Shimla is the capital of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh situated in the Himalayan foothills.
The second-best honeymoon hill station in Himachal just next to Manali is Shimla.
This beautiful hill station in the Himachal Pradesh state of India attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists throughout the year.
But, is it really worth visiting Manali?
Yes, Shimla is worth the visit, if you are traveling with your family, friends, or loved ones just for the sake of spending some leisure time.
Basically, if you are looking for historical monument sightseeing then Shimla is the best to visit.
Although, nature and sightseeing of the hills are just ok in Shimla. And, along with those it has now become a concrete jungle.
In fact, the other hill stations near Shimla like Manali, Mashobra, Shogi, Kasauli, etc. are much better than Shimla.
This is the straight forward answer provided above. And, Yes! That’s not all.
- The Big Question: Is Shimla Worth Visiting?
- Which is the best time to visit Shimla? An Overview
- How many days in Shimla?
- What is Shimla like?
- Why should you visit Shimla? 9 interesting reasons to visit Shimla
- #1. Get on the Kalka-Shimla Toy Train ride
- #2. Shimla is the hiker’s delight
- #3. It is one of the coolest places to visit in the summer
- #4. Shimla is the best place to take a walk amidst nature through the pine forests
- #5. Ice-Skating in Asia’s only open-air ice-skating rink
- #6. Shimla is also home to the various well-known temples of Himachal Pradesh
- #7. Gaze at the history of British Colonial Era
- #8. There are so many adventure activities to do in Shimla
- #9. Presence of this popular tourist places
- Conclusion: Is Shimla worth visiting?
Here in this post, we will cover more about Shimla and why it is really worth visiting?
We won’t cover them all but, we will cover a lot about something that others haven’t covered a lot.
So, without any further ado go, keep reading…
The Big Question: Is Shimla Worth Visiting?
So, you’re asking yourself, “Is Shimla worth visiting?” then it’s probable that you are planning a trip to Himachal Pradesh in North India.
By doing a little Google search, you’ll come across a lot of forum and blog posts suggesting that Shimla is not that much worth to see.
You have got some other popular hill stations like Manali, Dharamshala, Dalhousie, Kasol, Kasauli, Mashobra, Chamba, etc. if your main priority is just natural sightseeing.
Yeah, that’s true! Shimla hill station of India was once a charming place. But now it’s a more concrete jungle with Traffic jams, garbage, and what not.
But, if you’re exploring North India, then it’s worth dedicating some time to visit Shimla the capital of Himachal Pradesh or else you will miss a lot.
Although, there’s a lot to do in Shimla but, I would recommend spending time inside the city only in the off-season, not in peak time of the year.
You won’t enjoy at all in peak season, there is just too much traffic and tourist flow from nearby places. It’s a lot crowded during peak time with not so much worth the trip.
Instead head to places like Kufri, Fagu, Narkanda, Hatu Peak, Naldehra Golf course, GiriGanga near Kharapathar, Tattapani springs, etc.
All of these are about 1 hour to 4 hours drive away from Shimla. These places are crowd-free and worth the visit.
Which is the best time to visit Shimla? An Overview
If we see from the comfort point of view then, Shimla being the queen of all hill stations is characterized by mild summers, freezing winters, and distinct monsoons.
So, what’s the catch? The weather remains too comfortable almost throughout the year. And, any time of the year is best to visit.
What’s the best time to visit Shimla?
|March-June||Summer & Spring||(Peak-Season) It’s the very best time to visit Shimla.|
|July-September||Monsoon||(Off-Season) It’s the worst time to visit Shimla.|
|November-January||Winter||(Peak-Season) It’s also the very best time to visit Shimla.|
- Summer & Spring: Although Shimla can be visited at any time of the year but, March to June is the overall very best time to visit Shimla. The weather during the daytime is pleasant and the nights remain pretty cool and breezy.
- Monsoon: The monsoons which fall between July to September receive heavy rainfall and are not quite the right time for tourism. It’s the very off-season to visit Shimla and during this time of the year, the hotels/resorts rate falls a lot as compared to the other seasons.
