One of the most famous hill stations in India, Shimla needs no introduction. Fondly known as the ‘Queen of Hills’, Shimla is surrounded by the majestic snow-capped Himalayan mountains, picturesque green valleys and spectacular structures from the colonial era.
The name Shimla is derived from the Shyamala, an incarnation of Kali who is known to be the Goddess of wrath and power. Unlike its name, however, Shimla is a secret heaven where you can seek absolute tranquillity. Shimla boasts unsurpassable beauty where you will experience colonial charm that will leave you wanting for more.
Perched at 2,206 metres above the sea level, Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and was once the summer capital of British India. The geographical location of Shimla makes it the perfect spot for a relaxing vacation. Both summers and winters have their own charm in Shimla. Summers are pleasant and great for strolling through the streets and trekking up scenic mountains. The weather during winters in Shimla is chilly. In December, you can even experience snowfall here, making it a popular tourist destination in India. You can also enjoy winter activities like ice-skating in Shimla. Although you can visit Shimla all year round, the perfect time would be from April to August, December and January.
Shimla has a lot to offer. From grand old buildings, beautiful iron lamp posts along the sidewalks, quaint coffee houses and charming bakeries, you can never have enough of Shimla. Shimla has a soothing and serene climate, majestic snow-capped mountains, mystical atmosphere, lakes with crystal clear water, lush green vegetation and tourist-friendly locals. However, there’s more to Shimla than the scenic landscapes and eye-catching views of endless mountain ranges. The culture and lifestyle of the local inhabitants of Shimla are what adds that unique charm of this tourist spot.
As a tourist, there are plenty of places to visit in Shimla. You can wake up in the morning with spectacular views of the mountains and visit local sites with ancient architecture from the British era. You can spend some quality time at the numerous museums learning about the history and culture of Himachal Pradesh. If you are fond of art and artisanal products, you can also try your hand at learning traditional pottery from the local artisans. For those seeking some adventure, you can go trekking, skiing, rock climbing or paragliding.
A hill station brimming with opportunity, Shimla gives you the chance to escape into another world for a few days. Sounds like something you would want to do?
Well, read on to find out about the places to visit in Shimla with your family:
Places to Visit in Shimla
Indian Institute of Advanced Studies
Hip Hip Hurray Amusement Park
Army Heritage Museum
Rani Jhansi Park
Shimla State Museum
Tara Devi Temple
Himalayan Bird Park
Ice Skating Rink
St. Michael's Cathedral Catholic Church
Kali Bari Mandir
Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary
1. Mall Road
Also known as ‘The Mall’, this stretch of road bustles with activity and is especially enjoyable for an evening stroll. It is the shopping and commercial hub of Shimla and is a good way to discover the town through its culture, cuisine, and warm people. With myriad shops to browse through and cafes to chill at, it is easily one of the most popular tourist places in Shimla. While you’re there, the famous Scandal Point is worth a visit. Legend has it that the King of Patiala fell head over heels in love with the British Viceroy’s daughter and abducted her at this very point, giving it its whimsical name.
2. The Ridge
Above Mall Road is a vast open space called ‘The Ridge’, considered to be the cultural hub of Shimla. With luck, you might be able to catch a dance or music show; or watch the local theatre or entertainment in the outdoor mini-ground. To add to the allure, you will be greeted with panoramic views of the mountains and forests. You might get an opportunity to go horse-riding too. Enjoy the view as you sit on the ‘katta’ or platform outside Gaiety Theatre (built in a signature neo-gothic style) or simply take a leisurely stroll soaking in all the sights.
3. Christ Church
Located on The Ridge is Christ Church, the most famous church in Shimla. Constructed at least 200 years ago, the clock in the tower is as old as the church itself and remains accurate till date. It is the second oldest church in North India. The yellow building is one of the tallest in town and is often the only building visible from the surrounding hills. An architectural marvel, Christ Church continues to stand tall as a noteworthy representation of the erstwhile colonial era. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Shimla.
4. Indian Institute of Advanced Studies
This is a Jacobean-style heritage building located on Observatory Hill. Also known as the Viceregal Lodge, it was built by British architect Henry Irwin between 1880 and 1888. It is set amidst lush lawns and resembles an old Scottish castle. Formerly the home of the British Viceroys and later the President of India, it now serves as an institute for higher learning and research. Located at the entrance is an interesting cafe-cum-souvenir shop that is popular with tourists. With many feathers in its cap, this is definitely one of the most interesting places to visit in Shimla.
