Shimla also known as Simla, (the official name until 1972) is the capital and the largest city of the Northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. In 1864, Shimla was declared the summer capital of British India. After independence, the city became the capital of East Punjab and was later made the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. It is the principal commercial, cultural and educational center of the state.
Shimla is home to several buildings that are styled in the Tudorbethan and neo-Gothic architectures dating from the colonial era, as well as multiple temples and churches. The colonial architecture and churches, the temples, and the natural environment of the city attract tourists. Major city center attractions include the Mall Road, Viceregal Lodge, Shri Hanuman Jakhu (Statue), Jakhu Temple, Christ Church, The Ridge, Green Valley, The Kali Temple, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Kufri, and Annandale.
The city center’s northernmost point is Jakhoo and the southernmost location is Annandale, the easternmost point is Sanjauli and the western point is Chotta Shimla. The Kalka–Shimla Railway line built by the British, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also a major tourist attraction. Owing to its steep terrain, Shimla hosts the mountain biking race MTB Himalaya, which started in 2005 and is regarded as the biggest event of its kind in South Asia. Shimla also has the largest natural ice skating rink in South Asia. Apart from being a tourism center, the city is also an educational hub with several colleges and research institutions.
Good time to visit
March to June: This is a popular tourist season in Shimla as the weather is quite pleasant and perfect for outdoor activities. The temperature is comfortable and usually varies between 15°C and 30°C. If you are into adventure sports then this is the ideal time to try paragliding, trekking, camping, and rafting.
Main places of attraction
Mall Road: Mall Road is the major hangout point and shopping center in Shimla. Constructed during British colonial rule, the Mall road has located a level below The Ridge. The offices of the municipal corporation, fire service, and police headquarters are located here.
Viceregal Lodge: The Rashtrapati Niwas, formerly known as Viceregal Lodge, is located in the Observatory Hills of Shimla. It was formerly the residence of the British Viceroy of India. It houses some of the most ancient articles and photographs going back to the times of British rule in India.
Shri Hanuman Jakhu (Statue)/ Jakhu Temple: Jakhu Temple is an ancient temple in Shimla, dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Hanuman. It is situated on Jakhu Hill, Shimla’s highest peak, 2.5 km east of the Ridge at a height of 2,455 m above sea level. Each year, a festival is held on Dussehra, before 1972 the festival used to be held at Annandale.
Christ Church: Christ Church, Shimla, is the second oldest church in North India, after St John’s Church in Meerut. Worship is conducted in Hindi and English.
The Ridge: The Ridge road is a large open space, located in the center of Shimla. The Ridge is the hub of all cultural activities in Shimla. It is situated along Mall Road, which is the famous shopping center of Shimla.
Green Valley: The Green Valley is a beautiful and breathtaking mountain range that falls on the way to Kufri from Shimla.
The Kali Temple: Kali Bari Mandir is a Hindu temple situated on Bantony Hill, Shimla. The temple is dedicated to the fearsome reincarnation of Goddess Kali, known as Shyamala, after which Shimla city is named. The goddess is believed to have existed near Jakhoo.
Indian Institute of Advanced Studies: The Indian Institute of Advanced Studies is a research institute based in Shimla, India. It was set up by the Ministry of Education, Government of India in 1964 and started functioning on 20 October 1965.
Kufri: Kufri is a resort hill station in the district of Shimla. It is located 20 km from the state capital Shimla on National Highway No. 22. On Kufri Avenue, the main thoroughfare, boutiques, and restaurants mixed with Indian-style hotels and souvenir shops are to look for during a visit.
Annandale: Annadale, also spelled as Annandale is a locality of Shimla city. It is a flat valley bottom that includes the helipad as well as a golf course in the city. Annadale has also an army cantonment with an Army Heritage Museum. Due to its lush green environment, historical importance, and first-seen place by every VVIP visit, it is also known as the “Heart of Shimla”.