- Winter: The weather during the winter-time from November to February is suitable for experiencing the snowfall, snow-activities, and exploring the snow-covered surroundings.
So, the final answer is that the months from March to June is the very best time to visit Shimla. Whereas, November to February is an ideal time to experience the snowfall in Shimla.
How many days in Shimla?
It is best suggested for a 2-3 days trip to perfectly tour Shimla. I honestly think that 2 days is the average amount of time required to explore this hill station.
For example, with one day in Shimla, you’ll still have a lot of sites to see and neighborhoods to explore. So, always visit Shimla with a 2-3 days itinerary.
Follow this best itinerary, if you want to complete your Shima trip within the suggested 2-3 days trip.
You can plan the itinerary as follows:
- Day 1: Go for Kufri sightseeing. Kufri is located just 14 km from Shimla. You’ll require one whole day to visit Kufri which includes the Kufri Village, Apple Garden, Kufri Zoo, and do some fun activities like zip-lining, reverse bungee jumping, and many more.
- Day 2: Dedicate this day fully to Shimla sightseeing. Visit every local sightseeing point like the Ridge, the Christ Church, the Mall Road, Jakhu Temple, Sankat Mochan Temple, and The Advanced Institute. Spend the rest of the day shopping and going for the evening leisure walk around the streets of Shimla.
- Day 3: On day 3, you can visit Narkanda to experience the snow. Narkanda is a town and a nagar panchayat in Shimla district. You can also take a walk to the Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex, just 1 km away from the Old Shimla Bus Stand. Once you’re done, you can also trek to the lush green Jakhu Hill to relish the breathtaking views of the city and get amazed by the huge iconic statue of Lord Hanuman situated there.
During the winter season, one can easily find snow in Shimla and Kufri so it’s not mandatory to go anywhere outside Shimla to experience the snowfall.
What is Shimla like?
Shimla is one of the most popular hill destinations of Himachal Pradesh. There’s a lot more to know about Shimla and these will eventually help your make your decisions of traveling to Shimla wisely.
What is Shimla like? Here’re the things you must know:
- Shimla is the major hub of Himachal Pradesh. It is the largest and capital city of the Himachal Pradesh state having a population of 171,640 people on the total area of 35 sq. km, located in the Shimla district.
- The beautiful hills and mystical woods of Shimla has a very rich colonial history. British made Shimla their summer capital in 1864 and used to rule India from here whenever the temperature rose in the nearby plains.
- The second-best honeymoon hill station in Himachal just next to Manali is Shimla. It is also included in the list of the top honeymoon places in India. It’s all because of the climate and picturesque green hills and snowy peaks that make it a favorite destination for the couples.
- Shimla is also one of the important political centers of Himachal Pradesh.
- Shimla is also home to a number of buildings that are styled in the Tudorbethan of the United Kingdom and the neo-Gothic architectures dating from the British colonial era, as well as multiple temples and churches.
- Shimla is also the major hub of the various educational institutions with a number of colleges and research institutions in Himachal Pradesh.
- Shimla hill station is located on seven different hills namely Inverarm hill, Bantony hill, Elysium hill, Observatory hills, Prospect hill, Summer hill, and Jakhu hill. The highest point in Shimla is the Jakhu hill.
So, that’s what Shimla is like.
Being situated at the base of the lower Himalayas it is a very breathing destination.
Every year, Shimla attracts lakhs of tourists to its fantastical world of colonial architecture and beautiful hills.
Why should you visit Shimla? 9 interesting reasons to visit Shimla
Why you should visit Shimla?
It is one of the premier places in Himachal Pradesh and the whole of North India.
From adventure to sightseeing to the various spiritual temples, it has a lot to explore and show it to the world.
Here are the 9 interesting reasons to visit Shimla. Go through these once before you make any further decision:
#1. Get on the Kalka-Shimla Toy Train ride
Experience the Kalka-Shimla Toy Train ride. This is one of the top things to do if one wants to visit Shimla or already in Shimla.
