Shimla: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

City of Hills
Located in the northwest part of the state
The northern state in India
Location of Shimla
in Himachal Pradesh and India
Coordinates 31°6′12″N 77°10′20″E / 31.10333°N 77.17222°E / 31.10333; 77.17222
Country  India
State Himachal Pradesh
District(s) Shimla
Municipal Commissioner A.N. Sharma IPS
Mayor Madhu Sood
392,542[1] (2001)
120 /km2 (311 /sq mi)
Official languages Hindi
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
25 km2 (10 sq mi)
1,958 m (6,424 ft)
• Summer
• Winter
ETh (Köppen)
     1,520 mm (59.8 in)
     14 °C (57 °F)
     20 °C (68 °F)
     04 °C (39 °F)
Website Official website of Shimla

Shimla (Hindi: शिमला [ˈʃɪmlaː]  ( listen); Punjabi: ਸ਼ਿਮਲਾ; Urdu: شملہ), originally called 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 altitude of 2,128 metres (6,982 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[2], 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.[3]



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.[4]

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[5]

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).
The bridge connecting Shimla with Minor Shimla, erected in 1829 by Lord Combermere, Shimla, 1850s
Passenger train on the Kalka-Shimla Railway route
A view from above Shimla.

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.[4] 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.

During the 'Hot Weather', Simla was also the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army and many Departments of the Government, as well as being the summer capital of the regional Government of the Punjab. They were joined during the hot weather by many of the British wives and daughters of the men who remained in the plains. Together these formed Simla Society, which, according to Charles Allen,[6] "was as close as British India ever came to having an upper crust." This may have been helped by the fact that it was very expensive, having an ideal climate and thus being desirable, as well as having limited accommodation. British soldiers, merchants, and civil servants moved here each year to escape from the heat during summer in the 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". (See also.[7])

The Kalka-Shimla railway line, constructed in 1906, added to Shimla's accessibility and popularity. The railway route from Kalka to Shimla, with more than 806 Bridges and 103 tunnels, was touted as an engineering feat and came to be known as the "British Jewel of the Orient".[7] In 2008, it became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mountain railways of India [8]. Not only that, there was a significant Muslim population in the region before the partition of British India. In addition, Shimla was the capital of the undivided state of Punjab in 1871, and remained so until the construction of the new city of Chandigarh (the present-day capital of Punjab). Upon the formation of the state of Himachal Pradesh in 1971, Shimla was named its capital.

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.[9][10] 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.


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.[11] 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.[12][13] There are no bodies of water near the main city and the closest river, Sutlej, is about 21 km (13 miles) away.[14] 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).[7] The main forests in and around the city are that of pine, deodar, oak and rhododendron.[15] 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.[16] Another rising concern in the region are the frequent number of landslides that often take place after heavy rains.[12][17]


Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: IMD

The climate in Shimla is predominantly cold during winters, and moderately warm during summers. The temperatures range from 3.95 °C (39.11 °F) to 32.95 °C (91.31 °F) over the year.[18] The average temperature during summer is between 14 °C and 20 °C, and between -7 °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 usually took place in the month of December has lately (over the last fifteen years) been happening in January or early February every year.[19]


Employment is largely driven by the government and tourism.[20] Being the administrative 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.

Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital at Shimla

In addition to being the local hub of transportation and trade, Shimla is the area's healthcare center, hosting a medical college and four major hospitals:[21] 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.[20]

Civic administration

Town Hall as seen from the Ridge

The administrative responsibilities of the city of Shimla and the surrounding planning areas of Dhalli, Tutu, and New Shimla reside with the Shimla Municipal corporation. Established in 1851, the Shimla municipal corporation is an elected body comprising 27 councilors 3 of which are nominated by the government of Himachal Pradesh.[11] The nominations are based on prominence in the fields of social service, academics and other activities. 33% seats are reserved for women. The elections take place every five years and the mayor and deputy mayor are elected by and amongst the councilors themselves. As of June 2008, the two major political parties are the Indian National Congress (in Opposition) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) (in power).[22] The administrative head of the corporation is the commissioner who is appointed by the state government.

The city contributes one seat to the state assembly (Vidhan Sabha), and one seat to the lower house of parliament (Lok Sabha).[23] Law and order in the city is collectively maintained by the Police department, Vigilance Department, Enforcement directorate, Forensics, Fire department, department of prisons, and Home Guard department. There are five police stations and three fire stations in Shimla.[24] The Superintendent of Police, Shimla heads the police department. The First Armed Police Battalion, one of the four armed police battalions in the state, is also available for assistance to the local police for assistance.[25] There are eleven courts in the district including a fast-track court[26]


Shimla city consists of the Shimla municipal corporation and Shimla planning areas (SPA). The SPAs are Dhalli, Tutu, and New Shimla urban agglomerations. As per the 2001 India Census,[27] the city has a population of 1,042,161 spread over an area of 19.55 km².[11] A floating population of 75,000 is attributed to service industries such as tourism.[11] The largest demographic, 55%, is 16–45 years of age. A further 28% of the population are younger than 15 years. The low sex ratio – 930 girls for every 1000 boys in 2001[28] – is cause for concern, even though it is not atypical of the region.