Visiting hours: 8 am to 6 pm
5. Jakhoo Hill
This is the highest point in town and is well-known among tourist places in Shimla. When snow arrives, it does so first at Jakhoo Hill. There are steps leading to a temple with a tall Hanuman statue. The climb can test your stamina but the effort is worth it, thanks to the magnificent vista of the Himalayas and the view of the entire town of Shimla. One can encounter hordes of monkeys along the route, so it's best not to carry eatables. There is a road trail to the temple, so one can also drive up or take a cab from The Mall.
Visiting hours: 7 am to 8 pm
6. Kalka-Shimla Railway
The narrow gauge railway line between Kalka and Shimla is a World Heritage Site, like the ones in Darjeeling and the Nilgiris. Fondly called the ‘toy train’, it traverses 864 bridges and 102 tunnels as it winds past little hamlets and hills. The journey takes about five hours and it is very popular because of the visual treat it offers passengers along the way. The list of tourist activities in Shimla won’t be complete without a mention of this train ride.
Located 20 km from Shimla is the small hill station of Kufri. The name means ‘lake’ in the local language. It is a skier’s paradise, so plan your trip during the winter months when a blanket of snow envelopes the mountains. Do not miss one of the highest amusement parks in the world, Kufri Fun World, located some 2800 feet above sea level. It is definitely an experience of a lifetime to indulge in Go-karting amidst the grandeur of the Himalayas!
About 40 km from Shimla is Chail, spread across the hillocks of Rajgarh, Pandewa, and Sadh Tiba. Formerly a sleepy hamlet, Chail was brought to life by Bhupinder Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala, who was banned from entering Shimla as he had eloped with the British commander-in-chief’s daughter. Swearing to build another summer capital even grander than Shimla, he established Chail among the snow-capped Shivalik Mountains and pine valleys overlooking the Sutlej. Chail Wildlife Sanctuary is a must-visit for nature lovers.
About 50 kilometres from Shimla is Tattapani, a village situated around 2,230 feet above the sea level. Tattapani in the local language means ‘hot water’. This village is well-known for its hot springs, which originate from the Sutlej River, making it one of the places to visit in Shimla for many tourists. The water is rich in sulphur and is believed to be good for the skin. It also contains a medicinal value, and is known to cure skin diseases. Take a dip in the water and find out for yourself.
The spring is spread around a kilometre radius and the temperate of the water varies with the level of water.
People from all over the world flock to this village near Shimla to witness two popular festivals called Tara Ratri and Lohfi which are celebrated with full gusto.
Other activities which tourists indulge when sightseeing in Shimla in at this village include fishing, mountain biking, cycling, white water rafting in the Sutlej River, visiting Shivji Ka Gufa (Shiva’s cave) or enjoying a bonfire along the riverside.
10. Hip Hip Hurray Amusement Park
Looking for a fun day out with family? Then look no further than Hip Hip Hurray Amusement Park – another spot amongst the places to visit in Shimla. This park on the Shimla - Kufri highway, sprawls 500 square meters and is at height of 8,500 feet. It’s the only park in India which is at such a height and pollution free. Brimming with thrilling rides for the whole family to enjoy like Commando Net, Rock Climbing, Burma Bridge, Bumping Boats, Flying Fox to fine-dining restaurants, quaint cafes and a number of different activities like virtual reality games to places to shop, this park has it all. Rest assured that your day will be well spent. What’s more, since the park is located amidst picturesque natural beauty and snow-laden mountains of Shimla, it’s all the more breath-taking.
Don’t forget to use the telescope in the park and view the stunning landscape of Kufri.
All in all, at the end of the day, as the name suggests, every family member will be shouting hip hip hurray when they leave!
11. Army Heritage Museum
Located in the beautiful Annandale is the Army Heritage Museum, which is definitely among the places to visit in Shimla if you are a history buff. This museum houses a huge collection of items related to the Indian army. The items are kept in a specific order and in a manner such that visitors can easily understand and get detailed information about each piece on display. From ammunition to weapons to the history of Indian warriors, everything is showcased in this intriguing Shimla museum. The sections in the museum include arms, weapons and ammunitions, ethos of the Indian Army, great military leaders, the history of Shimla, flags and bands of the army, various awards, honours and recognition given to the Indian Army and so on.
