Oh, my, Shimla, the place where you get to experience the Himalayas in all their enigmatic glory! Evergreen forests, rolling valleys, spectacular lakes, pleasant climate, and colonial ambiance all delight this hill station. The place truly lives up to its reputation with diverse attractions – natural splendors and artificial marvels. But there's a downside to it. When you plan to visit this erstwhile summer capital of British India, you will have a tough time concluding the list of places to visit.
Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and a famous hill station among Indian families and honeymooners. Situated at an altitude of 2200m, Shimla was the summer capital of British India. Shimla maintains its old-world charm with gorgeous colonial architecture, pedestrian-friendly Mall Road, and the Ridge lined up with multiple shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Shimla is well connected with many cities and is just 4 hours from the nearby town of Chandigarh. The city also has an airport, yet, there aren't many daily flights from here. The railway station links Shimla with the plans and is well-known for the Kalka-Shimla train route, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage site. The weather is pleasant for most of the months, with tourists flocking, especially during summer. The winters are freezing with some snow days from mid-December till February. Shimla is often covered along with nearby towns of Kufri, a hill station almost always covered by snow and Chail, famous for its vast palace and the highest cricket ground in the world. Tourists also visit the famous Jakhu Temple and go sightseeing at various viewpoints during their trip to Shimla.
You can't miss Mall Road when it comes to visiting places in Shimla for couples. Otherwise, also, the site is a hip and happening location in this hill station and attracts visitors of all ages. With a plethora of cafes, restaurants, showrooms, departmental stores, and shops marketing trinkets and exclusive handicraft works, this is one place where you can soak in the spirit of Shimla in all its touristy delights. You can shop for various items here, from jewelry and books to intricately crafted wooden articles. At the same time, you can explore several other attractions in the vicinity, like the Kali Bari Temple, Town Hall, Gaiety Theatre, and Scandal Point. Moreover, since the road is closed to vehicles, taking a stroll here during the evening hours while overlooking the scenic beauty of the hills is a pleasure.
Situated at 8000 ft. above sea level, Jakhoo Hill is the site of an ancient Hanuman temple that brags of having the world's tallest statue (108 ft.) of this Hindu deity. Shrouded in legends and mysteries, it draws devotees and tourists alike. If the local codes are to be believed, the temple stands at the very spot where Lord Hanuman had rested for a while during his journey to bring the Sanjeevani Booti for Lakshman's revival during the war of Lanka. Covered in a blanket of alpine trees, Jakhoo Hill is the highest point of Shimla and offers scenic views of the snow-covered Shivalik Ranges and the sister town of Sanjauli.
The Ridge may well be described as the heart of Shimla in terms of location and tourist attractions. This Shimla tourist spot is a wide-open street that runs along Mall Road from east to west and connects it to the famous Scandal Point. What makes it such a popular destination is that it offers gorgeous views of the snow-capped mountain ranges that rise against the blue sky to border this paradise of a destination. The place is dotted with long-standing British establishments beckoning visitors to indulge in feel-good shopping and binge-eating. Lined with boutiques, bars, restaurants, cafes, and shops, the Ridge functions as the social hub in the region. Remember, this place is among the most photographed areas of the city, thanks to its rich, untouched beauty and the Gothic structures that define its exquisiteness.
The Kalka-Shimla train ride is a high point of Shimla tourism, and for an acceptable reason. Built in 1898, this narrow-gauge railway was recently added to UNESCO's India World Heritage Site mountain railways. Winding through the highly scenic and mountainous route from the Shivalik Range foothills at Kalka (Haryana) to Shimla, the train ride offers spectacular views of the surrounding hills and villages. On the way, it stops at several tourist destinations, like Solan, Dharampur, Summer Hill, Salogra, Taradevi, and Barog, among others. The ride will bring you through no less than 864 bridges, 919 turns, and 102 tunnels. The train ride in itself may not count as a 'place' to visit in the area, but missing the ride means missing out on some of the splendid sights Shimla offers.
