Christ church and St. Michael's Cathedral
Indian Institute of Advanced Studies
Music and Dance in Shimla
Skiing in Shimla
Welcome to Shimla,
Shimla, originally called Simla, is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. A popular tourist destination, Shimla is often referred to as the "Queen of Hills" (a term coined by the British). Located in the north-west Himalayas at an average altitude of 2,205 metres(7,234 ft). The city is named after the goddess Shyamala Devi, anincarnation of the Hindu Goddess Kali.
Shimla is one of the most popular hill stations of the country. There are several tourist spots in this district that are worth exploring. Like for instance, the travellers can visit its popular pilgrimage sites - Christ Church and St. Michael`s Cathedral, Sankat Mochan Temple, Tara Devi Temple and more. Other main attractions of the district include Mall, Prospect Hill, Summer Hill, Annandale, Viceregal Lodge, Himachal State Museum and Library. The fairs and festivals are added attractions offered by Shimla District. Shimla is an ideal destination for adventure lovers.
Developed as the playground of Shimla, Annandale is 2-4 kms. from the Ridge at a height of 6,117 ft. It is a favourite spot for cricket, picnics and the princely game of polo. This large glade has a golf course surrounded by thick deodar woods and has a charming temple by an edge.
This fair is held in village Bharara near Kumharsain and people of all castes and creed participate. The fair is held on the 1st of Jaistha(May), It is being celebrated from ancient times. Devta Koteshwar is brought in the fair and goats are sacrificed in its honour as a mark of respect. The fair is cultural and recreational and 'Natti' dances are performed. People also enjoy 'Hindola' ride.
The famous Bhimakali Temple in Shimla is a very popular tourist attraction. Also known as Bheemakali Temple of Simla, this architectural wonder is one of the representatives of 51 Shakti Peeths. The unique thing about this temple is that the style of architecture used to build it is a unique amalgamation of both Hinduism and Buddhism. It is built of wood and is no less than an architectural masterpiece. Located near the temple are the palaces of the royal families of Shimla.
The temple has an interesting story behind it. It is said that long ago, there were many demons in the Himalayas who were proving to be a major distraction when the priests and saints used to meditate. They all prayed to the Gods above to send a powerful force to wipe the demons off. Hearing their pleas, the Gods decided to concentrate their powers on one point. A huge explosion took place and one could see a small girl child on that spot. This girl child grew up to be the force who destroyed all demons and was supposed to take repeated births to destroy any evil force on the face of the earth. The temple is dedicated to this great female power who was called Bhimakali.
This fair is held in village Guman in Rohru tehsil in the month of November. for three days in honour of Devta Bansor, Parshu Ram and Kilbaru. Devta Bansor is the presiding deity.Beside paying homage to the deities 'Natti' dances are performed by the people. The fair attracts a huge crowd.
The best way of enjoying a tour to Himachal Pradesh is setting up a camp to explore the vast beauty of nature. you can put up your own tent or take shelter under the roof offered by any of several camps that are situated in various parts of Himachal Pradesh. These camps offer accommodation, catering and lot of other activities.Most of these camps offer best quality services. Himachal Tourism has camps in Distt. Shimla at Mashobra and Baldian near Shimla.
The Chail hill station is located at an altitude of 2250 meters and is one of the smallest hill stations of Shimla. The Chail hill station of Shimla has an interesting story behind it. It is said that when the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh was expelled from his kingdom, he was determined to create his own summer capital. He came to Chail and was mesmerized by the beauty of this place. That is when he decided to make the Chail hill station of Shimla his summer capital. To experience the bliss and divinity of this place, you must visit Chail hill resort near Shimla and have an experience of a lifetime.
The Chail hill station is located at a high altitude and is covered with thick deodar trees, which give the hill station the look of a wonderland. The Chail resort is a place that shall bowl you over completely. You will be surprised to see the beautiful amalgamation of beauty and comfort over here. The resorts have elaborate log huts with modern amenities, perfectly manicured lawns, traditional cottages and everything else that goes in to make a perfect holiday.
The major attractions near Chail are a Children's park, facilities for fishing and trekking and the famous Chail wildlife sanctuary. Chail is also famous for the world's highest cricket ground that is located at a height of 2444 meters above sea level. This cricket ground is also a polo ground and was made in the year 1893 after an entire hilltop was leveled. Chail Sanctuary, Sadhupul (3 km)- The sanctuary was notified on 21 March 1976 near the town in district Shimla and covers an area of about 10,854.36 hectares. The Chail sanctuary has 'ghoral', 'kakkar', 'sambhar', 'red jungle fowl' and 'khalij' and 'cheer' pheasants. Machan like sighting posts have been built at Khuruin.
It was notified a sanctuary on 21st March 1976. Formerly the game reserve of the erstwhile Maharaja of Patiala, it is now heavily degraded. Yet it contains one of the world's most significant population of the greatly threatened Cheer Pheasant as well as a herd of European Red Deer, introduced half a century ago by the former Maharaja of Patiala. Forest Types include Himalayan sub-tropical pine forests, Banoak forest and Moru Oak forest. The dominant forest tree is the white or Silver Oak, mixed at lower altitude with Chil Pine. Tree Rhododendron forms pure stands in a few places and Deodar have been sown in some areas.
Himalayan Black Bear, Indian Wild Bear, Leopard Cat, Barking Deer, Red Deer, Goral, Indian Hare, common Langur, Leopard, Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan yellow throated Marten, Indian Porcupine, Sambar, common Giant and Kashmiri flying Squirrel, Locally threatened species are Leopard, Chir or Cheer Pheasant and Red Deer. A Cheer Pheasant breeding and rehabilitation program has been started in 1988.