The unemployment rate in the city has come down from 36% in 1992 to 22.6% in 2006. This drop is attributed to recent industrialization, the growth of service industries, and knowledge development.[29] 84% of the population of Shimla city is literate, compared to 80% in Shimla district and 77% in the entire state.[30] The majority of Shimla's population consists of natives of Himachal Pradesh. A large minority of Muslims that did not leave during the partition of British India. These include Sahnis of Solan. Hindi, Punjabi and Pahari are the main languages. The major religion is Hinduism (89%), followed by Sikhism (9.7%) and small minorities of Christians, Tibetan Buddhists and then Muslims.


A folk celebration in Shimla
Stained Glass windows at St. Michael's Catholic Church (1850) Shimla.

The people of Shimla are informally called Shimlaites. With largely cosmopolitan crowds, a variety of festivals are celebrated here. The Shimla Summer Festival, held every year during peak tourist season,[31] and lasting 3–4 days, is celebrated on the ridge. The highlights of this event include performances by popular singers from all over the country.[32] Shimla has a number of places to visit. Local hangouts like the mall road and ridge are in the heart of the city. Most of the heritage buildings in the city are preserved in their original tudorbethan architecture. The Viceregal lodge which houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and Wildflower hall that is now a luxury hotel are some of the famous ones. A collection of paintings, jewellery and textiles of the region can be found at the State Museum (built in 1974). Further out from the city is the Naldehra nine-hole golf course, the oldest of its kind in India.[33] Kufri is a ski resort (winter only) located 19 kilometres (11.8 mi) from the main city. Lakkar Bazaar, a market extending off the ridge, is famous for souvenirs and crafts made of wood. Tatta Pani, 55 kilometres (34.2 mi) from the main city, is the name of hot sulphur springs that are believed to have medicinal value located on the banks of river Satluj. Shimla is also home to Asia's only natural ice skating rink.[34] State and national level competitions are often held at this venue. The Shimla Ice Skating Club, which manages the rink, hosts a carnival every year in January, which includes a fancy dress competition and figure skating events. Due to effects of global warming and increasing urban development in and around Shimla, the number of sessions on ice every winter have been decreasing in the past few years.

Shimla has many temples and is often visited by devotees from nearby towns and cities. The Kali Bari temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali is near the mall. Jakhoo Temple, for the Hindu god Hanuman is located at the highest point in Shimla[citation needed]. Sankat Mochan, another Hanuman temple, is famous for the numerous monkeys that are always found in its vicinity. It is located on Shimla-Kalka Highway about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the city. The nearby temple of Tara Devi is a place for performing rituals and festivals. Other prominent places of worship include a Gurudwara near the bus terminus and a Church on the ridge.


Public library on the Ridge

The city has 14 anganwadis and 63 primary schools.[11] There are many schools from the British era. Some of the popular schools in the city are: Bishop Cotton School, Shimla Public School, St Edwards School, Tara Hall, Hainault Public School, DAV Lkr Bazaar, DAV New Shimla, Auckland House School, Dayanand Public School,St.Bedes(girls)and Himalayan Internation School at Chharabra,st thomas shimla ,Chapslee School.

Kendriya Vidyalaya Shimla Jakhoo is one of the best schools in shimla. Previously it was known by the name of Harcourt Butler School.

The medical institutes in Shimla are Indira Gandhi Medical College and Dental college. St. Bedes and Rajkiya Kanya MahaVidayaliya(RKMV) are girls-only colleges. Government College Sanjauli, and Government College Chaura Maidan are also located in the city. The Indian Institute of Advanced Study, housed in the Viceregal Lodge, is a residential center for research in Humanities, Indian culture, religion, and social and natural sciences. The Himachal Pradesh University is also based in Shimla. University Institute of Information Technology (UIIT), a premier institute to provide technical education in the state is located here.

Shimla has two state libraries with a collection of over 47,000 old books divided between them. The one at Gandhi Bhavan in the University has over 40,000 books and the other library, also a heritage building on the ridge, has 7000.[35]

Other institutes of higher education and research located in Shimla are the Central Potato Research Institute, a member of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and National Academy of Audit and Accounts for training of officers of the Indian Audit and Accounts services (IA&AS).

Places of interest

Municipal Corporation (Town Hall), Shimla.
Mall Road, shopping market in Shimla
The Ridge, Shimla
Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla

The Mall: 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.

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.

Jakhu Hill: 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.

Indian Institute of Advanced Study: This institute is housed in the Viceregal Lodge, built in 1884-88.

Summer Hill: 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.

Annandale: 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.

Tara Devi: 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.

Sankat Mochan: A Lord Hanuman temple is located here.

