When it comes to deciding the perfect getaway for summers, Shimla is usually at the top of everybody’s wish list. The official summer abode for British India, Shimla is one of the hill-retreats that can make your holidays worthwhile. The natural beauty amidst the snow-covered mountains, lush green oak trees are perfect to leave you in awe while the colonial heritage adds to its charm. A single visit to this place can justify why North Indians call it the “Queen of Hills”. There is more to this winter wonderland than just high-mountains and the mall road. Well, let us offer you a little guide to the perfect place and some of the best things to do in Shimla.
Here are some of the best things to do in Shimla, a handy travel guide to checkout before your trip:
Best Time to Visit Shimla:
The best season to visit Shimla is either:
March to June-July: These are the perfect summer months to visit Shimla. You need to get away from that scorching city heat and hustle then Shimla is the perfect destination with its chilly weather at night. Though, these months make Shimla hotter too but worth visiting. The wind is not too cold nor too hot.
November to February: In these seasons, Shimla is at its best with its chilly winds and amazing cold weather in those lush green mountains. It also experiences snow in the month of December and January. The time from Christmas to New Year is best to visit Shimla as the crowd is happening and there are so many other activities bustling the city streets.
Best places to See in Shimla:
1. The Mall Road
The very obvious choice is the Mall Road which besides being the most common is actually one of the finest places to visit when in Shimla. The mall road is a heavenly shopping hub that will make go cuckoo with so many interesting options for clothes, shoes, furniture, handlooms, wooden objects and so much more. The theme centric cafes, clubs and the restaurants are a sight to see and the handicraft emporiums will blow your mind away with such creativity. Strolling the mall road is one of the best things to do in Shimla if you wish to see Shimla in all its glory.
2. Johnnie’s Wax Museum
Well not the Madame Tussauds in London but the exact replica in Shimla does sound interesting. Johnnie’s Wax Museum is located at a distance of 2kms from Shimla’s Mall Road and is quite interestingly a must place to visit. The Museum is kind of an exact personification of the original Tussauds with some amazingly wax statues. Just give a visit and get tons of pictures with your favourite celebrities or the famous personalities all over the World. It is one of the best things to do in Shimla when you have leisure time to explore the mall road and its nearby places.
3. The Shimla Ridge and The Christ Church
Visiting Shimla and not visiting The Ridge is like breaking the travel code. It is one of the most famous places that you can visit in Shimla. and letting their amazing view seep through your soul is one of the best things to do in Shimla. . Situated at the top of mall Road, the Ridge offers a variety of interesting views. firstly, you can actually see the entire city from the top and trust me, the view is out of the World. Secondly, just go for a horse ride in the epic weather with your friends or family or just Visit The Christ Church. Coming to it, this church is one of the oldest churches of colonial age and is build with such an amazing architecture. Light a candle and wish for something you desire, it is believed to grant wishes just like the wishing well. Won’t hurt to give it a chance right?
4. Ice Skating Rink and The Indian Institute of Advanced Studies
Visiting Shimla in winters calls for a snow adventure besides the obvious self-building snowman or the snow fight. yes, I am talking about an actual Ice Skating Rink where you can create your own Serendipity. Do remember to get your warmest clothes as it’s much chillier than seen in the pictures. Do remember to visit Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, the former summer retreat of Indian President. It is one of the most beautiful architectural sites in our country passed onto the coming generation as a centre of advanced humanity and art studies by the president Dr Radhakrishnan. Ice skating is one of the best things to do in Shimla or anywhere else, you cannot afford to miss this one.
What to do in Shimla:
1. Take a hike to the Jakhoo HillTaking a hike to the Jakhoo hill is one of the best advice someone has ever given me or even the ropeway is amazing. You can get a ropeway to the highest peak of Shimla and have a little adventure with the mischievous monkeys on the way. The ropeway is a sheer pleasure, getting to see the city from the bird’s eye view. The ropeway leads to the famous Jakhoo Mandir which has a 108 feet tall Lord Hanuman Shrine. Seek the blessings of Lord Hanuman and trust me, the place is blissful.
2. Check out the Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex
The Victorian Theatre Architecture is something worth taking a look at. Enjoy an art performance at the Gaiety Theatre or visit their art gallery or the exhibition that still adorns with the 1887 Victorian era roots. The Gothic architecture of the theatre is something you cannot afford to miss. It shrieks of colonial time and the centre stage performances and events are must look at. Checking this amazing place out is one of teh best things to do in Shimla besides visiting the obvious locations like The Ridge or Mall Road.
3. The Toy Train Adventures
When you are planning to reach Shimla from Kalka, your ultimate travel companion is the epic toy train. The 96 km of distance from Kalka to Shimla can actually be the best adventurous train journey of your trip. Do try it out of you are fond of several goofy tunnels with so many mystic ghost stories related to them. Trust me, you won’t ever be disappointed with this suggestion. Thinking of one of the best things to do in Shimla, why not start with an epic adventure train from Kalka.
What to Eat in Shimla:
When in Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, you cannot afford to miss the Himachali Cuisine which is bound to leave your taste buds ecstatic. Those lip-smacking flavours and those warm delicacies that are out of the box are worth to give a try at least once in a lifetime:
1. Chana Madra
It is one of the most famous authentic Himachali dishes that you need to try out. It has a thick yoghurt kind gravy made of chickpeas served with bread or roti. The flavours will are surreal and the added dry fruits give it a tangy goodness. There are so many restaurants or hotels that iwll serve you some of the best authentic Himachali dishes.
You can get this at – Hotel Holiday Home or The Peterhoff
The best winter delicacy of Himachal is Siddus, the small buns made from flour, risen with the yeast. They are originally served with a centre filling which can be either sweet or savoury depending on your choice. The Shimla people serve it with a generous amount of ghee. Devouring this sweet winter delicacy is one of the best things to do in Shimla that you cannot afford to miss by anychance.
You can get them at :– The Peterhoff, The Holiday Home, Ashiana and Goofa
3. Auriya Kaddu
Though Himachalis are not very famous for vegetables, this dish has actually made it to their authentic cuisine or the Baath. It is made as a curry with ripe pumpkin and the tangy mango powder(amchur) is added at the end to give it a tangy taste. It is served with warm rice or roti.
You can get them at- The Peterhoff, The Holiday Home, Ashiana and Goofa
There are certain other cuisines like Italian, Mexican, North Indian and South Indian with a variety of cocktails, mocktails or shakes that you can enjoy at the mall road beside those epic Himachali cuisines. Some of the best things to do in Shimla does include you trying out your utter best to devour all that amazing food. Every state in India has something very different to offer in terms of food and I, for once wish to check those from my wishlist.
Where to Stay in Shimla:
|Budget Hotel||Standard Hotel||Luxury Hotel|
|Clarkes Hotel||Gulmarg Regency||The Cecil|
|Grand Hotel||Bridge View||Wildflower Hall|
|Hotel Siverine||Barowalia Resort||Hotel Willow Banks|
How to Reach Shimla:
Chandigarh is the nearest airport to Shimla from where you might want to take a bus or a train as Shimla’s own airport has discontinued local flights due to unpredictable weather conditions. Though, the government has recently launched Heli tourism with a Shimla To Chandigarh and vice versa helicopter going to Jabarhatti. The price range starts at INR 2,999(may vary).
The toy train from Kalka is another option you can consider if you wish to enjoy the surreal beauty of mountains at their sheer best. You can take a bus or a cab ride from Chandigarh to Kalka which is just 28 Kms.