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Hidden Treasures of Shimla: A Guide for the Offbeat Traveler

Last updated :
March 10, 2024

minutes read

Ever dreamt of a place where the mountains echo the songs of the chirping birds, where the sun and the clouds play hide and seek with the towering peaks, and where the air is so fresh that it instantly drives away all your city blues? Well, let me take you on a virtual tour to such a place, a place fondly known as the 'Queen of Hills' - Shimla.

Brief about Shimla

Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, is like a painting come alive with its spectacular beauty. Nestled in the heart of the majestic Himalayas, Shimla is a charming hill station that boasts of its colonial architecture, historic temples, and panoramic landscapes. The city's cool and pleasant climate, combined with its scenic splendors, makes it a perfect getaway for those seeking a respite from the scorching heat of the plains.

But Shimla is not just about its natural beauty. It's a city that beautifully blends tradition with modernity. From bustling local markets selling traditional crafts to swanky cafes offering global cuisines, Shimla has something for everyone. And let's not forget the friendly locals who always greet you with a warm smile, making you feel at home in this hill paradise.

Why Shimla is famous

Now, you might be wondering, "What's so special about Shimla?" Well, Shimla is not just a city; it's an emotion for many. It's a place where every corner tells a story, every street has a history, and every view is a masterpiece.

Shimla is famous for its rich colonial history. The city served as the summer capital of British India, and the remnants of the colonial era can still be seen in its Victorian-style architecture. The iconic Viceregal Lodge, Christ Church, and the bustling Mall Road are testimonies to the city's glorious past.

But that's not all! Shimla is also a haven for adventure enthusiasts. Whether it's trekking in the lush green valleys, paragliding in the clear blue skies, or ice-skating in Asia's oldest open-air rink, Shimla offers a plethora of thrilling activities that get your adrenaline pumping.

And if you're a nature lover, Shimla won't disappoint you. The city is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. The mesmerizing sunrise at the Chadwick Falls, the serene beauty of the Tattapani River, and the enchanting view of the snow-capped Himalayas from the Kufri peak are sights that would leave you spellbound.

So, whether you're a history buff, an adventure junkie, a nature lover, or someone looking for a peaceful retreat, Shimla has something to offer to everyone. And that's what makes Shimla so famous and loved by all.

So, are you ready to explore this hill paradise? Let's embark on this exciting journey together!

Best Time to Visit Shimla

So, you've decided to pack your bags and set off for a memorable journey to Shimla, huh? Great choice! But wait, do you know when the best time to visit this beautiful

hill station is? No worries if you don't, because I'm here to help you out. Let's dive in!

Shimla in Different Seasons

Shimla, like a chameleon, changes its colors with the seasons, each bringing its own charm and allure. Let's take a look at what each season has to offer:

  • Summer (March to June): This is the best time to visit Shimla if you're looking to escape the scorching heat of the plains. The weather during these months is pleasant with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 30°C. It's a perfect time for outdoor activities and exploring the city.
  • Monsoon (July to September): Shimla receives moderate to heavy rainfall during these months. Although the city's natural beauty is at its peak during the monsoon, it might not be the best time to visit due to the risk of landslides.
  • Winter (October to February): If you're a fan of the cold and want to witness the city covered in a blanket of snow, this is the time for you. The temperatures can drop below zero, but the breathtaking view of the snow-clad city makes it all worth it.

When Does it Snow in Shimla?

Are you one of those people who gets excited at the mere thought of snowfall? If yes, then Shimla in winters is a paradise for you. The snowfall season in Shimla begins in late December and lasts through February. The city turns into a winter wonderland with its beautiful landscapes covered in a fresh layer of snow. It's a sight to behold!

Is it Safe to Visit Shimla in Rain?

