The capital city of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is one of most visited hill stations in India and is located at an average elevation of 2,205 meters above sea level. The region was covered with dense forests and was first mentioned in the ancient Hindu scriptures of the Vedas as the place where Lord Hanuman rested while looking for the healing herb in Ramayana. The region remained a forest till it came under the British East India Company and was governed by the erstwhile Maharaja of Patiala who assisted the British during the Anglo-Nepalese war. In 1863, Shimla became the summer capital of the British Raj and provided an adequate refuge from the scorching heat of the lower regions of India.
Being one of the major tourist towns in India, Shimla is visited by thousands of Indian and foreign tourists throughout the year who are attracted by the breathtaking views of the surroundings and the snow capped peaks of the western Himalayas. The colonial style architecture with Tudor and neo-gothic architecture compliments the surroundings and the pleasant climate of Shimla and has several attractions.
Being located in the Western Himalayas, Shimla enjoys a sub-tropical highland climate. The summer months are between May and July when the maximum temperatures can go upto 23 degrees Celsius. The months of July and August see the maximum rainfall upto 17.9 inches. The winter months are between December till the end of February when the temperatures can drop to 2 degrees and snowfall is experienced.
Best Time To Visit
The climate in Shimla is cool throughout the year and this is the major reason why the British established their summer capital here. While the summer months are pleasant, the best time to visit Shimla is between the months of October and December, when the climate is the most favorable for exploring the city. Many people visit Shimla during the winter months because of the winter sports and the snowfall.
Attractions/Things To Do
Being surrounded by dense mountain forests and the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas; Shimla is one of the best hill stations in India. The town attracts a huge number of tourists from all over the world and is known for its distinctive culture and hospitality of the people. Trekking, Hiking, Ice skating, Skiing, Shopping Districts, Churches, Hot Springs, Rivers, Flowery meadows, Valleys, Temples and the colonial style buildings make Shimla a sought after tourist retreat.
The Mall, Chadwick Falls, the Ridge, Kalka Shimla Railway, Jakhoo Hill, Lower Bazaar, Viceregal Lodge, Tara Devi Temple, State Museum, Photo Art Gallery, Naldehra Golf Course, Lakkar Bazaar etc. are few of the innumerable attraction that Shimla houses.
How To Reach
The best way to reach Shimla is by taking the Kalka-Shimla Rail. The train can be boarded from Kalka another majestic hill town located in the Indian state of Haryana which can be easily reached from Delhi. The Railway has been listed among the UNESCO world heritage sites and transverses through some of the most picturesque and scenic locations amidst the Himalayas. Delhi and Kullu are the nearest airports and are well connected with the other towns in Himachal Pradesh. Shimla is well connected via road to the rest of the cities and the NH22 connects the town to Chandigarh.
Distance From Major Cities
1. Chandigarh – 120 kilometers
2. Patiala – 172 kilometers
3. Kangra – 238 kilometers
4. Kalka – 90 kilometers
5. Delhi – 347 kilometers
6. Jaipur – 603 kilometers
7. Kullu – 210 kilometers
8. Lucknow – 775 kilometers
9. Manali – 250 kilometers
10. Ahmedabad -1,269 kilometers
11. Indore – 1,243 kilometers
12. Kolkata – 1,813 kilometers
13. Mumbai – 1,739 kilometers
14. Chennai – 2,513 kilometers
15. Hyderabad – 1,885 kilometers
Accessibility and Accommodation
Shimla is considered to be the tourist hub of India and is one of the most visited holiday destinations in India. The town is well connected via rail, road and air from the major cities in the neighboring states and India. As mentioned earlier the Kalka-Shimla railways are the best way to reach the town. Taxis, buses and auto rickshaws are easily available to get around the town. Being a tourist town, Shimla houses a plethora of accommodation facilities that fit all types of tourist budgets. However one must be really careful of the fake guides or ‘Touts’ as they can really con the visitors with their smart aleck talks and have a pre-determined commission included in the hotel room prices.