25 Best Places to Visit in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh

Photo of 25 Best Places to Visit in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh by Sakshi Nahar Dhariwal

Snow-capped mountains, lush lakes, pleasant greenery, and a pleasant climate can all bring you to one place, Shimla. This beautiful city in Himachal Pradesh called "Queen of Hill Stations" also attracts foreigners. There are icy mountains here and some are nice green in color covered with vegetation. It is the first choice to celebrate newly married couples' honeymoon in India.

The climate here is so exhilarating and magical that this place takes all your worries away once you get here. Shimla has a long list of attractive and famous places. It wouldn't be wrong to say that Shimla is one of India's most popular travel destinations. Shimla can be visited at any time of the year, it is beautiful at any time of the year.

Must Read: great himalayan national park

The beauty of Shimla was also famous during British rule. Its beauty also attracted them, and so they declared it the summer capital at that time. The British lived there, the evidence of this can still be found today in the great buildings that were built by the British, which is the main part of tourism today. The city of Shimla was rebuilt in 1972 and made into a district.

Places to visit in Shimla:

The places to visit in Shimla in the central part of the town can be best enjoyed on foot (vehicles are generally barred here) and of course nobody can detach adventure from any Shimla itinerary. Here's a 3- day itinerary to help you explore Shimla and the nearby towns of Kufri and Chail to make it a memorable summertime escape for you.

How to get to Shimla?

Shimla is well connected to neighboring places like New Delhi and Chandigarh through national highways. The journey from Delhi to Shimla by road takes approximately 10 hours. A lot of Volvo sleeper buses ply on Delhi-Shimla route and most of them are an overnight journey to Shimla. The nearest railway station that connects to Shimla is Kalka which is about 96 kms/ 6 hours away from Shimla and an overnight journey from Delhi. Kalka-Shimla railway is a well-known route and is in itself one of the top things to do in Shimla.

Also, frequency of trains on the Kalka-Shimla route is decent i.e. around 4 round-trips daily. You can easily hire a taxi with a local tour company or a local taxi driver for all your travel plans for the places to visit in Shimla and around it. State/local government as well as private buses that well connect Shimla to nearby places could also be taken and you can walk to nearby places.

Must-visit Shimla Tourist Places

My, oh, my, Shimla, the place where you get to experience the Himalayas in all its enigmatic glory! Evergreen forests, rolling valleys, breathtaking lakes, pleasant climate, and colonial ambiance, all come together to lend this hill station a charm of its own. With a varied range of attractions – natural splendors as well as man-made wonders – the place truly lives up to its reputation. But there’s a downside to it. When you plan to visit this erstwhile summer capital of British India, you will have a tough time finalizing the list of places to visit.

Worry not and read on! In this blog, we give you a rundown of the must-visit places in the region that will never fail you entice you, whether you are a family holidaymaker, a honeymooner or a solo traveler. So, on your mark and get set, because it’s time to pack your bags and gear up for an exciting trip to Shimla, one of the most visited

1. The Ridge, Shimla

The Ridge may well be defined as the heart of Shimla in terms of location and tourist attractions. This Shimla tourist spot is actually a wide-open street that runs along the Mall Road from east to west and connects it to the famous Scandal Point. What makes it such a popular destination is that it offers gorgeous views of the snow-capped mountain ranges that rise against the blue sky to border this paradise of a destination.

The place is dotted with long-standing British establishments that beckon visitors to indulge in feel-good shopping and binge-eating. Lined with boutiques, bars, restaurants, cafes, and shops, the Ridge serves as the social hub in the region. Remember, this place is among the most photographed parts of the city, thanks to its rich natural beauty and the Gothic structures that define its exquisiteness.

Timings: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm; every day

2. Jakhu Hill and Temple, Shimla

Rishu Bhosale

Photo of Jakhu Hill, Shimla by Sakshi Nahar Dhariwal

Covered in a blanket of alpine trees, Jakhu Hill is the highest point of Shimla and offers scenic views of the snow-covered Shivalik Ranges as well as the sister town of Sanjauli. Situated at a height of 8000 ft. above the sea level, Jakhu Hill is the location of an ancient Hanuman temple that boasts of having the world’s tallest statue (108 ft.) of this Hindu deity. Shrouded in legends and mysteries, it attracts devotees and the tourists alike. If the local legends are to be believed, the temple stands at the very spot where Lord Hanuman had rested for a while during his journey to bring the Sanjeevani Booti for Lakshman’s revival during the war of Lanka.

