1. The Mall and Ridge Road
As in most hill stations in India, the mall in Shimla is the main street and shopping centre. It has restaurants, banks, clubs, tourist information centers, and post offices. The offices of the Municipal Corporation, the fire service, and the police department are on Mall Road.
Tourists love to stroll along the Mall, see the shops, and meet and talk to their friends. The Gaiety Theatre, a replica of an old British theatre, is the center of cultural activities. The Himachal Emporium offers handicraft products of Himachal Pradesh, like pottery, jewellery, and woolens.
The Ridge Road is a large open space at the heart of Shimla running east to west alongside the Mall Road. The Ridge Road joins the Mall road at "Scandal Point" on the west side. On the east side of Ridge Road is the Lakkar Bazar, a market where you can get all types of wooden craft items and materials.
2. Jakhoo Hill
Jakhoo Hill is about 2 kilometers from Shimla, at an altitude of about 2,455 m above sea level. Jakhoo, the highest peak in the area, offers a magnificent view of Shimla.
The ancient Lord Hanuman temple at the top of Jakhoo hill can be easily reached from Ridge Road near Church by walking for about an hour. The way to the temple goes through dense forests of deodar trees, and the climb is very tiring if one is not used to it. You can also hire a pony or a taxi to go to the Hanuman temple.
You will see many monkeys in the area, but they will not give you any trouble. They just accept fruit and other food from pilgrims.
3. Shimla State Museum
The State Museum, which opened in 1974, contains sculptures, paintings, and exhibits about the art, archaeology and cultural anthropology of the Himachal Region and other states of India. The museum has about 9,000 objects in the collection.
- Indian archeology
- Himachal archaeology
- Prehistoric objects
- Wood carvings
- Arms Gallery
- Gandhi Gallery
- Pahari miniature paintings
- Rajasthan paintings
- Contemporary art and wall paintings
The museum is open from 10 AM to 1:30 PM and again from 2 PM to 5 PM. It is closed on Mondays, the second Saturday of every month, and gazetted holidays.
4. Summer Hill
Summer Hill is about 5 kilometers from Shimla, at an altitude of about 1,983 meters above sea level. Summer Hill is a beautiful township and suburb on the Shimla-Kalka Railway line.
The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, visited Shimla and lived in these quiet surroundings at the elegant Georgian House of Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur.
The temperature during winter is very cold, so many people stay inside during the winter months. At other times, the place is pleasant—particularly during summer—although even then you might need woolen clothes and accessories at night.
5. Christ Church
Christ Church is a majestic-looking church located on the Ridge, and is said to be the second oldest church in the whole of North India.
Inside the church are stained glass windows representing Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Patience, and Humility. It's worth spending some time here.
Annandale is a plateau that has been developed as the playground of Shimla. Annandale is located at about 2–4 kilometers away from the Ridge.
At an altitude of about 1,864 meters, it is a favourite spot for cricket, picnics, golf and polo. From this high point, you can get the best views of the city and its surroundings.
7. Tara Devi Temple
Tara Devi Temple is located on the top of a hill about 11 kilometers from Shimla and can be seen while travelling on the Kalka-Shimla National Highway. You can see the backdrop of the lofty Himalayas when you visit. The clean and fresh air works wonders on you, helping you to relax and forget the day-to-day worries in life.
The temple is 250 years old. It is said and believed that the Goddess Tara Devi came all the way from West Bengal to Himachal Pradesh. Kings from the Sen dynasty built the temple on this spot according to the wishes of their family deity. The picturesque temple and the views of its surroundings are breathtaking and captivating.
8. Daranghati Sanctuary
Daranghati Sanctuary is about 150 kilometers from Shimla, near Rampur Bushahr, in the higher-elevation area of the district of Shimla. This area was the hunting ground of the Rampur Bushahr royal family and was designated as a sanctuary in 1962.
Daranghati boasts undisturbed forest with wildlife including tragopan, monal, Koklas and Khalij pheasants, musk deer, ghoral and thar. This is an ideal place for trek lovers. There is a network of bridle paths and inspection paths in the sanctuary, and the visitors can get assistance from the forest personnel posted at Dofda and Sarahan.
The Sanctuary has cool summers and severe winters. There is heavy precipitation in the monsoon months of July to September and frequent snowfall from January to March.
The nearest airport is at Jubbarhatti, about 23 kilometers from Shimla and about 150 kilometers from Rampur. A narrow-gauge train moves slowly through the mountains and valleys, showing you beautiful landscapes from Shimla to Kalka.
9. Wildflower Hall
Wildflower Hall is a beautiful historic building which was the residence of Lord Kitchener and a masterpiece of British colonial heritage. The whole building was renovated and refurbished and made into a magnificent, architecturally striking five-star resort, run by the Oberoi Group.
The resort spreads over 22 acres among virgin cedar and pine forest at about 2,500 meters above sea level.
10. Chadwick Falls
Chadwick Falls is located at about 7 kilometers from Shimla, just beyond the Summerhill. The waterfalls cascade down into a deep gorge from a height of 67 meters.
Chadwick Falls is best seen just after the monsoon; September would be the best time. The monsoon increases the amount and speed of the waterfall's flow. The water of the fall is really cold, and as it spatters down from such a height it looks like crystals falling.
© 2011 Latha Jayaprakash