Hi there, traveler !
My name is Divanshu Kashyap, a traveller by choice, photographer by interest and writer by desire.
2017 started off with a blast for me I took a trip to shimla for the first time with my cousions. That was the time when I was done with my exams, free from anxiousness and filled with tranquilizing vibes so every travel memory is so deeply etched in my memory. I vividly remember taking a volvo Bus from Delhi to Shimla. I have pictures of myself roaming in the streets of Mall Road late at night, and loving the fresh breeze flowing over my face, delectable food and the mesmerizing views. Today, Shimla is one of the most popular hill-stations for North-Indians, and almost second nature for Delhiites to head to this charming hill-town for a quick getaway away from the city.
When hill retreats and summer getaways were being established by the British in colonial India, Shimla was definitely the favourite child. Declared the summer capital of the British Empire in India, Shimla is today one of India’s most popular hill stations and a quintessential summer getaway from Delhi. Shimla is the capital of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, in the Himalayan foothills. Best known for its Victorian architecture, reminiscent of the colonial era, and for street shopping on its famous Mall Road, Shimla offers a breadth of adventurous experiences, cultural insights, and a chance to rejuvenate in the lap of the Himalayas.
There’s a reason that Shimla is known as the Queen of Hills, and if you were take a glance at the photographs i posted below, you will know why. Regal in every season, even in bitter winters, the capital of Himachal Pradesh draws throngs of tourists year after year for its pleasant summers, hilly terrain scented by pine and signature colonial era architecture. Chandigarh is the nearest major city, but New Delhi is the most often used connecting point, about 365 kms away.
Ready to explore ?
So are you Planning a trip to Shimla ? Wondering which are the top places to visit in Shimla? Here’s my list of top 10 best places to visit in Shimla on your trip to the land of the Himalayas. Rejuvenate in the lap of the Himalayas. I hope this post will help you:
1) HATU PEAK
Hatu Peak is a must go place for Adventure Lovers || Adventerous Places in Himachal Pradesh, India
Hatu peak is located at an elevation of 3400 m/12000 ft above sea level and is the highest summit in Shimla/Narkanda region of Himachal Pradesh, India. The peak is surrounded by dense woods.
Hatu Peak is one of the most popular among adventure lovers especially trekkers and bikers. Folks from various parts of the world come to Shimla and plan overnight stay around Hatu Peak. I have been hearing a lot about this place and finally went in January’2017.
A small lake comes on the way when we go from Narkanda to Hatu Peak. There is a small road, which goes up from right side of the main highway, when we move from Narkanda. This road leads to Hatu Temple and end near the temple only. There is a small mud house near to this lake, which belongs to Gujjars from this region who move towards lower himachal in winters and come back in summers to enjoy the pleasant weather of this place.
There is no private hotel or guest house at Hatu but lot many options are available in Narkanda which is main market around this place. At Hatu, there is a HPPWD Guest House, which can be booked, but many folks prefer to come with their own tents and there are some decent grounds around the Hatu Temple. I am not very sure about availability of water, but there should be some arrangement as Temple or guest house must be having some supply.
Hatu Peak is accessible year round and proper precautions (drinking water) should be taken at all times… In winter, this area is a modest ski area, so expect heavy snow conditions. Proper gear should be worn to deal with temperatures for the season, specifically winter ascents (in December/January) will be quite cold.
When we visited Hatu Peak in January’2017, temple was under renovation and closed. It was fascinated to see most of the work was done with wood and it was quite artistic. Somehow temples in extremely hilly regions of Himachal Pradesh are quite interesting and wonderful wooden arts are used to decorate it. Hope to visit this place again and bring back a Photo Journey with temple after completion of renovation work and when it’s open.
At Hatu Peak @3400 mtrs.
From the top of the peak, the deep furrows of the valleys make for interesting views. To the north and to the east, the white capped mountains of the Himalaya are visible, even on an overcast day. The nearby highest peaks (both within Himachal Pradesh) are Deo Tibba (6001m — approximately 120km north near Chatru) and Kinnaur Kailash (6050m — approximately 100km east near Karcham). The Nandi Devi region is to the southeast, approximately 250km.
The Hatu peak offers spectacular view of the entire Himalayan ranges, snow clad mountains and in depths are the dense forests, green fields and apple orchards. Hiking is recommended to reach the peak and that is what most of the folks do if they are not bikers. Of course Bikers would always love to ride through crazy paths in this dense forest and they enjoy it a lot.
Some Hiking tips i would like to recommend :
- Dress like an onion. The Quebecois have a saying, s’habiller comme un oignon, which literally means to dress like an onion, in layers. …
- Start small and start early. …
- Bring safety gear. …
- Check the weather. ..
- Take an experienced friend. …
- Make tea or cocoa. …
- Invest in good gear.
- Be prepared to turn around..