When you are at this museum in Shimla, you can witness warriors such as Rani Laxmibai, Field Marshal Cariappa, Maharana Pratap, Tipu Sultan, Guru Gobind, etc. There is a large collection of bows and arrows, AK-47s, spears and uniforms which date back to the time of pre-independence.
In essence, all throughout the museum the motto of the Indian Army is well represented.
With such rich history displayed, it’s a treat for those who love the subject. Not only will this be a day out but also a learning experience for kids and adults alike.
12. Summer Hill
Just on the outskirts of Shimla and on the way to Kalka is Summer Hill, at an altitude of 2123 metres above the sea level.
A picturesque township and one of the most scenic places to visit in Shimla, Summer Hill is a part of seven hill cluster. With quiet surroundings, picturesque views and rich foliage, it makes the perfect getaway to rejuvenate and relax in Shimla.
It’s ideal for taking leisurely strolls amidst the peace of Mother Nature. While walking through this small town, you will be surrounded by hilly trees like the deodar and pine. This coupled with the views of the snow-covered mountains paints a picture that you will never forget.
Once, Summer Hill was called as ‘Potter's Hill’ as potters from all over Shimla came here to collect clay to make their pots.
It’s also popular because Mahatma Gandhi, during his visit to Himachal Pradesh University, stayed at the Georgian Mansion of Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur.
The view from here is breathtaking; you will have to see it to believe it. Just make sure your camera is charged and ready because the photo opportunities here are endless.
13. Rani Jhansi Park
The Rani Jhansi park, which is located in Shimla, is easily accessible from the main roads and also features amongst the places to go sightseeing in Shimla. The park is a great spot to visit if you are travelling to Shimla with children. Named after one of India’s most iconic freedom fighters, the park pays tribute to this beloved queen through the giant statue of Rani Lakshmi Bai on her horse in the centre of the park. There is information about Rani Jhansi and her accomplishments carved into a piece of granite placed next to the statue. If a picnic is your idea of spending the day out, this should definitely be among the places to visit in Shimla. Its lush green, scenic views of the surrounding mountain range and its location right in the city make it an excellent choice if you want to spend a leisurely day out with the family.
Elderly citizens might relate to Annandale, a place which is sure to remind you of the colonial heydays of Shimla and stir some nostalgia. From the time of the British, this picturesque meadow was used as a ground to play polo, cricket and race. Today, this is a picnic spot in Shimla which is just about 4 kilometres from the Ridge. Travelling this distance is worth it because the view here is just beautiful. You get a scenic view of the Shimla city and you are encircled in by a variety of lush green trees.
Today, this ground is used as a helipad, by athletes and the army who conduct regular exercises and training sessions. The place is one of the places to visit in Shimla and should be included in your Shimla sightseeing trip.
15. Shimla State Museum
On top of Mount Pleasant, the Shimla State Museum also known as the Himachal state museum beautifully preserves the cultural richness of the state from the past.
The vast, sprawling lawns and the colonial style building make this an interesting sight. Inside the museum, you can find amazing artefacts, sculptures, paintings, handicrafts and much more which have been preserved for ages! There are over 9000 objects on display and several different galleries like Himachal archaeology, Indian archaeology, wood carvings, Gandhi gallery, Rajasthani paintings, arms gallery, wall paintings gallery, contemporary art, anthropology, etc. There is also a doll gallery which displays a collection of Himachali tribal and bridal dolls.
On the premises, you can also find a library which has several manuscripts and historical books.
The main aim of this building is to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Himachal while also spread the message about cultural legacy to the generations that follow. If you want to learn about the history of Himachal Pradesh, this is one of the places to visit in Shimla.
16. Majathal Sanctuary
For wildlife and nature enthusiasts, this is one of the most exciting places to visit in Shimla. Well-known for its steep and undulating terrain, Manjathal Sanctuary is a retreat for flora and fauna lovers. This sanctuary is located in the Western Himalayan region, at an elevation of 1966 metres above the sea level and is spread across 39.4 square kilometres. There is no entry fee to visit the sanctuary.
When it comes to flora and fauna, this sanctuary is known for the cheer pheasant, goral, Himalayan black bear, macaque, leopards, Himalayan palm civet, Indian wild bear, deer, etc. Did you know that this sanctuary in Shimla has the highest number of Gorals? Gorals are a kind of mountain goat that is recognised by curved horns. These are found explicitly in the hilly areas, and hence, you can see plenty of them here in their natural habitat. An endangered species that are in abundance here is the cheer pheasants.
