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 Shimla (Himachal Pradesh)

History: Shimla (also spelt as 'Simla') derives its name from Goddess 'Shayamla Devi',  another manifestation of Goddess Kali. The capital of Himachal Pradesh came into light when the British discovered it in 1819. Till then, it was a part of the Nepalese kingdom. After Independence, Shimla became the capital of Punjab and was later named the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Shimla has been blessed with all the natural bounties, one can think of. The hilly town is surrounded by green pastures and snow-capped peaks. Shimla retains its colonial heritage, with grand old buildings, among them are the stately Viceregal Lodge, charming iron lamp posts and Anglo-Saxon names. The Mall, packed with shops and eateries, is the centre of attraction of the town, and Scandal Point, associated with the former Maharaja of Patiala's escapades, offers a view of distant snowclad peaks.

Shimla Quick facts

  • Shimla Geography and Climate

    Geography : Shimla is located in the north-western ranges of the Himalayas. At an average altitude of 2397.59 meters (7866.10 feet) above mean sea level, The city stretches nearly 9.2 km from east to west. The highest point in Shimla, at 2454 meters (8051 feet), is the Jakhoo hill. Weak construction techniques and increasing population pose a serious threat to the already earthquake prone region.

    Climate: The temperature range is not very high and the maximum temperature rarely crosses 25 degrees during summers. Rainfalls mark the summers and the nights are cool and light warm cloths are required during this time. Winters are cold and chilly winds from the upper Himalayas makes the place really cold. Around last week of December Shimla gets snow. The Best season to visit Shimla is between April and August, but the main season is between December and January. 

  • Best time to visit Shimla

    Best Time To Visit: April To August & December To January. The main season is between December and January because of snow fall which attracts many tourists and sometimes accommodation proves to be difficult. April, May and June are peak seasons for local tourists, when other parts of the country are very hot.

  • Shimla Orientation

    In 1864 Shimla was declared as the summer capital of India. It is famous for its snowcapped peaks, apples, and pine forest, flowers and gentle smiling people. Around Christmas or last week of December Shimla gets snow. The snowfall during this time attracts many tourists. Shimla is also home to Asia's only natural ice skating rink. State and national level competitions are often held at this venue. 
    Dharampur, Shimla :Just 15-km from Kasauli on the National Highway No.22, Dharampur is situated. Amidst the healthy air of the fragrant pines,Dharampur has one of the best hospitals in India for the cure of tuberculosis. It is also connected by Kalka-Shimla railway line.

  • Shimla Near Getaways

    Solan is situated midway between Kalka and Shimla. the fine climate of this place round the year makes it an ideal destination for all seasons. The mountains near Solan offer interesting trekking possibilities. Solan district is covered by catchment areas of three important rivers, namely Satluj, Yamuna and Ghagar. 
    Famous Place Around Solan : Parwanoo: This is Himachal Pradesh's premier Industrial township, located at the base of the Shivalik hills on the Kalka-Shimla highway. Parwanoo has a large number of small and medium scale industries. This is also a gateway to Himachal Pradesh via Kalka touching the boundaries of Haryana.

  • Shimla Distance(s)

    Location: Himachal Pradesh. Altitude: 2,159m. Shimla is located on the slopes of lower Himalayas. The altitude of Shimla from the sea level makes it a very cool place.

    Distance from Shimla to
    Click on link For a list of distances from Shimla to various cities .

  • How to reach Shimla by Road

    You can  take a bus from Kalka to Shimla. Shimla is connected by road to Chandigarh, Delhi, Dehradun, Kalka, and t many other places as well.

  • How to reach Shimla by Rail

    In 1903 a rail line was constructed between Kalka and Shimla. Broad-gauge trains run till Kalka, from all the parts of the country. From Kalka onwards, a rail car on narrow gauge takes you to Shimla which offers some fantastic sights.

  • How to reach Shimla by Air

    The Jubbarhatti airport is 23-km from Shimla and major domestic airlines cater their services from here to Shimla. One can catch direct flights from Delhi. Chandigarh airport, 120 km away on the plains, has flights at more regular intervals. The flights to Shimla may be called off, during the winter months of December, January and February, so you will need to check them up in advance.

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    Shimla Festivals and culture

  • Shimla Festivals

    Fairs & Festivals - Shimla : Every year in the month of June, the Folk Dance festival, the "Mushaira",recitation of Urdu poetry by poets, the Red Cross Fair, Golf and the Flower Show are some of the events held in Shimla, to celebrate Summer Festival. 
    Winter Sports Festival Shimla is the only place in Asia to have a natural Ice-skating rink. Ice-skating normally begins in early December and continues till February. 
    Bharara Fair (May) Held in village Bharara near Kumharsain, Lord Koteshwar is taken out in a procession and goats are sacrificed in his honour. The fair is a cultural fiesta and Natti dances are performed.