- Treat yourself to a great meals..
- Here are the accessories you need : 1 woollen cap
1 pair of water proof gloves
2-3 pairs of woollen socks
1 scarf (that can cover the neck and some bit of the face)
1 pair of sun-glasses to protect your eyes from harsh sunlight reflecting on snow
A scarf is something a lot of people ignore, but it is a lifesaver. A scarf can protect your neck, your nose or work as an extra glove. This multi-utility gear is a must for a winter trek.
Keep in mind. During the day when the sun is out and you are trekking, it actually gets very warm with the layers of clothes you have on. So be prepared to peel off layers depending on the heat. At times you’ll sweat — so it makes sense to wear quick dry synthetic T-shirts rather than cotton as your first layers (which retains water longer).
The next important equipment to keep in mind is your shoe. You need a shoe that protects you from all elements and gives you grip on snow (Most crucial).
Crampons are not necessary!
2. Indian Institute of Advanced Study
Queen of hills, Shimla is known for its scenic beauty and aesthetic importance. Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) located at Observatory Hill, Shimla adds to its glory and grandeur with its historical and contemporary significance. It is not only a renowned institute for research studies but also possesses historical and architectural heritage, national pride and glory.
Viceregal Lodge: Shimla’s Viceregal Lodge was designed by British architect Henry Irwin and served as the residence of the British Viceroy of India. A fine display of Jacobethan architecture complete with Tudor-style arches and carved brick detailing on pillars, parapets and porches, Viceregal Lodge dates back to 1888. Historically, within the walls of Viceregal Lodge was where the Shimla Agreement was sealed.
This is a lovely gothic revival building with all the gargoyles peering over you. there is a wonderful grass lawn in front of the building, but you aren’t allowed to walk over it as what lies beneath is a water tank, as old as the building itself and so not safe to walk over it. (didn’t really understand why however – think they were fooling us!)
Very well-maintained building, right from the lawns to the wooden panelled interiors. it is all supposed to be teak wood and it still looks lovely. there is the lovely walnut wood roof that still looks gorgeous. some walls have this elaborate fabric covering which is even more special.
This was not any old building. This was the viceregal lodge. the headquarters of the british raj in the summers, the summer capital of india… the seat of all power, all authority and all decisions – decisions that affected our forefathers.
There are interesting photo-exhibits covering important meetings that took place here… there are photos of all the leaders from nehru to sarojini naidu arriving for meetings, their modes of transport and overall look. and all the photos are very well preserved.
You can ogle at the table where the key decision makers took the call on the partition between ( India & Pakistan). yes you heard me right – this is where that decision took place. and that round table they sat around is still there. you cannot touch it or sit at those chairs, but can observe it.
( there are tours through the day, the last is around 4pm – get there in advance to get tickets).
3. MALL ROAD
Constructed during British colonial rule, is a popular and glazy street in Shimla. It is one of the major attractions for tourists. It is located a level below the ridge .The Mall Road – is heart of Shimla, and best way to explore the awesome place is to just walk across the road and hitch at any place you want. You can eat, laugh, shop and enjoy! It is a hub of activities that tourists can enjoy.
While coming Back from Lakkar Bazar and Lower Bazaar there is a steep climb so rest between the climb and you will be fine. Going to cart road and back is somewhat easy due to availability of Lift managed by Himachal tourism, it costs Rs 10 per person on way…
The town’s lifeline, the Mall Road is the main street in Shimla. It’s the centre of all activity. Over time, colonial buildings have been overrun by kitschy boutiques and buildings. Cafes, restaurants and social hangouts on Mall Road are especially popular with locals and tourists alike.
The Mall Road Street has many popular hotels, food hubs, chaat corners, showrooms, department stores, shops, restaurants and cafes, shops that sell woolen clothes, branded clothes, handicraft items, pottery items, jeweler books, etc. The Mall Road is also famous for its wooden furniture shops that sell exquisite wooden articles, which look like antiques. Horse riding is a popularly enjoyed activity here. You can hop on the horse and ride across the road to enjoy the various pretty sights! Another reason why this is one of the best places to go is that no vehicles are not allowed on the Mall road; making it pollution free.
All colonial structures are located on the Mall Road. The Historic Structures like Gaiety Theater, Town Hall, and Public Library are all on the Mall Road. You can particularly buy wooden articles, handicrafts; popular in Mall Road. A Himachal Emporium that offers handicraft products of Himachal Pradesh is also Located here.
One can find many eating joints like Indian Coffee House, Scandal Delights, GuptaJees Bhojnalya etc while walking towards the lower Bazaar.
Walking here at night is so much fun.
The Night in Mall Road is even more stunning. The road there goes through Deodar trees and there are lot of beautiful building on the way. In 4 days of stay at Shimla we had a most memorable and amazing time on this complete strench.