Accessible to experienced trekkers and fed by a series of springs, this lake lies in the Chanshal range. Surrounded by snow for long periods, this is the source of the river Pabbar. The trek is difficult, but enjoyable and well rewarded at the end. This lake lies in Rohru tehsil.
Chharabra is a small village situated approximately 8250 feet (2514 m) above sea level, 13 km from Shimla. Chharabra is situated on top of mountains which are a major watershed. One side of Chharabra is part of the catchment area for the Yamuna river while the other side is part of the catchment area for the Satluj river. The entire area around Chharabra is densely forested and is part of Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary and Catchment Area.
The famous Christ church and St. Michael's Cathedral of Shimla is a beautiful architectural masterpiece. The construction of this church took a span of 11 years (1846 - 1857) and is considered to be the second oldest church in North India. This splendid church is located just near the Ridge in Shimla and can be reached very easily from anywhere. The Christ Church and St. Michael's Cathedral is a famous landmark of Simla and is flocked by many devout followers from all over India.
The church looks absolutely magical during night when lights placed at strategic corners illuminate this beautiful church. The church glows with all its beauty and grandeur and is an amazing sight to look at. Beautifully painted stained glass form the windows of this magnificent church. It is a grand sight to look at and definitely worth the visit if you are traveling to Shimla. Right next to the Church is a library that was built in the year 1910 by James Ransome. It is designed in the typical Elizabethan style and consists of a great collection of books and ancient scriptures.
It was notified a sanctuary on 15th November, 1985. One of the state's newest sanctuaries, Churadhar has amongst the last good stretches of forest left in Southern Himachal Pradesh. In the past, it was the stronghold of Musk Deer, now at the point of local extinction, Churadhar still contains good habitat for Monal and other Pheasants. The sancuary gets its name from Chur Peak or Churdhar Peak, on the top of which sits a majectic statute of Lord Shiva commanding a breathtaking view of the valleys and forests below. Forest Types include western mixed coniferous forests, Khasru Oak forest and Alpine forests. Deodar and Oak are the famous species.
Mammals : Himalayan Black Bear, Indian Wild Bear, barking Deer, Musk Deer, Goral, common Langur, Leopard, Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan Mouse-Hare and Indian Porcupine.
This sanctuary located in the upper area of the Shimla district has an undisturbed forest area with plenty of wildlife-monal, tragopan, koklas and khalij pheaseants and musk deer, ghoral and thar. There is a network of bridle paths in the sanctuary. Visitors are advised to seek assistance from the forest staff posted at Dofda and Sarahan. The area is ideal for those who love to trek.
On the road leading through Lakkar Bazaar, houses the famous Auckland House, the former residence of Viceroy Lord Auckland. It is a well-known girls' school now. Nearby is the Stirling Castle, now an orphanage for the Tibetan children and a center for the Tibetan exiles who have settled locally.
Fagu is situated at 2,509 m height, 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.
In Shimla, fishing is a very popular recreational sport. Since Shimla has many shallow streams scattered all over, it provides ample of opportunities for many to try the angling sport in Simla. In fact, Shimla is often known as "Angler's Paradise" as it is one of those very few places that allows tourists to indulge in fishing in India. There are many popular spots for indulging in fishing in Shimla. Read on further to know about these hotspots.
Shimla is known for its treasure of the world's best sport fish. The streams and shallow waters make this place the perfect location for fishing. One can indulge in fishing in the upstreams of Rohru situated in the Pabbar valley. There is a trout hatchery in Chirgaon where one can go fishing for trouts. The best sport fish in the world, Rainbow and Brown trouts are found here aplenty. Other good spots for fishing are Tikri, Sandsu, Dhamvari, Seema and Mandil. All these spots are within 20 kilometers of Rohru.
Shimla used to be the summer capital of the British. No British township is complete without a golf course! Shimla is blessed with vast expanses of open land that is perfect for a golf course. Golf in Shimla has emerged as one of the most popular sports in the valley. Almost all tourists visiting India try their hand at golfing in Simla. The calm and serene atmosphere makes golf a more pleasurable sport. Shimla has beautiful golf courses that allow tourists to try their hand at golf. Read on further for more information on the same.
Naldehra : Located at a distance of around 22 kilometers from Shimla, Naldehra is one of the best and the oldest golf courses in India. Lord Curzon laid the foundation of this golf course in the year 1903, during the colonial rule in India. It is said that he was so mesmerized by the natural beauty of this place that he named his daughter "Naldera" after this place! Considered as one of the most challenging golf courses in the country, this is a par 68, nine-hole golf course.
Annadale : The Army manages this exquisite nine-hole golf course. There are several resorts and hotels available near this beautiful lush green golf course. Also, many resorts have come up with the concept of mini golf courses within the resort compound itself.
Along the River Pabbar, 104 km from Shimla, is the temple dedicated to Durga and Shiva. The gods are said to have fought a pitched battle at this spot. Famous for ancient temple of Mata Hateswari in the midst of paddy fields on the right bank of the Pabber river.
Hattu Peak is situated at 3,300 m height. 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.
