Shimla - Queen of the Hills

ShimlaShimla pronunciation (Hindi: शिमला), originally called Simla, is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. In 1864, Shimla was declared the summer capital of the erstwhile 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 north-west Himalayas at an altitude of 2,130 metres (6,988 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 reminiscent of the colonial era. Shimla is connected to the city of Kalka by one of the longest narrow gauge railway routes still operating in India. 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.
Shimla

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History

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. Scottish civil servant Charles Pratt Kennedy built the first British summer home in the town in 1822.

The Lord Amherst, Governor-General of Bengal from 1823 to 1828, set up a summer camp here in 1827, when there was but 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, is easy of access, and proves a very agreeable refuge from the burning plains of Hindoostaun

His successor, Sir John Lawrence, Viceroy (and Governor-General) of India, 1864–1869, decided to take the trouble of moving the administration twice a year between Delhi 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 Peterhof, 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.

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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, “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”.

The Kalka-Shimla railway line, constructed in 1906, added to Shimla’s accessibility and popularity. The railway route from Kalka to Shimla has 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”. In addition, Shimla was also 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. 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

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Transport

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 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.

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Geography

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.

Climate

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. The average temperature during summer is between 14 °C and 20 °C, and between -7 °C and 10 °C in winter.

Shimla

Shimla

Places Of Interest

  • The Mall: The Mall is the main shopping centre 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 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 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.
  • Indian Institute of Advanced Study: This 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.
  • 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.

Shimla
Shimla

  • 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 the princely game of polo.
  • Tara Devi: 11 km from the Shimla bus-stand. Tara Devi 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. At a height of 6,070 ft, Tara Devi is an ideal place for a person wanting peace and some rest.
  • 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.
  • Junga: Junga is a Tehsil in the picturesque district of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. Its original name (with diacritics) is Jūnga. Located at a distance of 26 km from Shimla this place is known for a palace and museum of erstwhile Junga Princely state and its scenic beauty and the numerous easy to hard treks it offers. Junga is surrounded by green hills with snow capped mountains and has a forest cover of Kail, Deodar, Pine, cedar, Oak Rhododendro, Cheel, Ban and other trees.
  • Mashobra: 13 km away from Shimla, Mashobra has several excellent picnic spots. Mashobra is the site of the annual Sipi fair in June. The nearest rest house is at Carignano which is 3 km from Mashobra, and is a beautiful holiday resort.

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  • Kufri : 16 km from Shimla at a height of 8,600 ft, Kufri is the winter sports capital. During winter, visitors have the facility for skiing. The skiing season is at its best during January and February. Equipment for sking is available from HPTDC winter sports club at Kufri. Apart from skiing, Kufri is a lovely picnic spot with a beautiful view of the hills around and the snowy peaks. There is also a zoo that delights children.
  • Chail: Chail is a little mountainous heaven 45 km from Shimla. It was the summer capital of the Maharaja of Patiala before Independence. The forests near Chail have many species of birds and deer. Chail is known for its cricket pitch, which is the highest cricket ground in the world.
  • Arki: 40 km away from Shimla, Arki is a town and a Nagar panchayat in Solan district in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. The town is notable for its fort built in late 18th century when Arki was the capital of hill state of Baghal. The Arki Fort is a converted hotel and lovely to visit.

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78 comments to Shimla – Queen of the Hills

  • william kerry

    vo kahte hai na agar dhart me kahi swarg hai to vo yehi hai.

  • Beautiful fantastic tourist places tanx for it

    mani

  • GIRISHKUMAR PARMAR

    Realy i like it , it is very good , Natural beauty gift from God……………………….is……………….great

  • abdulsattar

    lovely hilly area wish to visitnicely displayed on screen to attract people

  • ronald

    awesome place.. wow

  • realy its very beautiful nd neatural how can i visit
    ihave no mony to visit x no girl friend for compny
    no visa for india x i m living in s/arabia stp
    i love indian peopls expt zakir naik stp
    is there anybody feel my heart beats nd arrange to visit these places
    i m social worker so i have no balance to bear these expences stp
    pray for every body x best rgds RIAZ ALI LASHARY RIYADH S/ARABIA

  • Siby

    Our Country has a cross section of all the Climatic Conditions, Geographical Features, Vegitation etc of the entire planet. A Travel throuthout India will be the most incredible & enlighting experience of a lifetime.
    I feel lucky to be born in a blessed country my India. Mera Bharath Mahan.

