Shimla Tours

Manali Tours

Pine forests and apple orchards, crisp, clean air and breathtaking views. Sprawled over 12 kms on a crescent shaped ridge lies Shimla, the largest hill station and erstwhile summer capital of the British in India. Descending in layers from the top of the ridge, at 2,213 metres, Shimla straddles several hills, including the Jakhoo, Prospect Hill, Observatory Hill, Elysium Hill, and Summer Hill.

Though Shimla, which is now the capital of Himachal Pradesh, has come a long way from the days of the Raj, the old British buildings, quaint cottages and churches still remind visitors of an era long gone by. Here, in the heyday of the Empire, officers and their wives strolled down the Mall, exchanging pleasantries with fellow officers.

Many a grass widow spent time wandering through the beautiful walks through pine forests, while dashing Indian princes left many an English lady heartbroken. From the days of the British, when it was the popular retreat of the sahibs, Shimla has now become the hub of major activities in Himachal Pradesh. Being the seat of government and a major tourist attraction in north India, the town has grown to bursting point. In peak tourist season, traffic jams, and crippling water shortage are common.

So travel to Shimla and get rejuvenated by its fresh air, magnificent snow peaks and refreshing green.

History of Shimla

Way back in 1817, a small village tucked away in the Himalayas was discovered by British surveyors and pronounced an ideal retreat for the homesick colonisers. Named after Shyamla Devi, an incarnation of the fierce goddess Kali, stories of Shimla's salubrious climate and invigorating surroundings made it grow in popularity. In 1830, the land around was bought from the local ruler and Shimla turned into a resort for British army officers. Soldiers recuperating from the Gurkha war came up to the hill resort to heal their wounds, while the memsahibs favoured its cooler climate to the hot, humid and mosquito-infested plains. Soon it began to look like an English village as cottages with gardens, tree-lined walks, churches and cricket pitches came up around town. Finally, in 1864, the town was formally declared the summer capital of the Imperial Government. Every summer, tons of files and baggage were transported all the way from Calcutta and later Delhi, to this hill town.

Shimla came alive with gentlemen and ladies spending their days at garden parties, games of bridge, grand dinners and balls. The main pedestrian walkway, known as the Mall, was popular for evening promenades. Several British landmarks, including the Christ Church, the Cecil Hotel and the Gaiety Theatre came up along the Ridge. In 1903, the Kalka-Shimla railway link was begun making the hitherto arduous journey up much simpler. Even today, the quaint toy train connecting Kalka to Shimla chugs up steep hill slopes carrying hordes of eager tourists. Due to its secluded location and relaxed surroundings, Shimla was useful as a meeting point for national leaders. In the days just before India's independence in 1947, the architects of modern India and the leaders of the Muslim League met here to discuss the modalities of the transfer of power. Later, in 1972 the landmark Shimla Accord was signed by Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the premiers of India and Pakistan. The Shimla Accord was an effort at diffusing tension between the two nations that had remained hostile after independence and partition.

Shimla Tours

Sightseeing in Shimla

Sightseeing in Shimla is all about visiting the focal point of Shimla which is the Ridge and the Mall running around its south slope. From this central area, the town spills downwards, with winding roads linking up settlements and stone steps connecting each layer. Other places to visit while in Shimla are mentioned below for your convenience.

The Cart Road encircles the base of the main settlement, and is the highest motorable road of Shimla. The Mall is open only to pedestrians. There is a lift run by the Himachal Tourist Department that connects the railway stations and Cart Road to the Mall.

The Mall is the main attraction in Shimla, lined with shops selling woollen garments and shawls, handicrafts, departmental stores, eateries and old colonial timber houses. There is a palpable change of character from the times when the Mall was strictly out of bounds for all natives except royalty, to the noisy and very Indian crowds that walk down it today.

Dominating the eastern end of the Ridge is the Christ Church, which was consecrated in 1857. It is a prominent yellow painted building with a Victorian-Gothic spire. Inside, some of the finest stained glass windows in India depict faith, hope, charity, fortitude, patience, and humility.

Next to the church is the mock- Tudor Library, built in 1910. It has a collection of historical books and subscribes to most English language dailies.

On the other extreme of the central square is the Scandal Point. A statue of the Punjabi freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai now dominates the place and groups of local people gather here in the afternoon for some casual chit-a-chat.

The Kali Bari close to Scandal Point enshrines the idol of Shyamla Devi, the presiding deity of Shimla.

Shimla Tours Other reminders of Shimla's colonial past include the Town Hall, the timber lined General Post Office and the old Gaiety Theatre. This popular hall was home to the Shimla Amateur Dramatic Society, complete with a gentlemen's club where the discussion veered around the noble pursuit of cricket and horse racing.

Down from the Mall stands the gracious Cecil Hotel, originally built in 1877 and now rebuilt to its original grandeur. Leading away from the Mall are the narrow alleys and busy side streets of the market. This part of town, with its rickety shacks, corrugated iron sheet roofs and colourful stalls, has a distinctive local flavour.

The Lakkar Bazaar is famed for its woodcrafts and souvenir shops, while the Subzi Mandi or lower Bazaar has stalls stocked with fruits, vegetables and dry fruits. A cluster of Tibetan shops sell imported goods, though some could be fakes.

The other important church, St. Michael's Cathedral, which is built like a cruciform, is just off the Mall. The most impressive colonial edifice of Shimla is the Vice Regal Lodge, now known as the Rashtrapati Niwas (President's House). Sitting on the flat top of Observatory Hill, this Elizabethan mansion was built in 1888 for Lord Dufferin. It now houses the Institute of Advanced Studies, and is open only in some parts to the public.

