Cover Photo by Shalender Kumar
One of the most well-known holiday destinations in India, Shimla (Simla) allows you to experience the Himalayas in all their enigmatic glory. With rolling valleys, evergreen forests, breathtaking lakes, amazing climate, and a hard-to-find colonial ambience, there are many places to visit in Shimla that will leave you spellbound. Since times immemorial, the small hill station has been very popular among tourists and for good reason. If you too have recently been considering buying a Shimla tour package to explore the splendours of the ‘Queen of the Hills’, here is a list of some of the best places you can visit for a memorable trip.
1. The Ridge
Not only a popular tourist place in Shimla but the Ridge may also well be called the heart of the city. A wide-open street, the Ridge runs along the Mall Road, connecting it to the well-known Scandal Point. However, what makes this one of the most popular tourist places in Shimla are the gorgeous views it offers of the snow-capped mountain ranges. You can find several British establishments dotting the Ridge, full of shops, restaurants, and cafés. Also, with all the natural beauty and exquisite Gothic structures it has to offer, this is also one of the most photographed places in Shimla.
2. The Mall Road
No trip to a hill station is complete without visiting its Mall Road. Rightly one of the most famous places in Shimla, Mall Road, with its plethora of cafés, showrooms, and shops selling trinkets, is a place where you can bask in the spirit of Shimla. While this is the best place for you to shop for some souvenirs, other tourist places in Shimla like the Gaiety Theatre, Kali Bari Temple, and Town Hall are also easily accessible from Mall Road. Also, as the road is closed to vehicular traffic, you can enjoy quite a pleasant stroll here in the evening, while gazing at the amazing scenic beauty the city has to offer.
3. The Toy Train
The Kalka-Shimla train ride is undoubtedly the most well-known tourist spot in Shimla. It was built in 1898 and has recently been recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The ride starts at the Shivalik Range foothills at Kalka (Haryana) and covers no less than 864 bridges, 102 tunnels, and 919 curves all the way to Shimla. On the way, it also stops at a number of popular tourist places near Shimla, including Solan, Summer Hill, Barog, and more. While the train ride may not exactly be a ‘place’ to visit, the experience in itself is something you simply cannot miss out on.
4. Christ Church
Another one of the most famous places in Shimla, the Christ Church is the second oldest church in all of North India. It is a very exquisite example of the neo-Gothic style of architecture. The church traces its origin back to 1857 and is located on the Ridge. The silhouette of this imposing structure, which is a legacy of the old colonial rulers, is visible from quite a distance. This tourist spot in Shimla also houses the largest pipe-organ in India and makes for an enchanting sight when it is illuminated at night. The Christ Church, without a doubt, is one of the best places to visit in Shimla.
5. Kali Bari Temple
There are many temples in India that draw crowds because of their historic significance, while others are so breath-taking that you simply cannot miss out on them. Then you have the Kali Bari Temple, one of the best places to visit in Shimla, which is high on both counts. It is dedicated to Goddess Kali and is believed that the temple was built in 1845. Housing a captivating idol of the Goddess, this tourist place in Simla not only boasts of architectural beauty but also the perfect spot where you can spend some quiet moments, connecting with your inner self.
6. Jakhoo Hill and Temple
Make sure that you include Jakhoo Hill in your list of places to visit in Shimla. This is the highest point in Shimla and is covered in a blanket of alpine trees, offering scenic views of the snow-covered Shivalik Range. One of the most gorgeous places to see in Shimla, Jakhoo Hill is located at a height of 8000 ft above sea level. Another reason why you should plan a trip to Jakhoo Hill is that it is home to an ancient Hanuman temple. This temple is one of the most famous places in Shimla as it houses the world’s tallest statue of the deity (108 ft). It is believed that Lord Hanuman rested at this very spot on his journey to bring the Sanjeevani Booti during the war of Lanka.
One of the well-known tourist places near Shimla, Kufri is located about 40 minutes away from the city centre. At an elevation of 8607 ft., Kufri offers amazing panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. However, apart from being one of the best places to visit in Shimla for the mesmeric views it offers, Kufri is an adventure hub. It houses several facilities and training centres for some of the most exciting winter sports like skiing and ice skating. Also known as the winter sports capital of India, Kufri has regular snowfall during the winters, which makes it quite a popular winter vacation destination.
8. Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex
One of the best-known places in Shimla, the Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex attracts a lot of attention. The building is a century old and is a very imposing structure that showcases a Victorian style of architecture. Now, a portion of the original building has been demolished but the remaining building is still a visual treat. This is one of the places in Shimla that hold quite a historical significance. Today, the Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex houses an exhibition hall, amphitheatre, and an art gallery and for art enthusiasts and artists from all over the world; making it one of the best places to visit in Shimla.
9. Chadwick Waterfall
The epitome of naturally beautiful places to visit in Shimla, Chadwick Waterfall is nestled within the Glen Forests. The waterfall cascades down a huge gorge from a height of 86 metres and is surrounded by the lush greenery of numerous pine and deodar trees. Counted among the most picturesque places in Shimla, the waterfall forms quite an enticing sight to behold. However, it is during the monsoon season, from June to September, when the water levels rise, that the Chadwick Waterfall seems to come to life. If you are not afraid of the cold waters, this is definitely one of the best places in Shimla where you can take a dip and splash around while being surrounded by the abundance of nature.
A truly amazing place to visit in Shimla especially during December, Mashobra is a haven for winter game enthusiasts. The lush green expanses of the town get covered by a sheet of snow during the winters, making this an excellent base for skiing. You will enjoy this place a lot as it is quite less crowded as compared to other regions.
It isn’t far-fetched to say that the best places to visit in Shimla have diverse experiences to offer, which makes the ‘Queen of the Hills’ the perfect holiday destination regardless of whether you’re going alone, with your significant other, or with your entire family. No matter what kind of vacation you seek, Shimla is ready to play the perfect host!