By Air: Shimla doesn't enjoy the distinction of being a destination to fly to. But, in the case that you would like to skip a long trip, your only option is to fly to Shimla Domestic Airport - a small airport, in Jubbarhatti (22km away) that has limited flights, specifically to Chandigarh and Delhi. From here, you will have to hire a cab, rent a car, or hop onto a bus to your destination.
By Road: A smart, yet courageous decision, a road trip to Shimla will definitely be a thing of wonder. The sights, sounds, smells and most importantly - food, will leave you and your posse more than happy. The closest major cities are Delhi (7 hours), Chandigarh (4 hours) and Dehradun (6 hours); from here you can book bus tickets, or rent a car and head out on your own.
By Rail: The Shimla Railway Station is just 1km from the city centre. Regular trains to Kalka (a 3 hour drive away from Shimla) are available from Delhi and Chandigarh. From here, you can take a cab or a bus to Shimla. Another option is to take a toy train from Kalka to Shimla and experience the beauty of the hills. Though the journey is a bit longer (around 5 hours), it's the experience that people go for.
When To Visit?
Set on a mountain range, Shimla is wonderfully cool - a perfect combination for a summer getaway. Head to Shimla during the months of March-June for the best experience. Even adventure opportunities such as paragliding, trekking, etc. open up during these months.
How To Get Around In Shimla?
Local buses and taxis are the most feasible way of getting around while you're here as you won't find autorickshaws in the region. However, walking is probably the best way to explore this charming destination.
What Are The Attractions & Things To Do?
Shimla remains a laidback town even after years of tourist immigration and urban development. A few important sites to see, and a lot of free beautiful space to walk around - sculpted gardens, long avenues that overlook the mountain ranges, hills on either side flush with India's famous alpine forests, snow falling from above - Shimla is calm, pleasant and simple. Regardless, the suggestions below are some of the few sights to enjoy and places to visit, you will find opportunities all around to enjoy Shimla's natural beauty - ski trips, bike rides, camping, hiking, mountaineering, birdwatching and more.
Chadwick Falls: the Chadwick Falls are located within the Glen Forest (a must), 7km from Shimla. Fed by India's monsoon, this waterfall is surrounded by thick deodar trees and vines that make up the mountain region's plush forests. A perfect picnic spot, find yourself cleansed in front of Mother Nature's wild and pristine beauty.
Jakhu Temple: An ancient temple dedicated to the Lord Hanuman, the Jakhu (or Jakhoo) Temple is situated 3km from Shimla, overlooking the Shivalik Range. Its claim to fame is that it holds the world?s largest Hanuman statue - 108ft.
Jubbal Palace: Initially the site for a Victorian-style palace (subsequently demolished), the Jubbal Palace was built in 1938 by Raja Rana Bhagat Chandra. Now famous for its Indo-Chinese architecture, and location - rolling hills, tall pines and landscaped gardens all around, the palace is worth the visit. Furthermore, it has been the location for some of Bollywood's most iconic scenes.
Dorje Drak Monastery: A Tibetan monastery, the Dorje Drak was built in Shimla in order to replace the original, that was destroyed post the Battle of Chamdo. It is the seat of the throne holder of the monastery's traditions and ways. 8km from Shimla, the beauteous and regal architecture goes hand in hand with the calm ambience of the place.
Viceregal Lodge: Now known as Rashtrapati Niwas, this erstwhile residence of the Viceroy of India is currently used by the Indian Institute of Advance Studies. Partly a museum - with articles and artifacts dating to the time of the British Raj - the edifice is surrounded by beautiful open gardens. A day visit is worth your while.
Things to do
Mall Road: Located below the Shimla Ridge, the Mall Road is a remnant of the British Raj. Now the commercial backbone of Shimla, Mall Road is flush with shops of all kinds, restaurants, bars and cafes. A dedicated day outing shopping and seeing the sights - the Scandal Point and Gaiety Theatre to name a few - will definitely be fun, pleasant and fulfilling.
Shimla Ridge: The core of Shimla, in the heart of the city centre lies Shimla Ridge. It remains the focal point from which every other aspect of Shimla flows (including, and most importantly, its water supply). The ridge is home to most - if not all - of Shimla's annual festivals, and some of Shimla's famous gothic architecture - the Christ Church.
Himachal State Museum: Adapted into a museum from a dilapidated victorian household, the Himachal State Museum houses a variety of archeological, ethnological and historical artifacts reflective not only of the local history, but the legacy of all of India.