This sanctuary in Shimla also offers tents where tourists can stay. If you choose this option, you can experience living in the wild. Other than wildlife, this sanctuary is also an excellent spot for trekking. Make sure to include this sanctuary in your sightseeing itinerary as one of the places to visit in Shimla.
17. Tara Devi Temple
Dedicated to goddess Tara Devi (goddess of stars), this temple in Shimla is situated amidst thick rhododendron and oak forests at the top of Tarav Parvat and surrounded by the lofty Himalayas. From atop the mountain, the view of the surrounding valley is mesmerising. If it is solitude that you seek, Tara Devi Temple in Shimla is the place where you can find it. The fresh, crisp mountain air, serene surroundings, scenic vistas add up to offer a relaxing environment for visitors. It’s a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, and one of the popular places to visit in Shimla.
It is said that the goddess Tara Devi travelled from Bengal to Himachal and for this purpose, this temple is dedicated to her. Several stories are floating around about why the goddess came from Bengal, but the truth is still unclear. It is believed that this temple was built nearly 250 years ago!
The temple’s location on the hilltop makes it seem like the goddess is watching over, protecting everyone and showering innumerable blessings.
Apart from seeking the blessing of Tara Devi, you can also witness stunning views, making this one of the best places to visit in Shimla with your family.
Ashtami and Navaratras are big festivals that are held here every year.
18. Lakkar Bazaar
Ambling through the maze-like alleys of Lakkar Bazaar is what completes a trip to Shimla. This famous bazaar occupies a narrow street that is adjacent to the Ridge road in Shimla.
The origin of this market can be traced back to the Sikhs when carpenters from Hoshiarpur settled here. Today, the same artisans continue to produce beautiful pieces made from walnut and deodars.
The primary items sold here at Lakkar Bazaar, Shimla are wooden articles that are targeted at tourists. Apart from this, there are multiple stores which sell woollen items, pashmina shawls, handicrafts and Kullu shawls. It’s a great chance to stock up on curious, souvenirs and keepsakes from your trip.
No vacation is complete without shopping and all that walking, and shopping can make you ravenous. If you’re hungry, head to Sita Ram & Sons in Shimla to wallop down some delicious dishes like chole bhature and aloo tiki.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can try the roller-skating rink in the bazaar. Who knows, you might just like it!
19. Daranghati Sanctuary
A wildlife sanctuary which houses a variety of flora and fauna and more than 150 species of birds, look forward to spotting musk deer, Himalayan Black bear, Himalayan Brown Bear, Himalayan Weasel, Blue Sheep and Serow here. Birds like Cheer Pheasant, Koklass Pheasant, Kaleej Pheasant, etc. can be seen as well. Jujurana or Western Tragopan is a bird from Himacal Pradesh and this is one of it's few habitats.
Daranghati is a great place for those who love adventure. You can trek from Daranghati from Sarahan or choose the old silk route. With the umpteen flora and fauna, it's a haven for photographers. Plus, its the best way to spend time with your family in the lap of Mother Nature.
Among the countless hamlets, Naldehra is a small town tucked away cosily and far from the hubbub. Imagine Shimla; has your mind’s eye painted a vivid image? Well, this town is nothing like what you imagined. Just an hour away from Shimla and you have a town that’s unique and different. This offbeat destination in Shimla is nothing less than a paradise.
While in Naldehra singularly spectacular views will greet you, filled with nature’s bounty. The misty clouds envelop patches of lush green forests to present picture-perfect scenery.
Naldehra in Shimla is also famous for its 18-hole golf course that is at an altitude of 2,200 metres. It is one of the oldest golf courses in Shimla, which was developed under the supervision of Lord Curzon. By paying a nominal fee, tourists can come and enjoy a round or two of golf. Only once you experience this course, you will be able to appreciate why this course is considered to be at par with other reputable courses in the country.
If golfing doesn’t interest you, you can visit the apple orchards. Buying apples from your local vendor is one thing but plucking apples from the farm and having a bite of the famous sugary sweet Shimla apple is something else! Full of grandeur and natural scenic beauty, it is very popular with the tourists doing Shimla sightseeing.