  • Shimla Culture

    Culture has been called "the way of life for an entire society." It includes codes of manners, dress, language, religion, rituals, norms of behaviour such as, law and morality, and systems of belief , etc,. Shimla has a multilingual, cosmopolitan character. People speak and understand both Hindi and English. Punjabi and Pahari languages are also spoken and understood in and around Shimla.
     Clothing : Light Woollens/Heavy Woollens All the festivals of Shimla highlight the rich cultural background of the hilly region of Himachal Pradesh. The Himachali 'Natti' dance is performed by Bharara villagers during Bharara Fair festival on 1st of May. A variety of folk dance and music enlivens the place.

  • Shimla Religious Places

    Christ Church & St. Michael's Cathedral: Built in 1846-1857, Christ Church is the second oldest church of Northern India. The stain-glass windows and 19th century organ are particularly impressive.
     Jakhu Temple :No visit to the state capital Shimla is complete without visiting Jakhu Hill. This hill looms over Shimla town and is the geographical nucleus. The Hanuman temple at the top of Jakhu hill is the highest point in town. 
    Tara Devi near Shimla: 2044m. A thickly wooded hill whose peak has a temple dedicated to Tara Devi.

  • Shimla Monuments

    Rang Mahal Rang Mahal Palace :  is situated in Chamba, which was built by Raja Umed Singh in the mid 18th century. An interesting mix of colonial and Sarcenic architecture , this palace is now counted among the heritage palace hotels of Himachal Pradesh. Exquisite examples of wall paintings in the Punjab Hills style, depicting the life and times of Lord Krishna embellish the walls of the palace. May be this is the reson why Rang Mahal is populalry known as  The Painted Palace".
     Maharaja's Palace :The Maharaja of Chail built the Palace in Chail in 1891. The Maharaja's palace was converted into a heritage hotel when it was purchased by Himachal Tourism in 1972. It covers a wide area of 75 acres with a regal setting that offers spectacular views. You can have a perfect holiday at this majestic hill station in the luxurious and spacious rooms.

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    Shimla Entertainment and Night Life

  • Shimla Adventure

    Trekking (Chandra Bhaga triangle and Baralacha Pass) Himachal offers a virtual bonanza for trekkers. From moderate to strenuous treks ranging up to 11 days and the best season to trek over here is during the months of June to October. One of Himachal's classic routes is the Chandra Bhaga triangle and the Baralacha Pass at a height of 4,833m.
     Kufri (19 km) Some great Hiking, some skiing, some beautiful scenes and a cool environment that's what Kufri is all about. It is famous for its trekking and hiking trails. Adventure-seeking travelers throng Kufri in winters to enjoy skiing. Golfing Nine-hole Golf course at Naldehra, 23-km from Shimla, is one of the oldest Golf courses in India.

  • Shimla Nightlife

    Shimla has many lounge bars in the city. Like a lot of the other cities in India, you'll find some of the best bars in the 5-star Shimla hotels.

  • Kidding around Shimla

    Kufri Ski Resort: 16 kilometers from Shimla with striking views of the Himalayan mountain range, this ski resort is a popular Shimla attraction For entertaining the children and tourists, it also has a small zoo spread over 20 acres. It boasts over 140 species, including the endangered Tibetan wolf. Tattapani : It is situated on the banks of the Sutlej River and is about 43 kilometers from Shimla. It is a picnic spot, which is famous for its ambience and hot springs.

  • Shimla Shopping

    The State emporium on the Mall offers many handicrafts and handloom items, which are made by the artisans of Himachal. The famous Himachali hat comes in different rates and vivid colours.
     Wooden Articles, Toys: The Mall, Lower Bazar, Lakkad Bazar The Mall Himachal Emporium (Kullu and Kinnauri Shawls, Caps, Tibetan Carpets and other handicraft articles)

  • Famous To Eat at Shimla

    'Luchi-Poti': Shimla restaurants serve typical Himachali food. One of the most loved food item is the "Luchi-Poti", meaning lamb intestines. Though it sounds gross, it is a delicious dish and is very well cooked. Since Shimla is a city that has lots of international tourists, you will be able to find restaurants that serve a variety of cuisines. Restaurants in Shimla are cheap, comfortable, and offer good multi-cuisine food. The Devicos, 5 The Mall, +91 177 280-6335. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It Serves good South Indian vegetarian food, kebabs and snacks. The Lutyens Room, Springfields, Chhota Shimla (opposite Tibetan School), +91 177 222-1297, 222-1298. 11AM-10:30PM. It serves Continental and Indian food.