  • GS

    No words to describe, I wish one to feel it ,sense it and have a lovely memory forever in their heart

  • Indika Samanthi

    Hi, Very nice your country.I like it very much.Its as same as my country.Iam in sri Lanka.

  • Kutty rk

    It is quite fascinating to see this wonder on planet earth. Thanks

  • deepak

    I love my INDIA…..

  • nikhil khatri

    This is th ever nice place which i have visited;

    Regards,
    Nikhil Khatri

  • hi friends simla is beautiful place i like it simla

  • Neelam

    It resembles my home-town Darjeeling.

  • very nice place to visit!!!

  • What a Beatiful Place In the Shimla!
    Mind Blowing.
    I have seen the first time of this Place.

    THANKS.
    ANAND BHAVSAR.

  • I feel lucky to be born in a blessed State my Himachal. Mera Bharath Mahan

    sunil dogra from shimla (H.P.)

  • I Love Shimla & I love Himachal (Jai Bharat)

    sunil dogra

  • Ramanlal Morarjee

    Shimla has been my favourite place since my childhood days in a village in Gujarat State. The nearest visit I made was od Masuri in my student days in 1953.
    I enjoyed seeing the photos here and had seen a few documentary films also. The history is facinating. Now I am 72 years old living in the UK. I still have a wish to visit Simla one day.

  • Nanda Bhatt

    uuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmm veryyyyy nice and i will be lucky if i get a chance to visit there..

  • Akhter Hossain, Engineer

    Excellant. Wonderful. Simply I love Shimla. I am from Bangladesh.

  • Brig. Baljit Gill

    Today, Simla (call it Shimla, if you wish to) is like any otjer Indian city – only difference being its climate & old bungalows (some in dilapidated state). Water shortage, parking spaces for vehicles, eco & environment degradation, concrete jungle et all.

    Suggested – do not stay in Simla but small outlets just outside/ periphery to enjoy old charms of Royal Simla

    Gud luck,
    Baljit Gill

  • amar kavia

    an extaordinary spot

  • anu

    I just love it. the valleys .ice everything specially the old church and market place.

  • UMESH

    VERY GOOD . ITS BEAUTIFUL. SEND DO SUCH MAILS.

  • Moti Manot

    It really a wonderful gift from the nature which is given to Indians a place full of life

  • rasadurai

    wonderfull, but i need more natural picture and historcial datas

  • reeta

    very pretty & excellent scenario, awesome, “Mera Bharat Mahaan.”

  • monu

    Nature admits no lie(Thomes Carleys

    and shimla is prototype of abovesaid,

    I M 24, N LIVED IN LUDHIANA, N

  • Adrian

    Beautiful !!

  • I HAVE READ FOR SIMLA:S BEUTY BUT I HAVENT SEE BY MY PROPER EYES BUT I HAVE SEE IN PHOTOS THAT IS SO MUCH BEAUTIFUL L SO MUCH LIKE IT

  • anver sadat

    assalamualikum namaskaar,, gud morning,
    really it so much beautiful and awesome pics collection .i have a nice dream to visit this wonderful place with my frnz or family members. my last tour was kullu manali .when we reached there i couldn believe on my eyes to see nice scenery of nature i will forget this tour throughout my life.we enoyed a lot there with my family. we will next plain for this heaven.let c when my wish will be fulfill. request u all to pray god in my favor and me too for u to be happy and fulfill ur dreams.i consider myelf very fortunate being born in such a great country having a plenty of fantastic and beautiful places.i pray to my allah make happy my country people forever and i warn to those people those who spoil the happy social environment with their wrong mentality and act as antisocial elements. they have no feelings,religion andi request my indians to cooperate in this matter with patience and unity and do honour to other religion with love.

  • Disappointed, is the only word I can use (for want of a harsher word). Today Simla is dirty and smelly, teeming with people who think they are enjoying the good life. Having studied at Chail in the sixties, I have seen Simla deteriorating over time. It is too congested now. It can hardly be called a healthy place.
    So folks, do Simla once. Then go to the smaller towns nearby. You can even stay at one of the numerous places along the roads -the walks will be much better.
    Give it a try.

