Shimla General Information
- Area 31.60 sq. km
- Population 1,02,186
- Altitude 2,213 meters above sea level
- Languages Hindi, Himachali, Garhwali, English
- STD Code 0177
- Best time to visit May-July and September-November
Introduction to Shimla
Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, lies about 343 km from Delhi at an altitude of 2,213 metres above sea level. Before the British discovered it in 1819, Shimla was a small village that was part of the Nepalese kingdom. In 1830, the local Raja was persuaded to part with the land by the British and the settlement became the subcontinent’s most fashionable summer resort. Shimla was declared the summer capital of India in 1864. After India’s independence, it became the capital of Punjab till 1966, when it came under Himachal Pradesh. The summers in Shimla are quit pleasant as the maximum temperature rarely crosses 25°C. Winters are cold and experiences quite a heavy snowfall. If you are among those who want to escape from the scorching heat of the plains, it would be the ideal getaway. But for those who love snow, a visit in winters can be an exciting experience.
Places of Interest:
The Mall, which runs along the Ridge, is the main shopping centre of the city. Filled with shops and restaurants, you will find the Mall always crowded with tourists. The Gaiety Theatre, which is a reproduction of an old British theatre, is a centre of cultural activities. The Ridge, an open space in the heart of the town, presents excellent view of the mountain ranges. The Mall further joins the Ridge at the ‘Scandal Point\’ where a statue of the nationalist leader Lala Lajpat Rai has been erected.
About 2.5 km from the city lies the Jakhoo hill at a height of about 2455 metres. The peak, highest in this city, offers a panoramic view of the town. The Jakhoo temple, dedicated to Lord Hanuman, is also located here.
About 7 km from the city, at a height of 1983 metres, is the Summer Hill. This picturesque spot lies on the Shimla-Kalka railway line and has pleasant shady walks in quiet surroundings. The place is also associated with Mahatma Gandhi as he had stayed in the Georgian House of Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur during his visit. The Himachal Pradesh University is situated here.
You can reach these 67-metre-high falls from Summer Hill from where it is about 45 minutes walk. The falls, surrounded by thick forests, are situated at about 7 km from the city at a height of 1586 metres.
Forty-three kilometres away lies the lush green town of Chail, a former summer capital of the Maharaja of Patiala. The town is built on three hills, one of which is topped with the Chail Palace, the other with the Chail village, and the third one by the Snowview mansion. Three kilometres from the village lies the world’s highest cricket ground at a height of 2,250 metres. Chail is also a hiker’s paradise. There is a wildlife sanctuary at a distance of 3 km from here.
Kufri lies 16 kilometres to the east of the city at an altitude of 2,510 metres above sea level. The surrounding countryside here offers you a good opportunity for hiking especially to the nearby Mahasu peak. The town also hosts a winter sports festival.
The small village of Mashobra lies at about 13 km away on Simla-Naldhera road. The village is surrounded by thick forests and offers some pleasant walks including one to Sipi where a fair is held every year. A temple dedicated to Goddess Durga is worth visiting.
A pleasant little town, Naldhera is famous for having the oldest and the highest golf course in India. The town, perched at an altitude of 2,050 metres, is around 23 km away. An ancient Nag temple is also situated here. It is said that Lord Curzon was so enchanted by this place that he named his daughter after it.
Tattapani is located at about 65 km away on the Simla-Mandi highway. The place is famous for its hot water springs that have sulphur content. You can also visit the nearby Hindu temples and Shiv Goofa at Saraur (4 km).
This building at Charabra, about 13 km from the city, was built as residence of the then British Commander-in-Chief Lord Kitchener.