Don’t miss out on these top 5 places to visit in Naldehra which offer the best scenic view while planning your family trip to Naldehra.
21. Shaily Peak
One of the must-visit places on your Shimla sightseeing tour is Shaily Peak. This famous Shimla peak is well-known for great photo options. For admiring nature, trekking and seeking experiences, this peak adds another laurel to the beauty of Shimla. From the summit of this mountain, you can enjoy incredible panoramic views of the Himalayan Mountains and surrounding valleys. To reach the peak, you need to embark on a short and challenging trek, approximately 8 kilometres. You will trek through lush forests and rocky trails to experience nature and pure beauty from up close and personal. For those who don’t want to hike, you can drive up to a certain point or even take a pony. But trekking enthusiasts should pack their trekking shoes and get geared up for a trek of a lifetime’. The best about trekking here is the weather that Shimla offers. All through the year, Shimla weather is ideal for trekking. However, some days when the fog is very thick, the views of the surrounding will be limited. Also, the snow in winter can make it more challenging. If you would like to trek to the peak without compromising on the stunning views, then skip winters and trek during summers. Don’t worry unlike other parts of India; the summer in Shimla isn’t too harsh. Due to its higher altitude, the weather remains pleasant.
Mahakali Lake is also in the vicinity, and it’s breathtaking. The next time you make your way to Shimla; don’t miss out on the chance to witness heaven on earth.
22. Chadwick Falls
Nestled cosily in the beautiful Glen Forest Chadwick Falls is at a short distance away from the hustle-bustle of the city life in Shimla.
The falls can be approached via Summer Hill by road, following which you can get close to the falls and need to walk for about 10 minutes to reach it.
The falls is at an altitude of 1586 metres above sea level, and the water gushes down into a deep gorge from a height of about 80 metres. This is supposed to be one of the highest waterfalls in India which carries water from the Himalayas. Although the waterfall isn’t massive, people visit here to admire the beauty and to bask in peace and solitude.
When you are here, you can admire the magnificent beauty of the waterfalls or even picnic around the falls. The dense forest acts as a canopy, and the fresh air and the calming sound of water creates a hypnotic effect, sure to charm any passing traveller.
For those who want a quick escape from your hectic life, just put on your walking shoes, pack the essentials and set out to Chadwick Falls. There is no better way to lose yourself in the lap of Mother Nature.
The waterfall is named after 'Chidku Jhaar', a word from the local language where 'Chidku' means sparrow and 'Jhaar' means waterfall. It is believed that only sparrows could reach the top of the falls and hence, the name. Back then, the British found the pronunciation quite difficult and, in their words, began calling it Chadwick and the name stuck on. Make sure to keep this as one of the places to visit in Shimla.
23. Himalayan Bird Park
A small little aviary, also known as Himalayan Aviary, houses a collection of exotic birds like Himachal’s former state bird, the Iridescent Monal Pheasant.
It’s an absolute delight for those who live wildlife, birds and photography. You can find a range of common and rare species of birds and even a few that are exclusive to the Himalayas. Along with the different birds, there’s also thriving flora which catches the attention of visitors.
In winter because of snow, this park remains closed. Hence, it’s best visited during the summer months when you can experience the park in all its glory. This place should be on your Shimla sightseeing agenda as one of the places to visit in Shimla.
24. Ice Skating Rink
Shimla sightseeing is incomplete without a visit to the ice-skating rink. A truly unique activity for adventurous families, ice skating, is a winter activity in Shimla. This open-air skating rink is looked after by the Ice-Skating Club of Shimla. Typically skating season is from December until February.
This is a naturally formed rink and one of the largest in Asia!
It is a unique experience, at least in India, so every member of the family will enjoy spending time skating in the rink. It’s a great way to spend quality time together and create unforgettable memories of your vacation in Shimla.
Along with ice skating, here is the list of top 10 things to do in Shimla for an exciting & memorable family holiday!
25. St. Michael's Cathedral Catholic Church
Built in the late 1800s, the St. Michaels Cathedral Catholic Church should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Shimla if you are a fan of architecture and history. This building has a French Gothic style influence and draws lots of tourists who are sightseeing in Shimla. Dating back to the Victorian Era, the church was used for worship and could hold up to 400 people at a time. Today, you can walk into the church to marvel at the interiors and admire the façade and exteriors free of cost. The interiors are sure to impress you with the beautiful mirror work used on the walls. Pay careful attention to the interiors so that you don’t miss some of the artefacts that have been around for hundreds of years in the church. Located within walking distance from the centre of Shimla city, the church is definitely a place worth visiting. If you want to find some peace and calm, spend ten minutes just sitting in the pews.