Hemkunj or Hem Kunj is the official summer residence of the Governor of Punjab, India. It was formerly known as Dane's Folly. It is situated on the road leading to The Retreat, between Wildflower Hall and The Retreat. The house was originally built by an Englishman called Mr Dane, who, believing that Shimla town would come up at this point, predicted that Shimla would come up on this side of the hill. However, as his prediction was proved wrong he named the house Dane's Folly. A new building was constructed next to the Dane's Folly building, which is used as residence of Governor of Punjab. Dane's Folly and the new building both still exist. The entire property has now been renamed Hemkunj.
The museum is located at around 2.5 kms west of the scandal point and opens daily except on Mondays for the visitors. It has got a good collection of ancient historical sculptures, paintings, coins, photos and other items from all over the state as well as outside the state. There is also a library, which houses many historical books and manuscripts.
Shimla is India's favorite winter destination and what makes it truly special is the snowfall that it receives during the winters. Most tourists visit Shimla during the months of December, January and February to indulge in the lively ice sports like skiing, ice-skating or simple throwing snowballs! Shimla comes alive during the ice skating carnival that is held every year during winters. Shimla has the biggest open-air, natural ice rink in India. The ice-skating Club of Shimla organizes the ice skating carnival in Simla every year in January.
The club has already celebrated its Diamond jubilee and is thronged by tourists every year. The carnival is fun and lively and the various colors against the white backdrop of the snow make Shimla look like a wonderland. The ice skating sessions usually take place twice in a day, in the morning and evening. He sessions are usually uninterrupted since the skies are usually clear and temperatures are pretty low to keep the ice intact.
Skates are available at the rink itself and a nominal rent is charged for the same. The ice skating club organizes fairs and celebrates this carnival with much joy and fervor. The club organizes fancy dress competitions for the amusement of children. Other activities include ice hockey matches and colorful dances. The Municipal building right next to the Scandal point near the ice skating rink hangs a balloon to indicate whether skating is to be held that day or not.
Indian Institute of Advanced StudiesThis institute is housed in the Viceregal Lodge, which was built in 1884-88 during the British times. It has spacious gardens and is ringed by beautiful pine trees. All is calm and serene just the right atmosphere for a student of literature or politics.
Jakhoo(Jakhu) Temple is an ancient temple in Shimla, dedicated to Hindu deity, Hanuman. It is situated on Jakhoo Hill, 2.5 km /1.3 miles east from the Ridge, Shimla at a height of 2,455 m (8,000 feet) above sea level. Shimla's highest peak offers a panoramic view of the Shivalik Ranges and the town of Sanjauli. An ancient "Lord Hanuman" temple is there and every year a big festival is held on Dushera.
The Jakhu Temple being situated at a height of around 2 Km from the base of Jakhu hill, a trek of 2 kms through dense pine forests is required to reach it. An alternative can be hiring ponies from the base of hills for a to and fro ride to temple. Walking sticks are also available at the shops on the base of Jakhu hill.
The famous Kalibari Temple of Shimla is a popular tourist attraction and is situated at a very strategic location. The temple was built in the year 1845 and is dedicated to Goddess Kali who is also known as Shyamala. It is from the name of Goddess Shyamala that Shimla derives its name. The Kali Bari temple of Simla is a very well known religious place of India and people who come to Shimla never miss out on visiting this temple. The Kalibari temple was primarily located in Jakhu hill. The British brought it to its new site.
It is located on the Chhota Shali hillock just on the other side of Shali peak. The size of the lake is almost equal to the size of the Annadale ground of Shimla. The water os the lake is not very clean but from a great way up the hill, its first sight between the trees is unforgettable, because of, it is shining like a big emerald in the Sun. The location of the lake is beautiful and worth a visit.
The Kasauli Hill Station is situated at an altitude of 1927 meters above sea level and is a small hill station that still retains its colonial ambience of the 19th century. You can find a hint of the colonial influence in each and every little thing in this place. The cobbled paths, old-fashioned shops, the gabbled homes and classic porticos - all remind you of the bygone era of the colonial rule. You are sure to have an amazing time at the Kasauli hill resort near Shimla as it has got everything that shall make your vacation a perfect one.
Kasauli is filled dense thickets of Himalayan oak, pine trees and chestnut trees. The narrow zigzag roads that wind up the hill are a delight to take long walks on. The place is blessed with breath taking scenery and soothing views. This place can be easily reached from Shimla by road and the journey is one that you shall never forget. The lush green hills filled with light mist that greet you on your way to Kasauli are no less than paradise.
Kasauli is famous for the Pastur Institute, which prepares vaccines for protection from rabies and dog bites. The institute is also famous for treating victims of hydrophobia. This institute is the oldest institute set up in India and is famous till date. It was set up just at the start of the 20th century. Kasauli is also famous for the Monkey point, where it is believed that monkey God Hanuman set his foot while getting the Sanjeevani herb for Lakshmana. The place is shaped in the form of a big footprint. You can also visit the Christ Church, which was built by the British and still its old world charm.
Kotgarh lies at around 82 kms from Shimla and is the apple heartland of Himachal. Today Kotgarh continues to be one of the most intensive apple growing areas in the country with acres of orchards lining the slopes of this untouched dreamland. The view of the Sutlej River during the day and the enchanting lights of this beautiful valley at night are a photographer`s delight.
Breathtaking views, stunning locales and tranquil surroundings - this is what Kufri hill station is all about. Popularly known as Switzerland of the East, the spell binding beauty of Kufri hill station of Shimla will definitely enchant you. Check out the Kufri hill resort near Shimla and make sure you stay here for some time to experience pure bliss. It is located at a distance of 19 kilometers from Shimla and can be reached very easily from Shimla.