  • this fentastic of india of simla

  • SURAJ PRAKASH

    An Exotic tourist destination so close to Delhi

  • Javed Syed

    It is amazing and mind blowing…………

  • good very nice and fentastic

  • jyotsna

    simla beauty

  • Sri

    There was a snack in the helipad which i will never forget the taste throughout my life..

  • Sri

    Everybody should taste it…

  • santhosh

    very beautiful place. i think i can visit shimla

  • pawan

    i love india my

  • Satish K

    wow, i wanna have to see this kind of beautiful scenes which were natural. well, let me know how this trip can be done with economic cost. And the travelling route from Pune to Shimla.

    Love to enjoy such good memorable natural scenaries….

    Satish K

  • Ragava Gupta

    Aahaa Edekadaa buloka SWRGAM

  • Mrs. Arun

    Shimla is really a Very Beautiful place, I’m lucky that i will be getting a chance to live there with my sweet hubby….

  • pradeep thakur

    Shimla is really one of the beautiful places in INDIA.But facing some serious problems like loss of green cover,increase in concrete jungle,parking problem,water shortage,over congestion to name a few.Hope govt. and NGOs take some concrete steps to restore its pristine GLORY.constructions be stopped forthwith and sattelite townships be encouraged.

  • chetan

    very beautiful place. i think i can visit shimla

  • pradeep

    HOME…
    this place is my home so i love it anyway…just a passing tip for any who would like to visit the place after watching the pics above – the most scenic places in shimla are not marked on any tourist map or in any guide book…go there and get lost!!!

  • jayendra

    Shimla is a great place to visit in the world, everyone should visit shimla once in life

  • Gowri Sankar.L

    Can any one tell me about Fagu, which is near Shimla.

    I am planning to Shimla this summer.

  • MOTI - SUMAN

    Any person in the world will be tension free if He or She come to the natures finest blessing to the living world
    and will get the extra energy and life by availing the beauty

    Moti -Suman Manot

  • nikhila

    VERY VERY BEAUTIFIL;

  • nikhila

    BEAUTIFULLLLLLLLLLL…………………

  • neeraj

    “Being a north Indian i should hav visited Shimla by now but never got a chance but after finding out as there is so much to watch or enjoy there i’ll make it this year… thanx india outing for information”

  • s. k. sudan

    Shimla is one of the best hills’ set in India. One must enjoy it’s beauty.

  • Dhinu

    SIMLA IS BEST PLACE ; AS ALL OF ABOVE SAY.. I DO NOT KNOW WHY… they may be having GUNs on head.

    WISH TO SEE BEAUTIFUL HELL ON EARTH AND GROWING AS HELL? IF YOU LOVE ENVIRONMENT AND IT’S PROTECTION BETTER DO NOT VISIT THIS PLACE, YOU WILL PUuuuuCE. I USED TO LOVE THIS PLACE WHEN I NEVER KNEW OR SEEN ANY HILLS OR MOUNTAINS IN MY LIFE. BUT AS ON DATE ONLY PLACE I HATE IS SHIMLA. its is world for people who hate GREEN World. I am myself Indian and love my land but as I understand; SHIMLA was respected as capital ONCE and was well maintained. I do not know why many people above has commented very positive about the place, they may be having business motives to do so. BUT TRUST IT’S HELL OF POLLUTION AND TRAFFIC JAMS plus temperature is of Delhi, ( it’s no longer a cool place( You are waisting your money to feel cool place or india and travelling that far. Indian travel agents will be blessed by this act not you, I am sure. PLEASE visit some trusted site for temperature estimates like google or yahoo and read right comments about this HELL) . THANKS TO GLOBAL WARMING IRONICALLY . IF YOU ARE DRIVING YOUR SELF PLEASE BE SAFE… FROM CHANDIGARH TO SHIMLA MANY DRUNK RED POPULATION DRIVE. Normally you will not face any problem BUT be safe as such drunkard GUYS on their lands are very hostile at evenings. If you wish POLICE intervention that may be your luck depending on officer on duty. Normally it’s bad luck. So, another HELL Before reaching HELL called Shilma. If Lucky you can get rid of that easily and your driver will charge you as that time he is KING of your vechile. SO that’s ANOTHER HELL if your driver is not trustworthy. BUT QUESTION IS IF I TELL YOU THAT YOU JUMP IN THIS WELL IT’S REALLY COOL YOU WILL SEE HEAVEN, I am sure if you believe my last statement and jump you will really see Heaven OR Hell; at least one. BEST OF LUCK!

