The largest and most famous of the British hill stations, Shimla is the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh and remains today a popular resort. Set in the foothills of the Himalayas along a crescent-shaped ridge at an altitude of 2159m, it afforded a resort-like atmosphere for the British, so much so that it became the ‘summer capital’ of British India in 1864. Perhaps one of the most novel ways of getting to Shimla is on the toy train service (completed in 1903) that operates from Kalka. Hauled along by a tiny diesel locomotive, the leisurely journey through stunning scenery takes between 5 – 7 hours.
There are only two roads in the central part of Shimla. The higher Mall runs east west, its highest point at Scandal Point, sort of the unofficial centre of Shimla. The mall area known as The Ridge runs up to Christ Church, whilst Cart Road circles the southern aspect of Shimla. The remains of Shimla are connected by a tangle of lively bazaars and alleyways.
The famous main street, The Mall is lined with stately English-looking houses and retains a British flavour. Replete with its Victorian-Gothic spire, Christ Church, built in 1846 is Shimla’s most famous landmark.
Beyond Scandal Point is the State Museum which boasts an interesting collection from Himachal. Beyond here is the Vice Regal Lodge and Botanic Gardens. The Vice Regal Lodge, Shimla’s most impressive colonial building, was where many important decisions affecting the destiny of the subcontinent were made.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Shimla, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to India
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