The Queen of Hills, as Shimla was fondly called by the British, is one
of the famous hill station in the Himalayan foothills. The capital town
of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla was 'discovered' by the British in 1817. It
is situated at 2213 meters above sea level.
Shimla derives its name from Goddess Shyamala, an incarnation
of Goddess Kali. Its commanding position on the crest of a ridge, cool
air and lust countryside quickly made it a favourite summer resort. By
1864, when it was declared the summer capital of the British Raj in India,
the 'Queen of Hill Stations' had become the epitome of everything British.
The town is busy, lively and nostalgically 'English', with quaint Raj-era
hotels and buildings. Sprawling over seven hills by dense forest and mountains,
Shimla is also the starting point on the journey to the untouched parts
of Himachal like Naldehra, Narkanda, Kufri and Chadwick Falls. Around
50,000 tourists reach Shimla and its nearby areas on an average weekend.
For those looking adventure and beauty, Shimla is the central confluence
of roads leading west to the Kangra Valley; north to Kullu, Lahaul and
Ladakh; and east into the valleys of Kinnaur and Spiti. The hill station
offers many pleasant walks through Himalayan mountains thick with oak,
deodar cedar, and pine trees.
Shimla has a pleasant climate throughout the year.
Places to see in Shimla
It is the second oldest church in India. Famous for its are five exquisite
stained glass windows, Christ Church was designed by Col JT Boileau. Later,
the church consecrated in 1857 and extended with the addition of a clock
(1860) and a porch (1873). The design of the original chancel window was
done by Rudyard Kipling's father the Lockwood Kipling. A Library (1910)
designed by James Ransome in the Elizabethan style is at next door to
the church. Opens Daily.
The Town Hall and General Post Office
Located near Scandal Point at the Mall, the town hall (1910) is the reminiscent
of the 'Arts and Crafts style, as well as the timbered General Post Office
This museum has a collection of Himachal Pradesh's rich heritage. It also
boasts good collection of archaeological artifacts, carvings, paintings
and sculptures. The ground floor has a gallery with fine Pahari miniatures,
a style developed under the auspices of the Kangra rulers. Closed on Monday
Located on the Observatory Hills, Viceregal Lodge was build for British
Viceroy Lord Dufferin who played a prominent part in its planning and
building. Also known as Rashtrapati Niwas, it was formerly the residence
of Lord Dufferin. The designers Henry Irwin (who was the designer of famous
Madras High Court and Mysore's Ambar Vilas Palace) and Capt HH Cole designed
it in the Elizabethan style. It includes a indoor tennis court and electric
lights. The lodge also has a botanical garden and a cafe. Towards the
rear is a stone terrace with a view of some major Himalayan peaks. There
are streams running down from top of the hill, flowing into the Sutlej,
Yamuna and Ganga. The magnificent reception hall and corridors are lined
from floor to ceiling with heavy teak panelling. The gate house, a chapel
and the meticulously polished brass fire hydrants imported from Manchester,
U.K. still remind us of its British origin.
Now it houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study
(IIAS). Research scholars from different parts of the country and abroad
meets here for debates and discussions.
Open 1000 - 1630. Entry fee: Rs 10/-. Only the entrance
hall and gardens are open to the public.
Dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey god, Jakhu Temple is situated at the
highest peak of Jakhu hill. Surrounded by monkeys it is 2 Km from The
Ridge near Christ Church. Situated at an altitude of 2455 mtr, the from
here one can get the excellent views of sunrise, sunset and the surrounding
areas. Jakhu hill is also famous for its trekking options.
Kamna Devi Temple
Also known as Creeda Devi Temple, this temple is 5 Km from Shimla. A 15
- 20 minutes walk from Boileauganj and build at Prosoect Hill, the temple
is dedicated to Goddess Kali. Surrounded by tall deodar trees, the temple
offers a spectacular view of the surrounding hills. One can also see the
toy trains running to and from Tara Devi. It is an ideal place for trekkers
and bird watchers also.
Tara Devi Temple
Situated at a distance of around 11 kilometers from Shimla, the temple
locates at a very peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. One can get a grand
view of the southern side of Shimla, the undulating hills and valleys
of southern Himachal and beyond to the plains of Punjab in the distance.