What comes to your mind when I say ‘Mountains’? Snow? Peace? Winds? Height? The Himalayas! Well, I have something for you in this post that will help you plan your trip to Shimla. From the best time to visit to things to do in Shimla, you’ll find it all. Apart from places to visit in Shimla, I’ll try to serve as much information you’d need to visit the gifted place on earth. This is to ensure your perfect planning for the perfect place. As I went on researching on places to visit in Shimla, I came across a huge bunch of places. Out of that bunch, here are top 50 places to visit in Shimla.
Let us begin with an introduction to the Queen of hills, Shimla
About Queen of hills, Shimla
Shimla (formerly known as Simla) is the capital city of the north Indian State Himachal Pradesh. It is the largest city in this state, gifted with natural beauty you cannot ignore. In 1864, Shimla became the summer capital of British India, succeeding Murree, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. After Independence, Shimla became the capital of Punjab. Later Himachal Pradesh was born out of Punjab and Shimla became the capital of the state.
Shimla, homes colonial architecture, churches, temples and the natural ambiance. Local attractions include Viceroy Lodge, the Christ church, Jakhoo temple, Mall road, The Ridge and Kalka-Shimla railway which is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Geography and Climate of Shimla
Shimla lies north-west of Himalayas at. It is 2,206 meters above the sea level. The city is ~9.2 kilometer from east to west. Shimla was built on top of seven hills namely; Inverarm Hill, Observatory Hill, Prospect Hill, Summer Hill, Bantony Hill, Elysium Hill and Jhakoo Hill. The highest point in Shimla is at a height of 2,454 meters. The city is zone IV (High damage risk zone) and weak construction technique and increasing population is a serious add on to this. Another rising concern in this city is the Land Slides that often happen during the heavy rains.
The closest river to the city is river Sutlej, about 21 km away. Nearest cities include Delhi, Manali, and Chandigarh. Manali and Delhi are 300 and 350 kilometers respectively. You can reach there in about 7 hours using state transport or your personal transport.
Shimla features subtropical highland climate with a temperature range of -4 °C to 31 °C over the course of the year. Average temperature during summer is 19 °C to 28 °C, and -1 °C to 10 °C in winters. Precipitation varies between 15 mm in November to 440 mm in August. Furthermore, snowfall in the region takes place in December. But lately, for last fifteen years, snowfall happens in January and February. So now you know what’s the best time to visit Shimla.
Best time to visit Shimla
Winter is the best time to visit Shimla, I mean, who wouldn’t want to see the city covered under snow? The winter season lasts from October to February. However, snowfall occurs around January. If you are planning to visit Shimla during the snowfall, skiing is something you should definitely try in Kufri. The temperature can dip as low as -4°C to 1°C. Do carry enough warm clothes.
Additionally, the best time to visit Shimla is March to June. When the snow starts disappearing with a promise of coming back soon. And the unmatched beauty of Shimla comes to the vicinity. That’s exactly when you’re going to enjoy the best of the city. The weather not so hot not so cold, it’s most pleasant time of the year for Shimla.
Okay, so enough about the beautiful city. Let me take you a virtual tour of the city an make you wanna go there no matter what. Let’s go.
Top 24 places to visit in Shimla
#1 The Ridge
One of the most popular places to visit in Shimla is The Ridge. Located on the Mall road and center of the city. This is the much loved and enjoyed point in Shimla after shopping from the mall road.
If you are visiting during the snowfall, you’d not want to go back from there. The scenery will soak you and freeze you in it. Since this location is a hotspot of the city, you’d seldom find space to take isolated selfies without any annoying photobombs.
You’d need to spare 2-3 hours to spend here and there’s no entry fee here. You can visit this place between 08:00 AM to 06:00 PM.
#2 The Mall Road
Shopping? Mall road has everything you’d need to flaunt your visit to Shimla. Your trip isn’t complete without visiting this place with mountains all around and shopping in the center. Since this place is at the heart of the city and very near to the ridge, it is very much reachable from any part of the city.
Mall road is the busiest stretch you’d find in Shimla. Mixing nature’s beauty with man-made beauty, this place will leave you bewildered. If you are coming with friends, you can do some window shopping. But honeymooners, better get a heavy wallet because you’d find many reasons to spend here.
You’d need to spare 2-3 hours to spend here and this place is open from 9 am to 9 pm all days of the week.
So after some shopping, it’s time for something to fill the purpose of your visit, mountains. Kufri, just 13 km away from the main city is the place to relax and enjoy endless belt of mountains. During winters, this place only gets better. The landscapes and the snow become flattering enough to enjoy the moment.
Kufri’s zoological park is the highlight of this place housing rare species like Antelopes, bears, and Himalayan Monal which is the state bird of Himachal Pradesh. Trekking lovers, the highest point here is the Mashru peak. Furthermore, ski grounds during winters is a soothing place to be in Kufri.