Junga: Junga is a Tehsi 26 km from Shimla ; its original name (with diacritics) is Jūnga and is a former royal retreat of the princely state of Junga (also known as Keonthal Estate).

Mashobra: 13 km from Shimla, site of the annual Sipi fair in June.

Kufri 16 km from Shimla at a height of 8,600 ft, Kufri is the winter sports capital and also has a small zoo.

Chharabra: 13 km from Shimla on route to Kufri.

Naldehra: 22 km from Shimla, with a nine-hole Naldehra Golf Club. The annual Sipi fair in June is held in Naldehra.

Tatapani: Location of sulphur springs which are found near the Tatapani mandir(holy temple)

Chail: Chail was the summer capital of the Maharaja of Patiala before Independence, known for its cricket pitch, the highest in the world.

Arki: (46 km) is the site of an 18th century fort built when Arki was the capital of the erstwhile hill state of Baghal

Sanjauli: The main suburb of Shimla.


The Shimla Railway Station

Local transport in Shimla is by bus or private vehicles. Buses ply frequently on the circular road surrounding the city center. 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.[36] Kalka, the plains rail terminus, has daily departures to major Indian cities. Flights from the airport at Jubbarhatti (12 km away)[37] connect Shimla to Delhi.

See also

  • Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan on July 3, 1972.
  • Simla Accord (1913) was a treaty between Britain and Tibet signed in 1914 at the end of a convention held in Shimla. Although its legal status is disputed, it is currently the effective boundary between China and India.


  1. ^ "Population in the age group 0-6 and literates by sex—urban agglomeration/town". Census of India 2001. Government of India. 27 May 2002. Retrieved 2007-04-14. 
  2. ^ "Narrow Gauge Routes". IRFCA - The Indian Railways Fan Club. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  3. ^ "Shimla Tourism, The Queen of Hills". 
  4. ^ a b Charles Allen, Kipling Sahib, London, Little Brown, 2007
  5. ^ Researches and Missionary Labours Among the Jews, Mohammedans, and Other Sects By Joseph Wolff, published by O. Rogers, 1837
  6. ^ Kipling Sahib, London, Little Brown, 2007: p. 134
  7. ^ a b c "Heritage of Shimla" (PDF). Town & Country Planning Department, Shimla. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  8. ^ Unesco
  9. ^ "Official Web Site of District Shimla". 
  10. ^ "Shimla: Another age, another time". The Tribune, Chandigarh, India. Retrieved 2001-05-26. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "Shimla Municipal Corporation". Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  12. ^ a b "Concrete buildings make Shimla vulnerable to quake". Retrieved 2005-10-14. 
  13. ^ "Report from the field: Shimla City, India" (PDF). GeoHazards International. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  14. ^ "Sight seeing tours around Shimla". HP Tourism Development Corporation. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  15. ^ "H.P. Forest Department". Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  16. ^ Adarsh Batra (September 2001). "Himalayan Ecotourism In Shimla" (PDF). ABAC Journal (Assumption University, AU Journal). 
  17. ^ "Landslides disrupt traffic in Shimla". The Tribune, Chandigarh, India. Retrieved 2005-07-16. 
  18. ^ "World 66, Average temperatures and rain". World 66. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  19. ^ "62cm and counting". The Tribune, Chandigarh, India. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  20. ^ a b "City Development Plan, Shimla". Municipal Corporation, Shimla. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  21. ^ "Department of Health and Family welfare, Himachal Pradesh". Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  22. ^ "Cong retains hold on Shimla MC". The Tribune, Chandigarh, India. Retrieved 2002-04-30. 
  23. ^ "Indian Elections". Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  24. ^ "Shimla Helpline". Himachal Pradesh Government. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  25. ^ "Himachal Pradesh Police". Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  26. ^ "High court of Himachal Pradesh". Himachal Pradesh Government. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  27. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  28. ^ Missing: Mapping the Adverse Child Sex Ratio in India, UNFPA 2003
  29. ^ "CM turns down demand for unemployment dole". The Tribune, Chandigarh, India. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 
  30. ^ "Himachal Census". Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  31. ^ "Himachal Tourism, Adventure Tourism". Himachal Tourism Official website. Retrieved 2007-05-03. 
  32. ^ "Summer festival begins on melodious note". The Tribune, Chandigarh, India. Retrieved 2004-06-04. 
  33. ^ "HP Tourism Development Corporation". Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  34. ^ "Ice-skating rink completes 100 sessions again". The Tribune, Chandigarh, India. Retrieved 2001-02-11. 
  35. ^ "A state library on its last legs". The Tribune, Chandigarh, India. Retrieved 2001-02-02. 
  36. ^ "100 years of pine-scented travel". The Tribune, Chandigarh, India. Retrieved 2003-11-08. 
  37. ^ "Shimla Airport, Airports Authority of India". Retrieved 2007-05-18. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Shimla (Hindi:शिमला) [1] or Simla is the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh in India. It is a very popular holiday-retreat during the summer months and is well-known for its Victorian architecture, which is reflected in certain areas of the Mall and The Ridge. It is also a famous holiday spot for honeymoon. There are quite a few theories regarding the origin of the word Shimla. Locals insist that the name originates from Shyamali Devi, a re-incarnation of the fearsome Goddess Kali.

