Shimla, the summer refuge is the capital of the north Indian state, Himachal Pradesh
is blessed with this beautiful location comprising all natural treasures at an elevation of 2,202 meters above the sea level. Picturesque greenery and a snow crowned meadow embrace this summer holiday city, making it a natural paradise of its own. The extravagant configuration makes it distinct from other tourist destinations. Pahari, Hindi and English are the languages in vogue.
The exotic sight of the snow capped peaks from the Scandal point and the shopping malls are the centre of magnetism of this city of scenic beauty. Flights to this unique destination, show you the himalayas at their best. April to August and December to January are the ideal times to visit this picturesque destination. During the last week of December (Christmas time), snowfall starts and the temperature varies between 0 and 17 degree celsius and this wonderful sight, attracts innumerable travelers. During winter, the cold air flow from the upper Himalayas makes the place freezing. During summer, the temperature ranges from 15 to 27 degree celsius and so during this season if you visit this vacation spot, you can escape from the heat of the plains.
With the magnificent scenic background of the wooded flora and fauna, this exotic city offers excellent opportunities for trekking and relaxed walks. During winters, this exotic location is the venue of winter-sports. Ice-skating carnivals are conducted every year. For shopaholics, there is a wide inducement. The Lower bazaar, the Lakkar bazaar, the Mall and the Tibetian bazaar are the shopping malls, where metal and wood works, handicrafts, shawls, toys, clothes, shimla carpets, imported electronic and fancy items are sold.
The Christ church, the second oldest church in north India and a landmark of this ideal spot, built in the mid of the 18th century adds charm to the history. The designs carved on the window glasses add value to its beauty.
At an elevation of 8,048 feet, lies Jakhu temple, the Lord Hanuman’s temple, a 45 minutes walk from the Ridge. It offers a breathtaking view across the valleys around and the snow crowned meadows. Sankat Mochan is another powerful Hanuman temple situated 5 kms down the Shimla – Kalka road.
11 kms down the Shimla – Kalka road is the Tara Devi, a holy temple, situated on the edge of a mount that faces Shimla. Kali Bari, a sacred temple of Shyamala devi is located very close to “The Mall”. The Kamna devi temple on the hill-top, features like a crown on “Prospect Hill”, which is located near Boileau Ganj.
The Summer Hill is situated at a height of 1,283 ms. above the sea level and is 1 km from Boilaeu Ganj on the Shimla – Kalka railway. Potter Hill is 1 km from this hill, an ecological Park filled with nature’s beauty. The Himachal State Museum is situated 2.5 kms west of the Scandal point. It is a treasury of antiques and a library filled with historical manuscripts. The Gaiety theatre, a centre of cultural activities, is considered as a copy of an ancient British theatre. The Glenn, a dense forest, 4 kms walk away from the ridge is at an elevation of 1,830 ms.
A Roller skating hall is stationed near the Lakkar bazaar and is open to all. During tourist seasons (June), special entertainment performances are staged. Ice-Skating carnival is held during December and January. Fabulous exhibitions are also hosted.
Rampur is situated 80 kms up the India – Tibet road. The Raghunath temple, Padam palace, Dumgir Buddhist temple, Narsingh temple and Ayodhya temple are the famous spiritual spots here. The Wild Flower hall situated 13 kms away with an elevation of 2,498 ms on the Mahasu range at Charaba, a breathtaking sight.
Mashobra is situated 10 kms down the Shimla-Naldehra road at an altitude of 2,149 m. It is known for its beautiful gardens filled with colorful flowers. A Durga temple is located here. Around 3 kms from Mashobra lies an exotic resort of Craignano. Kufri, another meadow (altitude - 2,150 m) is situated 16 kms from Shimla.
Narkanda is a location filled with slopes for skiing, at a height of 2,708 m, offering spectacular views of the snow filled peaks with the ancient temple of Hatu Mata on it. Fagu, 22kms from Shimla is at an altitude of 2,450 m and has hotels to accommodate the tourists.
Chail is 43kms from Shimla and is known for its scenic greenery. There is a wildlife sanctuary at a distance of 3 kms from Chail. Sarahan on the India – Tibet road beyond Rampur provides tourists with a spectacular view of the Shrikhand Mahadev, Ranwin and Bashal peaks. The Bhimakali temple is the finest illustration of Indo-Tibetan architecture.
Tattapani, known for its hot sulfurous water springs is sited 51 kms from this majestic location and a shiva Goofa, 4 kms from here at Saraur. Kotgarh lies 82 kms away and is an intensive apple growing area. Hatkoti, also called as Koti, is located at a distance of 104 kms on the Shimla – Rohru highway and is famous for its ancient Mata Hateswari temple set amidst paddy fields.
A number of festivals and fairs are organized every year viz., the Bharara fair (May), the Bhoj fair (November), the Lavi fair (November), the Mahsu Jatar (May), Pathar Ka Khel Halog (November), the Sipi fair (May) and Summer festival during May, the Winter sports festival for ice-skatting (December – January) and the Rohru fair (April).