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Shimla the nostalgia never ends and 10 best things to do there !

Shimla, the nostalgia –

A bunch of youngsters in their 20’s shouting, unapologetic, shrieking, laughing, singing and as the train speedily wind its way through the lower Shivalik foothills, passing though so many tunnels, all eyes were upon the breathtaking views that slowly unfolds before us and gradually the cluttered noises ceases to engulf a complete silence !

It was our study tour to Shimla but looks more like picnic party than anything else. Shimla welcomed us with a surprise shower of rain and the jeep that was assigned to take us to our guesthouse took more time than it was supposed to. On top of it when it got to a complete halt and did not move further we decided to leave the luggage and trekked our way to the destination.

It was not that easy as we assumed it before but slowly as we trekked to higher slopes, fighting the pangs of hunger, the untimely drizzle and mist covered mountains, it was definitely you would not expect on your first visit to Shimla.

But Shimla was not new to me, even though I had not visited it before but somehow I always felt I belong to that place. Its mesmerizing beauty, the charm of bygone era, the sepia tone photographs of my family album, kept alluring me all the times, my mom’s horse riding photos, dressed in traditional pahari attire and its convents always made me feel special about the place. And as we trekked higher, I tried to correlate the photographic image to the present day, but it never appeared, a lost era that never be the same again.

 

shimla travel

If there is anything,  that is still captivating or charming about Shimla is its beauty, that we witnessed that day, in the fading warmth of gleaming sun the wind uplifts the veil from the snow-capped mountains and the scene before us was truly magical. That day I fell in love again with Shimla.

Our days usually started with treks to the mountains and ends with shopping and eating at Mall road, the heart of Shimla and best place to watch people. As you walked down the road to a vantage point from where you can see the Mall and the Ridge, it will appear to be more European town than an Indian or pahari one, with its neo-Gothic architecture, it is reminiscent of erstwhile British era, arguably the summer capital of British India.

shimla manali

Photo Credits : Kasturi

Shopping : Weekends usually moved at more leisured pace. A trip to nearby picnic spots or window shopping at the famous Tibetan bazaar at Kusumpti, the favourite places to shop for artifacts and souvenirs , where one can find anything fanciful, so much that we never returned empty-handed. The evening stroll across the Mall and Ridge always ended up in a delectable way, thanks to so many of its cafes that tells stories of a bygone era and sometimes an occasional visit to Gaiety theater was both relaxing and enjoyable.

Shimla kali bari, dedicated to goddess Kali or Shyamala after whom the town was named is another prime destination that I always wanted to go. Time just flew through and never realized how the month passed away.

That was pre-mobile and pre-internet era, the Mall looks very different now, with clusters of Internet cafes, plazas, mobile showrooms and modern-day banks with atms, pizzerias, modern style cafes and is more crowded now.

shimla_3_ed

Photo credits : Ashim da

There are many nearby places to go from Shimla, but I would not suggest it to you. If you are going to visit Shimla for the first time, go and do not stay but live there at least for a week. May be a non-touristy and secluded hotel may be your answer, enjoy its charming beauty, spent the afternoons beneath the tall eucalyptus and deodar trees, walk along the whispering woods, or become a bird watcher for a day (home to Himalayan Monal), explore the Tibetan towns, a visit to Dorje Drag Monastery may be. There are endless list of things you can do.

How to reach : Shimla is well connected by air, road and train. The nearest airport is at Jubarhati which is around 23 km from Shimla and is well connected to Chandigarh and Delhi by regular flights .

By road, Chandigarh is only at a distance of 117 km from Shimla, Manali at 260 and Delhi at 340 km. Regular buses both by Himachal Road Transport Corporation as well as by private operators ply daily at specific intervals and timings vary according to the seasons.

Kalka is the nearest rail head, which is connected to Chandigarh and Delhi by regular trains. There is a small railway station roughly about one km from Shimla and is connected to Kalka by narrow gauge rail track. The famous toy train of Shimla ply regularly between Shimla-Kalka covering a distance of 95 km in 7 hours.

However few pointers are –

1) India’s only natural ice skating rink at Circular road, Shimla

2) Mall Road and The Ridge – department stores, cafes, restaurants, jewellery, pottery, Himachal govt emporium etc. Walk up to Scandal point, GPO. The Ridge is also the place where summer festivals are held, a visit to Christ church and the library is must.

3) Shimla Kali Bari

4) Film shooting spots at Green valley, Naldehra golf course, Jakku hill, viceregal lodge and many

5) Shopping at Lakkar bazaar for wooden crafts, and Tibetan markets for Tibetan artifact at Kusumpti , a trip to chaotic Subzi mandi and off course Mall road is there.

6) Festivals of Shimla – Summer festivals in the month of May, Baisakhi in April, Lavi fair, Rhyali festivals are some of the noted ones

7) Bird watching trips or visit to Himalayan bird park opposite to Viceregal lodge.

8) Must ride on heritage Kalka-Shimla toy train.

9) Hot sulphur springs at Tattapani located some 50 km from Shimla

10) Nearby day trips to Kufri , Fagu , Manikaran or Rampur in Bashahr state along the Sutlej valley.

Until next

Sukanya

{This post was sponsored by ClearTrip}

3 Comments

  • Reply
    The shimla
    April 16, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Nice post to read. Thanks for sharing with us. Keep up the great work i’ll be visiting to your blog.

  • Reply
    chandralekha
    May 15, 2013 at 4:42 am

    Nice Post :). U hav beautifully places all the details and images of shimla on ur post.

  • Reply
    iTouristMaps
    April 1, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Beautiful nature and built many centuries ago buildings now cause peace. Beautiful pictures and nice article! Do not hesitate to add map with the location of the city in your next posts.

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