Perhaps the coziest of all the hill stations, Shimla, is aptly called ‘the queen of hills’. Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh, and once served as the summer capital for British India. This quaint, little hill station was just another lost paradise in the Himalayas before the British discovered it in the early 19th century.
Lying in the south-west ranges of the Himalayas, at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level, Shimla is located on seven major hills, namely Observatory Hill, Inveram Hill, Summer Hill, Prospect Hill, Bantony Hill, Jakhoo Hill and Elysium Hill.
India’s highest ranked hotels are in Shimla. Some of the older hotels have retained their colonial architecture and remain booked throughout the year.
Shimla has an abundance of places for travelers and tourists of all kinds. The best ones are listed below:
1. Summer Hills: An exceptionally beautiful, picturesque town, situated at an altitude of 1283 meters. It is just a few kilometers away from Ridge road on the way down to Kalka. The place is away from the hustle-bustle of Shimla and surrounded by quiet hills. This place is ideal for people who adore long, quiet walks and cherish solitude as much as they adore good company.
2. Jakhoo Hill: The highest peak in Shimla, at a height of 8000 ft, Jakhoo hill is a place swarmed by pilgrims and nature lovers alike. The hill top has a newly built statue of Lord Hanuman along with the Jakhoo temple. It takes around 30 minutes to reach the temple. Alternatively, you can hire cabs.
3. Chadwick falls: This famous waterfall is surrounded by dense forest with lush green deodar and pine trees which amplifies the immense beauty of the waterfall.
4. Lakkar Bazaar: This colourful market is famous for its woolen apparels, handicrafts, dry fruits, and Kullu shawls. A trip to Shimla is not complete without shopping at Lakkar bazaar.
5. Kufri: At 2622 meters above sea level, Kufri is rightly called the winter sports capital. Winters in Kufri witness a lot of foot-fall due to skiing and ice skating.
6. Shimla state museum: Located on Mount Pleasant, it is famous for its colonial architecture. Applauded for its rich heritage, the museum has preserved the age-old artifacts, paintings and sculptures.
7. The Ridge: The ridge runs along the Mall road and is located centrally in Shimla. It offers a breathtaking view of the numerous mountains surrounding Shimla. Also, you get to see the Christ church, one of the oldest churches in north India.