Christ Church on The Ridge
Christ Church on The Ridge


Shimla has a population of around 145,000. Most of the residents are from the Pahadi community (the natives of Himachal Pradesh), but there is also a sizable minority from Punjab and Sindh, who moved to Shimla during the partition. As a result, the languages spoken in Shimla include Hindi, Punjabi, Pahadi and English, which serves as a lingua-franca.


Sitting majestically above the searing plains, the British designated the town as the summer capital of India. The higher levels of the town reflect this British connection, comprising mostly buildings in the Victorian style, while the lower slopes are occupied with Indian bazaars and restaurants. Traffic is banned from the historic central area, (known as the Mall) which means that the atmosphere is calm and the air pristine.

Cart Road runs south of the Mall and is connected to it via the lifts. The Ridge, north of the Mall, is a good place to view the the seven majestic hills of Shimla. Further along the same road is Lakkar Bazaar, which a good place to buy some handicrafts and other souvenirs.


Shimla's cool climate is the precise reason why it is such a popular summer retreat. Located at an altitude of approximately 2200m above sea level, the region has a hilly terrain and is covered by dense evergreen forests. A few visitors choose to visit Shimla during spring or autumn, when the place is less crowded and the views are too spectacular for words.

Shimla Season Summary
Season Months Temperature Conditions
Spring March-April 10°C to 20°C Clear skies. Occasional rain and thunderstorms.
Summer May- June 16°C to 28°C Generally clear skies. Air might become smoky due to forest fires.
Monsoon July-September 13°C to 20°C Cool and humid. Continuous rain.
Autumn October-November 10°C to 23°C Skies are clear, chilly evenings.
Winter December-February -7°C to 10°C Generally dull weather. Frequent snowfall.
The Shimla Mountain Train
The Shimla Mountain Train

The nearest broad gauge head is at Kalka - a four-hour journey from Delhi. After that, take the mountain train from Kalka to Shimla. This railway track has recently been granted the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The view is stunning, with the line passing through an amazing 103 tunnels. The fastest way to get to Kalka is to catch the Shatabdi Express, which departs early morning from the New Delhi Railway Station, arriving at Kalka four hours later. A detailed list of trains between Delhi, Kalka and Shimla is available at [2] and [3]. You can also choose to get off at Chandigarh (en-route to Kalka), and catch a taxi from there.

Schedule of trains from Kalka to Shimla
Train No. Train Name Kalka Shimla
1KS Passenger Kalka Shimla Passenger 04:00 09:56
241 NG Superfast Shivalik Deluxe Express 05:30 10:15
251 Mail Kalka Shimla Mail 06:00 11:00
255 Express Himalayan Queen Express 12:10 17:20
Schedule of trains from Shimla to Kalka
Train No. Train Name Shimla Kalka
2KS Passenger Kalka Shimla Passenger 14:25 20:15
242 NG Superfast Shivalik Deluxe Express 17:40 22:20
252 Mail Kalka Shimla Mail 18:15 23:15
256 Express Himalayan Queen Express 10:35 16:05


Schedule of flights to Shimla and Chandigarh
Flight no. Departure Arrival Days
JA 221 DEL 7.30AM SLV 8.30AM Mo,We,Fr
IC 864 DEL 1.20PM IXC 2PM Daily
IC 864 BOM 10AM IXC 2PM Daily
OL 103 BOM 2.40PM IXC 5PM Daily
DN 537 DEL 12.50PM IXC 1.20PM Daily
9W 733 DEL 1.05PM IXC 1.50PM Daily
JA 211 DEL 7AM IXC 7.50PM Tu,Th,Sa
JA 212 DHM 10.10AM IXC 11.40AM Th,Sa
DN 538 IXJ 3.25 PM IXC 4.30 PM Daily

Shimla has its own airport at Jubbarhatti (IATA code:SLV) that accommodates turbo-props Dorniers, while Jet, Airbus A310, 320s and Boeing 737s can all land at the larger Chandigarh (IATA code:IXC) airport. Commercial service at the Jubbarhatti Airport is limited with six flights a week operating to and from Delhi, all operated by Jagson Airlines [4]. Chandigarh offers far better options. Major airlines including Indian [5], Jet Airways [6] and Air Deccan [7] operate flights to Delhi, Jammu, and Mumbai. Most of the flights to Mumbai require a stop-over in Delhi, but low-cost Indus Air [8] operates a daily non-stop flight in the afternoons. Kullu and Dharamsala are smaller towns which are connected to Chandigarh through Jagson Airlines bi-weekly flights. Tip, confirm the flights till the very last moment, bad weather often delays flights during the winter fog.