Traveling from Kalka to Shimla has been made super easy by the Kalka-Shimla toy train facility. This is one of the best facilities to choose for sightseeing.
This Kalka-Shimla railway line is made on a 72.2cm narrow-gauge railway track which passes through the various valleys, mountains, and tunnels of the North-Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
Passing through the various villages and hills, the toy train journey from Kalka to Shimla provides a fascinating view of some of the most outstanding and mesmerizing beauty of North-India.
The best part is that you get to enjoy the beautiful views of the mountains, valleys, landscapes, etc. of the countryside.
Enjoy the adventurous train journey while you pass through the 20 stations, 100+ tunnels, 900+ curves, 960+ bridges to finally reach Shimla.
More than anything else, The Kalka-Shimla Railway link was awarded as the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Mountain Railways of India’ on 8th July 2008.
Kalka-Shimla is recorded in “The Guinness Book of Rail facts & feats” as the greatest narrow gauge engineering in India.
Read more about the Kalka-Shima Toy Train here.
#2. Shimla is the hiker’s delight
Shimla was built on top of a total of seven different hills namely: Inverarm Hill, Observatory Hill, Prospect Hill, Summer Hill, Bantony Hill, Elysium Hill, and Jakhoo Hill.
The highest point in Shimla is the Jakhoo hill, which is at a height of 2,454 metres (8,051 ft).
So, what it tells us? This tells us that Shimla is one of the best places to go for a long, vigorous walk, usually on hilly trails or footpaths in the countryside that too exploring the beauty of the hills, mountains, valleys, and the modernization of the concrete jungle as well.
To hike is to engage in a leisure-like activity on pre-made trails and roads and, Shimla has so many of them to offer you the best of the best experience ever.
Simply, don’t be confused with hiking and trekking. So, at the most basic level, hiking is walking a long-distance while trekking is a multi-day activity. You can plan a hike the day of, but you must plan for months or years for a trek.
So, for anyone visiting Shimla hiking is the best thing to do outdoor.
Some of the famous places to go hiking along with sightseeing are Jakhoo Hill, Scandal Point, Mall Road, the Ridge, explore the other hills of Shimla, etc.
#3. It is one of the coolest places to visit in the summer
Yes! Shimla is one of the coolest places to visit in the summer season. It is one of the coolest places to visit during the summer if you want to get rid of the scorching sun in the plains of India.
Being located at a height of about 7,467 feet above the sea level, Shimla is one of the top places to visit in India during India’s summer season.
Summer in Shimla starts in April end and lasts till June. It is the best time to visit Shimla if you want to enjoy nature sightseeing, get on the toy-train ride, go hiking, and do the various trekking activities.
This is the peak-season and the ideal time when tourists from neighboring towns and states often visit Shimla to escape the scorching heat. It is also a good time for adventure activities like paragliding, hiking, camping, trekking, etc.
The temperature during this time of the year is not so high as compared to the other parts of India. The weather remains pleasurable during the day and cold during the night.
The temperature ranges between 10°C to 25°C average and the snow can be seen only at very high altitudes like Narkanda and Kufri.
Snow during summers is visible in distant mountains, providing a picturesque view of the surroundings.
#4. Shimla is the best place to take a walk amidst nature through the pine forests
The tall pine trees are the pride of Shimla’s nature. There are many interesting short hikes from Shimla that take you through the pine forests in and around the city
The needles of pines are arranged in a spiral about the stem. Each year, as the branch of a pine tree grows, it produces a whorl of new leaves, called a candle.
And, that’s the beauty of the sigh you will witness while on your walk in through the Pine forests of Shimla.
Walking through some of the beautiful and well-known trails will take you through the pine forests leading you to the Glen, the Summer Hill, the Prospect Hill, and the Kamna Devi Temple.
Shimla is the best place to take a walk amidst nature through the pine forests. And for the couples, it’s the best time to spend some memorable time under the benevolence of nature.
