delhi and Chandigarh as well as ordinary; semi deluxe, deluxe and AC coaches for Shimla are available too. One can also cross over to Leh and Ladakh via Rohtang Pass from here
DISTANCE FROM MAJOR CITIES
» Chandigarh: 117-km
» Mandi: 150-km
» Kalka: 90-km
» Kasauli: 80-km
» Bilaspur: 81-km
» Ambala: 151-km
» Tapir: 198-km
» Sirmour: 142-km
» Renuka: 159-km