After landing at the airport, take a pre-paid taxi to minimize hassle. Chandigarh is a good four-hour drive away, so stop for a bite on the Kalka-Shimla highway.

  • The Mall: The mall is the main shopping centre of Shimla. This shopping centre has a good number of banks, restaurants, post offices, clubs, bars and tourists offices. There is a famous theatre of Shimla called Gaiety Theatre. The Mall is also the main meeting place for the people of Shimla.
  • Jakhu Temple, Jakhu Hill. Open every day. Offers spectacular views of the mountains from its location above the town. According to the epic Ramayana, the monkey god Hanuman rested here during his journey to the Himalayan mountains. The climb up is a physically demanding one-hour walk. However, you can drive up the hill - a 4WD is recommended. The temple and hill side is populated with very aggressive and cunning monkeys. Be extremely careful with your camera, glasses, bag and (especially) food. Entry free, donations welcome (Sticks for warding off the monkeys can be rented at the entrance to the temple for Rs 5).
    Statue of Mahatma Gandhi just outside Christ Church
    Statue of Mahatma Gandhi just outside Christ Church
  • Dorje Drag Monastery, Sarasvati Garden Estate, Kusmuti. A monastery in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, also known as Thubten Evam Dorje Drag. Entry free, donations welcome.
  • The Electronic Message Board at the Ridge
    The Electronic Message Board at the Ridge
    The Ridge, Jakhu Hill (North of The Mall). Built at the top of the town at 2230m, The Ridge is the center of Shimla's cultural and social life - an excellent place to view the surrounding mountains.
  • Christ Church, The Ridge (Near Municipal Library). Open every day, services Su 8AM-11AM. Constructed in 1846, this is the second oldest church of the North India. The stain-glass windows,representing charity, faith, patience, hope, fortitude and humility, and 19th century organ are particularly impressive. The fresco that surrounds the chapel window was designed by Lockwood Kipling, Rudyard Kipling's father. Entry free, donations welcome.
  • Lower Bazaar, The Mall (Below Central Section). Shops Open Mo-Sa. The Lower Bazaar is home to the city's less expensive hotels, cheaper restaurants and stores, and a congested wholesale vegetable market. Although less opulent than its upper neighbor, the Lower Bazaar retains an old worldly charm and is an excellent place to try some Shimla specialty dishes, like Uradh Dal with rice or Shepard's Pie.
  • Viceregal Lodge, The Mall (Atop Observatory Hill), +91 177 283-1375. Open every day (Only the entrance hall and gardens are open to the public). An imposing British-raj mansion built under the guidance of Lord Dufferin in 1888. Manicured British style gardens surround the mansion on three sides, while the fourth side is a place to relax and watch the sun dip below the Himalayan foothills. The teak-paneled interior is impressive, and well worth a viewing. Entry Rs 10, cameras not allowed inside (Guided tours available).

Tara Devi

Tara devi is famous for the temple of Goddess of stars. This temple is located on the top of the hill. Tara devi is located at the distance of around 11 kms form the bus stand of Shimla. This is a perfect location for the people who are looking for some rest and peace at a high altitude of around 6070 ft.


Shimla houses a few excellent museums. The State Museum is perhaps the most well-known.

  • State Museum, Chaura Maidan (Near Oberoi Cecil), +91 177 280-5044. Open Tu-Su, 10AM-5PM. Housed in a reconstructed Raj-style building, the State Museum displays a collection of around 10,000 artifacts gathered from all over Himachal Pradesh. The Pahari miniatures and 6th-11th century Gupta sculptures are especially impressive. Entry Rs 10 (Cameras free, flash prohibited).
  • Photo Art Gallery, Potter's Hill (Near HP Univ.), +91 94180-11172. The gallery displays more than 20,000 photographs of Himachal taken by the celebrated photographer Inder Pal. It's a wonderful place to explore and learn more about the beauty, culture and flora and fauna of this Himalayan state. In addition, Potter's Hill is scenic area, so as well as visiting the gallery, visitors can also enjoy hiking, climbing, observing wild life and enjoy the fresh Himalayan air. Entry Rs 5 (Cameras free, flash prohibited).

Sankat Mochan: A popular Hanuman temple is located here. We get an excellent view of Shimla from the temple. It can be reached by car or on foot.

