A century ago the British selected Shimla as their summer capital, using it as a retreat from the blistering heat of the plains. Called the “abode of the high and mighty” it is spectacularly set at 2,154 metres with the snow-capped Himalaya as a backdrop and with beautiful promenades, graceful colonial buildings, wooded ravines and evergreen forests.
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Top things to do in Shimla
Highlights of Shimla
Visit the key sites of Shimla including the Jakhu Temple, the Viceregal Lodge, botanical gardens, and the Mall. Dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman, Jakhu Temple is at an altitude of 2,455m, and is reached by either a 45-minute walk from Scandal Corner or by driving directly to the temple itself. From the temple, there are fine views over Shimla, the surrounding valleys, and the snow-capped peaks to the north. The Viceregal Lodge, finished in 1888, was formerly the residence of the British viceroy Lord Dufferin, and the summer seat of British government in India until the 1940s. Located here are magnificently kept lawns and botanical gardens. Finish off the tour with a stroll down the Mall, where you will find rows of colonial half-timbered buildings and curiosity shops.
To the Creative Corners of Shimla
With its snow-capped peaks and steep forested hillsides, Shimla's natural beauty has inspired many writers, painters and other artisans for centuries. Explore the creative hub of Shimla which includes writers' bungalows, galleries and the former residence of Rudyard Kipling. You can also see the works of the renowned Indian artist and sculptor Sanat Chatterjee, who has left an extraordinary and beautiful legacy of watercolours and paintings on silk.
Toy train journey from Shimla to Solan
The narrow gauge railway from Kalka to Shimla, completed in 1903, is considered one of the finest engineering feats in India. A journey along this track on the 'toy train' is one of the best ways to experience the beautiful Himalayan scenery that the Shimla area is famous for. Lush green valleys and snow-covered mountains can be viewed from the windows of this delightful train on the 2.5-hour journey to Solan. For those seeking a more active adventure, hop on the toy train at Shimla and alight at Taradevi station. From here you can enjoy a 2-hour trek through the magnificent cedars up to Tara Devi temple. The temple offers serene surroundings and a breathtaking view of low-lying hills in the distance.
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