#4 Toy train to Kalka
British have left a lot for us to cherish after independence. Toy train to Kalka is one of them. An enjoyable train ride through most parts of Kalka and Shimla, this train ride is must have experience. It is a narrow gauge train that passes through over a 100 tunnels. Furthermore, this is one of the most beautiful rides you’d ever have in the world.
This route is a world heritage site and is definitely going to leave you awestruck.
#5 Jakhoo Temple
This temple has largest Hanuman statue in the world. This statue is visible from any part of Shimla. Visit this temple and find the statue upright to have a strain in your neck. Shivalik ranges and the town of Sanjauli adds immense beauty to this spot. As per the legend, Lord Hanuman took a halt here while searching for Sanjeevani (Ayurvedic medicine) to revive Lord Lakshman.
You’d need to spare 2 hours for this place. And there is no fee to visit the temple. The temple is open from 05:00 AM to 12:00 PM, 04:00 PM to 09:oo PM.
Thanks to the internet, Shimla isn’t peaceful place anymore. The city is always flooded with the crowd. But if you want to escape the crowd and enjoy every breath you take, Theog is the place I’d recommend. The place is beautifully surrounded by the mighty Himalayas. Furthermore, this place has everything an ideal hill station ought to have minus the crowd.
32 km away from the city, Theog becomes a perfect weekend gateway. Being away from the city jazz, Theog is one of the most underrated destinations around Shimla which is in its favor. The excitement of shouting on top of hills is nothing but a bliss. If you are not a “city-person”, then you won’t regret coming here.
You can spend as much time as you want, but after sunset, this place isn’t safe. But his place is worth spending 6-8 hours. One who hasn’t visited Theog can only imagine the sunrise here <3
#7 Scandal Point
The scandal point is right in the heart of the city, near the Mall road. This beautiful place derives its name from the story where the king of Patiala abducts the daughter of Viceroy because he fell in love with her in this place. Scandal point is one of the highest points in Shimla and is worth visiting since it is at the heart of the city.
You’d need to spare 2 hours to spend here and there is no fee to visit this place. Opens all days of the week from 06:00 AM to 08:00 PM. Shopping at the mall road after this is a good idea 😉
#8 Indian Institute of Advanced Studies
The architectural beauty of Shimla isn’t far behind the natural beauty. On the Observatory hill, resides the Indian Institute of advance studies offering post-doctoral courses. This building is built with Victorian-style architecture and is quite old to stand still, but old is gold.
You wouldn’t get to get inside the building, but you can definitely enjoy the architecture that was built by the British during their rule in India. This building was used for important political meetings of the British.
Wildlife enthusiasts, this place is for you. Mashobra is one of the least explored place around Shimla. This is one of the best places to visit in Shimla. Mashobra is 10 km away from the main city and is a home to rich flora and fauna.
For those who want to unwind and relax in the lap of nature, this is the place you cannot miss coming. Mashobra has a variety of wild animals wandering around the place, that would bring a thrill of watching them. During the snowfall, this place becomes heaven with snow all around and majestic mountains right in front of your eyes. You’d definitely revive yourself here.
Since Mashobra is within the city limits, you can spend a quality amount of time here. You can stay overnight and spend a whole day, and it is worth.
Chail is at 2250 m above sea level, nothing special in this. But what if I tell you that Chail is a home to world’s highest cricket and polo ground? This makes Chail special. Chail is a small village 15 km away from the city and is also known as hiker’s paradise. For all, you hiker’s this is one of the best places to visit in Shimla.
Once a summer capital of Patiala Kings, their palace is now a hotel serving fantastic hospitality to the tourists. There are luxurious resorts on three hilltops, that has lush greenery and mesmerizing views at a greater height. You’d find this place calm and peaceful as this is away from the bustling and crowdful destinations in Shimla.
#11 Skiing in Kufri
If you are visiting during the snowfall, Skiing is a must do activity here. You’d find a lot of people here and an equal amount of fun. You’ll not find the people around a distraction, as you’d be focusing on balancing yourself while skiing. The town also hosts winter sports festival in the month of February. There are setups available for training and enjoying skiing.
Enjoy the thrill of gliding on the snow and the wind passing the energy through your nerves. The Adrenalin rush that you’d experience is worth every single penny.
#12 The Christ Church
Second oldest church in north India, the Christ church is a must place to visit in Shimla. Situated on the mall road, the church is easy to find and reach. The church took 11 long years to build and is a pure devotional beauty with architectural masters.
Foundation stone was laid in the year 1844, this church becomes the most visited place in Shimla by all age groups. At the night time, the church literally glows when it lightens up. During winters, it resembles the look of the magnificent castle.
Tattapani actually means hot water in Hindi. Tattapani is a small village 51 km away from the city. Having hot water streams in such a cold place isn’t explainable right? Yes, this place is famous for hot water streams and Lord Shiva caves.