View of Cart Road and surrounding hills from The Mall
View of Cart Road and surrounding hills from The Mall
  • Take a leisurely walk at the Mall — this 7km thoroughfare is famous for its Victorian Architecture, and retains much of its Raj-era charm. To get there, take the lifts from Cart Road, an ingenious system designed to save pedestrians from walking. Rs 7 per trip. The central area of the mall is composed of half-timbered buildings and is the place to rub shoulders and clash knives and forks with Shimla's elite. A statue of freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai is located at Scandal Point, the highest point on the Mall. Further along is the very pleasant Clarkes Hotel, which is an excellent place to take a break and relax over a coffee.
  • Visit the zoo at Kufri (tel:+91 177 265-2911) — home to native species such as the great Himalayan Snow Leapord, and varieties of Musk Deer. Open daily, Rs 15 per person. Special free passes are available during weekends.
  • Ice skating is possible in Shimla from November to March, though Kufri and Chail on the outskirts of town offer better options.
  • Trek in the local mountains. Walk along the meandering roads to the meadows at Annadale, 5 kms out of town. The Glen, further west, is a favorite picnic-spot with locals. Head north and visit Wildflower Hall, the former retreat of Lord Kitchner. Furthur on along the Hindustan-Tibet Road lies the quaint village of Mashobra. A gravel-road indicates the entry to the Seog Wildlife Sanctuary. The annual Sipi Fair is held in a little steep pathway off Mashobra.
  • Tee off at the Naldehra Golf Course, on the northern outskirts. The 9-hole golf-course, set amidst sloping meadows, was designed by Lord Curzon in the 19th century. The flora is impressive, ranging from alpine grass to pine and deodar.
  • Heritage Tour [9], the origin & history Shimla as a British Himalayan Town. The 190 years old town was entirely set up by British Officers arrived in 1815 and decided to use it as a Summer Capital of British Empire in future.

Kinnaur Kailash Parikrma Trek: Kinnur is one of the most beautiful places but very less known district of Himachal Pradesh. This place is surrounded by Tibet, Garhwal Himalayan, spitti valley and Kullu. Sutlej River also flows from the Kinnaur valley. Tourists can experience a Buddhism life style, due to its proximity to Tibet. [10]


Further down the Mall Road is the Lakkar Bazaar, which has quite a few shops selling wooden handicrafts. The Mall is full of shops selling woolens (most of which find their way to Shimla from Ludhiana, Punjab) and Kullu shawls. Other favorites have included wooden toys, walking sticks and Tibetian carpets made in nearby Kinnaur. As the center of the food-processing industry in Himachal, jams and squashes made from local produce are indeed worth purchasing. The stretch between Combermere Bridge and the Telegraph Office is full of small stores which stock handcrafted Chinese shoes. The more well-known ones include Hopsons, Tatung and Hugh & Co.

  • Himachal Emporium, 3 The Mall, +91 177 280-1234 (fax:+91 177 265-3164), [11]. Open Mo-Fr, 10AM-5PM. An excellent place to purchase locally-made handicrafts at set prices. Run by the Himachal Pradesh Government.
  • Minchys, Anywhere in Shimla!, +91 177 286-0203, [12]. Open Mon-Sun, 10AM-6PM. The PLACE for Himachal Fruit Products! Jams and Squashes and Wines: Name it, Michys has it. And the best of the lot. Though the main shop is on the Delhi-Shimla Highway, you can find stalls everywhere on the highway and in the city. Worth a try...
  • DOCKERS San Francisco, DCAR, The Mall, [13]. Open every day, 11AM-7PM. Virtually the only international brand-store in Shimla, Dockers is a trendy and upmarket place. A favorite haunt of college students.
  • Maria Bros, The Mall (central section, near Baljees). Antiques and rare books dealers.
  • Minerva Book House, Hotel Minerva, +91 177 225-2043. A good selection of novels.


Most of the restaurants in Shimla are cheap, comfortable, atmospheric and offer good multi-cuisine food. However, if you are looking for local cuisine, the options are surprisingly limited.

  • The Devicos, 5 The Mall, +91 177 280-6335. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Serves good South Indian vegetarian food, kebabs and snacks. Try the masala dosa. Rs 50-100.  edit
  • Baljees, 26 The Mall, +91 177 265-2313. 9AM-11PM. Among the town's oldest eateries, Baljees offers delicious Western and Indian fare. Their desserts are not to be missed. Mains Rs 100-150, Desserts Rs 50.  edit
  • Cecil, Chaura Maidan (in the Oberoi), +91 177 280-4848, [14]. 24 hours. A good selection of European and Asian dishes. Chandeliers and wood-paneling add to the old-world elegance. The perfect setting for a quiet dinner. Rs 300-400, Special rates for children.  edit
  • Silver Oak, Circular Road, +91 177 225-7588. 7-11PM. Serves Mughlai and Chinese. The food is not great, but passable. Nice decor and a comfortable atmosphere. Rs 150.  edit
  • The Lutyens Room, Springfields, Chhota Shimla (opposite Tibetan School), +91 177 222-1297, 222-1298. 11AM-10:30PM. Continental and Indian food. Rs 150 and above.  edit
  • Ashiana & Goofa, The Ridge, [15]. Open for lunch and dinner. Whatever little can be had of Himachali cuisine can be found at these twin-restaurants run by Himachal Tourism. The food is cheap and served piping hot. Sit-in or takeaway. Dishes Rs 50, Thali Rs 80.  edit
  • The restaurant at Hotel Pinewood, Barog (tel:+91 1792 238-825 & 238-387) serves cheap Punjabi fare. There's also a Cafe Coffee Day [16] outlet at Solan, which sells pastries, coffee and sandwiches and a Mc Donalds on the way.
  • Loveena Restaurant, The Ridge. below rain shelter, restaurant with view.indian,chinese,continental.thali @Rs.110/-  edit


Himachal is known as the fruit-bowl of India. It has a thriving food processing industry that churns out fruit-based drinks, squashes and concentrates. The most famous flavors are plum, litchi, strawberry, mango and guava.