  • Shimla Museum and Hill Stations

    Himachal State Museum & Library: The museum is located 2.5-km west of the scandal point and opens daily except on Mondays and public holidays. It has got a good collection of ancient historical sculptures, paintings, coins, photos and other items from all over the state as well as outside. It has also got a library, which houses many historical books and manuscripts. 
    Shimla's Seven Hill Attractions : The seven hills of Shimla are - Prospect Hill in Western Shimla, which has the temple of Kamna Devi; Summer Hill in Western Shimla, which has the campus of the Himachal Pradesh University; Observatory Hill in Western Shimla, which holds the estate of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study; Invererarm in Western Shimla, whose top has the State Museum; Bantony in central Shimla, which has the Grand Hotel; Jakhoo in central Shimla, which is crowned by the temple  dedicated to Lord Hanuman, and Elysium in north-western Shimla, which holds Auckland House and Longwood and reaches out towards the Bharari spur
    Summer Hill : 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. This place is associated with Mahatma Gandhi as he had stayed in the Georgian House of Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur during his visit to Shimla. The Himachal Pradesh University is situated here.

  • Gardens and Parks at Shimla

    Himalayan Aviary or Himalayan Bird Park: Close to the Viceregal lodge is the Himalayan Aviary or the Himalayan Bird Park. This park is a natural habitat of numerous species of birds found in Himachal such as Himalayan Monal, Pheasants, Peafowls and National Bird of India, the Peacock.
     Nature Parks: Kufri, Manali, Gopalpur These are small nature parks getting very popular among the tourists who whish to admire the nature.

  • Lake at Shimla

    Renuka Lake : It is situated in the Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh in India and it is 672 m above the sea level. It is the largest natural lake in Himachal Pradeh. This lake has been named after the Goddess Renuka. Near the lake's feet is another lake held sacred to her son, Parshurama. Both have temples built around them and the main temple to Renuka is regarded to have been built overnight in eighteenth  century. The lake lies in a long valley and surrounding slopes are covered with thick woods. Boating facility is available at the lake.

  • Shimla Seasonals

    Shimla tourist seasons basically can be divided into two major sub divisions. One is from April to August and the other is from December to January. The climate of Shimla being highly favorable, draws tourists in a large proportion from not only India but abroad too.

    The summer season is a very pleasant time in Shimla. This a major tourist season of Shimla whereby thousands of tourists visit this lovely hill resort to get away from the scorching heat of the plain region. During the summers, people may need to wear light woollen garments as the place remains cool in summer too.

    The temperature swings between a maximum of 28°C to a minimum of 15°C. This climatic condition makes Shimla an ideal tourist season during the summer months.

    The other lot to whom the snowfall is of prime attraction, the best time to pay a visit to the place is during the winters of December and January. The winter is heavily chilling in the place. This season is another prime tourist season of Shimla. The temperature fluctuates between maximum of 8°C to a minimum of 0°C and may even go below that level at times. Snowfall takes place in abundance in the month of December-end. The tourists play with snow flakes by throwing snow balls at one another.

    The major attractions during the tourist seasons of Shimla are the June Summer Festival and the Winter Carnival and Ice-skating in the months of December and January. During the tourist seasons of Shimla, the hotels offers a number of attractive packages to the tourists.

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    Shimla Tips

  • Shimla Travel Tips

    It is better to book accommodation in advance during the months of December and January because of large number of tourists visit this place in these months on account of Snow fall.
     While trekking, picnicking or visiting wild life sanctuaries:
     1. Do not damage or remove plants.
     2. Do not disturb animals.

  • Shimla Tourist Offices

    Directorate The Director Tourism & Civil Avitaion SDA Complex, Block-28 Kasumpati, Shimla - 171009 Phones. 0177 - 225864, 225924 Fax. 0177 - 225864 Field Offices District Tourism Development Officer SDA Complex, Block-28 Kasumpati, Shimla - 171009 Phone. 0177 - 225926 Tourist Information Centres in Himachal Pradesh Victory Tunnel, Shimla Phone. 0177 - 254589

  • Shimla ATM's

    Axis Bank ATM Locations
    Near Uti Bank Kasumpati, Shimla.
    Sanjauli Chowk, Shimla.
    Near Gaitey Theater, The Mall Shimla.

    SBI Bank ATM Locations
    Dental College (Near IGMC Shimla).
    Sanjauli Chowk, Shimla.

    SBI Bank ATM Locations
    The Mall Shimla.
    Near Sectrait, Chotta Shimla,
    Kasumpati Shimla.

    PNB Bank ATM Locations
    The Mall Shimla, (Near Indian Coffee House Shimla)

    ICICI Bank ATM Locations
    The Mall Shimla
    Kasumpti Shimla

    HDFC Bank ATM Locations
    The Mall Shimla
    Near Sanjauli Chowk Shimla

    Oriental Bank of Commerce ATM Locations
    Main Bus Stand Shimla

  • Not to do at Shimla

    Don't buy articles made from rare or endangered species or animals which are protected.

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