FACTS & FIGURES
Population : 123,000
Languages : Hindi, Himachali, Garhwali, English
Best time to visit : May-July and September-November
STD Code : 0177
Shimla is the State Capital of Himachal Pradesh, with its population around 1.6 lacs (Shimla town). It was the Summer Capital of India under the British rule. Shimla has witnessed many important historical events, such as the famous Shimla Pact between India & Pakistan, which was signed here. The place is also famous for its natural beauty, architectural buildings, wooden crafts and apples.
The british empire may have ceased to exist, but its echoes linger, on in Shimla (22050. As the summer capital of the British in India, this was the country focus for the better part of every and now, it is state capital of Himachal Prdesh today it has well developed facilities easy accessibility and numerous attractions make it one of India's most popular hill resort.
Placed in the lower ranges of the Himalaya mountains, it is surrounded by pine,deodar, oak and rhododendrom forest. Towards the north lie the now-covered high ranges while the valleys breathe whispering streams and swaying fields. Within the town are host of splendid colonial edifices quaint cottages and charming and walks. Shimla holds a variety of shopping ,sport and entertainment.
Situated in the north-west Himalayas, Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Spread across 12 kms along a ridge that overlooks terraced hillsides and cultivations, Shimla is magnificently robed in dense forests of oak and pine, fur and rhododendron, and it is best to travel here on the slow train from Kalka. Shimla also is a convenient base for variety of adventure sports such as Skiing, Trekking, Fishing and Golfing etc.
The hub of Shimla is the Mall, which runs along the Ridge and is crowded with tourists. It is the city,s most famous shopping center, with shops selling all items, from clothes to junk food. The Ridge is a large open space in the heart of the town and presents excellent views of the mountain ranges. Most of Shimla's landmarks are located here. The Mall further joins the Ridge at the Scandal Point' of Kipling's Shimla, where a statue of the nationalist leader Lala Lajpat Rai has been erected.
The six-storeyed Vice-Regal Lodge or Rashtrapati Niwas, about 4.5 km from Scandal Point, attracts many visitors. It was built in 1888 and was formerly the residence of Lord Dufferin, the British Viceroy. The style of architecture is English Renaissance, the masonry of the walling is light blue limestone and the wrought stonework is done in sandstone in a beautiful light gray tint. It has magnificent lawns and houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Nearby is the Himalayan aviary that has a good collection of birds, including the Monal pheasant, Himachal's state bird.
About 2.5 km from Scandal Point is the State Museum, which has a good collection of statues, miniatures, coins and photos from in and around Himachal Pradesh. It was built in 1974.
Another of Shimla's major landmarks is the Christ Church and St. Michael's Cathedral. It is the second oldest church in Northern India built between 1846 and 1857. It is located just off the Mall, below the District Center and is known for its stained glass windows.
Jhaku temple, dedicated to Hanumanji, the attendant of Lord Rama, is to the east of the town center, near the highest point of the Shimla Ridge. It is at a height of 8048 feet above sea level and offers a panoramic view of the city.
The temple just below the Grand Hotel is the temple dedicated to Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Kali.
Southeast from Jhaku is the long spur of Chotta Shimla, with Barnes Court. Once the residence of the Governor General of Punjab, it is now the official residence of the Governor of Himachal Pradesh.
About 4 km from the Ridge, a sprightly stream flows through the Glen forests at an altitude of 1830 meters. It is a secluded picnic spot.
Beyond the Glen is Annandale, another picnic spot. It is covered with deodar forests and was once the playgrounds of Shimla, where racing, polo and cricket entertained the Britishers.
Elysium Hill, on the road leading through Lakkar Bazaar, houses the famous Auckland House, the former residence of Viceroy Lord Auckland. It is a well-known girls� school now. Nearby is the Stirling Castle, now an orphanage for the Tibetan children and a center for the Tibetan exiles who have settled locally.
