Shimla Tourism|Hotels in Shimla|Shimla Map
Shimla, formerly known as Simla, is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. In 1864, Shimla was declared the summer capital of the British Raj in India. 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 of Shimla, draped in forests of pine, rhododendron, and oak, experiences pleasant summers and cold, snowy winters. The city is famous for its buildings styled in tudorbethan and neo-gothic architecture dating from the colonial era. Shimla is connected to the city of Kalka by one of the longest narrow gauge railway routes still operating in India,the Kalka-Shimla Railway.Shimla is approximately 115 km (71.4 miles) from Chandigarh, the nearest major city, and 365 km (226.8 miles) from New Delhi, the national capital. The city is named after the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu Goddess Kali.
History of Shimla:
Shimla was annexed by the British in 1819 after the Gurkha War. At that time it was known for the temple of Hindu Goddess Shyamala Devi. The Scottish civil servant Charles Pratt Kennedy built the first British summer home in the town in 1822.
Lord Amherst, the Governor-General of Bengal from 1823 to 1828, set up a summer camp here in 1827, when there was only one cottage in the town, and only 'half a dozen' when he left that year. There were more than a hundred within ten years.
Shimla, or Simla as it was called until recently, caught the eye of Lord William Bentinck, the Governor-General of Bengal from 1828 (later of India, when the title was created in 1833) to 1835. In a letter to Colonel Churchill in 1832 he wrote Simla is only four days march from Loodianah (Ludhiana), is easy of access, and proves a very agreeable refuge from the burning plains of Hindoostaun (Hindustan).
One of his successors, Sir John Lawrence, Viceroy of India 1864–1869, decided to take the trouble of moving the administration twice a year between Calcutta and a separate centre over 1,000 miles away, despite the fact that it was difficult to reach.Lord Lytton, Viceroy 1876 -1880 made efforts to plan the town from 1876, when he first stayed in a rented house, but began plans for a Viceregal Lodge, later built on Observatory Hill. A fire cleared much of the area where the native Indian population lived (the "Upper Bazaar"), and the planning of the eastern end to become the centre of the European town forced these to live in the Middle and Lower Bazaars on the lower terraces descending the steep slopes from the Ridge. The Upper Bazaar was cleared for a Town Hall, with many facilities such as library and theatre, as well as offices - for police and military volunteers as well as municipal administration.
Indo-Gangetic plain. The presence of many bachelors and unattached men, as well as the many women passing the hot weather there, gave Simla a reputation for adultery, and at least gossip about adultery: as Rudyard Kipling said in a letter cited by Allen, it had a reputation for "frivolity, gossip and intrigue".
Pre-independence structures still dot Shimla; buildings such as the Viceregal Lodge, Auckland House, Gorton Castle, Peterhoff house, and Gaiety Theatre are reminders of British rule in India.British Simla extended about a mile and a half along the ridge between Jakhoo Hill and Prospect Hill. The central spine was The Mall, which ran along the length of the ridge, with a Mall Extension southwards, closed to all carriages except those of the Viceroy and his wife.
Geography of Shimla:
Shimla is located in the north-western ranges of the Himalayas. At an average altitude of 2397.59 meters (7866.10 ft) above mean sea level,the city is spread on a ridge and its seven spurs. The city stretches nearly 9.2 km from east to west.The highest point in Shimla, at 2454 meters (8051 ft), is the Jakhoo hill. Shimla is a Zone IV (High Damage Risk Zone) per the Earthquake hazard zoning of India. Weak construction techniques and increasing population pose a serious threat to the already earthquake prone region. There are no bodies of water near the main city and the closest river, Sutlej, is about 21 km (13 miles) away. Other rivers that flow through the Shimla district, although further from the city, are Giri, and Pabbar (both are tributaries of Yamuna). The green belt in Shimla planning area is spread over 414 hectares (1023 acres). The main forests in and around the city are that of pine, deodar, oak and rhododendron. Environmental degradation due to the increasing number of tourists every year without the infrastructure to support them has resulted in Shimla losing its popular appeal as an ecotourism spot.Another rising concern in the region are the frequent number of landslides that often take place after heavy rains.
Climate of Shimla:
Shimla in general has a mild highland climate, with temperatures in peak winters, falling below 0°C
Shimla features a subtropical highland climate under the Koppen climate classification. The climate in Shimla is predominantly cool during winters, and moderately warm during summers. The temperatures range from -4 °C (24.8 °F) to 31 °C (87.8 °F) over the year.The average temperature during summer is between 19 °C and 28 °C, and between -1 °C and 10 °C in winter. Monthly precipitation varies between 24 mm in November to 415 mm in July. It is typically around 45 mm per month during winter and spring and around 115 mm in June as the monsoon approaches. The average total annual precipitation is 1520 mm (62 inches). Snowfall in the region, which historically has taken place in the month of December, has lately (over the last fifteen years) been happening in January or early February every year.
Weather in Shimla:
The climate of Shimla is enjoyable all the year round. Winters (December to February) are ideal for enjoying snowfall, skiing and ice skating. Average temperature during winter is 8°C and can dip as low as -7°C. Summers (March to June) are the suitable time to enjoy the scenic beauty. Temperature ranges between 15°C to 30°C and is ideal for indulging in paragliding, trekking, camping and rafting. Monsoons (July to September) are not the best time to visit as excessive rain can result in land slides.
Economy of Shimla:
Employment is largely driven by the government and tourism. Being the dministrative capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh, the city houses several central and state government offices. Government jobs account for almost half (47%) of the working population. Direct hospitality industry personnel such as tour guides, hotel and restaurant employees, etc., are few (10%). Individual crafts and small scale industries, such as tourist souvenir production and horticultural produce processing, comprise most of the remainder.
