An Exclusive Shimla Tourism Guide With Important Travel Tips
Come, fall in love with Shimla, the queen of hills! The quaint hill station in Himachal Pradesh in India, will astound you with its snow clad mountains, alluring greenery, amazing weather and charming beauty. The vibe, the feel, the atmosphere of Shimla is absolutely unparalleled which makes it one of the most visited tourist destinations in India. Lost in the beauty of Shimla? Want to know more about this exotic place? Here is our Shimla tourism guide to help you know all the details about this wonderful city.
Shimla Tourism Guide
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Best Time To Visit Shimla
Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh is a delight at almost any time of the year. But the best time to visit Shimla is in the summer season (March to June) when the day temperatures are pleasant and offer plenty of outdoor adventures. That being said, let’s have a closer look at the different seasons of the city.
Summer (March to June): As mentioned above, summers are the best time to visit Shimla. The weather is quite pleasant and enjoyable around this time and tourists can freely explore the quaint city. Outdoor adventures like paragliding, camping, trekking and hiking are at full bloom. It is a good time to enjoy festivals like Holi, celebrated in March and Baisakhi, celebrated in April.
Shimla Tourism Guide Tip: Be sure to carry light woollen clothes.
Monsoon (July to September): Shimla receives heavy rainfall during this time and the entire city is roofed with fresh green foliage. The weather is chilly yet humid. Although the scenic beauty is unmatched, there are high chances of landslides and it is not a very popular time to visit the city. But it is a perfect time for travellers on a budget as most of the hotels drop their rates considerably. It is also a great time to enjoy the Rhyali Festival, which is celebrated with much pomp and splendour to express gratitude to the Rain Gods.
Shimla Tourism Guide Tip: Be sure to carry umbrellas and raincoats.
Winter (October to February): Winter is the best season to visit Shimla for snow. The weather is extremely cold and it is the best time to explore the city. Tourists can indulge in activities like skiing, ice-skating and trekking through the snow-clad mountains. It is also the most favourable time for honeymoon couples to hit the snow and create wonderful memories for a lifetime. One can enjoy festivals like Navratri and Diwali in November, Ice-Skating Carnival, Christmas and New Year in December and Lohri in January. The Shimla Winter Carnival, also held in winter is a cultural event with loads of activities and entertainment for all tourists.
Shimla Tourism Guide Tip: Carry all your woollen garments.
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How To Reach Shimla
Air: Shimla can be easily reached by air. The Shimla airport, Jubbarhatti around 23 km away from the city is the nearest airport. However, since this airport is not functional throughout the year, it is advisable to fly from Chandigarh or Delhi. Tourists can book a cab to reach Shimla from the airport. It roughly takes around 3-4 hours to reach Shimla from Chandigarh and about 7-8 hours from Delhi.
Train: The nearest railway station is Kalka which is approximately 96 km away from Shimla. The city is connected with Kalka by a narrow gauge line and there are about 3-4 trains to Shimla from Kalka on a regular basis. The toy train journey from Kalka to Shimla takes around six hours and is absolutely captivating with 107 tunnels and curved bridges.
Road: Shimla is very well connected to all the major cities of North India by road via National Highway 22. Himachal Road Transport Corporation and many other private bus operators have daily buses to Shimla. From Delhi there are also overnight luxury buses. Shimla travel by cabs or car rentals is also a good option. Well connected roads make travelling by road very convenient.
Travelling Within Shimla
Local transport in Shimla is accessible all round the clock. There are plenty of options to suit every budget. Local buses are available from Shimla to nearby places and operate from 7 am to 9 pm. These buses range from semi-luxury to luxury and deluxe buses. Himachal Pradesh Tourism also runs buses for sightseeing that cover only the tourist attractions. Private cabs and taxis are very easily available and are quite comfortable for travelling around the city. One can hail a taxi from almost anywhere in the city.
Shimla Tourism Guide Tip: Vehicles including taxis are banned from the Ridge and Mall Road. One has to walk and reach but there is a facility of elevator run by Himachal Pradesh Tourism which links the lowest point of Shimla, Cart Road to the highest point, the Mall.