While the monsoon season brings out the lush green beauty of Shimla, it also brings with it certain risks. The city experiences moderate to heavy rainfall, which can sometimes lead to landslides, making travel risky. So, if you're planning to visit Shimla during the monsoon, it's important to stay updated with the weather forecasts and take necessary precautions. However, if you ask me, I'd suggest you plan your visit during the summer or winter for a safer and more enjoyable experience.

So, there you have it! Now that you know the best time to visit Shimla, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready for an unforgettable journey to this beautiful hill station. And remember, no matter when you visit, Shimla is sure to captivate you with its charm!

How to Reach Shimla

Alright, now that you're all excited about your trip to Shimla, let's figure out how to get you there. Whether you're a fan of road trips, love the scenic beauty from a train window, or prefer the speed of air travel, Shimla is well-connected and easily accessible. So, let's explore your options!

Different Modes of Transportation

Reaching Shimla is as easy as pie, thanks to the various modes of transportation available. Here's a quick rundown:

Mode of Transportation Details Average Cost
Flight to Chandigarh The nearest major airport from Shimla is in Chandigarh, which is 115 km away. Flight cost varies depending on the city of departure. From Delhi, it can range from ₹2000 to ₹5000.
Taxi/Bus from Chandigarh to Shimla From Chandigarh airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Shimla. The cost of a taxi or bus from Chandigarh to Shimla can be around ₹2000 to ₹3000.
Train to Kalka The closest broad gauge railway station is in Kalka, approximately 96 km away. The train cost from Delhi to Kalka can range from ₹800 to ₹1500.
Toy Train/Taxi/Bus from Kalka to Shimla From Kalka, you can take a taxi, a local bus, or the famous toy train to Shimla. The toy train from Kalka to Shimla can cost around ₹70 to ₹500 depending on the class of travel. Taxi or bus costs can vary.
By Road Shimla is well-connected by road with major cities in North India. You can drive from Delhi (about 8 hours), Chandigarh (around 3 and a half hours), or from other nearby cities. The cost of travel by road can vary greatly depending on the mode of transport (private car, taxi, bus) and the city of departure. On average, it can range from ₹1000 to ₹5000.

Local Transportation and Parking in Shimla

Once you're in Shimla, getting around is a breeze. The city has a good network of local buses for intra-city travel. Taxis are also readily available, but do remember that Shimla is a pedestrian-friendly city with several no-vehicle zones to reduce traffic congestion and pollution. So, don't miss out on the chance to explore the city on foot!

As for parking, there are several parking lots available in the city. However, due to the city's hilly terrain and limited space, finding a parking spot can sometimes be a challenge, especially during the peak tourist season. So, it's a good idea to check with your hotel about parking facilities before you arrive.

Prime Attractions in Shimla

List of Top Attractions

Shimla, the Queen of Hills, is adorned with numerous gems that make it a paradise for travellers. Here are some of the top attractions that you absolutely cannot miss:

  • Jakhu Temple: This ancient temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman is known for its towering statue of the deity. It's a serene spot that offers panoramic views of the surrounding hills.
  • The Mall: The heart of Shimla, the Mall Road, is a bustling hub of shops, eateries, and colonial structures. It's the perfect place to indulge in some shopping and food tasting.
  • Viceregal Lodge: This architectural marvel is a testament to Shimla's colonial past. A guided tour of the facility is highly recommended.
  • The Ridge: Located adjacent to the Mall Road, the Ridge is a large open space known for its street food, shopping, and the iconic Christ Church.
  • Indian Institute of Advanced Study: Housed in the former Viceregal Lodge, it's a research centre with a rich history. The guided tours offer a deep dive into its past.
  • Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex: Known for its Victorian theatre, it's a significant reference point in Indian cinema.
  • Christ Church: The second oldest church in North India, it's an iconic landmark of Shimla.
  • Kali Bari Temple: A tranquil temple dedicated to Goddess Kali, it offers a pleasant view of the surrounding landscape.
  • Annandale Ground: This army heritage site houses a museum showcasing the military history of the region.
  • Green Valley: A picturesque spot known for its lush greenery, it's a perfect place for nature lovers.

