Located around 343 km from Delhi, Shimla is the Queen of Indian Himalayas. At an altitude of around 2213 meters above the sea level, Shimla is a pleasant city to visit during the summers and a popular resort to indulge in skiing and other ice sports during the winter. Before the British discovered it in 1819, Shimla was a small village that was part of the Nepalese kingdom. In 1830, the local Raja was persuaded to part with the land by the British and the settlement became the subcontinent's most fashionable summer resort. Shimla was declared the summer capital of India in 1864. After India's independence, Shimla became the capital of Punjab till 1966, when it came under Himachal Pradesh.
The summers in Shimla are quit pleasant as the maximum temperature rarely crosses 25°C. Winters are cold and Shimla experiences quite a heavy snowfall. If you are among those who want to escape from the scorching heat of the plains, Shimla would be the ideal getaway. But for those who love snow, a visit in winters can be an exciting experience.
The hub of Shimla is the Mall, which runs along the Ridge and is crowded with tourists. It is the city’s most famous shopping center, with shops selling all items, from clothes to junk food. The Ridge is a large open space in the heart of the town and presents excellent views of the mountain ranges. Most of Shimla's landmarks are located here. The Mall further joins the Ridge at the ‘Scandal Point' of Kipling's Shimla, where a statue of the nationalist leader Lala Lajpat Rai has been erected.
Vice - Regal Lodge (Rashtrapati Niwas)
The six-storied Vice-Regal Lodge or Rashtrapati Niwas, about 4.5 km from Scandal Point, attracts many visitors. It was built in 1888 and was formerly the residence of Lord Dufferin, the British Viceroy. The style of architecture is English Renaissance, the masonry of the walling is light blue limestone and the wrought stonework is done in sandstone in a beautiful light gray tint. It has magnificent lawns and houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Nearby is the Himalayan aviary that has a good collection of birds, including the Monal pheasant, Himachal’s state bird.
The State Museum
About 2.5 km from Scandal Point is the State Museum, which has a good collection of statues, miniatures, coins and photos from in and around Himachal Pradesh. It was built in 1974.
Christ Church and St. Michael’s Cathedral
Another of Shimla’s major landmarks is the Christ Church and St. Michael’s Cathedral. It is the second oldest church in Northern India built between 1846 and 1857. It is located just off the Mall, below the District Center and is known for its stained glass windows.
Jhaku temple, dedicated to Hanumanji, the attendant of Lord Rama, is to the east of the town center, near the highest point of the Shimla Ridge. It is at a height of 8048 feet above sea level and offers a panoramic view of the city.
There are many more attractions and viewpoints in Shimla to see and enjoy. Some of the popular ones are Chotta Shimla, Barns Court, Annandale, Auckland House, and Stirling Castle.
There are enough decent accommodation options in Shimla and the scene is getting better every passing day. There are a number of star category hotels as well as hill resorts catering to the needs of tourists coming to explore Shimla or interesting in exploring the scenic region around.
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