A ride of about 40 minutes from the city center will get you to Kufri, another must-visit place in the area. Located at 8607 ft., this small hill station offers panoramic views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. But Kufri is not only about Shimla sightseeing. It is also an adventure hub that provides training and facilities for exciting winter sports like ice skating and skiing. That is why it is also comprehended as the winter sports capital of India. Since Kufri experiences regular winter snow, it ranks top among the places to visit in Shimla in December.
One of the prominent landmarks in Shimla, Christ Church is the second oldest church in northern India and boasts exceptional architectural beauty. It is a wonderful example of the neo-Gothic type of architecture. The historic church is located on the Ridge and drafts its origin back to 1857. An enduring legacy of the colonial rulers, the silhouette of this imposing tower is visible from far away. It depicts matchless beauty with stained glass windows, brass church bells, and arresting towers. While the church looks majestic during the day, it becomes an enchanting sight when illuminated at night. Moreover, it houses the largest pipe organ in India. Even if you plan a quick itinerary of the places to visit in Shimla in 2 days, do not miss out on this splendid attraction.
A breathtaking natural dale near Shimla and Kufri, Green Valley stands true to its name. Set against the backdrop of snow-covered mountains and lush green pine and deodar forests, the valley is carpeted in greenery. Away from the touristy mob, the serene Green Valley is where you can see nature in all its grandeur, which makes it one of the best places to visit in Shimla for a honeymoon. Given its pristine beauty, it also counts among the favorite Bollywood locations in India and has been featured in several Hindi movies. Although you can visit Green Valley all year through, the best time to see it is during summer.
Do you desire to visit the historic location where the decision to make Pakistan and East Pakistan out of India was taken during the days running up to the country's independence? Then it would help if you drafted your path to the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla. One of the iconic places to see in Shimla and Manali, the building was initially built as a residence for Lord Dufferin. He was appointed as the Viceroy of India from 1884 to 1888. At that time, it was comprehended as the Viceregal Lodge. The impressive tower had an electricity connection as early as 1888, long before the rest of Shimla came to use electric power in any form. After India achieved independence, the place served as the summer retreat of the country's president. It was known as Rashtrapati Niwas before becoming a center for advanced study and research. The structure draws attention due to its exquisite Victorian style of architecture and grandeur.
If you are a thrill seeker looking for places to visit in Shimla during December, include this destination in your itinerary. During the winter, Mashobra, a small town in Shimla, turns into a paradise for winter game enthusiasts. The leafy green spectrum is covered with a glistening blanket of snow that becomes an excellent base for skiing. A less crowded destination in the region, Mashobra enchants visitors with a relaxed ambiance and lots of fun activities, minus the mob. Whether you want to zoom down the slopes on your ski, engage in snow fights with your beloved, or build a snowman with your kids, you can have all the fun at this place.
Ensconced within the Glen Forests, Chadwick Waterfall is one of the most delightful sights that nature has bestowed upon Shimla. The waterfall makes a dive from 86 meters and cascades down a vast gorge. Covered by a blanket of greenery formed by the deodar and pine trees, it presents an enticing sight. The best time to see it is during monsoons (from June to September) when the water level boosts and Chadwick seem to take on a life of its own. If you are not intimidated by taking a dip in the cold waters, you can go and splash around.
The Lakka Bazaar is the place to go if you want to undergo shopping from quaint stores and meet the amiable locals. The bazaar is located on the foothills of Jakhoo Peak and is an exciting place to spend a couple of hours.
In the list of places in Shimla, one must not ignore Scandal Point. Located between Mall Road and the Ridge, this place is always active. It is said that this is the location from where the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh, and the daughter of a British Viceroy had eloped together.
We give you a rundown of the must-visit sites in the region that will never fail you attract you, whether you are a family holidaymaker, a honeymooner, or a solo traveler. So, get set on your mark because it's time to pack your bags and gear up for an exciting trip to Shimla.
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