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Where To Stay In Shimla
Shimla is blessed with a myriad of accommodation options, all promising definite comfort and rejuvenation. From plush hotels and resorts to budget hotels and home stays, the city has it all. If you are looking for a relaxing holiday with modern amenities and utmost extravagance, Shimla hotels like Windflower Hall, Hotel Woodville Palace, Zurich Resort, Oberoi Cecil Shimla and Radisson Jass Shimla are surely going to spoil you with their incredible services. Travellers on a budget should consider staying in hotels like Hotel Gulmarg, Hotel Kapil, Hotel Baljees Regency and Hotel Silverine. If you are keen to know more about the local culture and people of Shimla consider staying in home stays like Ridge View Home Stay, Anand Home Stay, Verma’s Home Stay and Tranquil Countryside Homes. So, choose your style of accommodation and plan your Shimla trip soon!
Places To Visit In Shiml
Khufri, also known as the ‘Switzerland of the East’, is located about 17 km from Shimla. It is renowned for its tranquil surroundings and breath taking views. It is an idyllic place for adventure sports such as skiing, ice-skating and hiking. Do visit the Khufri Zoological Park which is home to rare species of Antelopes, Bears and birds including Himalayan Monal, the state bird of Himachal Pradesh. Adventure seekers should definitely go on trekking to the Mashru peak, the highest point here. Khufri is a must visit place for everyone visiting Shimla.
2. The Ridge Of Shimla
The Ridge of Shimla is a large flat platform that runs from east to west along the Mall Road. It is a very popular place for organising fairs and cultural activities. In fact, the most famous Summer Festival, held in April or May is organised in the Ridge, making the entire place a riot of vibrant colours and activities like ice skating, folk dances, food stalls and flower shows. It is a preferred Shimla tourist attraction which offers spectacular views of the snow capped mountains surrounding the city. It is a social hub which is forever brimming with locals, tourists and nature fanatics. The entire area is covered with pine, fir, oak and Rhododendron trees making the place even more gorgeous. It offers mesmerising views of sunrise and sunset and is one of the most appealing places to visit in Shimla. Significant places like the Scandal point, Lakkar Bazaar and Jakhoo Hills are connected through the Ridge.
Shimla Tourism Guide Tip: Vehicles are not allowed here.
3. Christ Church
The Christ Church is the second oldest church in North India and one of the most popular places to visit in Shimla. It is a brilliant architectural monument built in the British era and a perfect place to unwind. It is inspired by the neo-gothic style of architecture and looks like a magnificent castle during the day and sparkles with light during the night. It has a magical vibe and it is a great place for devotees looking to enjoy amidst peace and serenity. Enclosed by magnificent and spectacular landscapes, this majestic church is certainly worth a visit.
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Things To Do In Shimla
1. Try Your Hands At River Rafting At Tattapani
Located approximately about 50 km from Shimla, Tattapani is a superb destination for white water rafting. Nestled on the banks of river Sutlej, this area is famous for its natural hot water spring and lush green valleys. Rafting is carried out from Chabba to Tattapani with a stretch of 12 km and takes about 2 hours to complete it. May and June are believed to be the most perfect time to confront the aggressive river Sutlej. Get set to have an experience that will surely invigorate your soul!
2. Trek To Jakhoo Temple
Enclosed with beautiful Alpine trees, at an elevation of about 2,455 metres Jakhoo Hill is the highest point of Shimla. On the top of the hill lies the colourful Jakhoo Temple, the landmark of Shimla. Trekking up till the temple is one of the most preferred things to do in Shimla and a much-loved get away for the visitors who enjoy calm and peace. The temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and is home to the largest Hanuman statue in the world that is visible from most parts of Shimla. It is roughly about 2 km from the Ridge and takes about 30 minutes to reach the temple. This temple is complimented with an abundant monkey population which serve as a perfect mark of respect to the monkey God. Your trip to Shimla would be incomplete without visiting this remarkable temple.
Shimla Tourism Guide Tip: Sometimes the monkeys here can snatch anything you might be wearing or carrying. So, watch out and be cautious.
4. Be In Awe Of Chadwick Waterfall
Nestled amidst the dense Glen Forest, Chadwick Waterfall is one of the most admiring things to do in Shimla. The stunning combination of lush green surroundings, fresh air and sounds of wildlife makes it a wonderful place to unwind. The stream of water drops from a height of about 100 metres and creates a magnetic vibe amidst Pine and Deodar trees. Walk down to the falls or take a walk through the forest or simply sit back and admire the tranquillity of the place, you are bound to have a great time here. It is a favourite picnic spot, so just pack the essentials, wear your trekking shoes and get going!
Shimla Tourism Guide Tip: Make sure you leave the place before sunset as the waterfall is the primary source of drinking water for wild animals.
