The Queen of Hill Stations
Dubbed by the Britishers as the "Queen of Hill Stations", Shimla occupies a special place in the heart of tourists visiting India. The charm of Shimla can be understood by the fact that British made this city as there summer capital, during there rule in India. Shimla was a favorite city of the Britishers, and this is proved by the monuments and buildings of the city. Shimla is said to have derived its name from 'Shyamala', another name for Goddess Kali, whose temple exists in the town. The city is a wonderful mix of traditions and modernity.
Shimla was founded by the Gurkhas, who built there forts around Shimla in early 19th century. The British soon liberated Shimla from Gurkhas and in 1864 Shimla was declared as the summer capital of India. After independence, Shimla became the capital of Punjab and was later named the capital of Himachal Pradesh. In 1903 a rail line was constructed between Kalka and Shimla, and a Toy-train was run between two cities. The train, despite being 100 years old, still runs on the same track and has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The city boasts of many tourists attractions, which include the scenic Mall Road, Jakhu Hills, Christ Church, State Museaum and Mashobra. Shimla is also the best market in Himachal Pradesh, where one can find the traditional as well as branded products.
By Air : The Jubbarhatti Airport, Shimla, is situated 23 Km from city centre and is connected by regular flights to Delhi, Chandigarh, Kangra and Kullu. From Delhi, the journey takes around 1 hour and from Kullu, it takes 30 minutes by means of air. The airport has capacity of one small (17-19 passengers) aircraft, and offers basic facilities only. From the airport, one can take taxi to reach Shimla, which takes about 1 hour.
By Train : Shimla does not have access to railway through standard gauge railway line. One has to visit Kalka, from where narrow gauge trains to Shimla can be boarded upon. The train takes around 6 hours to reach Shimla from Kalka. The distance between Kalka and Shimla is 96 kms. There is also a deluxe train from Kalka. One can also travel through rail-car (one of its kind, running on this route in India). The Kalka Shimla railway is ane major attraction of the region, which is declared as a World Heritage Site.
By Road : The roadways network of Himachal Pradesh and nearby state makes Shimla well connected to other cities. One can get taxis, buses and luxury coaches for Shimla from the major cities of Himachal Pradesh and nearby states. Some major distances from Shimla are: Chandigarh- 117 kms, Kullu- 220 kms, Manali- 260 kms, Delhi- 343 kms, Mandi- 150 kms, Pathankot- 380 kms, Chail- 43 kms, Dehradun- 240 kms, Agra- 568 kms, Lucknow- 867 kms, and Jaipur- 630 kms. The Kalka Shimla road is also an option, provided the precautions must be taken. The road has good surface, but has many curves.
Tourists can get Taxis to roam in and around Shimla. Arranged tour for local sight seeing can be made by the agents and hotel staff. Buses and taxis, to move to other cities are also easily available in Shimla.
Shimla, being one of the most visited cities of India, have the best of stay options also. There are hotels in almost every corner of the town. One can find numerous star rated, economy, budget, and luxury hotels in Shimla. There are all types of cuisine served in the restaurants of the town.
The Mall is the main road in Shimla. The road was set up by the Britishers, and is the main market and attraction of Shimla. Most of the colonial structures stand on this road. For the visitors, a walk down The Mall is a must do activity. At the top end of the Mall is Scandal Point, a large open square with a view of the town. Overlooking the point is the elegant Christ Church with its fine stained glass windows. The labyrinth of Shimla's bazaars spill over the edge of the Mall.
The Chadwick Falls are 7 kms from Shimla, and are as high as 1586 mts. The falls look amazing after the monsoon and are among the top list of the visitors to Shimla. The Chadwick falls represent the true natural beauty of Himachal Pradesh.
The State Museum in Shimla is situated 2.5 Km from Scandal point. The museum is known for its library, which houses many historical books and manuscripts. The museum has a vast collection of ancient historical sculptures, paintings, coins, photos and other items from all over the state.
The Jakhu Temple in Jakhu Hills, is dedicated to lord Hanuman. Jakhu Hill is the highest peak in vicinity, touching 8000 ft. The temple is situated at the top of the hill. The temple is full of playful monkeys, which wait for pilgrims to feed them.
Christ Church is the second oldest church in North India. Christ Church is a huge building, which looks magnificent from outside as well as inside. The church has stained window glasses, and represents the original style of European church building techniques.