The best thing about Kufri is the skiing and hiking that should be absolutely tried once, if you are visiting. The snow-clad hills of Kufri provide the ideal locale for trying your hand at skiing. In winters, Kufri is literally filled with tourists who come here to seek adventure and get some excitement in their lives. For the weak hearted, there is always an option of trekking and hiking on the steep hill slopes. The best season to indulge in these sports is during winters, i.e. from November to February. If you are not into skiing and other adventurous pursuits, you can visit the hill station during the months of April to June. The weather is pleasant and cool and just perfect for enjoying your much-awaited vacation!
Kufri remained unexplored and hidden from the rest of the world for a long time. It was not until the time the British explored this area that Kufri came into the knowledge of people. As and when Shimla gained importance, Kufri was also identified as an important tourist place near Shimla. Shimla was an important place as the British declared it the summer capital of India till year 1939. Kufri, which was once a part of the Nepal Kingdom, was recognized as a part of Shimla after India gained independence. So visit this magical place and experience the fun and frolic yourself!
Lakkar Bazaar is a marketplace adjoining the Ridge in Shimla, India. Shops offer wooden articles targeted mainly at tourists. There is also a roller skating rink in Lakkar Bazaar. Lakkar Bazaar is known for wooden toys made by a small group of Sikh carpenters who settled there a century ago from Hoshiarpur. Wooden walking sticks are famous. Lakkar Bazar was like a small village in itself. Sita Ram is famous for its alloo tikki and chole Bhature. Regal Building, comprising a Cinema Hall, Roller Skating Hall and Meena Bazar is a famous place. DAV School produced many famous personalities and is also located in Lakkar Bazaar.
Lavi fair of Rampur is the most important fair of the district and state. It is a commercial fair held on the 25th of Kartika (November). It is said that the fair was related to the signing of trade treaty between the erstwhile Bushahr State and Tibet.. The shepherds of Kinnaur migrate to warmer places before the on set of winter and on their way they halt at Rampur. The woollen goods,dry fruits and medicinal herbs brought by them are purchased by the people and the traders of the plains and foodgrains,clothes and utensils are sold. It is a very old fair and entirely related to the sale and purchase of goods. 'Natti' dances and cultural shows are the main attractions.
This fair is celebrated at a place about 6 Kms from Shimla-Kotkhai road near Mahasu village on the 3rd Tuesday in the month of Baisakha(May) for two days. The fair is a very old one and is held in front of the Durga Devi temple by a large gathering who throng the place from the neighbouring areas. It is believed that a Rana of Badoli lived in Chakroth near Mahasu. He had built Durga temple there. After the abolition of his jagir the Rana left the village and the vilagers of Mahasu constructed a temple of Durga in their own village and to commemorate the occasion they started the fair. 'Natti' dances and folk songs are performed. Archery game is the main attraction of entertainment. At the end of the fair a goat is sacrificed.
It was first notified as a sanctuary in 1962 and re-notified on 27th March 1974. This Oak forest area is located in the catchment of the Satluj River and contains typical low altitude western Himalayan flora and fauna. Studies have established this sanctuary to be possibly the single most important locality for chir or cheer pheasant in the world.
Mammals : Himalayan Black Bear, Indian Wild Bear, jungle Cat, common Palm Civet, Himalayan Palm Civet, barking Deer, Goral, Jackal, common Langur, Leopard, Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan yellow throated Marten and Sambar.
Mall Road is the main street in Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, India. Constructed during the British colonial rule, the Mall road is located a level below the ridge. The offices of municipal corporation, fire service, and police headquarters are located here. Automobiles, except emergency vehicles are not allowed on this road. For this reason, the locals - and tourists - are often found strolling on this road in the evenings. Mall road has a number of showrooms, department stores, shops, restaurants and cafes. A Himachal emporium that offers handicraft products of Himachal Pradesh like locally designed woollen cloths, branded cloths, pottery items, and jewellary is also located here.
Scandal point : Scandal point is where the Mall road joins the ridge road on the west side. The name, scandal, arose from the commotion caused by the supposed elopement of a British lady with the Maharaja of Patiala during the British Raj.
Gaiety Theater : Gaiety Theater, located on the Mall, was opened on the 30th of May, 1887. Many popular film personalities have performed on its stage. Today, the Gaiety is primarily known for its social club. Schools in Shimla use this theater for performing arts. The theater has been renovated with the original structure untouched to keep its heritage preserved while making it more attractive.
Kali Bari Temple : The temple was built in the year 1845. It is dedicated to goddess Kali. It is believed that an ancient temple of Shamla i.e. goddess Kali existed near Jakhoo. In the temple a wooden image is worshipped locally.
Mashobra is a town in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. Mashobra is notable for housing one of the only two Presidential retreats in India. The president visits Mashobra at least once every year, and during this time his core office shifts to the retreat at Chharabra, in the vicinity of Mashobra. The building housing the retreat is a completely wooden structure originally constructed in 1850.
Mashobra is also popular as a tourist destination. Wildflower Hall at Chharabra, now a property of Oberoi Hotels, has been residence to Lord Kitchener as well as Lord Ripon during the British Raj. Pankaj Mishra is a famous writer/poet who lives in Mashobra. At 3 km from Mashobra is Carignano, a beautiful picnic spot that was a villa of Chevalier Federico Peliti, an Italian photographer in India from the times of Queen Victoria, who named it in honor of his native town Carignano near Turin in Italy. The villa was transformed to a weekend resort in 1920 and is also referred to in one of the novels by Anita Desai.
