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Shimla - Quick Facts

Area: 35.34 sq. Km.
Population: 1,69,578
Altitude: 2205 m above sea level
Clothing: Summer- Light cotton, Winter- Heavy woollen
Season: October to May
Rainfall: 166 cm average
Languages: Hindi, Pahari & English

Old timers say that once Shimla gets in your blood, it never leaves. It calls you back time after time and at every moment, the town is capable of showing a fresh nuance to its rich and varied character. As the former “Summer Capital” of British India, Shimla has a rare range of built heritage and is surrounded by thick forests of Pine Himalayan Oak, flowering rhododendron and tall cedars- the ‘almost – legendry’ deodar trees. High peaks that trace a snow-clad line across the north frame this magnificent setting and picture of idyllic retreat in the midranges of the Himalayan Mountains. Today Shimla retains a substantial measure of a district lifestyle that had grace, leisure and elegance as its hallmarks. But unlike a place that lives on memories alone, the town also has a youthful vigour in its step and its well – developed facilities and numerous attractions and activities have ensured its popularity down the decades.

Sheila’s Colonial Past
18th Century India saw the growth of a totally new urban concept – the hill – station. Initially built by British rulers of the country, these towns grew to become retreats from the heat and dust of the plains. With the mighty Himalaya mountains and its sub systems as their backdrop, the state of Himachal Pradesh has towns that date back to the hey day colonial rule – Kasauli, Dalhousie, Palampur, Dharamshala and the grandest of them all Sheila’s the summer capital, Shimla also saw a spate of remarkable building activity in the town and some of the finest structures of the British – Colonial genre still stand over its seven hills. Today, the lingering strands of Shimla’ s past still echo through its streets and buildings – which have so much history packed into them. In its old Architecture, the town still holds the memory of Britain’ s imperial dream – made all the more fascinating, as much of the design is European while many structural elements are indigenous. The mall with its resemblance to an English ‘home counties’ marketplace has, perhaps one of the longest stretches of purely pedestrian shopping anywhere in the world. The town also holds what many well be one of the last urban forests to be found on our planet.

By Air

Linked by air to Delhi, Chandigarh, Kangra and Kullu the airport at Jubbarhati is 23 km from Shimla.

By Rail

It is linked by a narrow gauge line to Kalka which is connected to Delhi, Calcutta and Amritsar by broad gauge. Kalka-Shimla in 96 km and 6 hours by train but only 4 hours by a quaint rail car

By Road
Shimla is well connected by road to most towns within the state and to all major towns in Punjab and Haryana. It is linked by bus and coach to Delhi and Chandigarh as well.
•        Delhi is 370 km. away
•        Chandigarh 117 km
•        Kalka 90 km. and Ambala 166 km
•        Narakanda is 64 km. away
•        Mandi 156 km
•        Kullu 240 km
•        Manali 280 km
•        Dharmashala 280 km

Jakhu Temple

This temple of lord Hanuman ji is situated at the height of about 8500 ft. in the east of historical ridge ground in Shimla city. This temple is very easily approachable and is one of the most sought after site to be visited not only by the devotees and pilgrims but also by the tourists of all age groups visiting Shimla, the Hill capital of Himachal Pradesh.

Tara Devi Temple

“Ma Bhagwati Tara Devi” temple is located on Tarav Parvat in the western side of shimla Town about 15 Km from Shimla situated by the side of Kalka- Shimla National Highway near Shoghi. The road meandering uphill through the sweet smelling pine forests and lush green meadows with the cool gentle breeze touching one softly infusing a freshness and vigor in the devotees, pilgrims and tourists visiting this holy shrine The picturesque view from thetemple is indeed breath taking and captivating with the superb panorama of the lofty and majestic forested mountains around, which offers a calm peaceful and tranquil countryside, a site that has a soothing and rejuvenating effect, being away from the din, pollution and the taxing effect of a fast urban life style.

The Mall

As the town of Shimla grew through the 19th century, its Mall steadily developed as the town's commercial street and the hub of its social life. The road, which some 5-km in length, starts in the west at the gates of he former Viceregal Lodge, the present day Indian Institute of Advanced Study and ends at Chhota Shimla or 'Small' Shimla, in the east. The mall the route has bends, as one would expect any hill road to have; its nature essentially follows a wide sweeping curve along the hills. The primary aspect is south facing and affords a view of the valley below the town and of the foothills that reach out to the plains from its habitation.

Tapta Pani

The name Tapta Pani, translates to "Hot - Water" in local dialect.This is about half a square kilometer area on the banks of Satluj river with boiling hot Sulpher water springs. Bathing with this water is known to be good for skin.


Mashobra At 2149m, 12 km out of Shimla is this beautiful suburb, surrounded by a thick forest. From here, a pedestrian track leads down to Sipur. Which is an exquisite glade shaded by ancient deodar trees. Steams of cool water gently divide it. Through thick woods, a side road leads to Bekhalty. The temples on the edge complete the pastoral picture. An annual fair is held at Sipur every April. A trek to the Shali peak - the highest in the area - can be made from Mashobra. Craignano with its rest house - and once the estate of an Italian confectioner is close to Mashobra.


