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QUEEN OF HILLS SHIMLA

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''Summer capital of British India for over a century, is distinctive for its variety of architecture''

The elements of nostalgia may be strong but Shimla also has a youthful vigour in its pace. There are many unforgettable walks, day-excursions by the dozen, a variety of convenient shopping and entertainment museums, and ice-skating in winter. Shimla is the base or the unwinding point for numerous exhilarating routes to the state interior. It has one of the rare surviving urban forests, made all the more unique, for its species are temperate to alpine ones in what is otherwise a tropical zone.

LOCATION : About 360kms from Delhi. It is in the state of Himachal Pradesh.

PLACES OF INTEREST : MALL ROAD:
The Mall is the main street in Shimla and shopping centre like in most of the other hill stations in India with an array of restaurants, banks, clubs, and tourist offices. The Gaiety Theatre, which is a replica of an old British theatre is on Mall road and is the centre of cultural activities.

CHURCHES:
Christ Church, St. Andrew and the deconsecrated churches of St. Andrew’s (now, the Evening College) All Saints Chapel near the gates of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study.

JAKHOO HILL:
Located about 2kms, it is one of the highest peaks around and gives a panoramic view of Shimla town. There is an ancient Lord Hanuman temple at the top of the Jakhoo hill, which would be around an hour’s walk from the town.

CHADWICK WATERFALLS:
It is about 7kms from Shimla and just beyond the Summerhill. The waterfalls cascades down in to a deep gorge, from a huge height. Chadwick Falls is best seen just after the monsoon and the falls are very forceful during September. The fall is encircled with thick green wood and looks enchanting in the midst of steep hills of pine and deodar.

SHIMA STATE MUSEUM:
The State Museum lies atop mount pleasant in a house called 'Inverarm'. The State Museum was opened in 1974 and houses houses a huge collection of magnificent paintings, sculptures, coins, handicrafts, photos, etc. of the Himachal Region as well as of other states of India. The Museum timings are 10AM to 5PM on all weekdays except for Mondays and gazetted holidays.

SUMMER HILLS:
This place is perfect for taking a casual and pleasurable walk amidst nature and the greenery and for a splendid view of snow covered mountains. One can also have a joyful ride on the horses' back, through the dense forest region of cedar and oak. Summer hill has a canopy of temperate forests with variety of flora and fauna and it leads to the Chadwick falls.

TARA DEVI TEMPLE:
Located about 11kms from Shimla town on a hill top , it’s a steep drive for the car or one can hike too. It is said Goddess Tara was brought all the way from West Bengal to Himachal Pradesh and as a result temple foundation was laid. The picturesque view from the temple is indeed breath taking and captivating with the superb panorama of the lofty and majestic mountains around.

WOODVILLE PALACE:
The palace is worth seeing. Shooting of bollywood movies Black and Three Idiots took place in this palace which has now turned into a 5 star luxury hotel.

HOW TO REACH : Driving to Shimla is smooth so carrying own conveyance shouldn’t be a trouble.
One can also take a train to Chandigarh and then hop on to a bus or hire a cab to reach Shimla which is approx. two hours journey.
Moreover, there are regular buses for Shimla from Himachal Bhawan, Mandi House and Kahmiri Gate in Delhi.

SHOPPING : Stuff which can be purchased here include handicrafts, shawls and tweeds, fruit juices and jams, honet, woollens, silver jewellery, rare books and etchings. One can also indulge in buying items such as metalware, rugs and carpets, handmade footwear and walking sticks.

STAY : Within and around Shimla, the public and private sector offer an enormous range of accommodation that range from modern to heritage hotels.

TRAVEL TIPS : 1)Be careful in the waterfall areas, as they could be slippery.
2)Woollen clothes during winter and cotton clothes are recommended in summer.


Source / Review By : Shradha Chakravarty

Shradha is a PR professional and an avid traveller

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