Shimla is a dreamland situated in the laps of the mighty Himalayas where the varying shades of green look straight out of a painter’s masterpiece. Earlier known as the summer capital of British India, Shimla also witnessed some very important political conferences during the British rule. The list of places to visit in Shimla is endless—from azure lakes, sparkling waterfalls to historical buildings and religious sites, each place has a charm of its own. This is where people flee to from the sweltering heat of the tropical sun, and enjoy the cool breath of the fresh Himalayan air. Be it walking around the Mall road, or trying river rafting, Shimla has to offer something for everyone. On the whole, Shimla is the best place to head to when you wish to get away from your tiring everyday life.
Himachal State Museum and Library
Himachal Pradesh is not only known for its natural beauty, but also has a rich cultural heritage. One of the best places to visit in Shimla, Himachal State Museum became operative in the year 1974 and has since preserved the cultural history of the state. This ancient Victorian mansion in itself is an artefact that houses paintings from the Mughal era, woodcarvings, sculptures, manuscripts and other such priceless items. Interestingly, there are miniatures portraying the lives of the Pahadi people before the advent of the British in this museum.
This mansion covers a large area, so you would have to walk a lot to get to each part of the museum. However, this is not a regular walk—this is a walk down the lanes of history, with nature by your side. One of the best places to visit in Shimla, Himachal State Museum and Library is a must-visit.
Covering a massive area on the summit of the Observatory Hill stands the Viceregal Lodge, or the Rashtrapati Niwas. This marvellous building served as the summer retreat of the British Viceroy of India when the temperatures of Delhi became unbearable. One of the most historical places to visit in Shimla, the Viceregal Lodge is a magnificent structure surrounded by a sprawling green lawn.
This Shimla tourist place is replete with history as well. The construction of the Lodge began in 1888 for Lord Dufferin, the Governor- General, and Viceroy of India from 1884 to 1888. He wanted the lodge built in a way that would remind him of his home country. The Viceregal Lodge was the first building in Shimla to have a steam generator to provide electricity, making it one of the most fascinating places to visit in Shimla. After independence, the building was meant to be used as the summer residence of Indian Presidents, but was handed over to the Institute of Advanced Studies in the year 1960.
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. When visiting, you will be mesmerised by the burbling springs and ancient temples located in the grounds of the Kuthar Fort. On a whole, this Shimla tourist place is a complete combination of nature, architecture, history and culture.
Annandale is one of the most picturesque places to visit in Shimla. The greenery around combined with the song of the chirping birds transports you to a magical land. An ideal place to unwind, Annandale is wonderfully maintained by the Indian Army. There is a playground where army activities such as parades are held. Earlier though, this ground was used by the British to unwind and play various sports. Today, it serves as an Army Museum displaying historical ammunitions and tanks used by the Indian Army.
Annandale is the largest flat surface in Shimla, which makes it a great place to play cricket and polo. Not only is this Shimla tourist place a paradise for sports enthusiasts, but is also an excellent picnic spot, where you can spend hours relaxing and having a good time. Beware of the monkeys here: they are known to steal food and other small items that you may be carrying. Go for a hike in the highest peak in Annandale, and take in the breath-taking sight of the city below. This view makes this place one of the most gorgeous places to visit in Shimla.
A short stroll through the hilly tracks lined with oak and deodar trees is enough to clear your mind and help you focus on the beauty that is this world.
Located in the highest peak of Shimla, the Jakhoo Temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman, and is one of the unmissable places to visit in Shimla. Legends say, while Lord Hanuman was searching for the Sanjiban Booti for Lakshmana, he spent a while resting here, leaving behind his footprints in the process. One of the oldest Shimla tourist places, the Jakhoo Temple exudes a quaint, old-world charm.
The steep climb up to the temple, though tiring, is quite refreshing with a pleasant view of the tall deodar trees and colourful cottages dotting the hills. The Jakhoo Temple is renowned for having the world’s tallest statue of Lord Hanuman within its premises. This fact makes the temple world-famous and consequently one of the finest places to visit in Shimla. However, you need to be wary of the numerous monkeys here, known to steal food items, spectacles, sunglasses and even cellphones. We cannot complain too much though—it is only natural that monkeys guard the abode of Lord Hanuman.
Christ Church is an iconic structure situated near the mall road. This beautiful church has been featured in a number of Bollywood movies, making it one of the most popular places to visit in Shimla. The Christ Church was built in 1857, and is said to be one of the oldest churches in North India. The pleasant yellow colour of the church is recognisable from a distance and one glance at this structure provides a sense of comfort, peace and positivity.
A classic example of the Neo-Gothic style of architecture, the Christ Church has a simple yet sophisticated exterior. The interior is quite impressive as well, with the stained glass windows depicting the virtues of Christianity. The church is illuminated every evening attracting tourists to take images of this gorgeous place to visit in Shimla. This church has to be on your list of places to visit in Shimla.
Dorje Drak Monastery
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, soaking in the peace and beauty. Do not forget to visit this amazing Shimla tourist place if you wish to familiarise yourself with the Buddhist culture in Himachal Pradesh.
Chadwick Falls is very close to the Summer Hills, and is a famous Shimla tourist place. The tall pine trees cast a shadow on the way to Chadwick Falls, and the sun occasionally peeks out to usher you forward to take this rejuvenating journey through the mysteriously shrouded road. The adventurous trek up to the Falls is the primary reason why this is known as one of the most alluring places to visit in Shimla.