Overall the beauty and the romantic weather make it a never forget thing and once in a lifetime memory. These nature walks are among the best things to do in Shimla for couples.
#5. Ice-Skating in Asia’s only open-air ice-skating rink
Shimla takes pride for being having the largest and the only naturally formed rink found in South Asia.
Ice Skating is a famous sport in the beautiful city of Shimla. Ice-Skating in Asia’s only open-air ice-skating rink is one of the best things to do in Shimla.
The rink attracts thousands of people every year in search of an amazing ice skating experience.
The best time to visit here is during the months of December to February. And, it’s all suitable for the ice skating enthusiasts, outdoor adventure lovers, and couples.
The ice is formed by a special technique that the British taught the Garhwali highlanders.
The thickly forested hillside keeps it shaded and the low temperatures in winters prevent it from melting.
If you are in Shimla, you must definitely give it a try.
#6. Shimla is also home to the various well-known temples of Himachal Pradesh
Shimla hill station not only offers a soulful scenic beauty but also it is rich in various religious places.
Hikers and Trekkers get so many hill temples and spiritual places to enhance the holidays in the hills.
Here’s a list of best temples in Manali that everyone must visit. Check These Out:
|1.||Dhingu Mata Temple||Goddess Durga||Dhingu Hill|
|2.||Jakhu Temple||Lord Hanuman||Atop the Jakhu Hill|
|3.||Tara Devi Temple||Goddess Tara||11 km away from the Shimla Bus Stand|
|4.||Mahu Naag Temple||Lord Karna||Karsog Valley, Shimla-Mandi Highway|
|5.||Sankat Mochan Temple||Lord Hanuman||5 km from Shimla|
|6.||Shiv Mandir||Lord Shiva||Gunj Bazar, Shimla|
|7.||Shoghi Hanuman Temple||Lord Hanuman||Shogi, Shimla|
|8.||Kaali Baari Temple||Goddess Shyama Kali||Jakhu Hill|
#7. Gaze at the history of British Colonial Era
Shimla may have been done-to-death, but it still continues to charm with its British colonial touches. Shimla was the erstwhile summer capital of the British.
This hill station is with a very rich colonial history. British made Shimla their summer capital in 1864 and used to rule India from here whenever the temperature rose in the nearby plains.
The British Officials discovered this hilly station back in the year 1819 and compared its weather and expressed that it’s similar to England. They soon made it a favorite destination for the young British officers.
Soon, after its undertaking by the Britishers, Shimla became famous for hosting the various annual festivals during the summer months.
Next, they had established various residential schools and colleges for upper-class families. By the late 1830s, the city was a hub for theatre goers and art lovers.
It was in 1863 that the Viceroy of India, John Lawrence, decided to shift the summer capital of the British Raj from Calcutta to Shimla.
Soon as a result, the Town Hall was built in the centre of the city that also housed a well-stocked library and the iconic Gaiety Theatre, as well as administration offices.
You can still feel the old glory of Shimla that retains its old-world charm with beautiful colonial architecture, pedestrian-friendly Mall Road, and beautiful churches.
#8. There are so many adventure activities to do in Shimla
Shimla hill station is located amidst the small rivulets, rivers in deep gorges, and the green valleys.
It’s peaceful mountain lakes, snow-clad mountains, and green alpine meadows, all provide a wonderfully wide range of adventure activities to enjoy here.
As a result, Shimla is also famous for its adventure sports activities which thrills & spills.
See these adventure activities in detail:
|NO.||ADVENTURE ACTIVITY||AVERAGE COST PER PERSON||POPULAR LOCATIONS|
|1.||Ice-Skating||₹ 100 per hour per person||Shimla Ice Skating Club|
|4.||Mountain Biking||₹ 500-1,000 per day||Taradevi to Mehli, Mashobra to Sipur to Bekhalti, Shimla to Taradevi, Shimla to Kufri to Theog|
|5.||River-Rafting||₹ 2,000||In Sutlej River from Chabba to Tattapani|
|6.||Camping||₹ 1,500||Shogi, Mashobra|
|7.||Trekking||₹ 4,000||Karol Tibba Trek, Shali Tibba Trek, Hatu Peak Trek, Tara Devi Trek, Summer Hill Trek, Churdhar Trek, Kuppar Bugyal Trek|
#9. Presence of this popular tourist places
Shimla has so much to explore. Whether you are looking for some inner peace or want to have an adventurous backpacking trip, the places to visit in Shimla will never disappoint you.