Mountaineering is a very popular adventure sport and mountaineering in Shimla has its own charm and magic. Many tourists and adventure seekers come here to try the mountain climbing sport of Simla. The lofty ranges of the Himalayas provide the ideal locale for indulging in mountaineering. Read on further to know more about the adventure sport of mountaineering. There are certain precautions that should be kept in mind while embarking on mountaineering. Most accidents occur because of lack of safety equipments and precautionary measures. One has to be a very keen observer to look out for nooks and crannies to fix your grip on the face of the rocks. The only thing you can fall back on is the safety rope. In fact the Himalayan ranges in Shimla are called "Mountaineer's Paradise".
The diverse flora and fauna of Shimla is an additional boost for those who want to try their hand at mountaineering. The lush green landscapes, the tall pine trees, the snow blanketing the peaks, the fresh mountain air all make Himalayas an irresistible treat to mountaineers. Many devoted mountaineers and rock climbers do not leave even one opportunity to indulge in this exhilarating sport and come rushing to embark on yet another exciting expedition above the peaks.
To encourage mountaineering as a sport among the youth, Shimla has established an institution known as Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports at Manali. It also has a branch in Dharamshala. The courses that are provided here aim at initiating young people into the field of mountaineering. The institute has had its share of famous students who have conquered almost all ranges of the Himalayas.
The style of music and dance in Shimla has not gone through much evolution. People over here still follow the traditional forms of dance and music of Simla. The dance and music of Shimla is basically religion oriented. All festivals are celebrated with traditional music and dance and they are an integral part of any festivity and celebration. The main purpose of indulging in music and dance is to invoke the Gods and seek their blessings. This practice has been prevalent since old days.
The music is dominated with instruments rather than vocals. The main instruments that are used while singing are Flute, Ektara Chimta, Ghariyal, Ghunghroo, etc. Along with these instruments, experienced people sing the traditional songs that are very pleasant to the ears. The major dance forms of Shimla are the Kayang Dance, Bakayang dance, Bnayangchu dance, Jataru Kayang dance, Chohara dance, Shand and Shabu dances and Rasa dance. These dances are exclusive to Shimla and are not practiced anywhere else.
23 km away from Shimla, at 2044 m this has a thick cedar forest, picnic grounds and a nine-hole par 68 Golf course that is regarded as one of the most challenging in the country. In the repeat nine there are four additional greens and different tees, which increase the yardage in the second round. This was designed by the British Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon and he was so enchanted by the spot that he often camped here for days on end communicating with Viceregal Lodge by means of a heliograph. He even named his daughter after the place.
The Naldehra of today is a full fledged golf and leisure destination that offers comprehensive facilities like quality accommodation and food through Himachal Tourism Hotel Golf Glade. Equipment and instructors are available at the Golf Club and it is possible to play by paying a daily green fee.
The beautiful Narkanda hill station is situated at an altitude of around 2700 meters and offers a stunning view of the lofty ranges of Himalayas. Narkanda hill station is at a distance of 60 kilometers from Shimla. It is an ideal getaway for people who seek to relax in an undisturbed and tranquil location, far away from the bustling city life. The place is famous for its apple and peach plantations. The dense forests are always successful in attracting tourists who enjoy each and every moment walking in the dense thickets of the slopes. The Narkanda hill resort near Simla should be visited in case you are visiting Shimla.
The best time to visit Narkanda is during the winters. You are recommended to carry a good stock of woolen clothes as it can get really cold high up in the hills. Narkanda has its own ski resort and is a hit among tourists who come to visit this place. The ski resort was started in the year 1980 and has grown by leaps and bounds. Today, it is one of the most well known ski resorts in India.
There are many places near Narkanda that are worth the visit. Situated at a height of 2000 feet above Shimla is the Hattu peak. It can be reached in an hour by trekking. You can also visit the Hattu Mata temple that is located over here. The Hattu peak is famous for its skiing activities and hiking and is teaming with adventure seekers during winters when it snows, making the place look like a white wonderland.
Though this sport has recently been introduced in Shimla, paragliding is fast catching up and emerging as one of the most sought after adventure sports in India. The undulating hills of Shimla provide the ideal location to try this sport. Para gliding is one sport that will set your adrenalin levels rushing and give you the exhilarating experience of a lifetime. Read on further to know more about paragliding sport in Shimla.
This exhilarating adventure sport is a skillful combination of parachuting and hang gliding. Some people think it its entirely parachuting, which is not correct. It is easily launched in lighter winds and needs less space to land. Most of the skills are learnt in air and a trainer during the practice session is hardly necessary. It is easier to rig and de-rig and the material used in the chute is of a very light weight.
In Shimla, Kangra valley is considered to be the hub of all gliding activities. To enjoy both paragliding and hang gliding, head on to Bir and Billing in the Kangra valley. These two locations are supposed to be the hot spots of gliding in Shimla. Since 1984, the Billing peak has hosted three international and five national hang gliding and paragliding rallies. So rush to Kangra and get set to soar like a bird and fly gracefully in the high skies.
This fair is held in village Halog of tehsil Shimla. Halog was the capital of erstwhile Dhami state. The fair is held on the second day of Diwali in the month of Kartik(November). In ancient times human sacrifice,it is said, used to be offered to goddess Kali every year at the spot where the fair is now held. It is also said that on this day the widow of a ruler of the state performed 'Satti' and that before doing so she had ordered to make human sacrifice henceforth. Human sacrifice was stopped after sometimes. Stone throwing fight between two parties is the main attraction of the fair and whatever blood oozes out from the wounds caused by injuries on the bodies of the participants is collected and offered to the Kali. Apart from the stone throwing game the 'hindola' ride is also enjoyed.