Why These are Must-Visit Places

Each of these attractions holds a unique charm and significance. Whether it's the spiritual tranquillity of the Jakhu Temple, the buzzing activity of the Mall Road, the architectural grandeur of the Viceregal Lodge, or the natural beauty of the Green Valley, each place offers a different facet of Shimla's character. They represent the rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes that Shimla is known for. Visiting these places allows you to experience the essence of Shimla, making them must-visit spots on your itinerary.

Adventure and Trekking in Shimla

Popular Trekking Spots

For those who love to lace up their boots and hit the trails, Shimla offers a plethora of trekking options. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Karol Tibba Trek: This offbeat trek is a hidden gem that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Tara Devi Hill Trek: A trek to the serene Tara Devi temple is filled with panoramic views of the hills and the city.
  • Chadwick Falls Trek: This trek leads you to the beautiful Chadwick Falls, a perfect spot for nature lovers.
  • Summer Hill Trek: A relatively easy trek, it takes you through lush green forests to the quiet and peaceful Summer Hill.
  • Churdhar Peak Trek: This is a moderately difficult trek that takes you to the highest peak in the outer Himalayas. The view from the top is absolutely worth the effort!
  • Shali Tibba Trek: This trek takes you to the highest peak in the Shimla district. The 360-degree view of the Himalayas from the top is breathtaking.

Adventure Activities to Do

Apart from trekking, Shimla is a hub for various adventure activities. Here are some that you can indulge in:

Ice Skating: Shimla houses one of the oldest open-air ice skating rinks in India. It's a must-try during the winter months.

Skiing: Kufri, a small hill station near Shimla, is a popular spot for skiing enthusiasts.

Paragliding: Experience the thrill of flying like a bird with a paragliding session in Shimla.

Mountain Biking: Explore the hilly terrains of Shimla on a mountain bike for an adrenaline-pumping experience.

Heli-Skiing: For extreme adventure lovers, heli-skiing in the nearby areas of Shimla is a thrilling option.

River Rafting: The rivers in and around Shimla offer exciting opportunities for white water rafting.

Camping: Experience the tranquillity of nature by camping under the stars in Shimla.

Rock Climbing: Test your physical strength and mental resilience with a rock climbing session.

Golfing: The Naldehra Golf Course in Shimla, one of the oldest in India, is a great place to enjoy a game of golf amidst lush greenery and fresh air. Remember, safety comes first. Always ensure that you are well-prepared and take necessary precautions while indulging in these activities. Happy adventuring!

Fairs and Festivals of Shimla

Shimla, the Queen of Hills, is not just about mesmerizing landscapes and adrenaline-pumping activities. It's also a cultural hotspot where numerous fairs and festivals are celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy. These events offer a unique insight into the rich traditions and vibrant culture of this beautiful hill station. Let's dive into some of the major fairs and festivals that you shouldn't miss when you're in Shimla.

Major Fairs and Festivals

Here are some of the major fairs and festivals celebrated in Shimla:

Summer Festival: Celebrated every year in May, the Summer Festival is a cultural extravaganza held at the famous Ridge Ground. The festival is filled with colours and is celebrated with great rituals. It features sports activities, exhibitions, dog shows, flower shows, fashion shows, and live performances. The best part? It's free to attend!

Ice Skating Carnival: Welcome to the winter wonderland! Ice skating in Shimla is a major attraction for sports lovers during winter. Shimla is the only place in Asia with a natural ice-skating rink. The carnival typically starts in early December and goes on till the end of February.

Bhoj Fair: Held in the village of Guman in Rohru tehsil in November, this three-day fair is in honour of Devta Bansor, Parshu Ram, and Kilbaru. The fair attracts a huge crowd and features Natti dances performed by the locals.

