I first travelled to Shimla as a 6 year old. That was the 90s, and life was simpler, so every travel memory is so deeply etched in my memory. I vividly remember taking a train from Delhi to Shimla, changing trains at Kalka station, and taking a toy train for the last leg of the journey. I have pictures of myself hanging from the blue (stationary!) toy train, and loving the wooden doors, cosy seating and the mesmerizing views. Today, Shimla is one of the most popular hill-stations for North-Indians, and almost second nature for Delhiites to head to this charming hill-town for a quick getaway away from the city.
Read on for some interesting insights on the Delhi to Shimla journey, how to reach Shimla from Delhi and the best ways to reach this hill-station on your next getaway:
The Toy Train to Shimla
I remember feeling thrilled as the train slowly made its way through curving tracks, dark tunnel and forested hills. It was a thrilling experience to feel the cool, hilly breeze brush past me and admire views of the beautiful valley from the train’s window. The train also makes frequent stops at quaint railway stations, which will remind you of a 70s Bollywood movie, with 2 benches, a great view and quiet all around. The train doesn’t stop at these stations for long, so be careful not to saunter off for too long.
The Delhi-to-Shimla train journey is still as exciting today as the slow-moving toy train, the scenic views and the low-lying clouds over rugged peaks never fail to take my breath away. A game I played as a kid with my father was to count the number of tunnels that we crossed on this train journey. I don’t recall the exact number, but I do remember the thrill of waiting for the next one to arrive. The light at the end of the tunnel brought a great view with it, and as the path curved and the view changed, the journey brought more surprises for us. This incredible the train journey from Kalka to Shimla in the toy train takes around 5 hours.
Travelling by Bus
Travelling by train from Delhi to Shimla may not be the most convenient way to reach the popular hill-station, as there are frequent Volvos which shuttle from Delhi to Shimla, Kalka to Shimla or Chandigarh to Shimla. There is/are nearly 4 direct bus(es) plying between New Delhi to Shimla. These bus(es) is/are State Transport Bus, Himachal Tourism ( HPTDC ), JBG Travels and City Land Travels etc. It takes around 9 hours reach Shimla from New Delhi by bus.
Travelling by Air
The fastest way to reach Shimla is by air, which takes you around 4 hours and 15 minutes from Delhi. Take IndiGo from New Delhi to Chandigarh, then take Tata Indigo from Chandigarh to Shimla. There is no direct flight connection between Delhi and Shimla.
What to do in Shimla
Once in Shimla, we usually head straight to the Mall Road, where all the excitement lies. As a kid, I went horse riding, strutted around with a walking-stick, went rollerblading on the Ridge, and relished an ice-cream admiring the beautiful views. As an adult, I take interest in the rows of shops, selling wonderful souvenirs, hand-crafted decoration artefacts, excellent woollen and embroidered sweaters, shawls and scarves, wooden furniture and much more. When in Shimla, I make it a point to sit at a valley-facing café and enjoy a hot tea or coffee accompanied by delicious pastries and fries.
Some journeys are as memorable as the destination, and in the case of this Delhi to Shimla travel, this definitely holds true. So, experience this unique journey as you make your way up the hills. Perhaps, it’s time for a quick getaway?