One of the biggest commercial centers of Shimla, Rampur town is located at a distance of around 135 kilometers from Shimla. It is one of the most important market and business centers of Shimla. Rampur used to be the capital city of the Bushahr Empire during the 18th century in India. Located near Shimla, Rampur falls along the ancient trade route to Afghanistan, Ladakh, China and Tibet. It is located on the banks of the mighty river Sutlej. The tradition of Rampur is still pulsating as ever and one feels completely rejuvenated on visiting this place.
The main attraction of Rampur is the Lavi Fair, which is supposed to be one of the biggest fairs of North India. This fair is held every year during the second week of November. The fair is quite popular among the people in Shimla and is held for three days. The fair is abuzz with life and activities as it is a major crowd puller. The fair is commercial in nature as tradesmen and craftsmen come from all over Shimla to buy, sell and exchange articles like dry fruits, shawls, blankets, crop produce, handicraft items, fruits, etc. Some people even trade in livestock like sheep, goats, cows and horses.
The place is one of the best shopping hubs and one can get just about any exotic item over here. You can pick up handicraft items like wooden carvings and clay sculptures. The most popular items are the handspun woolen shawls and rugs that are warm even in the coldest weather. Rampur is famous for its handspun blankets that are popularly known "Rampuri Chaddar" (Chaddar is Hindi for blanket). The blankets are known for their softness and durability and tourists make it a point to buy atleast one from here.
Celebrated during the rainy season in Shimla, Rhyali festival is of much importance over here. Since most people here depend on agriculture to earn their livelihood, the rains are an absolute must. Rhyali festival is celebrated to keep the rain Gods happy so that the agricultural produce does not get affected. The Rhyali festival is celebrated during the first day of the month of Shravana (July). This is a formal announcement of the arrival of the monsoons in Shimla.
The traditional ceremony begins with the sowing of seeds of five to seven different crops like wheat, barley, etc. some ten days before the official date of the celebration. The head of a family or a priest usually does this ritual. These seeds are sown in a small basket that is filled with earth and is kept near the household or a place where the idols of Gods are kept.
A day before the actual celebration a mock wedding takes place that symbolizes the holy marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Clay statues of the Gods are placed near the saplings. The place is cleaned spic and span and offerings like fruits and flowers are kept near the idols. The priest chants prayers and prays that the greenery and fertility of the fields never goes away. This is followed by some more rituals after which the ceremony finally ends.
This fair is held in Rohru on the 9th and 10th of Baiskha (April) on the banks of river Pabbar in honour of Devta Shikru. People of nearby villages are the devotees of the Devta. It is very old fair and is held to commemorate the supremacy of the deity. This fair is also a commercial one and apart from the performance of 'Natti' dances and cultural activities,brisk trading is also done. Men and Women costumed in their best attire participate in the fair.
A serene location with delightful walks, Sanjauli is ideal for a tranquil weekend. There are fine vistas and the lights of Shimla and Chail can be seen twinkling at night. On the other side, Mashobra and Naldehra are visible. (3 Km)
One of the most popular tourist attractions of Shimla, the Sankat Mochan Temple is located among lush green and tranquil locales in this beautiful hill station. Shri Sankat Mochan temple in Simla is located on the Kalka - Shimla highway, on the National Highway - 22. The temple is a place where one can actually meditate and enjoy the calm and peaceful surroundings. Lush green trees surround Sankat Mochan Temple and the backdrop consists of the imposing and lofty Himalayan ranges and a light mist adds the mystical touch to that place. Let us take a look at the temple's history.
The temple has many facilities for people and also includes a three-storey building that is used for many purposes. Every Sunday, the huge hall in the building is used for distributing Prasad, also known as Langar. One portion of the building is used to conduct marriage ceremonies and is rented out to people who want to conduct marriages. The temple charges a very nominal fee for this. Apart from marriages, there are many other sacred rituals and ceremonies that can be conducted over here. Priests and the maintainance staff, who work here day and night, use the rest of the building as a residential complex. The temple also has an Ayurvedic clinic and thirty well maintained toilets.
The beautiful Sarahan city is located on the Shimla - Kinnaur border. It is situated at an altitude of 2165 meters. One of the most beautiful places to visit in India, Sarahan valley near Simla is the work of a perfectionist. The right amount of beauty mixed with serenity and tranquility, Sarahan looks like time spared this part of Shimla. The undulating valleys and snowy peaks that surround Sarahan are exquisitely beautiful. Sarahan has something to offer to everyone and you are sure to fall in love with the place when you come visiting.
The place is well-known for its ancient Bhimakali temple and it also serves as a base for numerous treks. The best season for going on treks is April to June and September to November. If you are looking for pure unadulterated fun and soak yourself in the beauty of nature, come to Sarahan and experience true bliss. The place is famous for its apple and peach orchards that are spread over miles of area. The small huts with thatched roofs give this valley the look of an untouched paradise. In short, the place is picture perfect.
The valley is filled with beautiful blooms of flowering plants and dense pine trees. The Himalayas provide the perfect backdrop of snow clad lofty ranges surrounding the small beautiful valley in between. You are recommended to carry light woolens though weather remains pleasant during summers. However, the evenings may get chilly at times and it is best to carry a light jacket with yourself.
