People always like to explore amazing tourist destinations to escape from the busy city life. Among these locations, hill stations are famous and known for their serene beauty and cool atmosphere. One such place that is well-known in India is Shimla. It is one of the most famous tourist places in India. In this article, we will explore the most beautiful and amazing places to visit in Shimla.
Shimla (or Simla) is the capital of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas. It is also called ‘Queen of Hill Stations. The British were so amazed by the beauty of Shimla that they declared it as the summer capital of British India in 1864.
Location, Geography, and Climate
Shimla is situated in the southwestern Himalayan region at an average altitude of 2,206 meters. The closest river, Sutlej, is around 21 km. from Shimla and tributaries of the Yamuna river flow through the city. To the south is the resort town of Manali and to the northeast is Delhi, capital of India, which is around 7 hours’ drive from Shimla.
Being situated at a high altitude, no wonder the climate is cool during winters and moderately cool during summers. The temperatures range from -4 °C to 31 °C during the year. Snowfall usually takes place during January-February. All these favorable climatic conditions make Shimla tourism and sightseeing a travel bucket list.
Amazing places to visit in Shimla
The list of tourist places to visit in Shimla is so huge that you should plan a 4-5 days trip to Shimla!
The Ridge of Shimla
One of the prime tourist places to visit in Shimla, The Ridge road is a large open space located in the center of Shimla. It is the hub of all the cultural activities in Shimla. It connects other important spots in Shimla like the Scandal Point, Lakkar Bazaar, the Mall Road and is significant to the Summer Festival in April or May.
In the Ridge area, a prominent landmark, and an excellent architectural monument – Christ Church – is the most popular tourist spot. This neo-gothic structure was built by the British in 1844 and is the symbolic mark of the British Raj.
Looking forward to a shopping spree in Shimla? No worries! Mall Road is the shopping center of Shimla. Here you can find a lot of stalls, cafés, restaurants, shops, showrooms, ATMs, etc. There are also offices of the municipal corporation, fire, and police services at this location. You can find all the local souvenirs and clothes, pottery items, jewelry from Shimla at Mall Road.
Jakhu (or Jakhoo) Hill is the topmost point in Shimla. Compared to the hustle and bustle of downtown Shimla, this location is serene and attracts tourists for its peaceful ambiance. It is surrounded by Alpine trees and has a big Hanuman statue at the top as well as a Hanuman mandir and the colored Jakhoo temple.
You can reach Jakhu Hill by a 30-minute walk from The Ridge if you prefer to trek (the trek is steep though) or take a ropeway from Mall Road, which is a bit costly. Some taxis go to Jakhu Hill from The Ridge but prefer smaller taxis as the road is narrow. Also, beware of monkeys and keep an eye on your belongings!
Green Valley (Hassan Valley) is another calm and cool tourist place in Shimla. It is surrounded by lush green hills and is a perfect place to get away from the city. This is the best tourist spot, especially for nature lovers.
You can click a lot of amazing pics from this amazing place! There are also a few shops here where you can enjoy some snacks, have a cup of tea while praising the beauty of nature.
Often considered as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Himachal, Kufri is a must-visit tourist location,especially for sports enthusiasts. Besides camping and trekking, here you can enjoy skiing, paragliding, horse riding, ice skating, etc. Note that you will need to visit Kufri during the winter season to enjoy winter sports.
Located at around 12 km. from Shimla, Kufri is a popular picnic spot with a lot of hotels and resorts in the area. Other than sports, attractions like the national park (zoo), amusement park are also present in the area. There is also the tallest peak called Mahasu peak with beautiful views of the valley.
The renowned Christ Church is one of the top places to visit in Shimla. It is a very popular destination for travelers and locals. It is a remarkable monument that was developed in the British era.
Christ Church is an excellent architectural monument and people visit it to serve the Almighty or even just to adore its beauty. In case you want to get a taste of the Christian religion of colonial times, then this is your place to be.
It was elaborated in such an elegant way that it portrays hope, faith, patience, charity, patience, as well as humanity so that people become aware of the rich and elegant Christian culture. In addition, the surroundings of the Church of Christ are also quite pleasant.
Toy Train in Shimla is one of the recommended places to visit for a historic travel experience. Whistling through the woods and pleasing the passengers with spectacular views of the valley and mountains, or snow-clad trees and peaks during the winter season, the distance between Kalka (Haryana) and Shimla is around 96 km (60 miles) and it is a five and half-hour journey.
The Toy Train of Shimla was built in 1903 and is considered one of the best train rides in India. Sometimes called the ‘British Jewel of the Orient’, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. The train covers around 102 tunnels, 864 bridges, and 919 curves. It is recommended to do a booking as the seats often become full.
