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Shimla is dreamy and divine. Gorgeous peaks, crisp mountain air and charming residents make this spot a must-visit for every person looking to escape the city stress and pollution.

Shimla is dreamy and divine. Gorgeous peaks, crisp mountain air and charming residents make this spot a must-visit for every person looking to escape the city stress and pollution.

Every updated Shimla travel guide will provide solutions for travelling to Shimla. The hill station is located in Himachal Pradesh and is well connected by road to neighbouring cities and States. You can travel to Shimla by air, road or train. Read on for helpful information on each category of travel and how to reach Shimla:

By Air By Road

* By Air:

Shimla has its own airport, Jubbarhatti Airport, located about 20 km from the main town. This airport is one of India’s new ones, and it is one of the few airports located at hill stations in the country.

The airstrip is quite small, so aircrafts do not have a long runway and hence, a long time to take off or land. People often remark on how bumpy the landing is, so brace yourself for it especially if you are a nervous travellers.

Also, the Jubbarhatti Airport is not functional for certain times of the year, especially during snowy weather in winter and hard rainfall. Shimla travel guides update the functioning times for this airport every year, so study these in detail. When booking your flights, you should instead choose Delhi or Chandigarh airport since you are guaranteed regular flights to these airports, irrespective of the weather. From Delhi or Chandigarh, you can drive down to Shimla (check the point below for distances by road).

We suggest booking a flight that lands at Chandigarh Airport, which is about 60 km from Shimla.

There are regular flights from cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad for Chandigarh. However, be sure to book as early as you can from your departure date to avoid surge pricing and unavailability of tickets.

* By Road:

Shimla is well connected by road to many Indian cities. The best Shimla travel guides list many routes to reach Shimla from the rest of Himachal Pradesh, as also other cities like Delhi, Agra, Srinagar, Jaipur, Amritsar and even far flung cities like Mumbai and Chennai. Consider the following distances between cities before you plan your road trip or book bus tickets:

From Amritsar: 335 km

From Chandigarh: 114 km

From Delhi: 344 km

From Kolkata: 1,813 km

From Agra: 559 km

From Jaipur: 630 km

From Gurgaon: 381 km

From Srinagar: 700 km

From Mumbai: 1,764 km

From Hyderabad: 1,891 km

From Bengaluru: 2,480 km

From Pune: 1,814 km

From Goa: 2,231 km

There are regular buses plying to Shimla from Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab, J&K, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal. It is advisable to take a bus that connects you to Chandigarh, from where the Chandigarh-Shimla highway takes about 3 hours to connect you. The road is also in good condition, which is an important factor when travelling in the monsoon season.

* By Train:

As per official Shimla travel guides, the nearest railway station to this hill station is located at Kalka, at about 96 km away. It connects Shimla to other Indian cities like Chandigarh and Delhi.

You can take the Kalka Shatabdi from Delhi in the early morning hours and reach Kalka by noon. You will take only about three hours to reach Kalka from Chandigarh by train.

A major attraction for those going to Shimla by train is the Kalka-Shimla toy train. It was established by the British in the year 1903, and is an engineering and rail wonder for the ages. It goes through 865 bridges and 102 tunnels, while navigating 919 bends. You will be left awestruck with the amazing vistas it shows – mountaintops, pine forests, waterfalls and small hill stations – along its 60 km route. You can reach Shimla from Kalka in about 5 hours.

The best times to visit Shimla

Now that you have decided to visit Shimla, let’s get down to booking your holiday at the right time.

Refer to Shimla travel guides to know about the right season to visit. The tourist season is in full swing in the summer months from April to end of June, after which the region starts receiving rainfall. Shimla is vibrant and buzzing with activity during the tourist season. It is the right time to visit Shimla because you get a lot of variety in food and shopping, and there are many hiking and sightseeing tours available as well.

If there is a fallout of the tourist season, it is that resort and restaurant rates are quite high during this time. You must book your Shimla resort early to get good accommodation during this season.

Some might argue that a better time to visit Shimla is when the tourist season has just ebbed away, i.e. the monsoon season, or when hardly anybody visits, i.e. the winter season. There are lower footfalls in both these seasons, for good reason:

The monsoon season makes the roads slick. Most roads in Himachal Pradesh, including those in Shimla, are narrow and winding. They fall into disrepair in the monsoon season, so driving down these roads can be quite hazardous. The monsoon season brings heavy rainfall often accompanied by mist, so visibility is also limited.

Meanwhile, temperatures drop sharply during the winter season which starts in November and ends in February. You would not think twice about the biting cold and snowy climes if you live in a cold city or country. But those unaccustomed to the sleet and snow may find the winter weather quite uncomfortable. Temperatures may hover in the region of 2⁰C at the peak of winter in December. However, if you can brave the cold weather, you will enjoy the winter in Shimla because you can skiing or sledding in the mountains – the snow is packed tight by January, and you can have a great time!

