The Queen of Hills
Shimla is the original Queen of Hills and was the summer capital of the British Raj in India. The city attracted the Britishers because of its pleasant climate, and the fact that it reminded them of home (England). Two hundred years ago, the area now known as Shimla was covered by dense forests of Oak and Pine trees. There were a few houses around Jakhu Temple. Another few houses lay scattered around the Kali Mata Temple. The name Shimla comes from Shyamala Devi, a name of Kalimata.
Shimla, with its unique charm, traditions and culture is the perfect place for a holiday. With pleasant climate in the summers and snowfall in winters, the city attracts droves of tourists. There are a number of places, heritage buildings and historical sites in Shimla for tourists to visit and see.
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Best Unique Places to Visit in Shimla
Toy Train from Kalka
The excitement begins once you alight from a long distance train in Kalka and catch the famed Toy Train to Shimla from there. The route takes you through scenic forested slopes of the mountains and villages below. You will cross nearly 800 bridges and go through 106 tunnels! This rail line was inaugurated in 1903 CE. The 95 km long route has several idyllic stations at which the train halts.
This is the main road of Shimla with exclusive shops, cafes and more. You can shop for Pashmina Shawls, beautiful handicrafts, jewellery, Himachali caps, Tibetan carpets, woolens and much more. In between you can have a meal, a snack, coffee or cold drinks at one of the numerous cafes on The Mall.
This is situated beside The Mall and almost an extension of the Mall. From here you can delight in the panoramic and dazzling views of the mountains. At one end of the Ridge is the infamous Scandal Point and on the other is the famous Lakkar Bazaar. The Ridge is the location of Asia’s only natural ice skating rink. A sports festival is organised here every winter.
This ancient temple is now the location of the world’s tallest Hanuman Statue. The temple is set amidst a grove of Deodar trees and offers beautiful views of the mountains all around. The temple can be reached by a 2 km walk from The Ridge or by ropeway.
Kali Bari Temple
This is another ancient temple in Shimla. The temple was built in 1845 and is highly revered by the locals and the large numbers of devotees who come here. The goddess is also known as Shyamala Devi – giving Shimla its name. Kali Bari temple is located near The Mall.
Heritage buildings and Historic Structures
Shimla is home to several historic buildings such as Wildflower Hall, Viceregal Lodge, Shimla Christ Church, Old Christ Church, Rothney Castle, Gaiety Complex, Gorton Castle, Bantony Castle and many more. These magnificent examples of colonial architecture are definitely worth seeing.
Idyllic destinations near Shimla
There are many places near Shimla that are good to visit. Kufri is a winter skiing destination with training and skiing facilities. Chail, Mashobra, Shoghi, Fagu and Kasauli are also beautiful and serene locations, not far from Shimla.
Besides the places mentioned above there are numerous others to see and visit. A few days in Shimla will prove to be an experience that is enjoyable and memorable.