Facts & Figures :
AN IDEAL RETREAT FROM THE HEAT..... S
||Hindi, Himachali, Garhwali, English
|Best time to visit
one of Indias most famous hill stations, derives its name from Goddess
Shyamala, an incarnation of Goddess Kali, the deity of power and wrath.
However, unlike its name, Shimla is a perfect heaven for the ones in search
of tranquility. Nature has blessed this capital city with innumerable gifts
and man has used them to make Shimla one of Indias best locales. P
at an altitude of 2159 m above sea level, Shimla is located towards the
southern parts of the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is the
state capital and is at a distance of 343 km from Delhi, 260 km from Manali,
and 119 km from Chandigarh. The temperature range is not very high and the
maximum temperature rarely crosses 25°C during summers. Winters are
cold due to the chilly winds from the upper Himalayas. Around Christmas,
Shimla experiences snowfall. The best season to visit Shimla is between
September and November. THE PAST.....
British discovered Shimla in the form of a little village in 1819. Until
then, it was a part of the Nepalese kingdom. It was during Lord William
Bentinck's time that Shimla was truly acquired by the Government of India.
The British persuaded the local Raja to part with the land in 1830, and the
settlement became the subcontinent's most fashionable summer resort. In
1864, Shimla was declared the summer capital of India. After the
independence of India, Shimla became the capital of Punjab until 1966, when
it came under Himachal Pradesh. SITES TO VISIT IN
The hub of Shimla is the Mall, which runs along the
Ridge and is crowded with tourists. It is the citys most famous
shopping center, with shops selling all items, from clothes to junk food.
The Ridge is a large open space in the heart of the town and presents
excellent views of the mountain ranges. Most of Shimla's landmarks are
located here. The Mall further joins the Ridge at the Scandal Point'
of Kipling's Shimla, where a statue of the nationalist leader Lala Lajpat
Rai has been erected.
The six-storeyed Vice-Regal Lodge or Rashtrapati Niwas,
about 4.5 km from Scandal Point, attracts many visitors. It was built in
1888 and was formerly the residence of Lord Dufferin, the British Viceroy.
The style of architecture is English Renaissance, the masonry of the walling
is light blue limestone and the wrought stonework is done in sandstone in a
beautiful light gray tint. It has magnificent lawns and houses the Indian
Institute of Advanced Study. Nearby is the Himalayan aviary that has a good
collection of birds, including the Monal pheasant, Himachals state
About 2.5 km from Scandal Point is the State Museum, which
has a good collection of statues, miniatures, coins and photos from in and
around Himachal Pradesh. It was built in 1974.
Another of Shimlas
major landmarks is the Christ Church and St. Michaels Cathedral. It is
the second oldest church in Northern India built between 1846 and 1857. It
is located just off the Mall, below the District Center and is known for its
stained glass windows.
Jhaku temple, dedicated to Hanumanji, the
attendant of Lord Rama, is to the east of the town center, near the highest
point of the Shimla Ridge. It is at a height of 8048 feet above sea level
and offers a panoramic view of the city.
The temple just below the
Grand Hotel is the temple dedicated to Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of
Southeast from Jhaku is the long spur of Chotta
Shimla, with Barnes Court. Once the residence of the Governor General of
Punjab, it is now the official residence of the Governor of Himachal
About 4 km from the Ridge, a sprightly stream flows
through the Glen forests at an altitude of 1830 meters. It is a secluded
Beyond the Glen is Annandale, another picnic spot. It
is covered with deodar forests and was once the playgrounds of Shimla, where
racing, polo and cricket entertained the Britishers.
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. ADVENTURE
For trekking, one can go from Shimla to Kullu over
the Jalori Pass (3300 m) and Bashleo Pass (3250 m) and Sarahan to Sangla.
Some other treks are to the Shalipeak, to the Kullu valley, Shimla to Chail,
Shimla to Junga and Shimla to Tattapani. Angling for trout can be done on
the river Pabbar, near Rohru. Skiing is possible at Narkanda and Kufri
(Januarymid-March). Naldehra also offers a well-groomed nine-hole golf
course. WHERE TO GO SHOPPING.....
the state capital, handicrafts from all over Himachal Pradesh come here for
sale. The Mall has some of the good and big names in the garment and textile
industry. The State emporium on the Mall offers many handicrafts and
handloom items that are made by the local artisans. The famous Himachali hat
comes in different rates and vivid colors. To avoid any fakes it is better
to purchase these items from Government-approved emporia. Lakkar Bazaar is
famous for items made from wood. Dry fruits and natural herbs, which have
many medicinal properties, are easily available in the shops. WHERE
In Indian cuisine, Shimla offers South Indian dishes.
Western, Chinese, and Thai are other favorites. The Mall is the best site
for entertainment. The old Gaiety Theater has a few recitals and other shows
in the summers. Bars and coffee houses are common. HOW
TO REACH SHIMLA.....
The airport at Shimla, 22 km from the main
city, has connecting flights to Delhi and Kullu. The nearby Chandigarh
airport is, however, more handy.