Timings: 7:00 am to 8:00 pm; every day

3. Mall Road, Shimla

Yash Kiran

Photo of Mall Road, Shimla by Sakshi Nahar Dhariwal

When it comes to places to visit in Shimla for couples, you can’t give a miss to the Mall Road. Otherwise, also, the place is a hip and happening location in this hill station and attracts visitors of all ages. With a plethora of cafes, restaurants, showrooms, departmental stores, and shops selling trinkets and exclusive handicraft works, this is one place where you can soak in the spirit of Shimla in all its touristy delights.

From jewelry and books to intricately crafted wooden articles, you can shop for a variety of items here. At the same time, you can explore a number of other attractions in the vicinity, like the Kali Bari Temple, Town Hall, Gaiety Theatre, and Scandal Point. What’s more, since the road is closed to vehicles, taking a stroll here during the evening hours while overlooking the scenic beauty of the hills is a pleasure in itself.

Timings: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm; every day

4. Kalka-Shimla Railway, Shimla

Kumar Chanduga

Photo of Kalka Shimla Railway, Himachal Pradesh by Sakshi Nahar Dhariwal

The Kalka-Shimla train ride is a highpoint of Shimla tourism and for a good reason. Built in 1898, this narrow-gauge railway has recently been added to the mountain railways of India World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Winding through the extremely scenic and mountainous route from the Shivalik Range foothills at Kalka (Haryana) to Shimla, the train ride offers spectacular views of the surrounding hills and villages. On the way, it stops at a number of tourist destinations, like Solan, Dharampur, Summer Hill, Salogra, Taradevi, and Barog, among others. The ride will take you through no less than 864 bridges, 919 curves, and 102 tunnels. The train ride in itself may not count as a ‘place’ to visit in the region, but missing the ride means missing out on some of the splendid sights that Shimla has to offer.

5. Christ Church, Shimla

Dibbendu Koley

Photo of Christ Church, Shimla, Shimla by Sakshi Nahar Dhariwal

One of the prominent landmarks in Shimla, Christ Church is the second oldest church in northern India and boasts of exceptional architectural beauty. It is a remarkable example of the neo-Gothic style of architecture. The historic church is located on the Ridge and traces its origin back to 1857. An enduring legacy of the colonial rulers, the silhouette of this imposing edifice is visible from far away. With stained glass windows, brass church bell, and arresting towers, it presents a picture of matchless beauty. While the church looks majestic during the day, it turns into an enchanting sight when illuminated at night. Moreover, it houses the largest pipe-organ in India. Even if you are planning a quick itinerary of the places to visit in Shimla in 2 days, do not miss out on this splendid attraction.

Timings: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm; every day

6. Green Valley, Shimla

A breath-taking natural dale near Shimla and Kufri, Green Valley stands true to its name. Set against the backdrop of snow-covered mountains and lush green forests of pine and deodar, the valley is carpeted in greenery. Away from the touristy crowd, the serene Green Valley is where you can witness nature in all its grandeur, which makes it one of the best places to visit in Shimla for honeymoon. Given its pristine beauty, the place also counts the best places the India and has been featured in a number of Hindi movies. Although you can visit Green Valley all year through, the best time to visit it is during the summer months.

7. Indian Institute of Advanced Study

Do you fancy visiting the historic location where the decision to create Pakistan and East Pakistan out of India was taken during the days running up to the country’s independence? Then you must trace your path to the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla. One of the iconic places to visit in Shimla and Manali, the building was initially built as a residence for Lord Dufferin, who served as the Viceroy of India from 1884 to 1888. At that time, it was known as the Viceregal Lodge and the impressive edifice had electricity connection in as early as 1888, which was way before the rest of Shimla came to use electric power in any form. After India gained independence, the place served as the summer retreat of the country’s president and was known as Rashtrapati Niwas before being turned into a center for advanced study and research. The structure draws attention due to its majestic victorian style of architecture and grandeur.

Timings: Tuesday to Sunday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (1st July to 30th April)

Tuesday to Sunday: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm (1st May to 30th June)

Closed on Mondays

8. Kali Bari Temple, Shimla

Some temples are known for their religious or historic significance while others draw in visitors due to their architectural beauty. But there are some temples that score high on both counts. The Kali Bari Temple in Shimla is one such place! Believed to have been built in 1845, the temple boasts of architectural beauty as well as religious significance in equal measures. As the name indicates, the temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali and houses a captivating idol of the deity. Located very close to the Mall Road, it is an ideal spot to spend some serene moments connecting with your inner self. An interesting thing to note is that Goddess Kali is known here as Goddess Shyamala and it said that Shimla derived its name from Goddess Shyamala.