Himalayan Bird Park
If you are fond of birds, this is a perfect place for you in Shimla. This bird park is home to around 50 bird species, some of them being rare and exotic ones. In addition to peacocks, you will also find here Himalayan Monal which is a native bird to the Himalayan region.
Johnnie’s Wax Museum
This museum is one of the must-visit places in Shimla. This museum is located on the historic Willow Banks property on Mall Road. It has 16 life-size wax figures with icons from Bollywood, Hollywood, and politics side by side, all imported from London.
Mahatma Gandhi’s idol sits right at the entrance with statues of Johnny Depp, James Bond, Robert Downey Jr, Harry Potter, Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, and others completing the museum exhibit. This location provides a somewhat unusual experience for visitors who come to this hill station expecting the regular sightseeing routine.
Tara Devi temple
This is the second famous temple in Shimla after the Jakhu temple and is situated on a peak at 15 km. distance from central Shimla. It is dedicated to the Goddess Tara. This temple offers spectacular views of the valley and mountains and hence is a good place for landscape photography.
Rashtrapati Niwas (Viceregal Lodge)
Formerly known as ‘Viceregal Lodge’, Rashtrapati Niwas is located on the Observatory Hills of Shimla. It was originally built for the British Viceroy in 1888. After the British left independent India, this building was the summer residence for the President of India.
But as the President’s visits were few during the year, it was decided to convert Rashtrapati Niwas to an education building and handed over to the Indian Institute of Advanced Study.
The entire structure is built out of stone and wood with huge windows on many sides. It is bound to impress architecture enthusiasts and gives an antique look from the British era. There is a walkway surrounding the building with plants and trees along the walkway. There is also an inside tour of Rashtrapati Niwas, but cameras are not allowed inside.
One of the perfect tourist spots in Shimla is the Kiala Forest. It is situated in the Kotkhaai Valley and is embellished with rich green vegetation along with a wide range of indigenous animal species. It is considered an ideal place for all nature-loving and wildlife enthusiasts. The forest welcomes a number of travelers every year, from places near to far.
Chadwick Waterfall has situated around 10-12 km. from Shimla and in the beautiful and dense Glen Forest. It is around 90 m in height, and it can be best enjoyed in the monsoon season which sets the stage for some great photographs. You can also trek through the forest, enjoying the cool and calm breeze through the lush green trees.
Shimla State Museum
Located 2.5 km. west of the Scandal Point on the Inverarm Hill, this museum was once the residence of Lord William Beresford around the late 1880s. This building served as a residence for the subsequent British officials – Sir Edwin Collan and then Sir Edward Law.
On January 26, 1974, it was inaugurated as Shimla State Museum or Himachal State Museum to preserve the historic, artistic, and archaeological items of Himachal Pradesh as well as the cultural diversity of India.
This historic masterpiece was a favorite among the British, who used to enjoy various exciting entertainment sports such as running, golf, and horse riding during their rule. Annandale is flat terrain that has now been developed as a Shimla playground for various sports such as golf, cricket, and polo, and is located just 3.5 kilometers from the popular Ridge.
This place is one of the best tourist places to visit in Shimla that about 1,864 meters in altitude, the area is under the authority of the Indian Army. It is covered with beautiful deodar and oak trees and offers one of the best views of the city and its surroundings.
Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated by NH 22 north of Kufri and 12 km. from Shimla, Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary is a boon to photographers and nature lovers. The forest area was declared as a Protective Forest in 1952 and declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1999.
Here you will get to see a lot of different species of birds like Great Himalayan Barbet, Blue Magpie, Himalayan Pied Woodpecker, etc.,and some animals like Indian Red Fox, Jackal, Himalayan Black Bear, Goral, etc.
You can choose to walk or hire a bicycle at the entrance gate. There are also some treehouses, rest houses in the area where you can sit and watch the amazing views of the valley.
One of the busiest bazaars in Shimla, Lakkar Bazaar is the oldest and the most traditional shopping-food street near the Ridge in Shimla. There are a variety of wooden items, decorative showpieces, clothes as well as a variety of Indian snacks and cuisines. It is a nice place to hangout and satisfy your food cravings after all that touring and adventure!
Thus, there are a lot of beautiful places to visit in and around Shimla. It is, indeed, “Queen of Hills” in totality. This journey will include everything – spectacular views of peaks and valleys, calmness and tranquilness of waterfall and nature itself, the joy of riding an amazing train journey via Toy Train, and of course, food and shopping.
The trip to Shimla is bound to rejuvenate your soul in all aspects of your life and it falls under ‘must-visit places in your bucket list of travel destinations.