Being well-known for its snow-clad mountains, rich greenery, and the beautiful lakes in the land of Shimla make it one most visited tourist spots in Himachal Pradesh.
And, these wouldn’t have been possible without the presence of these following well-known places in Shimla. Check these out:
|1.||The Ridge||Rght by the Mall Road||The perfect place for shopping, dining, and nightlife|
|2.||Jakhoo Hill||Jaku, Shimla||The highest point in Shimla|
|3.||Mall Road||6 km from Shimla Bus Stand||There are many hotels, restaurants, clubs, bars, banks, shops, offices, post offices, and tourist offices here.|
|4.||Rashtrapati Niwas||Chaura Maidan, Near Birds Zoo||It houses photographs of moments of interaction between Indian leaders and Britishers|
|5.||Summer Hill||Shimla||One of the most picturesque tourist places in Shimla|
|6.||Christ Church||Lakkar Bazar||An excellent architectural monument built in the British era|
|7.||Shimla State Museum||Chaura Maidan, Shimla||It has a vast collection of ancient sculptures, photographs, artworks, and coins|
|8.||Green Valley||Near Kufri||Most famous photography point in Shimla|
|9.||Kufri||20 km from Shimla||It is known for its tranquil surroundings, breathtaking views|
|10.||Kiala Forest||Kotkhai, Shimla||Best destination for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, and adventure sports lovers|
|11.||Himalayan Bird Park||Chaura Maidan, Shimla||Famous for its exquisite collection of rare plants and trees|
|12.||Johnnie’s Wax Museum||Mall Road, The Mall, Shimla||Himachal Pradesh’s first wax museum|
|13.||Chadwick Waterfall||Summer Hill, Shimla||One of the most striking Shimla Tourist Places|
|14.||Lakkar Bazaar||Lakkar Bazaar Road, Shimla||An old flea marketplace|
|15.||Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex||The Mall, Shimla||One of the oldest complexes in Himachal Pradesh|
|16.||Gorton Castle||Mall Road, Shimla||It is a three storey castle housing 125 rooms of different sizes.|
|17.||Bantony Castle||Kali Bari Road, The Mall, Shimla||Famous for hetitage sightseeing|
|18.||Himalayan Nature Park||Kandaghat-Chail-Kufri Road, Kufri||You can find orchids, primula, balsam, deodar, oaks etc and animals like Musk deer, barking deer, Sambar deer, Hangal Goral etc.|
|19.||St. Michael’s Cathedral Catholic Church||Heritage Building, Ram Bazar, Shimla||A well-known marvel of the Neo-Gothic architecture|
|20.||Annandale||Near Ridge, Shimla||For known for playing sports like racing, cricket, and polo here|
|21.||Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary||NH 22, Chharabra, Mashobra||It’s a hotspot for the nature lovers|
|22.||Naldehra||Durgapur, Naldehra, Shimla||It is known for its 9-hole Golf course.|
Conclusion: Is Shimla worth visiting?
The short answer is “Yes!!!”
Longer answer? Ultimately, we think Shimla is worth visiting if your itinerary is limited to North India has you have already covered the other hill stations of Himachal Pradesh.
For example, if you’re in Himachal Pradesh and have already visited places like Manali, Dharamshala, Dalhousie, Kullu, etc. then it’s all ok to spend a day or two in Shimla to see the very new vistas of this beautiful hill station.
You’ll come away from your trip with a more balanced perspective of this place in your memories and photographs. Obviously, no loss at all.
Have a great time in Himachal Pradesh and Shimla. Good Wishes Ahead!