Located in the heart of Shimla is the famous tourist attraction known as The Ridge. The Ridge is the hub of all cultural activities of Shimla. It is situated along the Mall Road, which is the famous shopping center of Shimla. Most major places of Shimla like Lakkar Bazaar, Mall, Scandal Point, Jakhoo hill, etc. are connected through the Ridge. Read on more about the famous Shimla ridge in the following lines.
The main water supply of Shimla comes from the huge water reservoir that is located in the Ridge. The Ridge is famous for the various government functions and fairs that are held here. It is usually the venue for all such celebrations and events. The most famous festival that is held at the Ridge is the Summer Festival. This famous festival is held during the months of April or May and the whole of Shimla comes alive with colors and a riot of activities.
The most famous landmark of the Ridge is the Christ Church. This beautiful building is constructed in Neo-Gothic style of architecture. It is a famous tourist attraction of Shimla and should be visited when you come to Shimla.
The Museum, which was opened in 1974, has tried to project hill-out and the cultural wealth of the state. There is a collection of miniature Pahari paintings, sculptures, bronzes wood-carvings and also costumes, textiles and jewellery of the region.
The best reason to visit Shimla during summers has to be the famous Summer Festival that is held every year in the month of May. This famous festival is a riot of colors and festivity and is celebrated on a grand scale. The Summer Festival in Simla is a beautiful amalgamation of various talented people of India who make it an event that is remembered for a long time to come. The numerous festivities and the variety of programmes that are organized make the Summer Festival a fun and enjoyable event.
The events are truly enjoyable and there is something to suit the talent of every individual. There is a sports tournament with a variety of activities for both children as well as adults. Colorful flower shows are organized, which add fun and color to the whole atmosphere thus making it even livelier. The local artists give performance in music and dance and every day, a famous personality is called to perform on the stage.
Enthusiastic school children also take part in the festivities and many competitions are organized for their amusement and enjoyment. These children also put up various cultural acts and performances and the Summer Festival acts as a stage to showcase their talent and skills. Other events include photography competition, poster-making competition and a fashion show that showcases the talent of local designers. The unique thing about this fashion show is that it showcases folk dresses. The Summer Festival is the perfect time to indulge in festivity and celebration.
It was first notified as a sanctuary on 29th July 1958 and re-notified on 4th December 1982. This is one of the few sanctuaries in Himachal free from habitation, this area has been preserved since the last centuary as the catchment area providing water to Shimla town. It was earlier the part of the Koti State and came under the State control in 1947-48. It has perhaps the highest density of 'Koklas Pheasant' among the State's national parks and sanctuaries.
The vegetation consists predominately of temperate coniferous forest, dominated by Deodar and mixed at lower elevations with White Oak and patches of Chir Pine and at higher elevations with blue pine, green oak and spruce. Leopard Cat, barking Deer, Musk deer, Goral, common Langur, Leopard, Rhesus Macaque, Marten, Indian Porcupine, Sambar and Squirrel are mammals found here.
This fair is held every year in Sihpur below Mashobra on the 1st of Jaistha(may) in honour of Sip Devta. It is very old fair and the Rana of Koti used to be the chief visitor. Thousands of people of the surrounding areas participate in the fair. A goat is slaughtered in honour of the deity. Archery game is played besides several cultural programmes, variety shows, 'Karyala', Performance of the jugglers, magicians and acrobats provide additional entertainment to the spectators.
Shimla is known for its snow-capped peaks and smooth slopes. This is what makes it the ideal location for indulging in skiing in Shimla. The lofty ranges of Himalayas are the perfect place (after Swiss Alps!) to try out the skiing sport of Simla. There are many places in Shimla that offers skiing and tourists flock these places in winters to try out this exhilarating adventure sport. So when you visit Shimla, skiing should be on the top of your things-to-do list! Kufri, Mashobra, Narkanda are famous places for skiing.
Summer Hill is a suburb of Shimla, the state capital of Himachal Pradesh at a height of 2,123 meters. It is situated on a hill, 5 km west to the Shimla Ridge, and is part of the seven-hill cluster which forms Shimla. Besides being a popular tourist destination, the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (estb. 1965), housed in the former Viceregal Lodge, which was built in 1884-88, is also situated on the nearby Observatory Hill. Today, it also hosts the Himachal Pradesh University, which mainly offers Post Graduate Programmes in the fields of Humanities, Commerce, Science, Management, Law and Languages, and was started in 1975. Most students here walk to the Hill Station of Shimla from the campus, though Summer Hill lies on the Kalka-Shimla Railway line.
It was first notified as a sanctuary in 1962 and re-notified on 27th March 1974. This sanctuary was formerly a popular hunting spot and continues to have human pressure in the form of hunting spot and in the form of commercial logging and grazing. Only a few good patches of wildlife habitat reportedly remain. primarily in steep and inaccessible areas, still harbouring a population of Musk Deer and five species of pheasants. Forest Types include lower western Himalayan temperate and west Himalayan upper oak and fir forests.
Mammals : Himalayan Black Bear, barking Deer, Musk Deer, Goral, common Langur and Leopard.
Tara Devi Temple, located in Shimla is a very famous tourist attraction of this place. Situated at a distance of around 11 kilometers from Shimla, this famous temple can be visited while traveling on the Kalka - Shimla National Highway. The Tara Devi Temple is situated at the top of a hill in Simla and the lush green environs surrounding it give the temple a very peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. One must visit this temple to check out the breath taking views of the countryside. The backdrop of the lofty Himalayas and the clean and fresh air works wonders and makes your vacation worthwhile.