#14 Lakkar Bazaar
Famous for shopping, this place near Mall road is crowded and mesmerizing to visit. Who wouldn’t love to shop with beautiful mountains and peaceful ambiance around? You’d find handicrafts, shawls, woolens, and jewelry here. This place is also famous for wooden handicrafts, dry fruits, and natural herbs.
#15 Himalayan Bird Park
If you want to get in front of some of nature’s most beautiful creatures, you’d love to be here. Himalayan Bird Park is the home to Himalayan Monal that can be found nowhere else. It has some vibrant collection of birds that will prove that one doesn’t need ‘words’ to make people fall in love with them.
You’d need to spare an hour or so of your time and 5 INR to get an entry.
How does gravity act at a greater height? Find it out here in Naldehra where you will find high altitude golf course near Shimla. You’d need a membership for entry. However, you can roam around the gold course either by walk or on a pony.
The 9 hole golf course is surrounded by scenic beauty and is one of the calmest places to visit in Shimla. If you’re not a golf lover, you can just walk around. If you have kids, they’d love the green lush fields.
#17 Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary
Barking dogs seldom bite, barking deer never bite. Yes, you’d find barking deer in this beautiful reserve forest. This forest is home, not only to barking deer but also to animals such as jackals, monkeys, and leopards. If wildlife is something that you love, you cannot miss coming here. Among all the places to visit in Shimla, this is least populated and facilitated place. Obviously, you cannot inside the forest but can opt a hotel nearby.
Pir Panjal ranges of Jammu Kashmir are visible from here, making it ideal spot to visit, relax and breathe.
You’d need to spare, 4-5 hours of your time to spend here. And the forest is open from 09:00 AM to 06:00
#18 Horse Riding
If you are around The Ridge, you can opt for Horse Riding. Horse Riding is much-loved activity in Shimla and Kufri. In Shimla, horse riding is available only near Ridge. While in Kufri, you can opt for a horse ride through apple orchards and all the way to Kufri Zoo.
#19 Gurudwara Sahib
111-year-old Gurudwara is at Padhawa hills. The small but exquisite architecture of this Gurudwara is a place Sikh devotees. And the Punjabi community is known for being welcoming to people from all communities. No age restrictions, no community restrictions. Just get inside with your head covered with a cloth(that’s their tradition and let’s respect it), that’s it.
#20 Wild Flower Hall Hotel
Yet another British architecture, The Wild Flower Hall was originally built for Lord Kitchener of Khartoum. Furthermore, this building had been a favorite retreat for Lord Ripon. Unfortunately, the building got burnt in 1993. And then in a joint venture between HP Government and Oberoi Group of Hotels, the building was reconstructed on the remains of the burnt.
#21 Green Valley
Nature Photography enthusiasts, you’d find this place a heaven. In spite of being very near to the main city, this place miles away from city chaos, constant traffic, and noise. Out of all places to visit in Shimla, Green Valley is the best place to visit within city limits.
The green valley is such a gift to humans, it is simple yet beautiful. Grown-up seeing humans wander around, finding yaks gazing around is a little uncommon for tourists. The scenic beauty of Green Valley makes it one of the most beautiful spots in the whole country. Imagine the beauty of this place during snowfall.
You’d need to spare a day of your schedule to be here. It’s free to visit but worth millions.
#22 Himachal State Museum
The museum is located on the Mall road, easily reachable and has a collection of antique coins, paintings, and handicrafts. Inspired and influenced by the Pahari form of art, this collection is mesmerizing and artistic. You’d find stone images from the 8th century, and the doll of brides and groom that are admired by all the visitors.
You’d need to spare 1-2 hours for this place. The fee for Indians is 20 INR and 50 INR for foreigners. Not so cool, but it’s true. But, our guests from abroad, you guys are special to us.
#23 Retreat Building
A 168-year-old building which is an official retreat residence for the president of India. It was built in 1850 for the viceroy of India during the British. The architectural and scenic beauty has together made this place a tourist attraction in Shimla.
#24 Tara Devi temple
Tara Devi temple is of the goddess of stars. The temple is on the top of the mountain peak. The ambiance is beautiful and you sense spirituality in the air of this peak. If not spiritual, just be there for enjoying the views.
This temple is open all days of the week between 07:00 AM to 06:30 PM.
The Northern part of India is blessed with natural beauty. Out of which Shimla is the most visited place. If you are planning your vacation you definitely want these places to visit in Shimla, handy. However, visiting all these places might not be possible, but you can choose the best and plan accordingly.
Having said that, one thing I can assure you is that you won’t regret coming here. Furthermore, if I have to choose my best five places on this list, It’d be Green Valley, Naldehra, Mashobra, Chail, and Kufri. These places away from the city hence excluding the places that are within the city like, The Mall Road, Christ Church, Ridge etc.
Over to you. Have been already to Shimla? If yes, what was your experience visiting Shimla? Which of these places have you been? Let me know in the comment section below.
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