Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh, India, and is one of those hill stations that record the highest footfall in India. It is situated at an average height of 2276 meters above sea level. The mesmerizing landscapes of the encompassing hills and snow-capped tops attract thousands of tourists from across the globe.
History of Himachal Pradesh capital city – Shimla
In the Hindu Epic, the Ramayana, it is mentioned that Lord Hanuman took rest in Shimla when he was looking for the divine herb “Sanjeevni booti”.
Until the beginning of the 19th century, Shimla was mostly covered with dense forests. It was the time of the Anglo-Gurkha war. In 1804, in the battle of Kangra, the Gurkhas suffered a huge loss from Sikhs. About 96 Kilometers from Shimla, Kangra was a fortress built on a hill.
The Gurkhas constructed several fortresses nearby Shimla. The Jagatgarh stronghold, which was the origin of the modern Jutogh, the well-known military cantonment adjoining Shimla, was one of those fortresses. The Gurkha’s dream to rule over this part of the country ended on 15th May 1815 when they lost the Anglo-Nepalese War against the British. The Maharaja of Patiala, who had contributed priceless services to the British, was rewarded with land in the vicinity of Shimla. Later, it was declared as the summer capital during the East India Company rule.
How is the weather in Shimla?
Shimla is in the foothills of Himalayas and experiences a subtropical hills climate. It is mostly cool throughout the year. In summers, between the months of April and June, the maximum temperature usually touches 25 degrees Celsius. During this time, when the rest of India experiences a temperature of 40-50 degrees Celsius, the temperature in Shimla is pleasant. Because of this reason, the East India Company declared Shimla as their summer capital. The rainy season starts in July and ends in September. During this time, Shimla experiences an average rainfall of approximately 376 mm. Winters start from October and reaches its peak in December and January and ends in February. The mercury dips to 2 degrees Celsius in winters and Shimla receives snowfall. You can check the current temperature and Shimla weather for today and forecast for the seven days here.
When should you visit Shimla?
The soothing temperature throughout the year and glorious panoramas make it hard to decide the best time to visit Shimla. If you wish to escape the heat in summers, then Shimla is a perfect place to rest, especially during the summer holidays. However, if I look at the footfall records of Shimla, people prefer to visit Shimla in winters as currently the climate is the most pleasant. You can enjoy a lot of sports activities and the lovely snowfall. You can visit Shimla any day of the year.
List of places to visit in Shimla
There are several tourist places in Shimla. Listing all of them here would be a tough task. However, I am just listing the famous places in Shimla for tourists.
It is the heart of the town and is the central street that is bounded with restaurants, clubs, banks, shops, post offices, and tourist offices. The Mall road is the most bustling and lively location of Shimla. When walking through the street, looking at the scenic view of the hills and valleys enclosed with houses, commercial complexes, and hotels, you can feel the true spirit of a hill town. The road also connects the Ridge at the ‘Scandal Point’ of Kipling’s Shimla. At this location, a statue of Lala Lajpat Rai has been built. An old British theater is revived to form the Gaiety Theatre and is a hub of social activities. You can use the HPTDC lift to reach the Mall road from the Cart Road. You can also purchase woodcrafts and souvenirs from Lakkar Bazaar, which is nearby to the Ridge.
In the evening, the Mall road looks very eye-soothing with views and lights. You cannot get bored at the Mall road with various recreational activities.
It is a large public place at the Mall road. You can enjoy the excellent views of the mountain ranges. The Ridge is the center of all cultural activities. It is situated on the Mall Road, Most important places of Shimla like Snowdon, Mall, and Jakhoo Temple/hill are connected through the Ridge.
You will find horse rides, ice-cream vendors, and shutterbugs waiting to click you in Himachali outfit here. The Ridge in Shimla also houses several government houses such as HP Tourist Info Center, Municipal Corporation Office, and Himachal Tourism restaurant. Couples enjoy a romantic rendezvous of nature and flurry in this Ridge.
Himachal State Museum and Library
The museum is open every day from 10 AM to 5 PM, except Monday and public holidays. You can sight a large collection of ancient carvings, portraits, coins, photos, and other items. The library has several classical books and papers.
Viceregal Lodge and Botanical Gardens
Also known as the Rashtrapati Niwas, it is a majestic building, which was the home of the British Viceroy, Lord Dufferin. The construction of this house was completed in 1888. It is believed that mules carried each brick used in the construction. It is a six-story building, which is enclosed by gardens and lawns.
If you are an adventurous traveler, then you must take a Gondola ride to reach the top of Shimla city. On the ride, you will enjoy the astounding view of forest, hills, town, and in winters a stupendous scene of snow-capped mountains. At the highest peak of Shimla, on the Jakhu hill, you must visit the Jakhu temple. It is a historic temple of Lord Hanuman. The panoramic view from there is incredible.
Distance to Shimla from
- Delhi is 348 Kilometers. It takes approximately 8 hours to reach by road.
- Chandigarh is 112 Kilometers. It takes 3.5 hours to reach by road.
- Manali is 248 Kilometers. It takes 7.5 hours to reach by road.
- Kalka is 87 Kilometers. It takes 3 hours to reach by road.
- Kufri is 15 Kilometers. It takes 40 minutes to reach Kufri from Shimla by road.
- Kullu is 210 Kilometers. It takes 6.5 hours to reach Kullu from Shimla by road.
- Dharamshala is 240 Kilometers. It takes 6.5 hours to reach Dharamshala from Shimla by road.
How can you reach Shimla?
Shimla has a very good connectivity from Chandigarh and Delhi and makes it easily accessible. Anywhere from India, you can take a flight to Chandigarh, and then reach Shimla by bus. This saves time. For a budget-conscious person, take a train to Kalka. From Kalka, take the Kalka-Shimla toy train and enjoy the pleasant journey. The Kalka-Shimla rail is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. If you are traveling from Delhi, then take a Volvo bus from Delhi to Shimla.