You can also try the real aqua minerale spring water available near the source (if you are trekking)!

  • Loveena Restaurant, The Ridge, 0177-2812135. open till 10.30PM, restaurant with view. indian,chinese,continental  edit
  • New Plaza Restaurant (Plaza), 60/61, Middle Bazar, Shimla, 0177-2655438.  edit


For alcoholic drinks, try the locally brewed wines such as apricot, plum and apple & ginger cider. In predominantly Tibetan areas, a rice wine known as Chang is popular.

  • Lobby Lounge, Chaura Maidan, [17]. 24 hours. The Lobby Lounge is in the soaring 5-story atrium of the Oberoi. A good place to enjoy tea or a quiet drink in an elegant atmosphere. A roaring fire in the winters adds to the colonial charm. Drinks Rs 200-250.  edit

"Rendevous" located less than a minute walk from Christ Church on the mall, across from "Alfa Restruant". Somewhat hidden, this restruant/bar offers good bollywood tunes, a nice cozy interior and strong drinks. try to order the monkey glad, but it's not garunteed they will have the ingredients.

  • Barista, 38 The Mall, [18]. Open till 11PM. Pretty decent coffee, cold drinks, snacks etc. Coffee Rs 40-100, Snacks Rs 50-80.  edit
  • Cafe Coffee Day, 5 The Mall (in The Devicos), [19]. 9AM-11PM. Similar to Barista, although not quite as good. Another branch at Mama's Kitchen NH22, Dharampur, Solan District. Cappuccino Rs 120.  edit


There are lots of options from dormitories to luxury resort hotels. Online booking is the most convenient way to reserve a room. Alternatively, the tourist office can supply a list of hotels, and you can phone or trek over an reserve a room in person. Rooms in Shimla range from as low as US$ 5 to a whopping US$ 600.