26. Scandal Point
A famous address in Shimla, Scandal Point is situated between the Ridge and Mall Road. This square overlooks the state post office and offers stunning views of the surrounding.
The name Scandal Point is quite intriguing, and the story behind it is mostly believed to be based on hearsay. The tale goes that the daughter of the British Viceroy and the then Maharaja of Patiala eloped near what is now called Scandal Point in Shimla. This resulted in the British authorities banning the Maharaja from Shimla. As a result, the Maharaja made his summer capital in the small town of Chail. However, this is just a story; whether it is the truth continues to remain a mystery.
None the less, barring the tales that revolve around this point, it’s a great place to get some amazing views and spend a few hours with your family. If you get bored here, you can go back to the Mall Road or the Ridge road in Shimla for food, fun and more.
27. Gaiety Theatre
Amidst the buzzing activities of Mall Road, lies the quaint old Gaiety Theatre. It’s one of the oldest surviving British structures in Shimla designed by the famous Henry Irwin.
In 1887, this gothic styled theatre opened its door and could accommodate over 300 people. Although the theatre has undergone a few renovations, the screen is still the original one. A few decades after its construction, this complex was declared structurally unsafe and demolished. However, the theatre remained untouched. Between 2004–2009, this structure was restored with hopes of a UNESCO recognition.
The theatre was the heart of the entertainment and social scene, and the famous play ‘Walpole’ written by Lord Lytton was staged here. Even ‘A Scrap of Paper’ starring Rudyard Kipling showed here. Other stars who took centre stage here are Prithvi Raj Kapoor, K. L. Sehgal and Baten Powel. With such a rich history, even today this space is used by numerous drama societies. This being the only Gothic theatre in Asia and one of the six in the world is worth visiting.
Today, the Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex has an art gallery, amphitheatre, an exhibition hall, an old theatre and a multi-purpose hall. It still hosts plays and performances. From the yesteryears until now, the theatre uses natural acoustics, and there are no mics.
Visiting here will take you on a walk down the memory lane and unveil how the art has progressed over the years. If you are keen, you can opt for a guided tour of this place.
28. Rothney Castle
While trekking up Jakhoo Hill, if you peep through the gates on the way, you will see the glass verandas of this century-old mansion which was built for former naturalist and reformer Allan Octavian Hume. Allan, also known as ‘Father of Ornithology’, is known for the world's most extensive collection of stuffed Asiatic birds. Eventually, he donated his collection to the British Museum. He was also one of the founders of the Indian National Congress.
It was at his home here that he began documenting the birds that are found in India. He housed a small museum within the premises which consisted of 82,000 species of birds.
As this is private property, you need to seek permission from the caretaker if you wish to enter.
Though unmaintained, this place is still open to visitors. Although there is an overgrown or a rarely maintained garden, the lush greenery and the beautiful surroundings, add to the splendour of this place.
After nearly 100 years, birds and flowers still flock this place, maybe paying homage to the great man who once called this turf his home.
29. Gorton Castle
Built during the colonial era with neo-gothic touches, this austere grey-stone edifice was previously the colonial government secretariat. Today, it’s the Accountant General’s office.
This architectural marvel designed by Sir Swinton Jacob has a red tiled roof, a chalet-like entrance, large bay windows, a patio with a beautiful fresco and high towers. From the outside, this structure resembles a castle straight out of a fairy tale. Plus, its location on the hilltop surrounded by pine and deodar trees, making it a sight to behold.
During your visit here, don't forget to check out the traditional Rajasthani Jali work on the balconies – they’re gorgeous! Also, you’ll notice that Sir Winton Jacob didn’t stick to a specific style; he included many different forms of architecture and craftsmanship.
If you opt for a heritage walk of Shimla, this is a must-visit place.
30. Maria Brothers
If you’re a book lover, you know how happy the smell of books and turning the pages to reveal the climax of the story makes you. For all those who have the age-old and timeless habit of reading books over e-books, you should visit Maria Brothers while in Shimla.
When you enter this place, it’s like walking into an old library. This antiquarian bookstore transports you back in time to when books were a luxury and only bought by scholars and emperors. This store deals with artefacts and rare books which are like bits of treasure for a passionate collector.