4. THE RIDGE
The broad esplanade extending east from Scandal Point is called the Ridge and it’s thronged with strolling locals and tourists all day. In clear weather a jagged line of distant snowy peaks is clearly visible to the north.
The Ridge is a large clearing that is centrally located in Shimla. The Ridge is considered as the heart of Shimla and is the hub of all cultural activities in the town. The Ridge is flanked by the Mall road on one side and The Lakkar Bazaar on the other side (which is a major wood crafts market). The ridge area is a reflection of Colonial era architecture that has persisted through the ravages of time and now stands as a prominent landmark in the capital of Himachal Pradesh. The ridge also provides amazing views of the surrounding verdant mountains and the valleys below which are dotted with small cottages accompanied by rhododendron trees. A walk down the Ridge is a must-do in Shimla.
The Ridge is a road parallel to The Mall and joins it at the Scandal Point. This road has a huge water reservoir too, supplying water to the entire city. The Ridge is famous for its events, especially Summer festival and New Year’s Eve. Major attractions at The Ridge are Christ Church, a Tudorbethan-styled library building and three statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Dr. Y.S. Parmar. Dr Parmar was the first chief minister of Himachal Pradesh. Annadale, the famous playground of Shimla is also located nearby and hosts cricket, polo and also serves as a picnic spot.
Spend some quality time with your companions exploring the Christ Church. Christ Church, Shimla, is the second oldest church in North India, after St John’s Church in Meerut. It is a parish in the Diocese of Amritsar in the Church of North India.
The steeple of the rist Christ church is visible from miles away because of its impressive neo-Gothic style of architecture and has become a major landmark of Shimla. The architecture isn’t the only reason why you should visit the church, but also because it contains multitudes of books and a large variety of sculptures as well. The church has 5 major stain glass sculptures displaying different Christian virtues such as hope, faith and humility. The Christ Church is one of the only major landmarks in Shimla that has not endured the vagaries of time and has maintained its clean and well maintained condition. The best time to visit is at night when you can enjoy the ethereal beauty of the church when it’s lit up.
Ridge is actually Shimla’s heart. One must visit this to see breath taking Sunrise & Sunset. Couple of good cafe serves good food & drinks.
I would like to suggest that one must have an icecream on the Ridge it’s an amazing experience! Believe me!!
WAY TO JAKHOO TEMPLE FROM RIDGE BY WALK :
5. JAKHOO TEMPLE
A prominent feature in every tourist’s travel itinerary is the Jakhoo Temple that is an ancient structure that is dedicated to the God Hanuman. This temple is also the venue for one of largest celebrations of the festival of Dussehra because legend has it that Lord Ram took a break at this location whilst on the search for Sanjeevni Booti. Jakhoo houses the largest statue of lord Hanuman that stands tall at 108 ft. above the ground. The temple is situated on Jakhoo Hill that is the highest peak of Shimla, promising spectacular views of the Shivalik range and the local town of Sanjauli. You could walk up to the temple via the Ridge, or take a pony/horse ride up till the temple. One can take Taxi as well service is available from the Ridge. As far as i remember from Ridge they charge aroound 300 rupees to Jakhoo temple.
Jakhoo Temple is located on steep hills.. if u are going by your own car then u have to park your car 750 meters before temple from there you have to take taxi because the way is very steep and narrow cable car is under construction you can see hanumanji 108 feet long statue from any point of shimla.
BEWARE OF THE MONKEYS!
Shimla’s most famous temple, dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman, sits atop its highest hill, a steep but worthwhile hike of 1.2km up from the east end of the Ridge. Appropriately, hundreds of rhesus macaques loiter around the temple, hoping for gifts of prasad (temple-blessed food offerings) from visitors. They have a habit of snatching loose objects such as hats, phones and even spectacles, so bring a stick to discourage them, or rent one (₹10) at the temple gate.
This vast statue on the top of the highest hill in Shimla is a definite place to visit but mind the monkeys. They are very skilled at stealing tourists’ glasses and then it can be difficult to retrieve them. Take your glasses off at the car park and do not put them back on until you are safely back in the car. We saw two tourists lose their glasses when we were there.
6. KALI BARI MANDIR
The temple is a popular religious spot in Chail and is also known for some breath-taking views and sceneries as well as for trekking, popular in this area.
The Bengali hut–style Kali Bari Mandir, on the hillside above the Mall, 500m west of Scandal Point, enshrines an image of Kali as Shyamala. There are good views over Shimla from here.
The famous Kalibari Temple of Shimla is a popular tourist attraction and is situated at a very strategic location. The temple was built in the year 1845 and is dedicated to Goddess Kali who is also known as Shyamala. It is from the name of Goddess Shyamala that Shimla derives its name. The Kali Bari temple of Simla is a very well known religious place of India and people who come to Shimla never miss out on visiting this temple. The Kalibari temple was primarily located in Jakhu hill. The British brought it to its new site.