Kufri is located 16 kms from Shimla and forms a perfect excursion from Shimla. The small town of Kufri is more famous for its winter sports activities, like Skiing and Trekking. A winter festival is organised every year during the month of February. Kufri is known for its winter sports, and forms the best Skiing resort in India.
Chail, at 43 kms from Shimla is a small beautiful town. Chail used to be the summer capital of the Maharaja of Patiala. The small town has some temples, an old palace and buildings. Chail is also known for the highest cricket pitch and a Polo ground. Chail is also a famous camping site.
Kasauli is a quaint little town, 77 kms from Shimla. Kasauli is well known for its colonial ambience. It is surrounded by mixed forests of pine, oak and chestnuts. An old fort at Sabathu is another attraction in Kasauli, apart from the colonial structures.
Situated at a height of 1560m above sea-level, Barog is a famous excursion site that lies on the Kalka - Shimla highway. The famous Choordhar peak in Barog attracts large number of tourists for its magnificent view on the full moon day.
Naldehra, at 23 kms from Shimla, has a nine hole golf course. The golf course is set amidst Deodar forests and is an absolute delight to the eyes of visitor. This is a 68 par, nine hole course which is regarded as one of the most challenging in the country. The Golf links are maintained by Himachal Tourism board.
Trekking is an old favorite of the adventure lovers. Shimla offers numerous trekking options to the adventure lovers. Shimla is surrounded by thick covers of forests, hills, rivers, lakes, green meadows and snow covered mountain tops. Some of the most famous trek routes are Shimla to Sangla, Shimla to Hatu peak, Shimla to the Shali peak, Shimla to Churdhar, Shimla to Chail, Shimla to Junga and Shimla to Tattapani.
Skiing has recently gained immense popularity amongst the adventure freaks in India. Narkanda, at 64 kms and Kufri, at 16 kms, provide with the best of skiing facilities in India. The Kufri skiing resort conduct skiing courses for the amateurs as well as for professionals. The equipments, lodging and guidance is provided at these resorts by Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC). Camping is another way of exploring natural beauty of Shimla and its surrounding places. One can also enjoy ice-skating during winter season.
Kalka Shimla Train
The Kalka Shimla Train, more than 100 years old, still runs between Kalka and Shimla, connecting Shimla to Kalka. The train has been declared as a World Heritage Site, by UNESCO. A journey on the train seems like a fairytale coming out of the story books. The train chugs through Himalayas, passing slowly through 103 tunnels, 20 railway stations and more than 900 curves.
Shopping in Shimla
One can go for shopping in Shimla. The town is known for carpets, rugs, shawls, leather artifacts and silver jewellary. The traditional crafts of Himachal Pradesh is the silver jewellary, which is widely available in Shimla. The main shopping area is the Mall and adjoining areas.
Manali is a beautiful little town in Kullu valley, which attracts a large number of tourists every year. Manali is at a height of 1,926 meters and is at a distance of 40 kms from Kullu. It offers many adventure sports, such as hiking, skiing and trekking and is a perfect holiday destination for those who seek adventure.
Once called the "end of the habitable world," Manali is an important hill station of northern India and is the destination of thousands of tourists every year. Its cool atmosphere provides a perfect haven for the ones afflicted by the hot Indian summers. Besides offering quite a few places for sightseeing, Manali is also famous for adventure sports like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking. In brief, Manali-the veritable "valley of the Gods"-is an ideal place for the ones in search of both adventure and comfort. The Kulluis in brightly patterned puttoos, Tibetan women wearing ankle-length rainbow-striped pinafores, Nepali porters, Buddhist monks, and even the odd party of Zanskaris, swathed in fusty woolen gonchas, muddled together with souvenir-hunting Indian and Western tourists-all add up to the welcoming hub of Manali.
By Air : The nearest airport to Manali is that of Bhuntar, which is 52-km from Manali. From Bhuntar one can take a taxi or a bus to Manali.
By Train : The nearest railhead is that of and this narrow gauze railway station is 95-km from Kullu. The scenic beauty of Kullu while going to Manali can best be enjoyed on a bus or a taxi. It is better to take a taxi, which one can stop and enjoy the nature at will.
By Road : The road to Manali passes through the picturesque valley of Kullu. The motorable roads to Manali connect the town with other major tourist places in Himachal as well as in the nearby states. At the Manali bus stand there are two booths, which do computerised reservation for buses. The reservations can be made one month in advance. Both private and state government buses are in service over here.