The walls are decorated with artefacts, old maps, paintings and musical instruments which are sourced from Tibet and some locally. Today, most of these antique prints and maps are for sale. It’s a store worth visiting that is a haven for book lovers and will satisfy the appetite of any bookworm.
31. Kali Bari Mandir
An ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Kali was built in 1845. Located amidst the forests of Shimla on a hilltop, with a brilliant view of the Himalayas, it offers complete serenity, making this temple a beautiful, must-visit family place.
The temple and the entire surrounding area exude a perfect vibe of the goddess, and even in its vicinity, you can feel it. A devotee can sit here hours together absorbing the heavenly vibe. Very close to the main city, this temple is frequented by pilgrims and tourists alike. Devotees like to meditate here and seek energy and power from Goddess Kali to face and fight their problems. Visiting it during the evening aarti is the best time of the day.
According to locals, the temple was initially located in Jakhoo Hill, where Goddess Kali lived. The British, however, relocated it later.
Navratri is a popular festival here where devotees seek the blessings of Goddess Kali.
32. Bhimakali Temple
This Hindu shrine in Shimla is dedicated to Goddess Durga, in the form of Bhimakali.
The temple’s architectural style is a blend of Himachali, Tibetan, Hindu and Buddhist. The temple features details like a slanted roof, pagodas, golden towers and a carved silver door.
This 800-year-old temple is supposedly among the 51 Shakti Peethas. In Hindu mythology, Shakti Peethas are places of Goddess worship. The festival of Dussehra is celebrated here with pomp and show.
Around the temple are the palaces of the royal families of Shimla, which you can visit too.
While at the temple, ask the locals about the tales of the temple. There are plenty of interesting stories about this temple which will leave you awestruck.
33. Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary
The ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and wildlife fanatics; spread over 951 hectares, this reserve is blanketed with pine, cedar and oak plantations. Apart from huge flora, there is plenty of fauna here too. The Kakkar deer, Himalayan eagle, jackals, leopards, eagles, etc. can be spotted in this sanctuary. The Indus River surrounds this reserve, and it is home to various birds, animals and plants.
Tourists can stroll through the walking trails of the forest and enjoy the company of Mother Nature. Along with your walk, keep your eyes peeled for birds, animals and plants. Other adventure activities include mountaineering, trekking, etc.
34. Kuthar Fort
One of the places to visit in Shimla, this 800-year-old fort is located about an hour’s drive from the city. It is quite close to Kasauli, so if you are planning on driving from Shimla to Kasauli, make a stop here. Spread over 50 square kilometres, the fort was actually built by the Gurkha Kings, who were the rulers in the area about 800 years ago. The architecture is amazing and there are freshwater springs that flow through the structure of the fort, which is quite a feat. The Rajasthani influence on the architecture is visible in the high arches, colonnades and the intricate pillar designs, making it a spot that every history lover should visit when sightseeing in Shimla. Rajputana creativity is further showcased in the interiors which have intricate paintings and carvings which will leave onlookers spellbound.
This fort complex consists of freshwater springs, ancient temples and beautiful gardens. In addition to this, since it’s at a height of 1,300 meters, from the top there are scenic views of the snow-laden peaks of Shimla.
Today, a part of the fort has been converted into a resort, but a part is still open to tourists. You can probably spend an hour exploring the fort and clicking some pretty amazing pictures during your Shimla holiday. The entry fee is Rs. 100 per person.
35. Kiala Forest
The Kiala Forest in Shimla is another one of its crown jewel attractions when sightseeing in Shimla. While it might sound like exaggeration, you will certainly agree that this is a magical forest that you must pay a visit to when holidaying in Shimla. Located just outside of the city of Shimla, the forest has a ton of activities for nature lovers. The wildlife is abundant here and visitors are encouraged to walk on the trails to explore the flora and fauna. Additionally, along the trails there are some points which offer panoramic views of the surrounding areas, and this makes it one of the best places to visit in Shimla if you are looking for a little adventure in nature.
It’s a sure shot attraction for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Not only can you find a variety of flora and fauna here, but they make for excellent photo opportunities as well.
There is a luggage storage area and bathroom facilities for visitors, so you can explore the forest to your heart’s content. Ideally, the first half of the day is the right time to explore this area in Shimla as there will be plenty of light in these hours. For those who are more adventurous, you can plan ahead and take a camping trip in the forest too!