Kali Bari Temple is a temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Shyamala, from which the hill station-and capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla derives its name. Kali Bari Temple houses a shrine of the Hindu goddess Shyamala. Shyamala has multiple aliases, including Kali and Durga.
A wooden image of the god is worshipped locally. It is a very holy and respected place of the region.
7. SHILAROO HOCKEY STADIUM
Shilaroo Hockey Stadium, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, INDIA – Asia’a highest Hockey ground !!!
Chail is 44 km from Shimla.
Since, Maharaja Bhupender Singh, who made Chail his summer capital, was a cricket enthusiast, he built a cricket ground here, on the top of a hill, making Chail, the proud home to the highest cricket ground in the world.
Situated at an altitude of 2144 m, the area is also used as a polo ground. This ground is now maintained by the Army since it is located in the Cantonment area. Civilians are not allowed to enter the ground, though one can look and walk around the area.
The cricket ground and a polo ground which is there at an altitude of 2,250 m was owned by erstwhile royal family of Patiala. It is the world’s highest cricket ground.
Chail is also considered as the hiker’s paradise. The area is away from the bustling life of the state capital Shimla.
Carry camera, torch, light and fully covered clothes, proper footwears, munchies, beverages and water along.
Kufri is a small hill station, just 17 kilometres from Shimla. Situated at an altitude of over 2,600 metres, Kufri is nothing less than a paradise for children.
As we were short of time we didn’t get a time to visit Kufri Fun Campus & Himalayan Nature Park but i would like to suggest you to visit it, it would be fun for sure. Kufri Fun Campus an amusement park & Himalayan Nature Park, which has more than 90 hectares of temperate vegetation and several attractive animals like Musk Deer, Barking Deer, Ghoral and Tibetan Wolf in large enclosures.
The World’s Highest Go Kart Track is at Kufri Fun World so i hope you won’t miss it!
Kufri is a favourable destination when snow is in abundance in Shimla. Kufri has been a preferred destination with honeymooners for number of years.
A tiny hill station located just 17 km from Shimla, Kufri lies at an altitude of 9000 ft, and is best known as a ski destination. Although skiing season peaks between November and February, the months between April and June warrant a visit for their lovely weather. Developed as a tourist destination by the British back in 1819, Kufri is a great place to unwind—with panoramic views of the Himalayas, adventure sports, steep hikes and even a few interesting sightseeing spots.
Sanjauli is a main suburb of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, under Shimla district, India. Shimla is located in the north-western ranges of the Himalayas. At an average altitude of 2397.59 meters (7866.10 ft) above mean sea level.
Sanjauli is the main suburb of Shimla. It has many inhabited places nearby- Cemetery road, HB colony, Bhatta Kuffar, Sanjay Van, Dhingu dhar, Shanan, Navbhar, Chaulanti and areas other side of the Sanjauli-Dahli tunnel. Sanjauli is situated just below the Jakhu Hill. Sanjauli has the Famous Sanjauli-Dahli tunnel made by British government during that time when Shimla was capital of British India.
Sanjauli has a very wide and long Market spread from Sanjauli Chowk to Tunnel. Apart from this Sanjauli has unique architecture of houses. Sanjauli Cemetery is the only cemetery in Shimla that is still in use. Presently it is used by the Indian Christians but originally it was started by British in 1921.
Apart from these top 10 best places to visit in shimla above-mentioned i would like to recomend one more place –
Sri Sathya Sai School Anand Vilas :
This school is situated amidst lush green verdant hills in a serene and calm environment in the queen of hills, Shimla. Shimla which is known for its pine forests and apple orchards, crisp, clean air and breathtaking views . Meandering rivulets add natural beauty to the school.
This place is so beautiful and picturesque but tourists hardly know about this place! we visited this place in a hurry as we need to head somewhere else but if you plan in advance then you can fit it into your schedule.
Here are some pictures of the Place :
What to Pack:
- If visiting Shimla in the winter, carry woollens, thermals and a heavy jacket. To keep warm when it snows, boots, gloves, a cap and muffler are essential.
- If visiting Shimla in the summer, carry light cottons for the day as the sun is quite strong. The evenings require a light jacket as temperatures tend to drop.
- Motion sickness medication is recommended for those who are prone to sickness on winding roads.
- Sunblock and sunglasses will help shield you from the strong sun at a high altitude.
And finally, special thanks to PANKAJ KASHYAP & samali kashyap without whom this trip wouldn’t be possible and Bhupesh verma & vicky verma for their wonderful hospitality provided in Shimla.
So what are you waiting for? Get out and explore !
by –Divanshu Kashyap
Travel Blogger – voyage world blog
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DIVANSHU KASHYAP – TRAVEL BLOGGER
( VOYAGEWORLDBLOG )