Lavi Fair: This commercial fair is held in November in Rampur Bushahr, a place 100 km away from Shimla. The fair is related to the signing of a trade treaty between the erstwhile Bushahr state and Tibet. It's a great place to buy woollen goods, dry fruits, and medicinal herbs.

Rohru Fair: This fair is held in Rohru, a town approximately 100 km from Shimla, in April. The fair is celebrated in honour of Devta Shikru and features cultural events and Natti dances.

Why They Are Celebrated

These fairs and festivals are not just about fun and frolic. They hold a deeper significance in the lives of the people of Shimla. They are a celebration of the rich culture and tradition of the region. They offer a chance for the locals to break the monotony of their daily routines and celebrate their heritage. For tourists, these festivals offer a unique opportunity to witness and participate in these celebrations, providing a deeper understanding of the local culture and traditions.

So, whether you're a culture vulture or a fun-seeker, make sure to time your visit to coincide with these fairs and festivals. Trust me, it's an experience you wouldn't want to miss!

Shimla for Kids

Shimla isn't just for the adults, it's a paradise for the little ones too! From fun-filled activities to educational experiences, Shimla offers a variety of attractions that can keep your kids entertained and engaged. So, let's dive in and explore what Shimla has in store for our young explorers.

Kid-friendly Tourist Spots

  • Kufri Fun World: This amusement park, located in Kufri, is one of the highest amusement parks in the world! It offers a range of fun rides and games that are sure to keep your kids entertained. Plus, the panoramic views of the mountains from here are a bonus!
  • Himalayan Nature Park: Also located in Kufri, this park is home to a variety of Himalayan wildlife. Your kids will love spotting animals like the Himalayan Tahr, Sambar, Black Bear, and more. Army
  • Heritage Museum: This museum is a great place for kids to learn about the history and achievements of the Indian Army. The exhibits are engaging and informative, making it a fun learning experience for kids.
  • Johnnie's Wax Museum: Your kids will be thrilled to see life-like wax statues of their favourite celebrities at this museum. From Harry Potter to Lionel Messi, this museum has it all!
  • Green Valley: This beautiful valley is a great place for kids to connect with nature. The lush greenery and the occasional sighting of animals make it a fun and exciting experience for kids.

Activities for Children in Shimla

Apart from visiting these kid-friendly tourist spots, there are plenty of activities in Shimla that your kids will enjoy.

  • Toy Train Ride: The Kalka-Shimla toy train ride is a must-do for kids. The journey offers breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys, and the experience of riding on a toy train is something your kids will remember forever.
  • Ice Skating: If you're visiting Shimla in winter, don't miss out on ice skating. The ice skating rink in Shimla is one of the oldest in India and is a favourite among kids.
  • Trekking: Shimla offers several kid-friendly trekking trails. Trekking is a great way for kids to stay active and connect with nature.
  • Bird Watching: With its rich biodiversity, Shimla is a great place for bird watching. Kids will enjoy spotting and identifying different species of birds.
  • Picnicking: There are several beautiful spots in and around Shimla that are perfect for a family picnic. Pack a lunch and spend a day in the outdoors, enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery.
  • Ice Skating: If you're visiting Shimla in winter, don't miss out on ice skating. The ice skating rink in Shimla is one of the oldest in India and is a favourite among kids.
  • Trekking: Shimla offers several kid-friendly trekking trails. Trekking is a great way for kids to stay active and connect with nature.
  • Bird Watching: With its rich biodiversity, Shimla is a great place for bird watching. Kids will enjoy spotting and identifying different species of birds.
  • Picnicking: There are several beautiful spots in and around Shimla that are perfect for a family picnic. Pack a lunch and spend a day in the outdoors, enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery.

Planning Your Shimla Visit

Planning a trip can be as exciting as the trip itself. But when it comes to a place like Shimla, where there's so much to see and do, it can also be a bit overwhelming. Don't worry, we've got you covered!