The grey building still retains its grandeur, with a lion and unicorn guarding the entrance, immaculate lawns, and original brass fire hydrants from Manchester. The Lodge has a chapel and an indoor swimming pool. Inside, the rooms have rich woodcarvings and wooden panelling.

Shimla Tours The ballroom has now been turned into a library, while the conference room has photographs of Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Mahatma Gandhi in consultation during the run-up to independence. The Lodge also has a botanical garden and a cafe. Towards the rear is a stone terrace with a view of some major Himalayan peaks. There are streams running down from top of the hill, flowing into the Sutlej, Yamuna, and Ganga.

The Prospect Hill, which can be reached by a short cut through the forests west of the Viceregal Lodge, is a popular picnic spot. A tarmac path leads up to the top at 2,176 metres, crowned by the Kamana Devi temple. Here you get a grand view of the southern side of Shimla, the undulating hills and valleys of southern Himachal and beyond to the plains of Punjab in the distance.

The Jakhu Temple, sitting on top of Jakhu hill at 2,455 metres is the highest point on the ridge. This temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the monkey god, is quite appropriately beset with hordes of very aggressive monkeys. It is best to steer clear of them and keep all eatables well out of reach.

Shimla has some other interesting places in Shimla that warrant a quick tour. Some are The Glen, a thickly wooded area 4 kms to the northwest past the Cecil Hotel, Chadwick Falls, at 1,586 metres where the river drops 67 metres and is best visited during the monsoons, Tara Devi Temple, the Sankat Mochan Temple about 7 kms on the Shimla-Kalka road and the Himalayan Aviary close to the Viceregal Lodge, with a selection of birds like the monal, pheasant, pea fowls and peacocks.

The suburb of Summer Hill, about 5 kms away from town and a stop on the Kalka-Shimla rail line, has quiet walks through wooded surroundings. The University is also located here.

Where to Stay in Shimla

Shimla has a host of places to stay ranging from luxury to budget properties, therefore where to stay in Shimla can never be a problem. If you are traveling in the summer months, be sure to make your reservations early as hotels tend to get filled up soon. Under the higher luxury hotel category you can opt for The Oberoi Cecil, which is a Grand Heritage Hotel or Hotel Oberoi Clarke's, which has got an old world charm to it.

Shimla Tours The other options are Radisson Jass Hotel that is situated at the foot of the northwest Himalayas amidst beautiful cedar forests and is 26 kms from the Shimla airport; East Bourne Resort and Spa or Willow Banks on the Mall road.

There are many 3-star accommodation options available in Shimla. You can choose to stay at Woodville Palace, which is a heritage hotel or if you wish to stay in a more modern property you can check out Hotel Leela Regency that is centrally located luxurious premium hotel.

Other such 3-star properties are Quality Inn Himdev, Hotel Sukh Sagar, Regency, Hotel Springfields, Hotel Fairmount, Hotel Silverine and Hotel De Park.

There are many smaller budget hotels in Shimla that provide all basic facilities and most of them are mainly located around the ridge. If you are a budget traveller you can pick any of the following hotels for your stay: Hotel Doegar, Bridge View, Crystal Palace, Samrat, Hotel Shingar on Mall road, Hotel Sukh Sagar, Hotel Surya, Ashiana Regency and Aachman Regency.

How to Reach:

The Jubbarhatti airport, 22 km from Shimla has regular flights from Delhi. But due to rough weather conditions during winter, flights may be irregular, especially from December till February. Alternatively, Chandigarh Airport at a distance of 120 kms, can be used for air connections and then up to Shimla by road.

The broad-gauge line terminates at Kalka, about 100 kms down in the plains. The Kalka station is connected to most major cities in India, including Delhi and Calcutta. From Kalka, the narrow-gauge line connects to Shimla. The toy train that runs from Kalka and back takes about five-and-a-half hours to reach. The luxury first class compartments have glass sides to give a superb view of the ride through tunnels, over bridges and up steep slopes. Though the train journey is romantic, it is much slower than travelling by bus.

Shimla is connected by road to Chandigarh, Delhi, Dehradun, Kalka, and other major north-Indian towns. There are regular bus services to Chandigarh, Kullu, Manali, Delhi, Mandi Pathankot, and Ambala. Most travelers prefer to drive up to Shimla in private or hired vehicles.

Indian Holiday Tours   Golden Triangle Tours   Short Day Tours
Kerala Tour Packages Golden Triangle Khajuraho Golden Triangle Varanasi Haridwar Tours Same Day Agra Tour
Rajasthan Tour Packages Golden Triangle Mumbai Golden Triangle Tiger Manali Tours Same Day Jaipur Tour
Kashmir Tour Packages Golden Triangle Kashmir Golden Triangle Buddhist Varanasi Tours Taj Mahal Day Tour
Rajasthan Camel Safari Golden Triangle Haridwar Golden Triangle Gwalior Agra Tours Mathura Vrindavan Tour
Mata Vaishno Devi Tour Golden Triangle Rajasthan Golden Ranthambore Tour Delhi Nainital Tour Agra Jaipur Tour
Shimla Manali Tours Golden Triangle Pushkar Golden Triangle Himachal Golden Triangle Goa Tour Goa Tours
Taj Mahal Tour with Beach Golden Triangle Udaipur Golden Triangle Kerala Mumbai Tours Kerala Tours
About Us  :  Car Rental  :  Agra Hotels    :  Holidays Packages  :  Currency Converter  :  City Guide    :  Site Map  :  Contact Us
Terms & Conditions  :  Privacy Policy  :  Partner with Us
Copyright © - Hussain Tours. All rights are reserved.