Timings: 6:00 am to 7:00 pm; every day

9. Himachal State Museum, Shimla

Located on the Mall Road, the Himachal State Museum (also known as Shimla State Museum) is housed in a colonial mansion. It has a rich collection of miniature paintings, stone sculptures, coins, weapons, armors, dolls, jewelry, handicrafts, and numismatic articles discovered in the valley. All of the articles preserved here serve as remnants of the grand cultural heritage of the state. An assortment of bronze idols collected from various temples spread across the Himalayas is of particular attraction at this place. If you are a history buff, you will find the place a treasure trove of heritage and information.

Timings: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; closed on Mondays

10. Tara Devi Temple, Shimla

Mountain Girl

Photo of Tara Devi Temple, Shimla by Sakshi Nahar Dhariwal

You may or may not be a religious soul, but while in Shimla, you must not miss out on visiting the Tara Devi Temple. Located atop the hill called Tara Parvat, this shrine is believed to be about 250 years old. Goddess Tara, a goddess of the Tibetan Buddhists and one of Goddess Durga’s nine sisters, is the presiding deity here. According to the local belief, the wooden idol installed in the temple was brought from West Bengal. While the temple exudes a serene vibe, what draws tourists to this destination is its fine architecture.

Timings: 7:00 am to 6:30 pm; every day

11. Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex, Shimla

If you are staying near the Mall Road, the Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex is likely to attract your attention when you step out of your hotel. A century-old building, the cultural complex is an imposing structure built in the Victorian style of architecture and was once the most preferred venue for various social meets in Shimla. Though a portion of the original building has been demolished, even today the structure is a grand visual treat. At one point in time, the building had played host to notable performances by personalities like Prithviraj Kapoor, K.L. Sehgal, Rudyard Kipling, etc. Today, the complex comprises an exhibition hall, an art gallery, a multipurpose hall, and an amphitheater. A renowned center of performing arts, it is visited by artists and art enthusiasts from across the world.

Timings: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; Monday to Friday

12. Mashobra, Shimla

Photo of Mashobra, Shimla by Sakshi Nahar Dhariwal

If you are a thrill seeker looking for places to visit in Shimla during December, make sure to include this destination in your itinerary. During the winter season, Mashobra, a small town in Shimla, turns into a paradise for winter game enthusiasts. The lush green expanse is covered with a glistening blanket of snow that becomes an excellent base for skiing. A less crowded destination in the region, Mashobra enchants visitors with a cool ambiance and lots of fun activities, minus the mob. Whether you want to zoom down the slopes on your ski or engage in snow fights with your beloved or build a snowman with your kids, you can have all the fun at this place. There is a wide range of gorgeous looking boutique hotels available in Mashobra. If you want a relaxed vacation, away from the hustle of Shimla, this quaint village is a picturesque getaway.

13. Chadwick Falls, Shimla

Nestled within the Glen Forests, Chadwick Waterfall is one of the most delightful sights that nature has bestowed upon Shimla. The waterfall makes a dive from a height of 86 meters and cascades down a huge gorge. Surrounded by a blanket of greenery formed by the deodar and pine trees, it presents an enticing sight. The best time to visit it is during monsoons (from June to September) when the water level increases and Chadwick seems to take on a life of its own. If you are not daunted by the idea of taking a dip in the cold waters, you can go ahead and splash around.

Timings: 6:00 am to 6:00 pm

14. Annandale, Shimla

Shimla Tourism

Photo of Annadale, Shimla by Sakshi Nahar Dhariwal

Are you up for a round of polo or a game of cricket in a scenic spot? Then you will love exploring Annandale. A flat terrain in the hilly base of Shimla, Annandale has been serving as a playground since the time of the British rulers. Today, the destination is popular for a number of sports, including polo, cricket, and racing. Surrounded by oak and deodar trees, Annandale stands within a deep valley in the western part of Shimla. The place is also known for its splendid beauty and is one of the best places to visit in Shimla in November. While you are here, do not forget to check out the Annandale Army Heritage Museum, which counts among the main attractions of this location.

Timings: 24×7; every day

Army Museum Timings: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm; closed on Mondays

Entry fee: No entry free

15. Himalayan Bird Park

The Himalayan Bird Park is right opposite the Viceregal Lodge and has a small collection of exotic birds you will love. You can spot the Monal pheasant, peafowls, and peacocks in their full glory here. The place is lush green and great to relax in too.

Timings: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, every day

16. Viceregal Lodge

Romeio Paul

Photo of Viceregal Lodge , Shimla, Shimla by Sakshi Nahar Dhariwal

Viceroys who governed the country between 1888 and 1946 have all stayed here in the lodge during the hot Indian summers. This iconic structure is among the must-visit places to visit in Shimla and is a majestic structure surrounded by well-manicured gardens. This is located at the second-highest point in the city.

