Shimla is the capital city of the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh. It is located in northern India. Shimla lies between an altitude of 2,100 m and 2,300 m. Besides Hindi other languages like English, Punjabi and Pahari are also spoken there. The people of Shimla are informally called Shimlaites. With a largely cosmopolitan crowd Shimla celebrates a variety of festivals. The ‘Shimla Summer Festival’ is held every year during peak tourist season. It is celebrated on the ridge. It is home to many well-recognised colleges and research institutions in India. Shimla’s famous Mall offers one of the longest stretches of pedestrian shopping in the world. There are plenty of budget and high end accommodations in and around Shimla.
Shimla is also well noted for its buildings styled in Tudorbethan and neo-gothic architecture dating from the colonial era. The city has a large number of temples such as Kali temple, Jakhoo temple, Hanuman temple and the temple of Tara Devi. The temples of Shimla feature the excellent craftsmanship in stonework. It also has a Gurudwara and a Church on the ridge.
Shimla has the attractions of excellent walks and treks against the backdrop of the scenic beauty of wooded ravines, flowers and pines. Its natural beauty will leave every tourist spellbound.
The winters in Shimla are extremely cold and chilly. Around the last week of December it gets the taste of its first snowfall. Slowly ‘Winter Tourism’ picks up. Shimla is home to South Asia’s only natural ice skating rink. Shimla is soon covered with a white blanket all around it and as the sunsets you see the twinkling lights all around. It gives you the feeling of being on a fairyland.
The Shimla arts and crafts are highly in demand by the tourist. They range from excellent pieces of jewelry, embroidered shawls, leather articles and sculptures. The paintings of Shimla bear the deep artistic insight of the inhabitants. The tourists are attracted by the flamboyance of the carpets of Shimla. They look very beautiful with different types of floral and other motifs. The wool from the sheep there is used to make rugs and blankets. The shawls of Shimla too are very well known for their fine quality. The tourists enjoy shopping in Shimla and take home many a thing that one will not find elsewhere. Shimla is well connected by road, rail and air via places in Himachal Pradesh.
Places of tourist attractions around Shimla
It is a wonderful sports venue in the midst of natural beauty of tall deodar trees. Naldera has a nine-hole golf course that is the oldest of its kind in India. Besides, you can hop onto a pony and trot around or laze in the serene atmosphere below the lofty mountains.
It is a beautiful little hill station 19 km from Shimla and at an altitude of 2,633 m above sea-level. This place is famous for ski slopes. Kufri offers great views of the deep valleys and forests which rise towards the Himalayas. After walking through Cedar woods, trekkers can reach the Mahasu Peak which is the highest peak in Kufri.
The beauty of this place is unique with oak and pine trees. It is at an altitude of 7,700 ft. Just 3 km from Mashobra is Craignano and this is located at a height of 7,800 ft. Do walk through a winding path of pine forests up a gentle incline to witness the breathtaking gardens full of flowers. You will find picnic spots and stone benches to relax your tired feet. The fresh mountain air will give a soothing feeling and reenergize you. The area adjoining Mashobra is famous for its apple orchards. Per chance, if you are there at the right time then do bite upon some red juicy and sweet smelling ripe apples.
Chail is the little village which attracted Maharaja Bhupender Singh after he was banished from Shimla, the summer capital of the British. The Maharaja laid his eyes on Chail which was higher than the Shimla town and which lay within direct vision from Chail. Soon the Maharaja started building his summer palace in Chail at a height of 2,226 m, 100 m above Shimla. It was a fantastic well laid out palace with gardens, orchards, pathways, etc.
In 1972 the palace of the Maharaja passed into the hands of Himachal Tourism. It is now converted into the Grand Palace Hotel, a perfect destination resort. One can just foot the lovely walks and enjoy the awesome climate. There is a small wildlife sanctuary with red jungle fowl, sambhar, ghora, kakkar and cheer pheasants. There are several trek routes. At some distance from Chail you could enjoy a cable car ride across the valleys giving you a closer view of the mountains and a feeling of being on them. Chail is 45 km from Shimla via Kufri.
This scenic tranquil place can be approached both from Shimla and Chail. It has hot ‘sulfur’ springs that are believed to have medicinal values. It is situated on the banks of the River Satluj. Relax, dip yourself in the river water, gather shells and stones of different colours, unwrap your picnic packs and banish all your worries only to realise how beautiful ‘Life Is’.