Shimla or Simla is the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh in India. It is a very popular holiday-retreat during the summer months and is well-known for its Victorian architecture, which is reflected in certain areas of the Mall and The Ridge. It is also a famous holiday spot for honeymoon.
There are quite a few theories regarding the origin of the word Shimla. Locals insist that the name originates from Shyamali Devi, a re-incarnation of the fearsome Goddess Kali.
Area: 18 sq. km
Altitude: 2213 meters
Clothing: Summer – Light woollens, winter – Heavy woollens
Best Season: April to Mid-July, Mid-September to Mid-November
Languages: Pahari (Local Dialect), Hindi, English
The Mall – All visitors to Shimla inevitably walk down the Mall, the main promenade that runs along the top of the ridge – a busy shopping area with old colonial buildings, souvenir shops and restaurants. At the top end of the Mall is Scandal Point, a large open square with a view of the town – a favourite rendezvous for visitors and the local people. Overlooking it is the elegant Christ Church with its fine stained glass windows. The labyrinth of Shimla’s bazaars spill over the edge of the Mall.
Jakhoo Hill: The steep climb to Jakhoo Hill, Shimla’s highest point, is rewarding for superb views of the town and its surroundings. At the top is an old Hanuman temple. (2 Km / 1.2 mile)
Glen: A pretty picnic spot beyond Annandale is located in the thickly wooded Glen, beside a sparkling stream. (4 Km / 2.4 mile)
Summer Hill: The quiet and lovely suburb of Summer Hill has secluded, shady walks and charming views. It was here that Gandhiji stayed on his visits to Shimla, in the elegant Gergorian mansion that belonged to Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. Summer Hill is located on the Shimla – Kalka railway line. (5 Km / 3 mile)
Chadwick Falls: Just beyond Summer Hill is the 67 m waterfall, cascading into a deep gorge. The Falls are best seen after the monsoon. (7 Km/4 mile)
Viceregal Lodge: Housed in the Gothic splendour of the Viceregal Lodge is the Indian Institute of Advanced studies, India’s premier academy for higher research.
Himachal State Museum: Very close to the Institute, in a colonial building set in spacious lawns, is the museum. It has collections of Pahari miniatures, stone sculpture, local handicrafts, textiles and embroidery.
Sankat Mochen: On the Shimla – Kalka road is the famous “Lord Hanuman” temple. It commands an excellent view of Shimla town. The place can be reached by Bus/Taxi. (7 Km)
Institute of Advance Studies (4 Km): This magnificent English renaissance structure was the former Viceregal Lodge. Its lawns and woodlands are added attractions. Entry by ticket.
A Devi Temple: On Shimla – Kalka road (NH-22) this holy place is accessible by Rail, bus and car. From the station/road-one can visit the temple either on foot or by taxi / jeep. (11 Km)
Prospect Hill: A 15 minute climb from Boileauganj, Prospect Hill is another favorite walk and vantage point with breath-taking views. There is little temple to Kamna Devi on the top of the hill (5 Km/3 mile)