Breathtaking and enchanting lakes, snow-peaked mountains, greenery all around, and pleasant climate are the key elements that define the overall beauty of Shimla. Popular as Queen of Hills, Shimla is one of the most preferred travel destinations that matches with the theme of holidays one is looking for like if you are a newlywed-couple then plan your honeymoon amidst the mountains and similarly if you are a nature lover you can select this city for your vacation as this beautiful hill city never disheartens its tourists and appeal them with their endearing beauty. Shimla is teeming with oodles of tourist destinations nestled in and around the city and some of the most popular ones are listed below.
Tara Devi Temple In Shimla
One of the famous tourist place of Shimla situated about 11 kilometers away from the city. The temple can be found on the way of Kalka, Shimla’s national Highway. The temple is placed at the top of a hill, named Tara Devi Mountain and between the mountains Shoghi and Shimla. The whole scene is filled with green environ and splendid beauty. The devotees and tourist will surely enjoy the pleasant and serene atmosphere around the temple.
The view of the Tara Devi temple and landscape from the hillock gives breathtaking experience. The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Tara Devi, one of the ten personifications of the goddess Parvati. She is the wife of the Lord Shiva. The temple was established about 250years ago. The height of the temple is around 1,851 meters. It is best example of spiritual and traditional value. According to great Hindu Epic “Ramayana”, Tara is mentioned as the name of Bali, The king of Monkeys.
The interesting story of this temple is that the statue of Tara Devi is brought from West Bengal to Himachal Pradesh. The legend portrays that King of Sen, Dynasty of Bengal, had a peculiar habit of carrying “personal family idol” in his arms wherever he goes. Once he had to visit Himachal Pradesh, while he was hunting in a dense forest of Juggar, he was blessed with a vision of Goddess and Lord Hanuman, a Monkey requesting the king to arrange for a place for public worship and to seek for blessings. Motivated by the dream, he built a beautiful temple with the statue craved of wood, belonging to the tradition of Vaishnav.
The following generation of the great king Raja Bhupendra renewed and improved the architecture. The statue of Ashtadhatu, which is seen today, was authorized by Raja Balbir Sen. It is strongly believed the being in the top the mountain, the goddess controls, protects, and blesses all the good being in the universe. It is an ideal tourist place to spend the vacation, because for its tranquil atmosphere, beautiful sceneries of Himalayas, pleasant climate, clean and unpolluted air makes the vacation worthwhile. Especially for the lovers of snow and hill’s, this is the place for their trip. Traveling to the temple is quite easy and accessible from the Shimla bus stand.
Summer Hill In Shimla
It is also known as the Potter’s hills with abundant vegetation and numerous old-fashioned houses decorating the hill side. This small hill is a perfect place for its natural beauty. The serene beauty of the hill will put any disturbed mind to peace. Summer Hill is situated at an altitude of 2183 meters above the sea level. It is quite place and would give an absolute peace of mind. Mahatma Gandhi had stayed in Summer Hills during his visit to Shimla. Since then this tourist spot has been deeply associated with Gandhiji. This gives an idea on how suitable this place is for a vacation when Gandhiji himself had chosen to stay here. He stayed at the residence of Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, whose mansion the Georgian House is an example for exemplary architecture.
The temperature of the Summer Hill is extremely pleasant. The minimum temperature reads 10 degree Celsius and the maximum is 26 degree Celsius. Winters are very cold and freezing, leaving streets unattended by people. The climate here never goes beyond 26 degrees thus leaving the place not so humid even during the summers. The view of the mountains from the hill is splendid and holds lush green flora, with snow covering the mountain terrains. Popular destinations in the Summer Hills include Indian (1965) inside the Viceregal Lodge. Viceregal Lodge itself is a tourist spot which was constructed in 1884-88. The hill station also lies on the Kalka-Shimla Railway line, which was settled by British and is located in the foothills of Himalayas.
The Mall Road In Shimla
The mall is the main street of the city and referred to as the “Heart of Shimla”. The Mall is sprawled till vice regal lodge, (Indian Institute of Advanced Study) in the west and Barnes court, “Chota Shimla” (Small Shimla) in the east. The mall looks stunning in the evening with the blend of glittering lights and crowds. The Shops in The Mall is stretched into two long rows and road in center, they shops are found close to each other. Most of the important hotels, restaurants, amusements centers, leisure time activities, Gaiety and heritage theatres, which appeal the tourist for its cultural activities, large number of shops, especially the colonial architectures are available in the Mall Road. The restaurant are found with the variety of Cuisines right from south Indian to Chinese and continental, and also fast foods and Dhabas famous for Punjabi foods.