Around 43 km away from Shimla and at an elevation of 2250 m is Chail, a small idyllic hill town. Chail shot into prominence when Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala was denied an entry into Shimla by the British. At that point of time Shimla was the summer capital of the British and a hot favorite with the Maharajas as well. However, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh was not the one to accept defeat easily. He found a new summer capital for himself amidst scented forests of Chir pine and gigantic deodars in the village of Chail.


At Naldera, 23 km beyond Shimla is one of the oldest golf courses in India. The British Viceroy, Lord Curzon who was so enchanted by the place that he gave his daughter Alexandra, ‘Naldera’ as her second name after the spot, originally designed the course, whose topography is absolutely natural. This is a par 68 nine-hole golf courses, which is regarded as one of the most challenging in the country. In the repeat nine, the yardage somewhat increases.


If Shimla is the summer capital par excellence, Kufri is the winter sports capital; at an altitude of 2,622 metres (8,600 ft), it is ideal for skiing. The air is crisp, invigorating and the snow, warm-Kufri is agog with activity, tourists, in their thousands, have come from far and near to partake in the poetry of motion, skiing. Fun from the very beginning, the real sense of exhilaration in the joyous sport comes along with the sense of accomplishment that follows the first time one skis down a slope under total control. Then come the ethereal joys of the downhill, the exhilaration of speed and the intoxication of the control of ones nerves.

Fagu (2,509 m)

Just 6 km from Kufri, Fagu is a vantage point with panoramic views of the ranges and valleys. Picturesquely located amid forests and orchards, Fagu has a rest house and tourist bungalow overlooking the Giri Valley.


Tattapani is just 28 km from Naldehra, along a road winding through the scenic country side. The hot sulphur springs here, are hoted for their invigorating and curative powers (51 km).

Narkanda (2,708 m)

A hill road with superb views links Narkanda with Shimla Narkanda, located amidst fragrant pine forests is a ski resort in winter. It has a choice of slopes ranging from a beginners run and a slalom slope, to sharper descents for the experienced skier (64 km).

Hattu Peak (3,300 m)

Rising above forests of spruce, the Hattu Peak is a vantage point with spectacular views. (8 km). The pretty orchard country of Thanedar and Kotgarh - beautiful in spring - are not far away. Khadrala and Beghi with their dense forests and Kumarsain with an interesting wooden palace are also within easy reach of Narkanda.

Hatkati (1,100 m)

In the picturesque valley of the River Pabbar, about 104 km from Shimla, is noted for its historic temple dedicated to Durga. Enroute to Hatkoti is the village of Kotkhai, splendidly located among apple orchards - a village with fine traditional architecture. Jabbal, once the capital of a princely state with its impressive palace is also on the way.Beyond Hatkoti, 11 km away, is Rohru (1,149 m) on the River Pabbar - an excellent spot for angling, with fishing pools teeming with trout. The trout hatchery at Chirgaon, (15 km) upstream, ensures a well stocked river.


Rampur was once the capital of the princely state of Bushair and a major centre on the old trade route into Tibet. The annual Lavi Fair, held in the second week of November, is still an important event for the inhabitants of the region. They gather to buy, sell and barter their produce - homespun blankets, shawls, wool and dry fruits - and to celebrate the event with music and dance. Rampur, on the banks of the Sutlej is on the N.H. 22 - the old Hindustan-Tibet Road that goes from Shimla into Kinnaur. The scenic village of Sarahan with its fascinating Bhimkali Temple is on this road beyound Rampur (140 km).

Colonial Architecture

Most of Shimla has diverse colonial forms culled from all over Europe.

English Renaissance

With a castle-like appearance is the former Viceregal Lodge which is now the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. This is surrounded by assorted cottages. English Home Counties Marketplace: The Mall.


Gorton Castle now the office of the Accountant General and formerly the Imperial Civil Secretariat; the Secretariat of the Himachal Government at Ellerslie; and the Gaiety Theatre on the Mall.

Norman- Baronial

District Courts.

Swiss- Bavarian Chalets
The Chalet Day School and Cedar Lodge (Punjab Government Rest House).


The Library on the Ridge and Barnes Court.

Christ Church, St. Andrew and the deconsecrated churches of St. Andrew’s (now, the Evening College) All Saints Chapel 9nearthe gates of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study).

Adjoining Oakover, the residence of the Chief Minister of Himachal has the oldest one. The largest ‘old-one’ is below St. Edward’s school and is approached via the Potato Research Station. The one at Sanjauli also dates back to colonial times and is still in use.


Yarrows, various schools and college and cottages all over town.

There is an enormous range of goods that Shimla has to offer. This includes Handicrafts, wood and metal work, Shawls, pullovers, local tweeds, caps Tibetan carpets and pickle James, and squashes. Himachal Pradesh Govt. has an Emporium at the Mall which exhibits these entire product for sale.Lakkar Bazaar adjacent to the ridge is popular for its wood crafts and souvenirs.

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