Snow covered mountains, breathtaking lakes, pleasant climate, and alluring greenery –Shimla offers everything one can ask for. Popularly known as the queen of hill stations, the city and the places nearby never cease to amaze with their endearing beauty. There is this magic in Shimla’s air that makes everyone fall in love with it. With such wide range of attractions and famous places, Shimla is definitely one of the most visited tourist destinations in India. So, before we enrich you with the places to visit in Shimla—and a few around Shimla, here a few essentials:
How to reach Shimla
By air: The city is properly connected from all the major cities around. Shimla Airport, in Jabbarhatti, is in the city itself. The other nearby airports are Chandigarh and New Delhi.
By Train: The world heritage narrow gauge railways connect Shimla to Kalka. This toy train route is quite popular with kids. Kalka is abundantly connected to all the major cities of India.
By road: Shimla is approximately 350 km from New Delhi, and 118 km from Chandigarh. Regular buses, both private and state run, ply from Delhi en-route Chandigarh.
Best Time to Visit Shimla
Shimla can be visited all through the year. It stays pleasant during the summers; winters cherish visit worthy snowfalls; and monsoons bring out the lush misty character of the green hills.
October – March: Average temperature lies between -2 to 8 degree Celsius. Heavy snowfall in December and January, ideal for honeymooners; skiing take off in Kufri.
April – June: The summer months with average temperature of 15 degree Celsius attract families and honeymooners alike. The weather stays ideal for adventure sports like paragliding, trekking, and camping.
July – September: The monsoon is not really a good time to visit Shimla as the city experiences occasional avalanche and landslides. However, the green meadows become nothing but most attractive aspect of the city with clouds floating everywhere.
All set? Here is the list of must visit places in and around Shimla:
1. Summer Hills
Type of place: Hilly
One of the best places to visit in Shimla is the Summer hill – a picturesque township is located 5 km from the famous ridge of Shimla. This hill is carpeted by rich greenery that offers breathtaking views from the top. Summer hill is also a part of the 7 hills that make Shimla, so it is sure to leave you overwhelmed by its beauty.
Visiting Time: Sunrise to Sunset, surise is beatiful during summers
2. Indian Institute of Advanced Studies
Type of place: Historic, meadow, educational and inspirational
Built by the British, IIAS is primarily the summer retreat of Indian President. It was passed on to the nation by the then president – Dr Radhakrishnan as an institute to promotes advances studies in humanities and arts in India. The building is a classical architectural design with proficient fire proofing system. A visit into the institute is actually a walk through the modern Indian history.
Visiting hours: 8:00 am to 06:00 pm
Type of place: Historic, meadow
Annandale has to be on the list of places to visit in Shimla. This place was home for a number of adventure sports during the British rule including racing. However, now, this place is just perfect for all the golf lovers out there as the racecourse has been converted to a mini golf course, which also serves as a helipad and offers incredibly beautiful sceneries of its meadows.
Visiting Time: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
4. Jakhoo hill
Type of place: Hilly, religious, trek
Believed to be the highest peak in Shimla, this hill is 8000 feet high and is a major tourist attraction in Shimla. This temple is a heaven for all the nature lovers and pilgrims who come to visit the historic 108 feet tall Hanuman statue at the Jakhoo temple. It is almost a short trek for adventure seekers.
Visiting Time: 7:00 am to 8:00 pm, climb is safer during day time as the trek gets darker by evening.
5. The Scandal Point, Ridge
Type of place: Viewing Point, valley viewing, ideal for photographers
Popularly known as the Scandal Point, this flat spacious platform is one of the most popular places to visit in Shimla. It is a complete treat to all the mountain lovers with all the mesmerising views of the valley and the snow capped mountains surrounding Shimla. Apart from the breath taking view, this place is also home to the famous Tudor library. The platform offers marvellous spectre of sunset and sunrise.
Visiting Time: Sunrise to sunset
6. The Shimla State Museum
Type of place: Educational, inspirational, historic
The Shimla state museum also known as the Himachal state museum and library is located on Mount Pleasant. The sprawling lawns and the brilliant British architecture makes this place totally worthwhile. The museum amazingly displays the glorious past of the state with its rich culture and heritage. They have an incredible collection of different artefacts, paintings, sculptures, handicrafts and a lot more which they have been preserving since ages.
Visiting Time: 7:00 am to 8:00 pm
7. Naldehra and Shaily Peak
Type of place: Viewing Point, valley viewing, ideal for photographers, adventure
Naldehra is one of the best places to visit near Shimla as it offers the most picturesque sunrise and sunset views. With dense deodar trees and naturally rich flora and fauna, this place has amazing forest cover to be enjoyed on a horse ride. The stunning view, calmness and fresh air is sure to leave anyone spellbound.
Visiting Time: Sunrise to sunset
8. Chadwick falls
Type of place: Waterfall, viewing point, ideal for photographers and peace seekers
One of the major tourist attractions of Shimla, Chadwick falls, falls from an altitude of 1586 meters. With dense forest, lush deodar and pine tree surrounding it, the view is totally enthralling. The monsoons lead to an increase in the water level of the falls making the place even more beautiful with its sparkling water. Chadwick falls is surely a treat to one’s eyes with its captivating beauty and ambience.
Visiting Time: Sunrise to sunset, do not go while it’s dark
Type of place: Adventure, must visit for photographers
Kufri, popularly known as the winter sports capital, is located at 2622 meters above sea level. At the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, this hill station once belonged to the kingdom of Nepal. It offers some exciting winter sports skiing and ice skating. This place with its picturesque location is sure on the list of many travellers.
Visiting hours: Sunrise to sunset
Type of place: Highly recommended for peace seekers, photographers
Chail has got the highest cricket pitch in the world and is outlined by mighty deodar and pine trees offering a serene and calm atmosphere. This place is also the home of the famous Chail Palace known for its architectural brilliance. Since it is at a higher altitude than Shimla, one can enjoy the view of twinkling city lights below while get star struck by the beautifully lit night sky.