The Mall is filled with lots of showrooms, boutiques, emporiums which have lovely woollen clothes like shawls, scarf’s, handkerchief, bed spreads, handicrafts, pottery items jewelleries, delicate wooden articles with a perfection of antiques, artifacts, books, etc. The Mall was established during the British regime with adequate safety measures that the road and traffic is not affected. Tourist will not be disturbed by any traffic problem and they will enjoy this environment for its bustling sounds and pleasant natural beauty around the mall. The other notable sites near the Mall are the Tibetian and Lakkar Bazar, Christ Church, Scandal point, general post office, and kali Bari temple, which has a huge wooden idol of the goddess Kali.
From the Scandal point, one can view the scenic beauty of valleys, mountain peaks. The Christ church is the second oldest church in India and regarded as an exquisite monument of the British architecture in its colonial rule. The post office constructed out of wood and they are using Tonga mail delivery.
Christ Church In Shimla
The Christ Church in Shimla is considered to be the second oldest church in northern India. It is a well known tourist spot in Shimla. The church is situated in the Mall road. This yellow building is perceptible around the environs of the city. The Christ church is one of the lasting heritages of the “British Raj”. The architecture of the church was designed by Colonel JT Boileau in the year1844. However, the church was sanctified only after 1857. The church is filled with neo-gothic elements. The biggest tuning of “pipe organs” is placed in right side of the tabernacle. It was put up in the year 1899 and renewed with fine tuning in 1932.
The Christ church is attracted for its long tower with adorned clock on its front wall, which was contributed by Colonel Dumbleton in 1860. The beautiful porch was adjoined in 1873. Christ church is maintained with good care and its still remaining as an elegant architecture. The interior of church is very simple and stylish. There are two huge arches to separating the altar. The most striking feature of this church is the gracefully painted glass windows within the building. Notably there are five glass windows and each one representing their own theme. They are virtues of Faith, Humility, Fortitude, Patience, hope and Charity. Earlier there were murals in windows of the church designed by Lockwood Kipling, father of Rudyard Kipling but the sad part is nothing remains today. The church has a wonderful collection of Bible belonging to period of British Rule. They are found Roman Urdu titled as Kitab-e-Muqaddas.
Christ Church marked its 150th year on 9th September 1993. From thereon, the church was filled with special services, yearly celebrations and revivals, seminars, periodical journals and magazines under the passionate guidance of Chaplain Caleb. The most interesting fact is that during Shimla’s 75 years as a summer capital, the church was often visited by the officials and higher authorities for Sunday prayer and later due to the seasonal arrival it was avoided. The church is seen with flood of crowds. It was also regarded as a dividing wall due to the political upheavals in the Indian Subcontinent. For tourists it’s a perfect place to experience such a lovely holy place with a blend of harmonious nature
Wildflower Hall In Shimla
It is found in the middle of evergreen forest with a wonderful scenic atmosphere. The resort spreads about 22 acres, placed in Virgin woods of cedar and Pine. This resort is masterpiece of colonial heritage. This massive building was the residence of the Lord Kitchener. It was renewed into a magnificent and grand structure wrapped with its striking architecture. They have blended the style of ancient designs along with modern luxuries facilities. This resort is more popular among both the domestic and international tourist. They offer Wildflower hall spa or oberoi spa by banyan, gives a self healing for mind and body. The entire treatment based on Ayurveda, oriental and western therapies. The best place to spend time for the purpose of leisure. The construction was mostly done with wood carving and authentic artwork, which gives an image of classical appeal. The added beauties of the room are hand knotted rugs, royal furnishings and floors made of teak wood.
The most interesting features are out door Jacuzzi, yoga, gym, heated swimming pool, meditation, adventures like horse riding, ice skating during winter, tennis in summer, archery, trekking, mountain biking, white river rafting and golf. The tourist can have a pleasant walk amidst the sweet scented pine forest. The Wildflower hall also arranges transportation, guides and things needed for the tourist’s outdoor activities. The hotel has huge conference hall and can accommodate around ninety people. The guest room features are like in-room safe, facilities for to prepare tea and coffee, satellite television, personal bar, etc. The restaurant has open air view of the mountains; they have traditional Indian Cuisines, Calvary bar with good wine, and cigars, they also have children’s restaurants with special menus.
