Your weekend guide to exploring Shimla
If a Bob Ross painting was to come to life – it would be called Shimla! We’re not even amused that it was declared as the official summer capital of British India!
A colonial town with colorful buildings set amidst snow - capped mountains covered with pine and oak forests, where quaint cottages and roads are carved into the mountain side offering travellers a scenic view of the lush valley underneath! Being Bollywood buffs ourselves, we can say that there’s no place as naturally dramatic as Shimla – misty mornings, low hanging clouds, snow covered mountain sides, a scenic toy train route and towns that would take you back to the 1800s - the beauty of Shimla has time and again drawn Bollywood filmmakers and travellers alike!
Here’s our handy travel guide for your weekend getaway to this magical Himachali town-
1. Kalka Shimla Mail
No Shimla trip is complete without a ride in the Kalka Shimla Mail!! Slowly chugging its way up the winding mountains and 103 tunnels, is a UNESCO heritage toy train known as the Kalka - Shimla Mail. Board one of these toy trains from Kalka to make your way up the straight-out-of-a-storybook type scenic route to Shimla, while humming the famous Bollywood song - Gaadi bula rahi hai, seeti baja rahi hai :D
2. The Ridge
The Ridge also rightly known as the heart of the town, is a large clearing located in the center of the town connecting the ever busy Mall Road and the Lakkar Bazaar. Here, you can see the well-preserved stone and wooden buildings that were constructed by the British served along with a view of the deep, lush valleys underneath and majestic mountains above! Also, the place where Mall Road meets the Ridge is known as Scandal Point- according to the stories, this was the exact place where the British Viceroy had banished the Maharaja of Patiala for eloping with his daughter! (Like we said before, a place as dramatic as Shimla, calls for some drama)
Continuing on your stroll in the Ridge, visit Christ Church, the 2ndoldest church in all of North India which was built in 1857. From there, head over to watch a show at a theatre whose Victorian façade from the 1800s has still been preserved- the Gaiety Theatre.
3. Jakhoo Hill and Temple
The legend has it that Lord Ram took a break at this location whilst on the search for Sanjeevni Booti and hence this temple is the venue for one of largest celebrations of the festival of Dussehra! This temple houses the largest statue of lord Hanuman that stands tall at 108 ft. above the ground. Since it’s situated on Jakhoo Hill - the highest peak of Shimla, you can see spectacular views of the Shivalik range and the local town of Sanjauli. On your hike up the Jakhoo Hill, do visit the Rothney Castle which was home to A.O Hume, the British gentleman who founded the Congress!
4. Summer Hill
Summer Hill- a part of the famous seven hill cluster that provides panoramic views of the hills laden with lush pine forests and small cottages nestled among the verdant pine and deodar trees! It is a must visit location mainly because of the picturesque views and also because Summer Hill is quite close to Observatory Hill which is where the architecturally stunning Rashtrapati Niwas (aka Viceregal Lodge) is built!
5. Mall Road
Mall Road is the lifeline of Shimla! This pedestrians only street is lined with stores selling Himachali goodies, handicraft and other local treats. Take an evening stroll down the Mall Road, enjoying the famous softy ice-cream in the chilly mountain weather!
A weekend away in Shimla is perhaps all that you need to rejuvenate your mind and soul! We believe that it is very important to capture the smiles that take over your worries as you let go and enjoy the enthralling, verdant or snow covered Shimla. Hire travel photographers from Travographer to take care of that, while you make the most of your weekend getaway in this winter wonderland!