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.
If you are planning a Shimla holiday, have a look at some of the accommodation that we recommend. 'Our Rating' indicates how we feel each property rates according to normal Western hotel standards. 'Local Rating' indicates how the property is categorised/rated locally:
Clarkes Hotel Shimla
The Oberoi Clarkes is a charming hotel situated on the main promenade in Shimla. This heritage hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Shimla and is known for its architecture dating from the colonial era.
Hotel Willow Banks Shimla
The Willow Banks is a colonial style hotel with every room having its own private balcony. As well as the gym and pool, the hotel has a steam room and sauna, jacuzzi and Ayurvedic massage available. The hotel is located on The Mall, within walking distance of great retail outlets and restaurants.
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
Shimla Tailor made suggestions
Here are some of the recent tailor made itineraries we have created for our clients which include a visit to Shimla.