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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 their 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.

Places to See in Shimla :

The Mall : 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.

Chadwick Falls : 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.

State Museum : 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.

Jakhu Temple : 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 : 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.

Excursions from Shimla :

Kufri : 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 : 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 : 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.

Barog : 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.

Adventure Activities :

Golf : 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 : 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 : 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.

Other Charms of Shimla :

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 jewellery. 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.

How To Reach Shimla :

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 a 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.

Internal Transport : Tourists can get Taxis to roam in and around Shimla. Arranged tour for local sightseeing can be made by the agents and hotel staff. Buses and taxis, to move to other cities are also easily available in Shimla.

Accommodations : 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.

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