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Shimla is known as the ‘Queen of Indian Hill Stations’. It was first discovered as a summer vacation spot by officers of the British Raj, who would vacation here when the Indian summer became too unbearable for them.

Shimla is known as the ‘Queen of Indian Hill Stations’. It was first discovered as a summer vacation spot by officers of the British Raj, who would vacation here when the Indian summer became too unbearable for them. When Shimla gained in popularity as a summer retreat, most British officers stopped taking the two-month-long back home to England and made a beeline for this quaint spot instead.

Even today, it is a preferred summer holiday destination. Follow these steps to have the best Shimla vacation this year:

- Decide when you wish to visit: As already mentioned, the best times to visit Shimla is in the summer season, between the months of March and June. Shimla is a hill station with a pleasant climate during summer. However, the nights can get a little chilly, so pack some warm clothing, just in case.

- Book your travel tickets quickly: Don’t leave the ticket booking for later. The closer you book your flight, train or bus tickets to the date of your departure, the more expensive the tickets become. Also, you might not get your pick of tickets if you book late.

- Book your accommodation: Once your tickets are booked, you should check out some good Shimla resorts and hotels. We recommend checking into the Club Mahindra Kandaghat Resort or Club Mahindra Mashobra Resorts in Shimla. Both feature some of the best restaurants in Shimla, well-appointed rooms, stunning valley views from all rooms, superb on-site amenities to keep you occupied, and superlative round-the-clock service.

Now that you’ve decided when to visit and booked your travel and accommodation, you can make an itinerary comprising the places you need to visit. We’ve created a list for you to get started:

PARKS AND SANCTUARIES

* Himalayan Bird Park:

If you like birds and flowers, then the Himalayan Bird Park is the perfect Shimla tourist place for you. 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 the right time to visit is the summer season.

* 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.

Himalayan Bird Park Shimla Christ Church

PLACES OF WORSHIP

* 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. This temple also has the distinction of housing the largest Hanuman statue in the world. In fact, the statue can be seen from many points in Shimla.

SPOTS AROUND SHIMLA

Jakhu Temple . The Green Valley

* The Green Valley:

Just when you thought Shimla couldn’t get any prettier, you stepped into 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!

* 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. It should definitely figure on your list of places to visit in Shimla.

* 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. It is definitely one of the best Shimla tourist places.

* 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 Shimla tourist places located close by, like the Shiva’s cave, or go skiing, river rafting or zorbing.

* 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. For this legend alone, it is one of the best Shimla tourist places to see.

GOLF CLUBS

* Anandale: Shimla seems like an unlikely spot for playing golf, but you would be surprised to know that it has not one, but two golfing links. If you like to play golf, or follow the sport at all, then you should go to the most famous one, 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.

* 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. This is one of the best Shimla tourist places you can check out on your holiday.

SHOPPING PLACES

* 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.

* Lakkar Bazaar:

Sightseeing and shopping go hand in hand, and you must not miss a chance to visit the famous Lakkar Bazaar. This market is one of the most significant Shimla tourist places. 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.

OTHER PLACES OF INTEREST

* 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.

* 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.

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 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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