In addition to being the local hub of transportation and trade, Shimla is the area's healthcare centre, hosting a medical college and four major hospitals:the Indira Gandhi Hospital (formerly known as Snowdown Hospital,) Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital (formerly called Ripon Hospital,) Kamala Nehru Hospital, and Indus Hospital. The city's development plan aims make Shimla an attractive health tourism spot.
Culture of Shimla:
Local transport in Shimla is by bus or private vehicles. Buses ply frequently on the circular road surrounding the city centre. Tourist taxis are also an option for out of town trips. Locals typically traverse the city on foot. Private vehicles are prohibited on the mall, ridge, and nearby markets. Due to narrow roads and steep slopes, the auto rickshaws common in other Indian cities are largely absent.
Shimla is well-connected by road and rail. The National Highway 22 (NH 22) connects Shimla to the nearest big city of Chandigarh. The scenic Kalka Shimla Railway, a narrow gauge track, is listed in the Guinness Book of Records for the steepest rise in altitude in a distance of 96 km.Kalka, the plains rail terminus, has daily departures to major Indian cities. Flights from the airport at Jubbarhatti (12 km away) connect Shimla to Delhi.
The Mall is the main shopping street of Shimla. It also has many restaurants, clubs, banks, bars, Post Offices and tourist offices. The Gaiety Theatre is also situated there. People walk up and down the Mall slowly, stopping to gossip, as it is the main meeting place for everyone. The Ridge and Scandal point are the two main meeting points at the Mall. The mall is dotted with many eating places .The most famous among them is Trishul bakery which is known for its pastries.
Christ Church: Situated on the Ridge, Christ Church is the second oldest church in Northern India. It has a very majestic appearance and inside there are stained glass windows which represent faith, hope, charity, fortitude, patience and humility. Christ Church is a place all visitors should spend some time in.
2 km from Shimla, at a height of 8000 ft, Jakhu Hill is the highest peak and offers a beautiful view of the town and of the snow-covered Himalayas. At the top of the Hill, is an old temple of Lord Hanuman, which is also the home of countless playful monkeys waiting to be fed by all visitors.
Shimla State Museum:
The Museum, which was opened in 1974, has tried to protect 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.
This institute is housed in the Viceregal Lodge, built in 1884-88.
Situated at a distance of 5 km from the Ridge is the lovely township of Summer Hill at a height of 6,500 ft on the Shimla-Kalka railway line. Mahatma Gandhi lived in these quiet surroundings during his visits to Shimla. Himachal Pradesh University is situated here.
Developed as the playground of Shimla, Annandale is 2–4 km from the Ridge at a height of 6,117 ft. It is a favourite spot for cricket, picnics and polo.
11 km from the Shimla bus-stand. Tara Devi hill has a temple dedicated to the goddess of stars on top of the hill. There is a military Dairy Town here as well as the headquarters of Bharat Scouts and Guides.
A Lord Hanuman temple is located here.
Kufri is a tiny hill station in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh state in India. It is located 13 km from the state capital Shimla on the National Highway No.22.
The name Kufri is derived from the work "Kufr" meaning a lake in the local language.
The highest point in the surrounding region, Kufri has a Himalayan Wild Life Zoo which hosts rare Antelopes, Felines and Birds including Himalayan Monal, the state bird of Himachal Pradesh. During winter a meandering path through the potato plantations turns into a popular Ski track.
Best time to visti Shimla:
The best time to visit is between April to mid-July and mid-September to the end of October, which is the peak season. It is prudent to avoid the monsoon months, from mid-July to mid-September, when the rains make the roads slippery.
How to Reach Shimla:
The nearest airport is the recently constructed airport at 'Jubber Bhatti', located 28 km from the main city center. Regular flights of Indian Airlines, Archan and Jagsons connect it to other places like Delhi, Chandigarh, Kullu and Dharamshala. Tourists traveling to Shimla by air need to disembark at the Jubber Bhatti airport and board a bus/taxi to reach Shimla.
The most convenient railhead is located at Kalka, 96 km from Shimla.Kalka is connected to various important places by broad gauge railways. However, from Kalka a narrow gauge toy train chugs uphill towards Shimla. This miniature train takes around 6 hr to reach Shimla from Kalka and offers some breathtaking views during the journey.
Shimla is easily accessible from all the other regions in and around Himachal Pradesh through a good network of motorable roads. It is well-connected by the National Highway No22 to places like Delhi, Chandigarh and Mandi. Different types of land transport, from public buses to deluxe cars are available for tourists traveling to Shimla.
Hotels in Shimla:
- Brightland Hotel
- Camp Potters Hill
- Gulmarg Hotel
- Hotel Crystal Palace
- Hotel Dalziel
- Hotel De Park
- Hotel Harsha
- Hotel Himland East
- Hotel Himland West
- Hotel Sangeet
- Hotel Shiwalik Regency
- Hotel Victory
- Hotel Moon International
- Sukh Sagar Resort
- Hotel Ashiana Regency
- East Bourne Resort
- Baljees Regency
- Hotel Combermere
- Fair Mount Shimla
- Himani's Premium Shimla
- Honeymoon Inn
- Shingar Hotel
- Surya Hotel
- Hotel Willow Banks
- The Destination Resort
- Hotel Leela Regency
- Hotel Asia The Dawn
- Hotel Pineview
- Hotel Quality Inn Himdev
- Radisson Shimla
- Shilon Resort
- Hotel Wildflower Hall