Points to note about holidaying in Shimla

Now that you have decided on when to visit Shimla and proceeded to book your tickets and accommodation, do note the following about having a safe and hassle-free Shimla vacation:

Points to note about holidaying in Shimla

Now that you have decided on when to visit Shimla and proceeded to book your tickets and accommodation, do note the following about having a safe and hassle-free Shimla vacation:

* Pack right: Whether you visit Shimla in the summer or another season, it is always better to be prepared for a sudden drop in temperatures. The mercury often dips at higher altitudes, and you will feel the chill wind when you go hiking, or visit mountain points. Carry a fleece-lined jacket, a beanie to protect your head and ears, and stout walking boots with a rubber sole. You should carry motion sickness tablets, as the winding roads can make you feel sick. Also, the sunlight may not be hot but it is quite bright, so carry your sunglasses, sunscreen lotion and a hat.

* Be friendly: Shimla sees tourists from around the world, and residents are glad to offer custom to all. You are expected to be friendly and polite wherever you go, and with whoever you interact with. From the reception staff at your restaurant to the Shimla travel guide you book, and from the shopkeepers you speak with or a random person you ask directions from, you will go a long way with a smile and good manners. Look up a good Shimla travel guide book to learn some stock phrases like ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Excuse me’ and ‘You’re welcome’ in the local language.

* Women, be careful: Though Shimla sees a lot of solo travellers, many of them women, there have been stray incidents of women being vulnerable to cheating or assault. Though nobody targets women here on account of their nationality or the way they dress, it helps to steer clear of mobs, unlit alleys and tourist points after dark. We caution you against hiring a car for solitary drives after dark. Always keep your navigation maps switched on your phone to check where the driver is taking you, and keep your valuable belongings (cash, money, cards) in a sling next to your skin (wear it under your shirt or dress). Don’t accept offers to go see unknown places with people you just met, or go back to somebody’s hotel for drinks. Also, do not leave your food and drinks unattended when sharing a table with strangers at a Shimla restaurant.

* Make a list of places to see: Based on how long you are staying in Shimla, you must draw up an itinerary for things to do and places to see. It can be quite an exhaustive list, because there is so much to explore in this charming hill town! We’ve included a list of places you can explore in the following section, but bear in mind that you must list only those places you are really interested in seeing, and how far they are from each other and your resort. Make sure that you conclude every day’s sightseeing by 5 pm, because you should not drive back in the dark on winding roads.

* Haggle when shopping: Though prices for most things you buy at Mall Road or other popular bazaars are quite competitive, some items like wooden artefacts, locally made sweaters, etc. may be priced higher. Prices are demanded with the assumption that tourists will pay more for things that are not available elsewhere. Be sure to haggle if you feel the price is too high, and take a round of all the shops first to find the one selling the best stuff. Some Shimla travel guides have a general list of prices for different categories of goods, so refer to it before venturing out. This is our most important tip: Don’t take shopping suggestions from taxi drivers or tour guides – they always recommend places that give them a commission per customer, but without the promise of a discount for you.

 

By Train

Places to visit in Shimla.

* Mall Road:

This is Shimla’s most famous address, and it has also featured in several Hindi films. It is a commercial area in Shimla, featuring a variety of shopping areas and restaurants. There are also some social hangout spots here, such as small gardens. There are banks and ATM points, post offices, schools and tourist information kiosks here as well. If you are unsure about where to go next, you should look up a Shimla travel guide at the tourist kiosks before you proceed. Mall Road is a charming street that will draw you in like a moth to a flame.

* Kufri:

It’s cold, majestic and higher than Shimla. Head to Kufri if you want to spend some quality time with your partner – there are hotels and restaurants at the top, and the panoramic views of the valley are to be seen to be believed. It is located just about 10 km from Shimla and easily accessible by taxi. There are also a few temples located here, and you can take the walking trail to other spots like Mashobra and Chail.

* Shimla Christ Church:

Shimla has a sizeable Christian population, and most of them pray at the Shimla Christ Church on Mall Road. It is one of the oldest churches in North India and it is a thing of beauty: its white façade gleams yellow in the night lights and it looks serene in the winter season. The church’s architecture borrows heavily from Victorian elements of design, and it is a thing of wonder to behold.

* Jakhu Temple:

There are myriad temples dotting the Shimla landscape, and visiting the Jakhu Temple is one of the most important on the list of things to do in Shimla. The Jakhu Temple is located at the highest spot in Shimla, and is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. There is an air of mystery around this temple, and it is always shrouded in a hushed silence. Since it is located in the Shivalik hills, there is a sizeable monkey population visiting the temple all year. The largest Hanuman statue in the world is inside this temple. In fact, the statue can be seen from many points in Shimla.