Places to See :
Built in 1553 and with a superbly crafted four tiered pagoda roof, it is famous for its exquisitely carved doorway.
This is dedicated to the sage Manu.
Well known for its hot springs. There are old temples dedicated to the sage Vashisth and to Lorde Rama. These are just beyond the Himachal Tourism baths.
There are three recently built Tibetan monasteries at Manali.
The one - time capital of Kullu. Here are old temples deidicated to Lord Shiva and to Sandhya Gayatri. The Arjun caves are just ahead.
In a picturesque setting this has good ski slopes and picnic spots. SHPTDC organises ski packages during winter.
Chandigarh Travel Guide
The most striking thing about Chandigarh is the expanse of dazzling blue sky against the backdrop the mountains. As one approaches the city, the jagged skyline of the Shivalik Hills looms large over the city. The Chandigarh got its name from an old temple devoted to Goddess Chandi. Politically, Chandigarh is the capital of Haryana and Punjab besides being a union territory. At the time of partition between India and Pakistan, Lahore capital of Punjab went to Pakistan. So Chandigarh was designed by renowned French architect Edouard 'Le Corbusier' Jeanneret, who fashioned Chandigarh as a city of "Sun, Space and Verdure".
Rock Garden - Chandigarh Situated at the foothills of the Shivaliks (the first of three parallel chains of the Himalayas), Chandigarh is the India's first planned city. Chandigarh is best travel hub for travel northwards to the hill resorts of Chandigarh Kulu, Manali, Dharmashala and Dalhousie. Chandigarh is located 270 km north of Delhi. The name of the city is derived from the Goddess of power known as Shri Chandika whose temple is on Chandigarh-Kalka Road. The temple is known by the name of Chandi Mandir. The temple is believed to be an ancient site and has a major religious significance for Hindus. Chandigarh originated in 1953 and today serves as the capital of two states, i.e. Punjab and Haryana. It is administered by the Central Government and is hence classified as a Union Territory.
Major Tourist Attractions in Chandigarh
Established by Nek Chand, this beautiful rock garden has thousands of sculptures set in large mosaic courtyards linked by walled paths and deep gorges and a combination of huge buildings with a series of interlinking waterfalls. The Rock Garden is now acknowledged as one of the modern wonders of the world.
Occupying an area of 3 km, this is a favourite tourist spot in Chandigarh. The lake is thronged with the locals taking breezy walks along its banks which has provisions for boating and yachting on all days.
The garden, laid out in 1976, is dedicated to hundreds of bougainvillea varieties. The creepers cover a wide assortment of arches, bowers, pavilions and arcades. About 65 different varieties of bougainvillea shrubs are planted in this garden.
The Zakir Hussain Rose Garden is Asia's largest Rose Garden and is spread over 30 acres of land having over 1600 different species of roses. The garden was planned by Dr. M.S. Randhawa as his interest in horticulture and fondness for flowers was immense. Every year, either at the end of February or beginning of March, a big festival known as Rose Festival, is celebrated at this garden. Over 20,000 people visit this festival. It's one of the greatest and must see event in the city.
The name means "Abode of Peace". Trees, pools and streams crossed by curved bridges and a large number of meditation nooks define this garden.
Government Museum and Art Gallery
Palace of the Assembly by Le Corbusier - Chandigarh This museum has an enormous collection of miniature paintings of the Gandhara and Pahari schools of art. Erected on columns, the building is a work of art providing a natural canopy roof for the ground space. This is in fact the display area for large antique sculptures.
Mansa Devi and Chandi Mandir
Situated at a distance of about 15 kms from Chandigarh, this is the temple from where the city of Chandigarh derives its name. The temple is situated in the state of Haryana. Devotees from all over the country visit this temple for blessings of the goddess Mansa Devi / Chandi Devi.
How to Reach
Air : The airport is located 11 kms from the City Center and various airlines connect Chandigarh to various main cities.
Rail : The railway station is about 8 kms from the City Center in Sector 17. Various trains, like the Shatabdi Express, connect Chandigarh directly to Delhi, Amritsar and Kalka.
Road : It is 270 kms from Delhi and 264 kms from Amritsar. National highways 21 and 22 are the chief roads connecting Chandigarh to main cities and towns of neighboring states.
Chandigarh offers a broad range of hotels for tourists coming from all over. The accommodation includes all categories from luxury, star to deluxe and budget. Well appointed with all inclusive facilities, the hotels in Chandigarh will make you stay in Chandigarh completely satisfying.