Flanked by forested hillsides from all directions, it would be apt to say that Shimla is the official summer holiday destination of India. It is the capital city of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, located in northern India. Shimla was declared as the summer capital of British India in 1864. After India gained independence, this city became the capital of Punjab, another northern state of India and was later named the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Due to the surge in the arrival of tourists in the summer season, Shimla becomes a hub of many activities – especially during the month of June. Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation also organises some special events during this month to make it a memorable experience for the tourists. So, let’s talk about the main attractions of Shimla and why you should visit this beautiful hill station during the month of June.
Shimla Summer Festival
It is the most important festival of this hill-station, which is celebrated in the first week of June. It is celebrated to welcome the summer season each year. This festival showcases the rich cultural heritage and history of Himachal Pradesh. The Shimla Administration Officials have been organizing this event since 1960 and each year they add new attractions to it. This festival is organized at the Ridge of Shimla. To cater to people of all age groups, many fun-filled activities are also conducted such as musical performances, family games, live theatre, recitals, fashion shows, talent competitions, magic displays, and cultural programs.
Situated at an altitude of 2,202 meters, Shimla has the subtropical highland climate. While the winter season brings the extremely cold climate in Shimla, it turns into a pleasant weather during the month of June, when the temperature remains between 15°C to 30°C. But, you might have to put on light woolens in the evenings.
Board the Shimla-Kalka Toy Train
Shimla-Kalka Toy Train is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it was built by the British in 1903 to get an easy access to their summer capital Shimla. This train runs for 60 miles through 20 railway stations, 103 tunnels and 864 bridges – the longest tunnel is located near the main railway station at Barog and it is 1.2 km long. Three toy train services run on this track that are named as the Himalayan Queen, the Shivalik Deluxe Express and the Rail Motor Car. It is one of the most scenic train journeys in India, which is endowed with some scintillating views.
Visit Lakkar Bazaar
The famous Lakkar Bazaar of Shimla is located on the eastern side of the Ridge road. Here you can buy the best in local wooden handicrafts. Some of the most popular products which are sold here are wooden toys, trays, pen stands and key rings among others. Hikers also flock to this market to buy wooden walking sticks, which are used for climbing the hilly areas.
Visit Woodville Palace Hotel
Located at a height of around 7000 feet above the sea level, the Woodville Palace Hotel is originally known as the Jubbal Palace. This palace was the residence of the royal family of Jubbal until the year 1977. Spread over 170,000 square feet of land, this palace is complemented by majestic deodar and pine forests. Besides its location, another interesting aspect of this palace is its Indo-Chinese architecture. One can also enjoy a drink or two here at the 1930’s themed Hollywood Bar that has a wall decorated with the signed photographs of the yesteryear Hollywood film stars like Greta Garbo, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Laurel and Hardy, and Katherine Hepburn.
Enjoy Street Food of Shimla
There is a lot of variety of street food in Shimla, as many local shops and stalls serve some mouth-watering local delicacies. One of the most prominent shops is the Bhihari Lal Sharma Stall, which is situated at the Takka Bench above The Ridge. Bhihari Lal was the first fruit chaat seller in the city and he started his shop in 1948. One can enjoy yummy and healthy fruit chaats, served with spicy chutneys. The Verma Tea Stall and Kewal Ka Dhabba, located at Chawda Maidan, serve the delicious butter bun with tea. The Sita Ram and Sons dhaba, located at the Lakkar Bazaar is famous for serving the best channa bhatura in Shimla.
The prismatic hills of Shimla attract many tourists every year. From adventure enthusiasts to common travellers, there is something for everyone in Shimla. Some of the places, which are worth exploring in Shimla are: Arki Fort, Cultural Complex, Observatory Hill, Gaiety Heritage, Viceregal Lodge and Himachal State Museum. On the other hand, some popular tourist places in Shimla are: The Ridge, Jakhu Temple, Christ Church and Hadimba Temple.
Scenic Spots Around Shimla
This place is one of the only two presidential retreats in India, the other one is in Secunderabad. In fact, Mashobra is that hotel, where Lord Mountbatten and Lady Edwina spent some of their last days in India and they were often visited by Jawahar Lal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. This majestic building is surrounded by forests of pine, oak, and cedar trees, which are a part of the Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary. Savour the stunning views of the snow-capped mountains from here and further explore the trekking trails and wildlife of this place.
The Hattu Peak Temple
The Hattu Peak temple is located around 65 km from Shimla. This place is known for offering some breathtaking views of the Himalayan Valley. Interestingly, to reach this place, you have to cover the last stretch on foot, which makes the whole endeavour more interesting. The Hatu temple is a small building which is complemented by a beautiful pond and fabulous architecture.
How to Reach
By Air: Jubarhati is the nearest airport, about 23 kilometres from the town. There are regular flights going from Jubbarhatti to Chandigarh and Delhi.
By Train: The small railway station in Shimla is just 1 kilometer away from the centre of the town and it is connected to Kalka by a narrow gauge rail track. The famous toy train of Shimla runs between Kalka and Shimla, covering a distance of 96 kilometres in about 7 hours. Kalka station is the nearest rail-head, which is connected to Chandigarh and Delhi by regular trains.