Timings: 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Tuesdays to Sundays

17. Summer Hill

The Summer Hill is a suburb of Shimla and is about 5 km away from the Shimla Ridge. This picturesque terrain houses the Himachal Pradesh University and has a lot of cozy eateries and guest houses. The summer hill is a perfect spot if you want to stay away from the regular crowd.

Timings: All through the day

18. Shaily Peak

Shaily Peak is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Shimla. You will have to trek your way through the Naldehra Hills to reach the peak. The view makes it worth your effort though. Don’t forget to visit the temple dedicated to Sage Manu here. This is the only temple in the world built for this Sage.

Timings: All day until sunset

19. Lakkar Bazaar

The Lakkar Bazaar is the place to go if you want to experience shopping from quaint stores and meet the amiable locals. The bazaar is located on the foothills of the Jakhu Peak and is an interesting place to spend a couple of hours in.

Timings: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, all days of the week

20. Gorton Castle

Shimla Tourism

Photo of Gorton Castle, Shimla by Sakshi Nahar Dhariwal

Located on the Mall Road, this neo-gothic style castle is a very interesting place to check out in Shimla. Built-in the 19th century, the castle is made of grey stone walls and is surrounded by sprawling grounds.

Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, all days of the week

21. Scandal Point

In the list of visiting places in Shimla, one must not forget Scandal Point. Located between Mall Road and the Ridge, this place is always busy. It is said that this is the location from where the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh and the daughter of a British Viceroy had eloped together.

Timings: 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM, all days of the week

22. Kuthar Palace

Shimla Tourism

Photo of Kuthar Palace, Kuthar by Sakshi Nahar Dhariwal

If you want a taste of royalty amidst the natural beauty of Shimla, then look no further than the Kuthar Fort. Built around 800 years ago by the Gurkha kings, the Fort was home to the royal family of Kuthar. Cradled by the green hills with a view of the snow-capped peaks, this spectacular fort has to be on your list of places to visit in Shimla.

A part of this fort has now been converted to a resort that provides royal suites and luxury amenities to its guests. The artistic nature of the Rajasthani architecture is reflected well in the arches and pillars that support the Kuthar Fort. With an astounding wooden carving and picture collection, this fort is one of the best places to visit in Shimla if you are an art lover.

23. Dorje Drak Monastery

Photo of Dorje Drak Monastery, Shimla by Sakshi Nahar Dhariwal

The Dorje Drak Monastery is a calm place nestled in the hills. The Monastery is known as one of the most serene places to visit in Shimla, and thus attracts a lot of tourists every year. The solid square and rectangle structure is reminiscent of the typical Tibetan style of architecture. The Dorje Drak Monastery was built in 1984 after the original monastery in Tibet was destroyed during the Chinese invasion.

The Hemis Festival of Tibet is celebrated in the month of May every year to honour Guru Padmasambhava. Run by Tibetan exiles, the monastery offers an incredible view of Shimla, and you can spend hours in and around the monastery.

24. Sankat Mochan Temple

The famous Sankat Mochan Temple is located at an altitude of 1975 m above sea level on the Kalka-Shimla highway. The temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and offers fascinating views of the city of Shimla and the mighty Himalayan mountains.

"Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj" visited the place in 1950 and was fascinated by the tranquility here. In 1966 he laid the foundation stone for this temple, which was later expanded by the administration. The temple complex is divided and the statues of Lord Shiva, Lord Rama, and Lord Ganesha are replaced in separate complexes.

25. Kufri

Kufri is a beautiful mountain town in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, about 20 km from Shimla. Kufri lies at an altitude of 2290 meters above sea level and is famous for its pleasant climate in summer and exciting sports in winter. The word Kufri comes from the vernacular Kufr, which literally means "lake". This nearby mountainous region is also known for Himalayan wildlife where you can easily see the shore, including the rare monal antelope. Apart from that, exciting hikes can also be undertaken here from the mountain paths.

I keep this as the last one on my list simply because I am not totally a fan of this place. For people traveling by road and private taxi's from Delhi and Chandigarh, this is more or less like a scam. Nevertheless, Kufri does boast a scenic view and some delicious apple farms if you visit somewhere after April.

This is just a handpicked list and Shimla, of course, has many more wonders in store for you. This place witnesses a steady stream of visitors all year round, so book a room well in advance. Those planning a trip to Shimla as well as Manali can also opt for hotels in Manali. So, start planning your trip and surrender to the call of the hills!

If you're travelling to Manali, you must absolutely check out this gorgeous swiss cottage experience just 30 minutes from Manali. Alternatively, if you fancy a stay at budget and family friendly hostel check Keekoo Hostels for pocket friendly prices.

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