Rampur has the Padam Palace built in 1925. The whole area is a maze of lanes, shops and temples. In the month of November, the Lavi Fair is organized here.
On the Mahasu range, at Charabra, 13 km from Shimla, is the Wild Flower Hall situated at an altitude of 2,498 m. Nestling among picturesque sylvan surroundings, the Wild Flower Hall commands a breathtaking view of the snows. A major fire damaged it in 1993. Serving as a hotel today, it attracts many tourists who wish to revisit the grandeur of a bygone era.
About six miles from the Shimla Church, in Koti, lay the village of Mashobra, at a height of 2149 m. A place of unique beauty, Mashobra is an ideal interlude beneath the oaks and the pines. Featuring beautiful gardens spattered with the daffodils, hyacinths, asphodels and celandines, it is a popular weekend resort, dotted with delightful villas and innumerable picnic spots. From here, a track leads down to Sipur, which is an exquisite glade shaded by ancient deodar trees. A fair is held here every April/May. About 3 km from Mashobra is the lovely resort of Craignano.
At a distance of 5 km from Shimla is Summer Hill, a quiet suburb with peaceful environs ideal for secluded walks. About 2 km from Summer Hill are the Chadwick Falls, a silent gorge frequently visited by picnickers.
Four kilometers from Shimla is Bihargaon, a village known for its splendid Himachali architecture.
At a distance of 6 km from Shimla is the Prospect Hill. At 2125 m and crowned by a temple dedicated to Kamna Devi, the hill offers breathtaking views of the area. Another temple dedicated to Tara Devi is located at a distance of 3 km from Shimla.
About 12 km from Shimla, on the Kalka Road is Kasauli (STD Code 01793).
Kufri, at distance of 16 km from Shimla and at an altitude of 2510 m above sea level, is a site offering some famous hikes and wonderful snow for skiing. An enjoyable walk leads up to the Mahasu Peak. The Himalayan Nature Park here has a good collection of animals and birds found in the region.
Narkanda, 64 km from Shimla, offers wonderful slopes for skiing. At an elevation of 2708 m, it has dense pine forests. Hatu peak, 8 km from Narkanda, provides a striking panorama of the plains below.
Chail (STD Code 01792), 43 km from Shimla, is a lush green setting and was the former capital of the Patiala State. It has the world's highest cricket ground at a height of 2250 m, built in 1893. It is also a hiker's paradise and there is a wildlife sanctuary at a distance of 3 km from here.
* Sarahan (STD Code 01782) is a small village worth visiting. It provides a spectacular view of Shrikhand Mahadev (5227 m) and hiking opportunities to the nearby villages such as Ranwin and Bashal Peak. The Bhimakali temple, dedicated to Goddess Durga, is the finest example of Himachali architecture.
Naldehra, at an altitude of 2050 m and 23 km from Shimla, houses the oldest and the highest golf course in India. In the middle of the course is a temple, Mahunag Mandir. It was a favorite pastime spot of Lord Curzon.
Tattapani (STD Code 0117), 51 km from Shimla, is a spot well known for hot sulfurous springs.
For trekking, one can go from Shimla to Kullu over the Jalori Pass (3300 m) and Bashleo Pass (3250 m) and Sarahan to Sangla. Some other treks are to the Shalipeak, to the Kullu valley, Shimla to Chail, Shimla to Junga and Shimla to Tattapani. Angling for trout can be done on the river Pabbar, near Rohru. Skiing is possible at Narkanda and Kufri (January-March). Naldehra also offers a well-groomed nine-hole golf course.
How to Reach Shimla
The airport is at Jubbarhatti, 23km away. Shimla is connected to Kalka by an enchanting narrow gauge railway line- where even a quaint rail-car plys. By road, Chandigarh is 117 km Manali is 280km,chali is 45km and Delhi is at a distance of 370km. From Delhi, the driving time is about eight hours from Delhi, Manali and Chandigarh, luxry coaches and taxis ply to shimla.
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Labels: Shimla Tourism