This lovely waterfall cascades down from a height of 86 metres and is located at an altitude of 1586 metres. Unfortunately, the area near Chadwick falls is littered with plastic, and global warming has led to the narrowing of the waterfall. All the lovely places to visit in Shimla are being destroyed by overcrowding and careless tourism, both of which must be checked immediately so that future generations can enjoy the true beauty of this place. Despite that, Chadwick Falls is beautiful during the monsoon, when the water gushes down to the gorge below. Take a short trip here and feel yourself getting closer to nature.
Situated 20 kilometers away from Shimla, the Shaily peak is a magnificent spot to just sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. The panoramic view of the hills packed with dense pine and deodar trees is something straight out of a painting, and should not be missed at any cost. Untouched by humans and untainted by pollution, this is one of the untapped places to visit in Shimla.
The trek up top is a difficult one through a dense coniferous forest, and requires a good amount of fitness. When you finally make your way up there, all the huffing and puffing would be generously rewarded. The splendid view up top is an experience to be cherished for years to come. This is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Shimla if you wish to capture breathtaking pictures of the brilliant sunrise and sunset.
Falling on the way to Kufri, Green Valley is one of the chief places to visit in Shimla. This valley is a popular location for Bollywood movies owing to its natural beauty. Witness the various shades of green from this valley as you go for a walk through the dense forests. Soak in the pleasant sun, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the silence of this alluring valley, miles away from the dirt and pollution of the city.
This is a perfect place to visit in Shimla right after the monsoon when the green colour of the hills pop out. You may even witness a few lazy yaks strolling peacefully in the valley. Go on a short tour to the market and enjoy the quaint local life with a cup of steaming hot tea.
If you wish to witness the real side of the city, then Scandal Point is the best place to visit in Shimla. Situated at the intersection between The Mall and The Ridge, the Scandal Point is always brimming with tourists and locals. The shops here are perfect places to buy souvenirs. Among other important buildings, the police headquarters and the General Post Office of Shimla are located here.
The unusual name of the location is a point of interest to the tourists. Locals will tell you that Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala eloped with the Viceroy’s daughter after meeting at the Scandal Point, hence the name. The Viceroy expelled the king who then created his own summer capital in Chail. Although there is no proper historic evidence to prove this story, locals and tourists still enjoy it a great deal.
Himalayan Bird Park
The Himalayan Bird Park is one of the most pleasant places to visit in Shimla if you want to go for a short expedition. It hardly takes five minutes to go around and enjoy what this aviary has to offer. From familiar birds to more exotic ones, this place is a bird lover’s paradise. With plenty of trees around, the Himalayan Bird Park is a Shimla tourist place that you absolutely cannot miss.
What makes this place more interesting is that it houses the monal pheasant, the former state bird of Himachal Pradesh. Located at a height of over 2000 metres, the park usually receives snowfall during winter, so it is advisable to visit anytime before. This is one of the best places to visit in Shimla if you wish to take pictures of colourful birds up close.
Tani Jubber Lake
The Tani Jubber Lake is one of the best places to visit near Shimla, located at a short distance away from the main city, near Narkanda. The beauty of this place is heavenly, and you would be witnessing something incredible if you choose to drop by. The freshwater lake is guarded by lofty hills on either side, their reflection turning the lake green. This is one of the best places to visit in Shimla to enjoy a good picnic amidst natural surroundings.
There is a temple dedicated to Naag Devta near the lake which is considered to be extremely pious by the locals. It is believed that praying here for rain is always rewarded by the generous Naag Devta. The beauty of the place is enhanced by the apple and cherry orchards. In fact, the first apple sapling was planted here in Kotagarh. Such is the beauty of this place that you will find it hard to keep your camera away. If you want to spend a day close to nature, then Tani Jubber Lake should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Shimla.
There is probably no one who has not heard of the Mall Road. This is the heart of Shimla, always abuzz with the chatter of thousands that gather here regularly. The Mall Road is packed with shops, cafes, restaurants, clubs, book stores, banks and more. Different sounds, colours and aromas converge here, creating a space that illuminates Shimla with the light of life. One of the busiest places to visit in Shimla, the Mall Road has a unique character of its own.
It houses a variety of stores selling shawls, jewellery, woollens, shoes and books among many other items. Some of the best places to visit in Shimla, such as the Scandal Point and Gaiety Theatre, are located close to the Mall Road. You can spend an entire day strolling through the Mall Road taking in the sights and smells of this lively location.
Years ago, a group of Sikh carpenters migrated from Hoshiarpur to Shimla, giving rise to what we today know as Lakkar Bazaar. It is located down a narrow road adjoining the Ridge and is brimming with attractive household and decorative items. This market is one of the best places to visit in Shimla if you want to take back trinkets and souvenirs.
Lakkar Bazaar is famous throughout the country for its amazing woodwork. The wooden walking stick here is considered the best, made of sturdy deodar and walnut wood. It doesn’t end at wooden items—Lakkar Bazaar is well known for its wide range of quality shawls. The shopaholic in you will be delighted by the moderate prices of trendy woollen garments, boots and coats here. We guarantee you: it is impossible to return empty-handed from this amazing market place to visit in Shimla.
Written by Baishali Dutta, in-house Tripoto writer.
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