|City : shimla
Location : In the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
Best Activities : Trekking, Skiing, Golfing, Fishing
Language : HIndi, Punjabi, Phari.
Best Time To Visit : Any time of the year.
Shimla (also spelt as 'Simla') derives its name from goddess 'Shayamla Devi', which is another manifestation of Goddess Kali. Shimla is one of the few places in the world where an enormous amount of history and heritage has been distilled into such a small place in so short a time. Shimla has been blessed with all the natural bounties, one can think of. Dwelling on a panoramic location, the hilly town is surrounded by green pastures and snow-capped peaks. ShimlaThe spectacular cool hills accompanied by the structures made during the colonial era create an aura, which is very different from other hill stations.
Shimla retains its colonial heritage, with grand old buildings, among them are the stately Viceregal Lodge, charming iron lamp posts and Anglo-Saxon names. Apart from its natural beauty, Shimla is also famous for its architectural buildings, wooden crafts and apples.
Shimla at Night-View from the RidgeShimla was discovered by the British in 1819 after the Gurkha War. At that time it was known for the temple of Hindu Goddess Shyamala Devi. Scottish civil servant Charles Pratt Kennedy built the first British summer home in the town in 1822. Shimla, or Simla as it was called until recently, had already caught the eye of Lord William Bentinck, the Governor-General of India from 1828 to 1835. In a letter to Colonel Churchill in 1832 he wrote
“ Simla is only four days march from Loodianah, is easy of access, and proves a very agreeable refuge from the burning plains of Hindoostaun ”
Passenger train on the Kalka-Shimla Railway routeShimla is located in the north-western ranges of the Himalayas. At an average altitude of 2397.59 meters (7866.10 ft) above mean sea level, the city is spread on a ridge and its seven spurs. The city stretches nearly 9.2 km from east to west
The highest point in Shimla, at 2454 meters (8051 ft), is the Jakhoo hill. Shimla is a Zone IV (High Damage Risk Zone) per the Earthquake hazard zoning of India. Weak construction techniques and increasing population pose a serious threat to the already earthquake prone region. There are no bodies of water near the main city and the closest river, Sutlej, is about 21 km (13 miles) away. Other rivers that flow through the Shimla district, although further from the city, are Giri, and Pabbar (both are tributaries of Yamuna). The green belt in Shimla planning area is spread over 414 hectares (1023 acres). The main forests in and around the city are that of pine, deodar, oak and rhododendron. Environmental degradation due to the increasing number of tourists every year without the infrastructure to support them has resulted in Shimla losing its popular appeal as an ecotourism spot. Another rising concern in the region are the frequent number of landslides that often take place after heavy rains.
The climate in Shimla is predominantly cold during winters, and moderately warm during summers. The temperatures range from 3.95 °C (39.11 °F) to 32.95 °C (91.31 °F) over the year. The average temperature during summer is between 14 °C and 20 °C, and between -7 °C and 10 °C in winter. Monthly precipitation varies between 24 mm in November to 415 mm in July. It is typically around 45 mm per month during winter and spring and around 115 mm in June as the monsoon approaches. The average total annual precipitation is 1520 mm (62 inches). Snowfall in the region, which usually took place in the month of December has lately (over the last fifteen years) been happening in January or early February every year.
Places of Interest in Shimla
A signboard that reads: "Caution: Feeding monkeys and other stray animals in public places is a punishable offence. Violators may be fined up to 500 rupees."The Mall: 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.
Christ Church: Situated on the Ridge, Christ Church 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.
Jakhu Hill: 2 km 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 Study: 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.
Summer Hill: Situated at a distance of 5 km 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.
Annandale: Developed as the playground of Shimla, Annandale is 2-4 km from the Ridge at a height of 6,117 ft. It is a favourite spot for cricket, picnics and the princely game of polo.
The Annandale polo fieldTara Devi: 11 km 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.
Sankat Mochan: 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.
Junga: Junga is a Tehsil in the picturesque district of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. Its original name (with diacritics) is Junga. Located at a distance of 26 km from Shimla this place is known for a palace and museum of erstwhile Junga Princely state and its scenic beauty and the numerous easy to hard treks it offers. Junga is surrounded by green hills with snow capped mountains and has a forest cover of Kail, Deodar, Pine, cedar, Oak Rhododendro, Cheel, Ban and other trees.
Mashobra: 13 km 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 km from Mashobra, and is a beautiful holiday resort.
Skiing in Kufri
16 km 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 delights children.
Naldehra: 22 km 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. Tatapani
Another tourist place where you can find the sulphur springs which are found near the Tatapani mandir(holy temple)
Chail: Chail is a little mountainous heaven 45 km from Shimla. It was the summer capital of the Maharaja of Patiala before Independence. The forests near Chail have many species of birds and deer. Chail is known for its cricket pitch, which is the highest cricket ground in the world.
Arki: 40 km away from Shimla, Arki is a town and a Nagar panchayat in Solan district in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. The town is notable for its fort built in late 18th century when Arki was the capital of the erstwhile hill state of Baghal. The Arki Fort is a converted hotel and lovely to visit.
Shimla houses a few excellent museums. The State Museum is perhaps the most well-known.
State Museum: Chaura Maidan (Near Oberoi Cecil), +91 177 280-5044. Open Tu-Su, 10AM-5PM. Housed in a reconstructed Raj-style building, the State Museum displays a collection of around 10,000 artifacts gathered from all over Himachal Pradesh. The Pahari miniatures and 6th-11th century Gupta sculptures are especially impressive. Entry Rs 10 (Cameras free, flash prohibited).
Image Art Gallery: Potter's Hill (Near HP Univ.), +91 94180-11172. The gallery displays more than 20,000 photographs of Himachal taken by the celebrated photographer Inder Pal. It's a wonderful place to explore and learn more about the beauty, culture and flora and fauna of this Himalayan state.
In addition, Potter's Hill is scenic area, so as well as visiting the gallery, visitors can also enjoy hiking, climbing, observing wild life and enjoy the fresh Himalayan air. Entry Rs 5 (Cameras free, flash prohibited).