    I am just sharing what I feel, I been LUCKY that I never faced above problems. But for SURE everybody do not breath same air.

    Take care … READ MORE AND MORE BEFORE GOING TO THAT HELL CALLED “SHILMA” A FACTORY AGAINST GREEN WORLD.

  • By reading the last comment this place isn’t as good as it seems. But thanks to the master of the universe Google it is fairly easy to research any place in the world and find out what it is really like. A few good pictures could make Afghanistan or Iraqi seem like it is paradise, until you get there and are about to get your head chopped off by some crazy terrorist.

  • niyamath ruksanan

    I like Shimla very much which is very beautiful and amazing

    and also quiet place.

  • Naveen Tyagi

    Shimla is known as the summer capital of India. As a tourist it amazing to be live in Shimla. When you spend day & evening as well as nights you will carry in your eyes the beautiful scene of nature in Shimla which you’ll never forget. Visit in some historical places and buildings feel to live forever here. Now a days due to global warming Shimla is loosing the atmosphere & nature scene. So please help to save the such historical places, not only Shimla but all over the world. All depends on yourself. Don’t think that other people will do it, think that I will do with all possible means which I can do. ……. Don’t thin ….. Just start now …… Naveen Tyagi

  • simla is beautiful place i love himachal.

  • marian

    marvellous

  • Mukesh

    that’s really fantastic. It seems like Englond.

  • JYOTIRAADITYA

    My Himachal — My Shimla I love more n more of the nature’s gift to People.

  • really shimla ia a queen of hills .It’s a awesome place.Loved that place.

  • ATUL SAXENA

    Pristine beauty, lovely architecture.One of the best Mall you would see. Beautiful view, fantastic food. A long walk on the mall alongside your wife/hubby highly recommended.

  • arun mharpa

    COOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

  • rickey

    nothing to say its really beautiful

  • Gonmela

    plannin 2 spnt mai summmr in Shimla… cn any1 tl me d weathr report f june.. do i nd sweaters..!!!!

  • Mohammad Danish Khan

    Hey,
    I came to Shimla 2 years back. It was an awesome experience. We went to almost all famous places in Himachal Pradesh,like Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala, Rotang-pass, Manikaren etc.

    But last year I went to Sikkim. I must say it is much better hill station than Himachal. If you are making your plan for Himachal then check Sikkim too. May be you’ll find it better.

    By the way now I live in Shimla, I work here in Central Bank of India – Mall Road.

  • Alisha Bansal

    Hi,

    Truly its very nice place to visit i had visited this place so many times even i cant stop myself by going there twice a year ! basically i am from Delhi, but i like this place more than my native place ! i have also created a website http://www.shimla.sitepoint.in friends just visit and share some experience and don’t forget to comment on my travel experiences there !

    Thanks
    Alisha
    Shimla.sitepoint.in

  • harry

    Its a beautiful place…i am a resident of Chandigarh..
    I have been to Shimla many times…
    I think its the best place to visit from Chandigarh.
    not only the city is beautiful but the journey to Shimla is also very amazing….i enjoy a lot in the journey…
    When we go Shimla from Chandigarh we can enjoy a lot of things in journey.
    like Mc Donald near kasauli is great.and also we enjoyed “bhutta” (Corn)…it was very pleasant experience..I am also planning to write an article on Shimla in my blog http://chandigarhz.blogspot.com/
    I request readers to stay in touch….:)

  • ismathhussain

    wow shimla is a very good place. once i visit in 1992 kullu manar also very nice place there u can see big yarks. iam from srilanka iloved this himachal pradesh.

  • sarah

    i just love shimla it is a great place ………
    one should visit this place every summer ……… it is better than masooori os singapore
    it is an awesome place

  • YOGESH D PARMAR

    I am thankful to learn much about our hilly region so beautifull

  • harris

    i was visit shimla two time.Best time to visit May–July and September–November .Some interesting spots around the city are Naldhera, Tattapani, Wildflower Hall, Mashobra, Craignano, Kufri and Chail.

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