36. Green Valley
Located just a few kilometres from the city centre of Shimla, Green Valley is a favourite stop for tourists heading from Shimla to Kufri. It is located on National Highway 22 and is one of the most wonderful places to visit in Shimla if you want to take a break from your travels or enjoy a little picnic. Green Valley is about 2,500 meters above sea level, so make sure to take your camera along to capture gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. The fresh mountain air is mixed with the heady scent of the pine and deodar trees from the forests around. If you have time, stop by and take a walk through the forests in the area, and you might be lucky enough to spot a deer or even a yak. There are small local restaurants and cafes where you can stop for lunch and try the local fare.
You can also turn this experience into a full day trip in Shimla. Go on a mountain trek, have an evening snack in Green Valley and then catch a glimpse of the ever-famous sunset in the mountains before heading back to Shimla or onwards to Kufri.
37. Prospect Hill
Experience the unspoken beauty of nature at Prospect Hill which is situated at the height of 2200 m. Nestled on top of the hill is the Goddess Kamna Devi temple. It is said that those who make their way up the hill to temple to pray, get the blessings of the Goddess.
When you stand atop the hill, the views of the surrounding area are extraordinary. Very few places come with such breathtaking beauty, and Prospect Hill is one such place. You can watch the Kalka-Shimla train pass by, piercing through the blanket of mist, with the trees and the majestic mountains in the backdrop.
As you drive through Shimla, you will come across a small pretty-looking hill station, among the many hill stations, named Fagu. This is a tranquil hamlet surrounded by the Himalayas on all sides. The sheer beauty and solitude of this place will make you feel at peace. If you would like to unwind completely, turn off your phone and soak in the lap of Mother Nature, this is the place to be. Walk through the sweet-smelling apple orchards, the colourful flower fields or spend hours strolling through the streets and gazing at the snow-covered peaks.
It’s a place where you do nothing but put your feet up, sip on hot coffee and enjoy the mesmeric views.
Straight out of a postcard, Narkanda is like a white paradise in the winter months, and it’s also the perfect spot to ski. Hatu Peak is 2,000 ft higher than Narkanda and is the highest point where you can catch picturesque 360-degree views of your surroundings. During sunrise as well as sunset the sky changes colour to various hues of red, orange and purple against the snow-clad mountains, making it a must-see.
Drive 60 km from Shimla, and you will reach this tranquil setting. You can wander around the famous peach and apple orchards, trek through the dense slopes of the forest or hit the slopes in winter to ski. There is a lot you can do in this winter wonderland.
Craignano, a little piece of heaven, was once the Italian countess of Craignano’s summer resort and it is at a short distance from Naldehra. Situated at an elevation of 2149 m above sea level, in Craignano you will be surrounded by pine trees, beautiful oak trees, vibrant flowers and magnificent gardens.
An architectural marvel that can be found here is the Italian Villa. On either side of the villa, you will find crystal-clear streams and oak and pine trees.
You can indulge the adventurer in you by partaking in the many adventure activities here like rappelling, camping, fishing or rock climbing.
Spend some time here and get lost in the beauty and serenity of Craignano.
Think hill station, and you’ll think Shimla!
People from far and wide come to experience the beauty of Shimla. It’s a quintessential location that offers plenty of places to visit in Shimla for families. Whether you want to escape the summer heat, take a break from your busy schedule or go on a family vacation, Shimla is the place.
The beauty of Shimla will entice your eyes, but the personality of the city will remain in your heart forever. Being such a popular tourist destination, Shimla has many comfortable places to stay. However, if you are looking for a memorable family holiday experience in Shimla, then Club Mahindra Naldehra resort near Shimla should be your place of choice.
Offering spectacular views of Shimla from each of its comfortable and spacious rooms, the resort has a host of modern amenities to make your stay relaxing and comfortable. And if you are in the mood for some authentic local cuisine of Shimla, the resort includes an in-house restaurant that serves a variety of delicious local cuisine. You can get detailed information about the Shimla resort and know more about our happy customer experiences by reading the Club Mahindra reviews online by members.
Plan a trip to Shimla to experience nature at its best and let the beauty of Shimla mesmerise and captivate you forever! With this Himachal tourism guide, you are bound to experience the best of Shimla with your family.