The wildflower rooms are real retreat for the tourist. The pure air, green atmosphere, spectacular views of the mountain make the holiday trip perfect. Tourist can get the direct flight or Rail from Delhi to Chandigarh or Shimla.
Chadwick Falls In Shimla
Chadwick waterfall was one such beauty that touches people. Waterfall as one would say would bring an essence of freshness in the heart. The cool breezes with a mild sound of the air hitting rocks, the sound of the splashing water, the floral collections of the nature and the dense pathway to reach this splendid place are the wonderful things that can be experienced by one who are visiting the site. The site is located just 7Kms from Shimla to the west of Gaiety Theatre past Summer Hill. Tourists can take a long walk to reach the destination or they can also take local taxis which can be hired by passengers on individual rates.
However most of the tourists hitting the site would prefer to take this 45 minute walk to enjoy the atmosphere and the woods. It is also the best location for photography; a few clicks can really be something that can be stored for a life time. It is situated amidst the dense forests with the water hitting the base rocks from a magnanimous altitude. The flow of the falls is from a height of 1586 meters above the sea level. The waterfall is surrounded by pine and deodar trees, adding beauty to the location. The water fall on the whole gives an essence of refreshment for the tourists who visit the location.
An ideal time to visit the falls is after the monsoon in the month of September. Monsoon would increase the flow of the water in the falls and the speed is definitely much faster than the normal. Water is really cold and is very clear, and the water falling from this great altitude resembles like beautiful sparkles in crystals. Chadwick falls is a gift to tourists from Mother Nature and it also has a handful of ancient temples in the surrounding locality. However the wonderful serene beauty is now lifeless.
Himachal State Museum In Shimla
Apart from the hills, scenic beauty, temples, waterfalls etc. that add to the beauty of the places, Himachal State museum also falls in the list of the tourists reaching Shimla. A visit to Shimla with Himachal State Museum not on the list would not make your site seeing complete. This museum is one among the museums in the nation that preserves ancient valuables and is also of great importance. Located 2.5kms further to the west from the scandal point the museum stands in all its glory and elegance. Scandal point is another major tourist destination in Shimla. The Museum dwells many notable collections of ancient paintings, coins, photos, historical sculptures and other substances.
These stuffs have been widely collected within the state and from different parts of the nation. A library is established within the Museum that contains historical books and manuscripts in a good number. Cultural inheritance is the main message that the museum tries to spread to the people. One of the best collections here is the miniature Pahari paintings, which portrays the lifestyle of the people who make their living in the mountainous terrain.
It also contains Mughal & Rajasthani paintings, temple bronzes, jewelery, textiles, masks, stone-age utensils, extinct animal carvings, ancient timber panels, sculptural artifacts, wood carving gallery and many more. The tourist spot also holds temples and churches, trekking guides, natural sites etc. to hit, while on a visit to Shimla. And the dense woods in the closer vicinity with abundant green resources of pine and deodar trees add beauty to the place. There are few more attractions like Chadwick Falls, Summer Hills, Viceregal Lodge, Christ Church, The Mall etc. that form the major attraction spots of the tourists.
Viceregal Lodge In Shimla
The Viceregal Lodge is located in the vicinity of the Himachal State Museum. It is situated in the western end of the Shimla ridge on the observatory hill and is one of the best structures that Shimla boasts. The edifice is so large that it occupies one whole hill by itself. Tourists can have pleasant walk for 2kms from Himachal State museum to reach this site. The building was erected as a residence for Viceroy Lord Dufferin in the year of 1888. It is now known as the Rashtrapati Niwas. The lodge was designed by Henry Irvine who was working with the colonial government of India as an architect in the Public Works Department sector. The building is a majestic structure in grey shades surrounded by tall pines.
The lodge as it opens in has a wonderful staircase which begins from the right and curls around to reach three floors to the top. The entrance is facing towards the south and has splendid fireplace positioned opposite to it in the hall. The centre of the hall is built with teak panels that separate it from the other space of the hall, and forming the centre area for the other rooms arranged around. Every level of the buildings contains verandas and terraces. While the ones at the lower level link to splendid grounds, the others above give an amazing view of nature.
In 1965, The Indian Institute of Advanced Study was established within the premises. It was Dr. Radha Krishnan, the then President and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who commissioned it. The state drawing room, ball room and dining room were prime attractions before, but now it has been converted into a Library; Viceroy’s office into IIAS Director’s Office and the conference hall into Seminar Hall.