The North of India comprises of some fabulous holiday destinations that are great tourist hubs of the nation, one of which is Shimla. Considered as “Queen of the Hills”, Shimla is a winter wonderland that has been a regular feature in all our lives. Shimla is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India but have you ever considered that there’s a lot more to see other than the famous Mall road? Here is a list of all the spectacular places Shimla has to offer apart from the obvious.
1. Kalka Shimla Mail
No trip to Shimla is complete without a ride on the Kalka Shimla Mail which has now been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can choose from a number of toy trains, including luxury trains which slowly travel their way up from Kalka up till the main town of Shimla through the dense mountainous jungles and passes through the maximum number of tunnels in comparison with any other train journey. The view from the toy train is splendid and it provides a panoramic view of Shimla as it steadily rolls into the town.
2. The Ridge
The Ridge is a large clearing that is centrally located in Shimla. The Ridge is considered as the heart of Shimla and is the hub of all cultural activities in the town. The Ridge is flanked by the Mall road on one side and The Lakkar Bazaar on the other side (which is a major wood crafts market). The ridge area is a reflection of Colonial era architecture that has persisted through the ravages of time and now stands as a prominent landmark in the capital of Himachal Pradesh. The ridge also provides amazing views of the surrounding verdant mountains and the valleys below which are dotted with small cottages accompanied by rhododendron trees. A walk down the Ridge is a must-do in Shimla.
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A prominent feature in every tourist’s travel itinerary is the Jakhoo Temple that is an ancient structure that is dedicated to the God Hanuman. This temple is also the venue for one of largest celebrations of the festival of Dussehra because legend has it that Lord Ram took a break at this location whilst on the search for Sanjeevni Booti. Jakhoo houses the largest statue of lord Hanuman that stands tall at 108 ft. above the ground. The temple is situated on Jakhoo Hill that is the highest peak of Shimla, promising spectacular views of the Shivalik range and the local town of Sanjauli. You could walk up to the temple via the Ridge, or take a pony/horse ride up till the temple.
4. Christ Church
The Christ Church is the second oldest Church in all of North India. The steeple of the church is visible from miles away because of its impressive neo-Gothic style of architecture and has become a major landmark of Shimla. The architecture isn’t the only reason why you should visit the church, but also because it contains multitudes of books and a large variety of sculptures as well. The church has 5 major stain glass sculptures displaying different Christian virtues such as hope, faith and humility. The Christ Church is one of the only major landmarks in Shimla that has not endured the vagaries of time and has maintained its clean and well maintained condition. The best time to visit is at night when you can enjoy the ethereal beauty of the church when it’s lit up.
5. The Rashtrapati Niwas
Otherwise known as the Vieregal Lodge, the Rashtrapati Nivas is located on one of the Observatory hills of Shimla that provide panoramic views of the hills. It previously used to be the residence of the Viceroy of India, so the the Viceregal lodge is nothing short of an architectural marvel. Built in 1888 in Jacobethan Style of architecture, the Viceregal Lodge now functions as the location of the Indian Institute of Advanced study along with the Himachal Pradesh High court, The Himachal Pradesh University and the CPWD. The Viceregal Lodge, much like its name, flaunts of regality and beauty through its well pruned lawns and rich glass-house. Do visit if you’re interested in seeing some of the oldest articles and photographs dating back to the British Rule in India.
Read more: Shimla: A Quick and Handy Travel Guide
6. Summer Hill
The name is indicative of its nature as a popular tourist destination that is thronged by visitors throughout the year. Why you ask? Because it’s a part of the famous seven hill cluster that provides panoramic views of the pine and deodar laden hills that are dotted by quaint and charming little residences. The Summer Hill is also a popular destination because of its proximity to the Observatory Hill nearby which is the location of The Rashtrapati Nivas. The Summer Hill now serves as the headquarters of Himachal Pradesh University and is walking distance away from the Mall Road of Shimla. Summer hill also lies in the way of the Kalka-Shimla Railway line.
7. The Shimla Glen
If you’re looking for a fun day out in sun to spread out and enjoy the best picnic ever, then the Glen is the place for you. Surrounded by luscious verdant forests of Pine and Deodar, the glen is a popular tourist hub since times immemorial. The rolling slopes, the vast expanse of land and the green environs make is a sought after tourist destination by people from all over the world. Those in the mood for activities can engage in the jungle walk that starts from the market office to the main town of Shimla. Get ready to relax and soak in the salubrious climate and the peace of the forests around you.
8. The Mall Road
Presumably the most famous destination in Shimla for tourists, the Mall road is vibrant centre of activity comprising of shops selling multifarious goods and services. For those who are in the mood for some serious shopping, Mall road is the place to be. You can enjoy Shimla classics such as the softy ice-cream and popcorn while making your way through many stores and showrooms that provide local specialities and otherwise as well. The Mall road is a construction from the British era and is a reflection of its former glory. It is strictly meant for pedestrians who want to enjoy a leisurely walk and observe the denizens of Shimla whilst feasting of warm coffee or hopping for themselves. The Mall road is also located close to Gaiety Theatre, The Kali Bari temple, The Town Hall and The Sandal point that provides one of the best views from Shimla.
How to get there: The closest Airport to Shimla is Chandigarh after which you can drive to Shimla or Kalka. Shimla is located about 11 and a half hours away from Delhi via NH5. The closest railhead is at Kalka after which you could drive or choose to take the Toy Train.
Where to stay: As a major tourist hub, Shimla comprises of some of the best hotels that the country has to offer. We suggest the Radisson Jass Hotel, Hotel Silverline and Marigold Sarovar Portico which are all hotels known for excellence in delivering customer satisfaction.
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Shimla has a lot to offer in terms of tourist attractions, so these times don’t just visit Shimla, explore Shimla!