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under Rs 1500
Mid-range Rs 1500-6000
Splurge Rs 6000+
  • Rishikesh Valley, Neelkanth temple road, ghattu ghat, rishikesh, 91-9756964972, [20]. checkin: 12:00 Noon; checkout: 12:00 NOON. Rishikesh valley is an eco health resort, which is surrounded by green mountain on the bank of hem river which is another stream of Ganga This is perfect place to get rejuvenated by nature, rejuvenated therapy from a blend of Ayurveda and Naturopathy, yoga, meditation with adventure Tours 1000/ INR.  edit
  • sunrise villa homestay, shoghi (13 kms before shimla), +91 177 2860075, [21]. checkin: 12:00 noon; checkout: 12:00 noon. Sunrise Villa(Department of Tourism, HP Government approved home stay unit) is located at a very picturesque location at Shoghi a suburb of Shimla [22], amidst the lap of nature in a peaceful, calm and serene environment, naturally blessed with breathtaking views of the distant Chail and snow clad Himalayan ranges. Rs 900.  edit
  • YMCA, The Ridge, +91 177 72375. checkin: 8AM; checkout: 12PM. A centrally located, charming Victorian style building. Rooms have clean attached bathrooms. Rs 550 and above.  edit
  • Hotel White, Lakkar Bazaar (500m NE of The Ridge), +91 177 265-5276 (, fax: +91 177 265-5276), [23]. A wide variety of comfortable rooms, most with spectacular views. Rs 2000.  edit
  • Hotel Mayur, The Ridge, +91 177 265-2393 (, fax: +91 177 2652398). checkout: 12PM. A centrally located hotel on the Ridge. Rooms have clean attached bathrooms, color television, wall to wall carpets. The room service is fairly decent. Rs 1000-1700.  edit
  • Dalziel, The Mall (10 minutes walk westwards from Scandal Point), [24]. Situated in a wooden heritage building. Laundry service and meals available. From Rs 400 upwards.  edit
  • Hotel Peterhoff, Chaura Maidan, +91 177 221-3335 (fax: +91 177 221-3801). Nice, clean rooms with air-con, heaters, mini-bars and the usual mid-range amenities. Rs 2000-7000.  edit
  • Combermere, The Mall (opposite the lifts), +91 177 225-1246 (, fax: +91 177 225-2251). checkout: Late checkouts on request. Although some of the suites are rather unreasonably priced, this remains a good option, mainly because of its convenient location. Facilities include a bar, an internet cafe and a terrace garden. Rs 2400-6000, 2 Nights Package with meals Rs 7699.  edit
  • Woodville Palace, Raj Bhavan Road, 91 177 262-3919 (, fax: +91 177 262-2156), [25]. checkin: 12PM; checkout: 4PM. This converted palace was built in 1938 by the Maharaja of Jubbal. It has its own private woodlands, which provide an excellent place for a leisurely evening stroll. Rs 4000.  edit
  • Hotel Golf Links, Naldera. This delightful hotel is in Naldera, the site of the historical golf course. Overlooking the valley, it offers some very scenic vistas and a cosy place to lounge away your vacation. Rs 1500+.  edit
  • Koti Resort (Shimla Hotel), Mashobra (Just off the Shimla-Naldehra Road), +919218501601, [26]. Tucked amidst the wind caressed deodhar forests & apple orchards, along a ridge between Craignanoo ( Coots Garden ) & Baldeyan, is Koti Resort. The Resort is 15 Kms further from Shimla [27], on the Mashobra-Naldhera Golf ground road, at a height of 6385 feet above sea level. It has a spectacular 360 degree panoramic view, of the Himalayas, the Shali peak, jungle of Craignanoo, greens of Naldhera & Shimla. What started as an idea to make a family getaway culminated into a family Resort. Please contact for latest deals.  edit
  • sunrise villa homestay in himachal (homestay himachal), shoghi near shimla (0.5 Kms from shoghi bus stand and railway station, 13 kms before shimla), 91 177 2860075, [28]. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 12:00. Sunrise Villa homestay hotel (Department of Tourism, HP Government approved home stay unit) is located at a very picturesque location at Shoghi ], a suburb of Shimla , in a peaceful, calm and serene environment, with breathtaking views of the distant Chail and snow clad Himalayan ranges. 900.  edit
  • East Bourne Resort, Near Bishop Cotton School, Khallini, +91 177 2623669-71 (, fax: +91 177 262-3890), [29]. checkout: 12 noon. A pine forest resort, Multi cuisine restaurant, 02 open air garden restaurants, lounge, coffee shop, library over looking a rose garden, steam, sauna, jacuzzi, discotheque & ample parking space for 60 cars. Rs 6000.  edit
  • Oberoi Cecil, Chaura Maidan, +91 177 280-4848 (, fax: +91 177 281-1024), [30]. checkin: 12PM; checkout: 12PM. An elegant hotel with log fires and a heated pool. Rs 10000-23000, Beakfast Rs 1500.  edit
  • Chapslee Hotel, Chapslee, +91 177 280-2542 (fax: +91 177 265-8663), [31]. checkin: 12PM; checkout: 12PM. Formerly the residence of the ruler of Kapurthala. Reminiscent of the days of the Raj with croquet lawns and mature gardens. Rs 9500-12500, Winter Surcharge up to Rs 1000.  edit
  • Wildflower Hall, (PO Dhalli), +91 177 264-8585 (, fax: +91 177 264-8686), [32]. checkin: 12PM; checkout: 12PM. A stately stone building built among cedar and pine forests. Rs 15000-39500.  edit


The area dialling code for Shimla is 0177. From overseas, dial +91 177 XXX-XXXX. There are plently of STD/ISD booths. The amount is calculated on a digital meter, and is paid after the call. A short STD call will cost you around Rs 10.

Mobile Phones

It is very easy to get a Prepaid mobile, which is very cheap to get, and calls are cheap too. One needs to give a Photo ID proof and a photograph for prepaid as well as postpaid connection as per the Govt. regulations.

  • CellOne - GSM 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz.(Tri-Band)
  • Airtel - GSM 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz.(Tri-Band)
  • Reliance Telecom - GSM 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz.(Tri-Band)
  • Reliance India Mobile - CDMA
  • Tata Indicom - CDMA
  • !dea-GSM 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz.(Tri-Band)
  • Vodafone - GSM


Internet cafes are plentiful in The Mall, most of them are concentrated near the lifts. However, it is best to avoid these (Windows 98, dial-up connection, poor security) and check your mail at the hotels instead. Nearly all hotels have internet access, and it is not terribly expensive either. Expect to pay Rs 50 per hour in a hotel, and Rs 10 outside. The Oberoi Cecil has WiFi in the lounge area with vouchers available at reception. Budget travellers sometimes get a frosty reception here and will be told that internet access is for guests only.

  • Kinnaur. An area located on the Tibetan border. Home to ethnic Tibetans. Several traditional Buddhist monasteries.
  • Manali, Kullu Valley (260 km). An area of hot springs, traditional buildings, and Buddhist monasteries. Jagson Airlines [33] flies to Kullu.
  • Dharamsala. Home of H.H. Dalai Lama and the Tibetan-Government-in-exile. Many Buddhist monasteries in the area.
  • Chail (43 km). Originally a private reserve created by the Maharaja of Patiala who was banned from Shimla. Now a A 75 acre resort that meanders over undulating hills. Home to the world's highest cricket pitch.
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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  1. State capital of Himachal Pradesh (India).

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