The origin of this temple can be traced back to around 250 years. It is said Goddess Tara was brought all the way from West Bengal to Himachal Pradesh. A King from the Sen dynasty visited this place after some years. He had brought along a small gold locket in which his an idol of his deity was encased in gold. He always wore this locket in his upper arm. The idol remained encased in that locket for many generations to come. One fine day, Raja Bhupendra Sen (of the 96th generation) had an unusual incident. While hunting in a dense forest, he had a vision of Goddess Tara along with Hanuman, who desired that she should be available for the public to pray and seek blessings.
Immediately, the Maharaja donated a big piece of land to build a temple dedicated to Goddess Tara. Thus, a temple was built and a wooden idol of the Goddess was installed for people to worship. After some more generations, Raja Balbir Sen had a vision in which the Goddess had wished that she be installed at the top of a hill known as Tarav Parvat. The Maharaja got a temple built at the top of the hill and got a beautiful idol made out of "Ashtadhatu", a rare combination of eight elements. He got it installed in a grand fashion by taking out a huge procession and carrying the idol on the top of an elephant named Shankar. The temple stands in its entire splendor even today on this hilltop.
One of the most popular excursions from Shimla is the Tattapani hot springs. It is located at a distance of around 51 kilometers from Shimla. Located at an altitude of 656 meters, Tattapani hot springs near Shimla are a major tourist attraction. Many people visit the place as the springs are supposed to have medicinal value and healing properties. People also take some water from the springs back to their homes. Apart from the hot springs, Tattapani is also famous for its religious places and temples that should be visited if you are traveling here. The place also offers adventure sports like rafting, fishing and trekking and is a heaven for all adenveture seekers.
The Retreat Building is the official Retreat Residence of the President of India at Chharabra, Shimla. It is located 10km away from Shimla and is a thousand feet higher than the Shimla Ridge Top. Entry to this building is by permission only. The President visits Mashobra at least once every year, and during this time his/her core office shifts to The Retreat at Chharabra. The building housing The Retreat is a purely wooden structure originally constructed in 1850. It has dajji wall construction, and a plinth area of 10,628 sq ft (987.4 m2).
The Retreat was officially assigned to be the presidential mansion. The 16-room residence is surrounded by a 300-acre (1.2 km2) forest. The President stays at The Retreat for two weeks a year during the summer, but the building is mostly used by the Government of India to house foreign VIPs visiting Shimla. The property belongs to the former Raja of Koti, and has been given to the Government of India on a permanent lease.
The beautiful and mysterious ranges of the Himalayas are just the ideal sites for you to try your hand at the trekking sport in Simla. One of the most beautiful and sought after hill stations of India, Shimla is the ideal place to go trekking. In Shimla, trekking can be tried on many hills and undulating terrains. There are specialized authorities who provide tourists with the appropriate gear and equipment that is required for trekking. The treks vary from each other and one can choose from short and long treks depending on one's capability and time available. On your route, you will find plenty of shelters and rest houses that have been set up for tourists and trekkers to rest and re-energize themselves. Some of popular routes for trekking are given here.
Shimla - Luhri - Ani - Khanag - Jalori Pass - Jibhit - Banjar
Banjar - Bathad - Sarahan - Arsu - Rampur - Shimla
Shimla - Narkanda - Khadrala - Sungri - Devidhar - Rohru - Shimla
Shimla - Narkanda - Hattu Peak - Chaupal - Kedi - Halau - Kandol - Koti - Chakrata
Located on the Observatory Hill at the western end of the Shimla ridge, the Viceregal Lodge is a humongous structure ringed by tall pines. It was built in 1888 as the residence of Viceroy Lord Dufferin. Located 2km further west of the Himachal State Museum, it is now called Rashtrapati Niwas. The Lodge houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study and is the only building in Shimla that occupies a hill by itself.
The architecture of the lodge is brilliant. A grand staircase which springs from the right and spirals up three full floors marks the hall. A grand fireplace faces the main entrance. Verandas and terraces surround the entire building at different levels which allures tourists and make the lodge totally immaculate.
On the Mahasu range, at Charabra, 13 km from Shimla, is the Wild Flower Hall situated at an altitude of 2,498 metres. Nestled among picturesque surroundings, the Wild Flower Hall commands a breathtaking view of the snows.
Ice-skating in Shimla is a big attraction for the sports-lovers during winter. Shimla is the only place in Asia which has the privilege of having a natural Ice-skating rink of the kind and offers a popular pastime to the participants and on lookers alike. Ice-skating normally begins in early December and carries on to February. Clear skies and low temperatures provide series of uninterrupted sessions. There are two sessions every day, in the morning and in the evening depending upon the frozen ice on the ground . The hanging baloon on the Municipal Building adjacent to scandal point works as signal , whether the skating is going to be held on that day or not.Membership is available for the season as well as for shorter terms and even for single sessions. Skates are available at the rink.Fancy dress carnivals, 'gymkhanas' ice-hockey and dances enliven every season.
- Some Temples : Bijai Temple, Lanka Vir Temple, Purohit Mandir, Durga Temple, Hattu Mata Temple in Narkanda, Mananeshwara Temple etc.
- Chadwick Falls, Prospect Hill, Glen, Tanu Jubbal Lake, Chaupal Town etc.