The British called Shimla the "Queen of Hill Stations."
Situated in the north-West Himalayas, Shimla the summer capital
of India before independence is now the capital of Himachal Pradesh.
Shimla derives its name from "Shyamala";- the goddess
Kali, whose temple existed in the dense forest that covered Jakhu
Hill in the early 19th century. The English named it Simla. Shimla
is well connected by air, road and rail with all parts of Himachal
Pradesh, and the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and
Kashimir and the Union territory of Chandigarh. Covering the area
of 18 sq. km. at a height of 7,238 ft. Shimla is surrounded by pine,
deodar, oak and rhododendron forests. Its well developed facilities,
easy accessibility and numerous attractions make it one of Indian's
most popular and biggest hill-stations.
A narrow-railway links Kalka with Shimla. This important rail-link
was built in 1924 and its "toy trains" still ply between
the two stations, passing through 105 tunnels and beautiful rail-road
stations. Half-way through the journey, after Solan, the lights
of Shimla flow in the distance, looking like glimmering jewels studding
the dark green of the mountains. The train takes six hours, and
at every stop on the journey are smiling faces giving a warm welcome.
Situated in the North-West Himalayas, the climate of Shimla varies
from a maximum of 10-11 degrees in winter to a maximum of 25-26
degrees in summers. Shimla never allows the gods to raise the temperature
above that limit and the gods always oblige. Shimla changes its
moods with the seasons. In spring we see flowers of all kinds, both
wild and cultivated, smiling in each garden. During the monsoon,
we see some of the best sunsets in the world.
Winter in Shimla is known as the season of "Long moon-night."
It becomes a frost glistening silent city. A gathering of dark clouds
tells us of the approach of snow generally a slight fall first,
followed by a heavier one when the snowflakes sweep down through
the fine-needles bending long branches to the ground. The following
morning sees the town as a fantastic fairyland of white beauty.
The Mall is the main shopping centre of Shimla. It also has many
restaurants, clubs, banks, bars, Post Offices and tourist offices.
The Gaiety Theatre is also situated there. People walk up and down
the Mall slowly, stopping to gossip, as it is the main meeting place
for everyone. The Ridge and Scandal point are the two main meeting
points at the Mall.
Situated on the Ridge is Christ Church, which is the second oldest
church in Northern India. It has a very majestic appearance and
inside there are stained glass windows which represent faith, hope,
charity, fortitude, patience and humility. Christ Church is a place
all visitors should spend some time in.
2 kms. from Shimla, at a height of 8000 ft, Jakhu Hill is the highest
peak and offers a beautiful view of the town and of the snow-covered
Himalayas. At the top of the Hill, is an old temple of Hanuman,
which is also the home of countless playful monkeys waiting to be
fed by all visitors.
Shimla State Museum
The Museum, which was opened in 1974, has tried to project hill-out
and the cultural wealth of the state. There is a collection of miniature
Pahari paintings, sculptures, bronzes wood-carvings and also costumes,
textiles and jewellery of the region.
Indian Institute of Advanced Studies
This institute is housed in the Viceregal Lodge, which was built
in 1884-88 during the British times. It has spacious gardens and
is ringed by beautiful pine trees. All is calm and serene just the
right atmosphere for a student of literature or politics.
Situated at a distance of 5 kms. from the Ridge is the lovely township
of Summer Hill at a height of 6,500 ft. on the Shimla-Kalka railway
line. Mahatma Gandhi lived in these quiet surroundings during his
visits to Shimla. Himachal Pradesh University is situated here.
Developed as the playground of Shimla, Annandale is 2-4 kms. from
the Ridge at a height of 6,117 ft. It is a favourite spot for cricket,
picnics and the princely game of polo.
11kms. from the Shimla bus-stand. Tara Devi has a temple dedicated
to the goddess of stars on top of the hill. There is a military
Dairy Town here as well as the headquarters of Bharat Scouts and
Guides. At a height of 6,070 ft. Tara Devi is an ideal place for
a person wanting peace and some rest.
A popular Hanuman temple is located here. We get an excellent view
of Shimla from the temple. It can be reached by car or on foot.
13 kms. away from Shimla, Mashobra has several excellent picnic
spots. Mashobra is the site of the annual Sipi fair in June. The
nearest rest house is at Craignano which is 3 kms. from Mashobra,
and is a beautiful holiday resort.
16 kms. from Shimla at a height of 8,600 ft. Kufri is the winter
sports capital. During winter, visitors have the facility for skiing.
The skiing season is at its best during January and February. Equipment
for sking is available from HPTDC winter sports club at Kufri. Apart
from skiing, Kufri is a lovely picnic spot with a beautiful view
of the hills around and the snowy peaks. There is also a zoo that
22 kms. from Shimla and surrounded by beautiful deodar trees. Naldehra
has a well kept nine-hole golf-course. It is a lovely, popular picnic
spot. The annual Sipi fair in June is held in Naldehra.
Shimla is the best market for the handicrafts of Himachal Pradesh.
Woollen and pashmina shawls, decorative items, handmade shoes, dolls,
woollen caps, carved wooden sticks, toys and other items made form
wood are made in Shimla itself and are on sale in the Lakkar Bazar.
Tibetan jewellery and trinkets are found in the small Tibetan shops
near the Ridge.
Shimla has the only natural ice-skating rink in India. An Ice-skating
Carnival is arranged every year by the Ice-skating Club during January.
During this festival, members display their skill on ice and participate
in a fancy dress competition.
The summer festival in Shimla offers the best entertainment of
the year. Artistes are invited from all parts of Himachal Pradesh
and from other parts of the country to entertain visitors with song,
dance and music both Indian and Western.
Besides the summer festival, regular cultural programmes are organised
in Shimla during the tourist season.
Shimla is situated at an altitude of about 2100 m. All the seasons
of nature visit Shimla during the year. The isotherms of Shimla
happen to match with that of London throughout the year and is the
reason for Britisher's choice of Shimla as its summer capital. The
duration and temperatures of different seasons are as follows:
||May to June
||15°C to 28°C
||June to September
||12°C to 22°C
||Cotton & Light Woollens
||October to November
||7°C to 20°C
||Cotton & Light Woollens
||December to February
||- 4°C to 7°C
||March to April
||11°C to 20°C
||Cotton & Light Woollens
General Information & Accomdation info on Shimla city of Himachal Pradesh - India