* Theog:

Escape away from the bustle of the main streets in Shimla and escape to Theog, where you can meditate or sit in peace high up in the hills. It is located about 32 km from Shimla and is a popular camping site in the summer months.

* The Green Valley: Just when you thought Shimla couldn’t get any prettier, you came across Green Valley. The Green Valley is so breathtakingly beautiful, that you would fall short of words to describe its splendour. It spans the mountain range from Kufri to Shimla, and is one of the cleanest, most pollution-free spots in all of India. If you want to get away from city cacophony and stress, then you should head straight to this spot which is highly recommended by all. Plus, you might see some yaks on the way!

* Tattapani: Shimla is also full of curious natural wonders, and Tattapani certainly figures on this list. Its name is derived from the Hindi word for ‘hot’, though Tattapani is a village settlement. It is famous for the hot sulphur springs in the area, whose water is said to cure a variety of skin, hair and joint ailments. Meanwhile, you can also visit other attractions here like the Shiva’s cave, or go skiing, river rafting or zorbing.

* Bantony Castle: This structure is a symbol of British colonial rule in India. It was built on the Bantony Hill, hence its name. Today, it is a heritage site comprising the Bantony Castle and Bantony cottage, and is managed by the Heritage Zone of Shimla. You can see it during heritage walks of the area. Its wooden architecture and quaintness are worth exploring.

* Anandale: If you like to play golf, or follow the sport at all, then you should go to Anandale which has a golf course with spectacular views all around. Plus, there is a famous cactus museum and an army museum here. Children love the huge playground located close by, where there are always polo or cricket matches in progress.

* Scandal Point: This interesting name came about due to the legend associated with this mountain top point in Shimla. The site for many a mountain camp and hike today, was a yesteryear site for scandal involving the then king of Shimla, Maharaj Bhupinder Singh, and the British Viceroy’s daughter. The Indian king met and fell in love with the British beauty, and they eloped and hid away at this point. Seeking vengeance, the Viceroy tried everything to get his daughter back but she refused to return, and later married the Maharaja. The story went down in history as the biggest scandal of its time.

* Himalayan Bird Park:

If you like birds and flowers, then the Himalayan Bird Park is the perfect place to visit in Shimla. It houses rare birds such as the iridescent monal pheasant, which was the State bird till a few years ago. You can walk around the park and explore the birds, and also their natural habitat. But the place is covered in snow in the winter season, so it is best to visit in summer.

* Himachal State Museum:

If you like to look at rare and old artefacts, or browse through old paintings or simply brush up on the history of a place, then you should visit this museum. It hosts a variety of artefacts, sculptures, artistic items and other things of interest sourced from Shimla and around India. They also have a large library comprising more than 10,000 books and magazines. You will especially love their doll gallery that has bride and groom dolls.

* Naldehra Golf Club: Located about 22 km from Shimla, Naldehra is one of the highest points in the region and full of natural beauty. The popular spot has a famous golf course at that imposing height – this means that you get majestic views of the valley while you play a round of golf.

* Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary: If you want to breathe in clean smelling fresh air and feast your eyes on pretty flowers and animals, then you must go to the Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary. You can spot barking deer, rare species of monkey and even leopards here. You can stop and stare at the stunning Pir Panjal mountain range of Jammu and Kashmir from this sanctuary as well.

* Lakkar Bazaar:

Sightseeing and shopping go hand in hand, and you must not miss a chance to visit the famous Lakkar Bazaar. Deriving its name from the Hindi word ‘Lakdi’ or ‘Wooden stick’, the market is most famous for selling a variety of decorative items in wood. The market was started by a group of Sikh carpenters who settled here and made stunning wooden pieces using deodar and walnut wood which was abundant in the region. However, there are other stores selling woollen sweaters and stoles (don’t forget to take back a Kullu shawl or two). If you are going trekking, then you should pick up a sturdy wooden walking stick from this bazaar.

Be sure to book yourself into a good Shimla resort like the Club Mahindra Kandaghat Resort or Club Mahindra Mashobra Resorts in Shimla. These are luxury resorts located in Shimla and which offer the best in terms of service, comfort and amenities. They also have some of the best restaurants in Shimla.

About Mahindra Holidays

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL), India’s leading player in the leisure hospitality industry, offers quality family holidays as also stated by Club Mahindra Resort Reviews, primarily through vacation ownership memberships. While Club Mahindra is the flagship brand offering Club Mahindra Memberships, the other brands offered by the company are – Club Mahindra Resorts Fundays and Svaastha Spa. As on Mar 31, 2019, MHRIL has 61+ resorts across India and abroad and its subsidiary, Holiday Club Resorts Oy, Finland, a leading vacation ownership company in Europe has 33 resorts across Finland, Sweden and Spain. Visit us at www.clubmahindra.com

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