Monday, February 26, 2024
Himachal Pradesh




Shimla, the biggest hill station of the world in the Himalayan foothills, was 'discovered' by the British in 1817, when it was just a small village.

Its commanding position on the crest of a ridge, cool air and lust countryside quickly made it a favourite summer resort. By 1864, when it was declared the summer seat of the government of India, the 'Queen of Hill Stations' had become the epitome of everything British. Shimla then becomes a frost-covered silent city. Shimla's mood changes with its season. Shimla, now the state of capital of Himachal Pradesh, is busy, lively and nostalgically "English", with quaint Raj-era hotels and buildings and beautiful walks through Himalayan mountains thick with oak, deodar cedar, and pine trees. 
Shimla has a pleasant climate throughout the year. The best season of the year is autumn but the early spring runs a close second. the air is freshest in these periods, the days warm and bright and the nights crisp, clear and cool. Autumn welcomes the visitors with calm equanimity and spring says it with flowers. Here winter is known as the season of 'long moon nights'.

How to get there:Shimla is connected by road and is 375 km from Delhi. It is 116 km from Chandigarh and from Kalka 89 km. The closest railhead is at Shimla near bus stand and is linked with Kalka with the toy train. Kalka is linked with many big cities through narrow gauge. The airport at Shimla is at a distance of 23km at Jubbarhati. Taxis/buses are available from these places to Shimal. Direct flghts from Delhi are available on alternate days.

Christ Church (1844 onwards)

It was designed by Col JT Boileau, consecrated in 1857 and later extended with the addition of a clock (1860) and a porch (1873). The design of the original chancel window  was done by Rudyard Kipling's father the Lockwood Kipling.  A Library (1910) designed by James Ransome in the Elizabethan style is at  next door to the church.

The Town Hall and General Post Office

The town hall (1910) is the reminiscent of the 'Arts and Crafts style, as well as the timbered General Post Office (1866).

Viceregal Lodge (1888)

This was build for Lord Dufferin who played a prominent part in its planning and building. The designers Henry Irwin, who was the designer of  famous Madras High Court (Tamil Nadu) and Mysore's  Ambar Vilas Palace at Karnataka and Capt HH Cole designed it in the Elizabethan style. It includes a indoor tennis court and electric lights. The lodge also has a botanical garden and a cafe. Towards the rear is a stone terrace with a view of some major Himalayan peaks. There are streams running down from top of the hill, flowing into the Sutlej, Yamuna and Ganga. Now it remains as a Rashtrpati Niwas (The Presidents House), it houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS). The magnificent reception hall and corridors are lined from floor to ceiling with heavy teak panelling. The gate house, a chapel and the meticulously polished brass fire hydrants imported from Manchester, U.K. still remind us of its British origin.
 It now houses the Institute of Advanced Studies, and is open only in some parts to the public. Open 1000 - 1630.  Small entry fee to the house.

Jakhu Temple

This temple (2,455 meter) dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey god, and surrounded by monkeys is 2 Km from The Ridge near Christ Church.  It is situated in the highest spot on the ridge, with excellent views. It is best to steer clear of them and keep all eatables well out of reach.

Kamna Devi Temple

This temple is 5 Km from Shimla, a 15 - 20 minutes walk from Boileauganj and build at Prosoect Hill. Tara Devi is has an another temple named as  Sankat Mochan Hanuman, on the hill top,  7 Km starting from the railway station. You get a grand view of the southern side of Shimla, the undulating hills and valleys of southern Himachal and beyond to the plains of Punjab in the distance

State Museum

This museum is a collection of Himachal Pradesh's rich heritage. Museum has a good collection of archaeological artifacts, carvings, paintings and sculptures. The ground floor has a gallery with fine Pahari miniatures, a style developed under the auspices of the Kangra rulers. Closed on Monday and holidays.