5. Try Ice Skating
How about experiencing a sport at the foothills of Himalayas? Exciting, isn’t it? Well, Shimla is home to the largest and the only naturally formed ice-skating rink in South Asia. The rink attracts tourists from all over the world and promises to offer an experience like never before. The ice-skating in the city begins in the month of December and extends till about February. The Ice-Skating Club also organises a carnival every year in winters which includes several sports and competitions like Ice-Skating Competitions, Ice-Hockey Matches, Dance and Music Competitions along with various food stalls and kiosks to buy souvenirs and gifts. Ice-skating in the crisp pleasant air of Shimla is certainly worth experiencing at least once.
Shimla Tourism Guide Tip: Skates and knee pads can be rented at the rink.
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What To Eat In Shimla
Shimla is always brimming with all kinds of food options. There are a number of food stalls, restaurants, cafes, dhabas, bakeries and local joints selling North Indian, South Indian, Chinese, Italian, Continental and delicious local fare. The local food in Shimla is very simple and has earthy flavours which have an everlasting effect on your taste buds. It comprises of rice, lentil, vegetables and chapatti. Here is a list of some of the must have dishes in Shimla.
- Kick start your Shimla food journey by trying the very famous Chana Madra. Made out of chickpeas and flavoured with spices like cloves, cumin, cinnamon, cardamoms and turmeric this dish will surely energise you.
- Chicken Anardana is a much-loved tangy chicken dish flavoured with pomegranate seeds. Often served with paranthas, this dish will add extra zest in your culinary journey.
- Do try Bhey or spicy lotus stems. This thinly sliced lotus stem dish cooked with ginger, garlic, onions and gram flour has a unique taste which is loved by one and all.
- Try Babru to forget the conventional Kachoris of North India. It is basically a crisp flat bread prepared with the stuffing of black gram paste which is added to the dough. It goes best with tamarind chutney and also compliments Chana Madra.
- Siddus is a steamed bread stuffed with poppy seeds or mutton often served in winters. Relish it with a generous dollop of homemade ghee and you are sorted.
- Do not leave Shimla without trying Auriya Kaddoo. It is a tangy and spicy pumpkin dish that goes really well with both rice and chapati.
- Other alluring delicacies include Sepu Badi Madra, Mittha, Tudkiya Bhath, Dhaam, Patande, Chaa Ghosht, Khoru, Aktori and Meetha Chawal.
So, get all geared up to have a wonderful gastronomic time in Shimla as these delectable delicacies will surely add an extra perk to your travelling experience!
Nightlife In Shimla
Shimla is not just about trekking, sightseeing and other adventure activities; the city offers a decent nightlife too. Tourists can enjoy shopping at the Night Bazaars that are open late into the night. Lower Bazaar and Ram Bazaar look vibrant at night, bustling with tourists buying all kinds of souvenirs, clothing, wooden handicrafts and much more. The city also has quite a number of bars, lounges, discos and restaurants that promise a fun filled time after the sun sets. If you are in a mood to dance, head to Footloose Disco. Located near Ritz Cineplex, this place will blow your mind with great music, scrumptious food and amazing liquor. If you are looking for a young vibe along with some great variety of cocktails look no further than Rendezvous Bar and Restaurant. If you want to unwind and relax, Lobby Lounge and Bar at the Oberoi Cecil is the best place. Other interesting places include The Pub, Devicos Bar, Himani Club and Restaurants and Topaz Restaurant and Bar. So, nightlife also, checked!
Money In Shimla
Shimla is one of the most visited hill stations in India. The currency of the city is same as that of whole India, Indian Rupee. The Rupee comes in the denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 2000. Almost all major debit cards and credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted. ATMs are widespread. Currencies can be exchanged in airports, banks, hotels and money exchangers.
Shimla Tourism Guide: Travel Tips For Your Shimla Trip
- Keep your identity proofs and other important documents handy.
- Keep a digital copy of all your vital documents in your mobile in case of an emergency.
- Electricity is around 220-240 Volts.
- Do not use plastic bags in Shimla as its use is banned in the city.
- Do not drink tap water; make use of bottled mineral water for drinking.
- Dress a little conservatively while visiting temples and other places of worship.
- Carry your personal medication with you.
- Do not eat too much while travelling to higher altitudes as it might cause nausea and vomiting.
- Avoid travelling late due to visibility and safety issues.
- In case of an emergency, dial 100 (Police) or 102 (Ambulance).
So, whether it is the sightseeing or the Mall Road, the colonial architecture or the toy train, every bit of Shimla will woo you! But to get wooed, you have to plan your Shimla tour first. So plan your Shimla holiday as soon as possible and do not forget to refer to our Shimla tourism guide.
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