Pristine and scintillating natural beauty is not the only gift that Shimla offers to its tourists but this wonderful hill city of north, nestled in the Himalayan Range has many more to offer to its visitors. There are temples on the hillocks, churches and other monuments showcasing architectural marvel, market places to satisfy shopping spree of buyers having all preferences and budgets. Not even the city itself but there are numerous places in the close vicinity of Shimla that visitors of Shimla City would never like to miss out during their Shimla Trip. Shimla has ample opportunities for the tourists in terms of sightseeing, adventure sports and marketing and it is imperative to know about them to get the best out of Shimla Tour.
Monuments and Famous Places in Shimla
Shimla being a city basically built and developed during the British, it has many old monuments and interesting places to visit.
Himachal State Museum & Library
Located about 2.5 km away in the west of Scandal Point, this museum has unique collection of varieties of paintings, coins, sculptures and other historical items. The library within the premise has many important manuscripts and books.
Timing: 10 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Sunday it is closed on Mondays and other public holidays. Entry Fee: Rs. 10 per person, no fee for camera
Photo Art Gallery
Located at Potter’s Hill, this gallery houses have more than 20,000 photographs of the state of Himachal Pradesh. These photographs are taken by Inder Pal, famous photographer.
Location: Potter’s Hill Entry Fee: Rs. 5 and no fee for cameras
Vice Regal Lodge
This six:storied building was once the residence of Viceroy of India Lord Dufferin. It was built in 1888. Landscaped gardens around the lodge still bear the British Style and surround this mansion from three sides. The gardens and the entrance hall are opened to public. Visitors can relax at a coffee shop within the premise and can look at books at a book shop within this lodge. It is also called “The Rashtrapati Niwas”. Guided tours are available here.
Location: The Mall, top of Observatory Hill Timing and Days: All days of the week Entry Fee: Rs. 20 per adult and Rs. 10 for video camera
Known as one of the most important places of Shimla, The Ridge is a large open area located at the center of the Shimla City just close to the Mall. Visitors can enjoy excellent view of the mountains around from The Ridge. Two important buildings, the Christ Church and the Tudor Library are also located at the Ridge. During summer months, Summer Festival is organized here. Celebration of New Year and Christmas is also observed here at the Ridge.
Location: Near The Mall Timing: 8 am to 6 pm How to Reach: No vehicles are allowed so one has to go there walking.
One of the most important places of Shimla with all important landmarks of Shimla, The Mall is the meeting place and the main market place of Shimla. It joins another important road The Ridge at the Scandal Point. A statue of Lal Lajpat Rai is located at the Mall and tourists would also like to visit the oldest theater of Shimla, the Gaitey Theater. This theater is the hub of all types of cultural activities of Shimla.
How to Reach: No vehicles are allowed but HPTDC controlled passenger lift can be availed here.
The Scandal Point
Located on the western part of Shimla City, scandal Point is the meeting point of two important roads of Shimla, the Mall and the Ridge. Scandal Point has its name because it is a point where Bhupinder Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala and the then Viceroy’s daughter met each other in order to elope as they were in love. When the British came to know about it, the king was expelled from Shimla and the place was named as the Scandal Point.
Religious Places in Shimla
Shimla has temple, churches, and monasteries as people of different religions live here. Though the Hindus are the majority but the district and city is inhabited by the Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and Muslims too. Visitors would appreciate the beautiful architecture of these ancient religious structures and at the same time would enjoy mental peace when they visit these places.
Tara Devi Temple
This is very old temple of Shimla located about 11 km from the city. The temple is situated on a hill and has a legend associated with it. When the king of famous Sen Dynasty of West Bengal, Bhupendra Sen visited this place, he had a locket of Tara Maa ted on his upper arm while he was dozing under a tree being tired from hunting. The Goddess came into her dreams and the kind had built a temple in her memory.
Location: On Shimla-Kalka Highway Timing: All days of the week from 7 am to 6:30 pm How to Reach: One can reach this temple by taking buses or private conveyance especially the rail car.
Jakhu Hill Temple
This magnificent temple dedicated to Lord Hanumana is one of the most ancient temples of Shimla. There is a tall statue of Lord Hanuman in this temple that is about 108 ft tall. It is believed that footprint of Lord Hanumana was found in this place. This temple always remains full of monkeys.
Location: Jakhu Hill Timing: 5 am to 12 pm, 4 am to 9 pm Entry Fee: No entry fee How to Reach: Driving up to Jakhu Hill is possible or else one can go to this temple walking.
The Christ Church
The Christ Church is a church built in 19th century. It has witnessed many changes of Shimla City. The church is not only holy place of worship for the Christians but is also a popular tourist place of Shimla. Tourists would regret if they do not visit this wonderful piece of architecture that has five windows with stained glasses. Each of these windows symbolizes virtues like charity, hope, patience, humility, and faith.
Location: The Ridge Shimla Timing: 10:30 am to 5:30 pm from Monday to Saturday Entry Fee: No entry fee How to Reach: One has to reach walking at this church because no vehicles are allowed here.
Dorje Drag Monastery
One of the ancient monasteries of Shimla that showcase popular Tibetan culture, the Dorje Drag Monastery, is visited not only by the Buddhists but people of all religions. You can find monks performing regular rituals of Buddhism and meditating in this serene environment.
Location: Sarasvati Garden Estate, Kusmuti Entry Fee: No entry fee Timing: 10 am to 5 pm
Mata Hatkoi Temple
In this famous temple of Hatkeshwari Mata, the main deity is Devi Durga who gets worshipped as Hatkeshwari. There is a legend associated with this temple. The legend is that a girl who came here to meditate could not be seen anymore when she was middle of her intense meditation. The girl is believed to be the incarnation of Mother Goddess as a stone idol was found in the place where the girl was meditating. This temple gets visited for its beautiful stone architecture and sculptures.
Markets in Shimla
Without visiting markets in Shimla, your Shimla visit remains incomplete. Apart from the Mall, there are other important markets in Shimla.
Mostly famous for wooden craft items and dry fruits, this market is one of the oldest markets of Shimla. The entire place is very congested with many lanes and by:lanes and numerous shops along these lanes. Woolen items, fruits, fruit based items are famous in this market. One has to walk to this market as no vehicles are allowed here.
This market has shops selling huge array of products. Ranging from varieties woolen items like scarves, Himachali topis, sweaters, jackets to embroidered dress materials to decorative pieces and jewelry items, buyers could get everything here. Fresh fruits, essential oils are also found in this market.
The Tibetan Market
Run by the Tibetan Refugees, this market gets visited for its Tibetan specialties like Tibetan carpets, rugs, jackets, accessories of all types, shoes, feng:shui items are found plenty in numbers in this market at reasonable price.
Wildlife in Shimla
Shimla houses sanctuaries and national parks which are must to visit for anyone who is visiting Shimla.
Shimla Water Catchment Sanctuary
This Himalayan Forest has varieties of Himalayan fauna like porcupine, barking deer, flying squirrel, pine marten and others. This place is a wonderful site for the bird watchers as one get to see many types of birds here. Koklass Pheasant is found in great numbers in this forest. In the center of the forest, a man:made water reservoir is present that is main supply of water to the people of Shimla. It is better to visit this place along with trained guides.
Entry Fee: Rs 50 per person and Rs. 200 per car Timing: Opened on all days except Monday. It is opened from 8 am to 6 pm.
Located on the national Highway, Kurfi has a famous zoo where rare animal species can be seen. Birds like Himalayan Monal, rare antelopes and various other types of wild life can be watched here.