Shimla derives its name from Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the goddess Kali, whose temple existed in the dense forest covering the Jakhu Hill in the early 19th century. Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and was also the summer capital in pre-Independence India. Covering an area of 25 sq km at a height of 7,238 ft, Shimla is surrounded by pine, deodar and oak forests. Its well developed amenities, easy reach and various tourist attractions make it one of India’s most popular hill stations.Shimla.
Shimla is an excellent base for treks in the surrounding hills or beyond, rafting and trout fishing at Tattapani 51 km from Shimla and golf at the 9-hole golf course at Naldehra. In winter, there is skiing at Kufri and Narkanda from January to mid-March. You can also go shopping at some of Shimla’s most lively and colorful markets. You can entertain yourself in a cultural or a dramatic performance or take pleasure in a sporting activity. A wide range of activities and attractions will surely keep you occupied all the time.
Formerly the residence of the British Viceroy of India, The Viceregal Lodge, also known as Rashtrapati Niwas is located on the Observatory Hills of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. Its construction started in 1880 and was completed in 1888. This place which has now been converted into the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies served as a summer retreat for India’s Viceroys during the Raj.
It’s located at a walking distance of about 3 kms from Shimla’s Mall Road. Apart from the majestic building, it has well-maintained lawns and a small cafeteria. Guided tours are also organised every hour at an economical fee where you are given details of the architecture, the furniture and the history.
Himachal State Museum
Set on top of a hill called Inverarm in Shimla, the State Museum is housed in a colonial building. One has to hike about 1500m to get to the museum. It has a rich collection of anthropological items, early 19th century Pahari miniature paintings and numismatic finds on display. It also houses a collection of bronze idols from the temples scattered all around Himalayas, contemporary oil paintings, which capture some of the most picturesque scenes from the Himalayas, and a small collection of the deity masks, found in the valleys of Kullu and Sarahan, dating back to 19th and 20th century.
The Jakhoo or Jakhu temple in Shimla is an ancient temple visited by several Hindu devotees all year round. Dedicated to the monkey God Hanuman, the temple hosts a big festival on Dushera every year. It is said that Lord Hanuman rested at this spot when he was looking for the sanjeevani booti to save Laxman’s life. It takes 30 minutes to hike up the ridge where the temple is located. There are several monkeys on the route and it is advised that you carry a walking stick to keep them at bay.
Shimla‘s most popular spot is the Mall Road, which is its main street and a common hang-out place for visitors. It is here that you can witness all of Shimla’s vibrant qualities – its beautiful weather, its lovely locals and its amazing holiday atmosphere. All the shops, stores, cafes and everything of use is located along this road. The Mall road is one level under the Ridge road which is another famous tourist spot. The Mall Road’s intersection with the Ridge road is called Scandal Point. The point gets its name from a scandal that arose when a British Lady eloped with an Indian Maharaja. The Maharaja was banished from the locality which led to him setting his own summer capital in the beautiful hill station called Chail.
The famous Kali Bari temple is also located on Mall Road and is visited by many devotees. The Gaety Theater on Mall road was opened way back in 1887 and has witnessed performances by many a famous film personality. There is also a Town Hall here, the architecture of which reminds you of the pre-Independence buildings.