To help you plan your perfect Shimla getaway, we've found some of the best travel platforms in India that offer a variety of Shimla tour packages. These platforms can help you save time, money, and stress, allowing you to focus on enjoying your trip. Whether you're looking for a budget-friendly trip or a luxury vacation, these options have something for everyone. Check out the table below to see what each platform has to offer:

Travel Platform Offers & Features Starting Price offers a variety of Shimla tour packages that include Volvo travel, accommodation, sightseeing, and meals. They have packages suitable for every budget, and you can get up to 30% off on Shimla holiday packages. ₹7,599 MakeMyTrip provides over 100 tour packages to Shimla with unbeatable deals and discounts. Their packages include a variety of experiential tours and activities that cover the main Shimla sightseeing points. ₹8,971 EaseMyTrip allows you to book your Shimla holiday packages online at the best price. They offer exclusive deals on Shimla tour packages, helping you save more on your trip. Contact for Price

How to Plan a Day Trip to Shimla

A day trip to Shimla can be a whirlwind of fun and excitement.

Here's a suggested itinerary to make the most of your day:

  • Morning: Start your day early with a visit to the Jakhu Temple. It's a bit of a climb, but the panoramic views of the sunrise over the mountains are worth it.
  • Late Morning: Head to the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Explore the beautiful architecture and learn about its rich history.
  • Afternoon: Visit the bustling Mall Road for lunch. After lunch, you can explore the shops and buy some souvenirs.
  • Late Afternoon: Spend some time at The Ridge, enjoying the views and the lively atmosphere.
  • Evening: End your day with a leisurely walk on Shimla's famous Scandal Point and enjoy a beautiful sunset.

Remember, this is just a suggested itinerary. Feel free to mix and match based on your interests and energy levels!

Is 2 Days Enough for Shimla?

Two days in Shimla can give you a good taste of what the city has to offer. You can explore the major attractions, indulge in some shopping and food tasting, and even have some time for leisurely walks and relaxation. However, if you want to explore the city more thoroughly, including its outskirts and indulge in activities like trekking or camping, you might want to consider staying for a few more days.

Can Shimla be Covered in 1 Day?

While it's possible to cover the major attractions of Shimla in one day, it would be a bit rushed. Shimla is a place to relax, soak in the beauty of nature, and enjoy the slow pace of hill station life. If you only have one day, you can follow the day trip itinerary suggested above. However, to truly experience all that Shimla has to offer, it's recommended to spend at least two to three days. Remember, the best travel experiences are often about the journey, not just the destination. So take your time, soak in the beauty of Shimla, and create memories that will last a lifetime!


As we come to the end of our journey through this article, let's take a moment to reflect on the enchanting allure of Shimla, the Queen of Hills.

Recap of What Shimla Offers

Shimla, with its colonial charm, panoramic views, and vibrant culture, offers an experience that's hard to match. From the bustling Mall Road to the serene Jakhu Temple, from the historic Indian Institute of Advanced Study to the thrilling adventure activities, Shimla has something for everyone. Whether you're a history buff, an adventure junkie, a culture enthusiast, or just someone looking for a peaceful retreat, Shimla won't disappoint you.

Final Thoughts and Encouragement for the Trip

We've put in a lot of effort to bring you this comprehensive guide, hoping to make your Shimla trip planning as smooth as possible. But remember, no amount of reading can match the experience of actually being there, feeling the cool mountain breeze on your face, hearing the rustle of leaves under your feet, and soaking in the breathtaking views. So, go ahead and take the plunge. Plan that trip to Shimla. We promise, it will be an experience you'll cherish for a lifetime.

And remember, travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. So pack your bags, tie your laces, and set off on your Shimla adventure. Happy travels!

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Shuaib Azam
Shuaib is a Marketing & Growth lead at Hubble. When he isn't working on growth initiatives, Shuaib writes fiction and doodles space monkeys.

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