Shimla, formerly known as Simla, is the capital city of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, located in northern India. It is bounded by Mandi and Kullu in the north, Kinnaur in the east, the state of Uttaranchal in the south-east, and Solan and Sirmaur to the south. The elevation of the city ranges from 300 to 6000 metres. Shimla is well known as a hub for India's tourism sector. It is among the top 10 preferred entrepreneurial locations in India.
The name has been derived from the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kali. As of 2011 Shimla comprises 19 erstwhile hill states mainly Balson, Bushahr, Bhaji and Koti, Darkoti, Tharoch & Dhadi, Kumharsain, Khaneti & Delath, Dhami, Jubbal, Keothal, Madhan, Rawingarh, Ratesh, and Sangri. As a large and growing city, Shimla is home to many well-recognized colleges and research institutions in India. The city has a large number of temples and palaces. Shimla is also well noted for its buildings styled in Tudorbethan and neo-Gothic architecture dating from the colonial era.
Shimla has many temples and is often visited by devotees from nearby towns and cities. The Kali Bari temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali is near The Mall. Jakhoo Temple, for the Hindu god Hanuman is located at the highest point in Shimla. The Shimla arts and crafts are highly in demand by the tourists. They range from excellent pieces of jewelry, embroidered shawls and garments to leather made articles and sculptures. Shimla is full of Pine and Deodar trees. The wood has been extensively used in building the temples and palaces of Shimla. The various kinds of arts and crafts of Shimla made out of wood includes small boxes, jeweleries, fruit bowls and other image carvings. The paintings in Shimla bear the deep artistic insight of the people there. The Shimla art bears the testimony of the rich culture and tradition of Shimla.
The flamboyancy of the carpets and rugs of Shimla is a great attraction for the tourists. Different floral and other motifs make these carpets look really very beautiful. The wool from the sheep is used to make blankets and rugs. The embroidered stuffs are very popular that includes handkerchiefs, hand fans, gloves, caps, etc. The arts and crafts of Shimla have that traditional touch in it. Among others, the shawls of Shimla are very well known for their fine quality. The leather craft of Shimla is also a demanded thing. Beautiful stuffs of leather comprises shoes, slippers and belts. The other arts and crafts of Shimla includes a huge collection of amazing beaded and metal jeweleries. These intricately designed jeweleries bears the hallmark of the artistic craftsmanship of the Shimla designers.
The people of Shimla are informally called Shimlaites. With largely cosmopolitan crowds, a variety of festivals are celebrated here. The Shimla Summer Festival, held every year during peak tourist season, and lasting 3–4 days, is celebrated on The Ridge. The highlights of this event include performances by popular singers from all over the country. Shimla has a number of places to visit. Most of the heritage buildings in the city are preserved in their original 'Tudorbethan' architecture. The former Viceregal Lodge, which now houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and Wildflower Hall, now a luxury hotel, are some of the famous ones. (built in 1974).
Shimla features a subtropical highland climate under the Köppen climate classification. The climate in Shimla is predominantly cool during winters, and moderately warm during summer. Temperatures typically range from −4°C (25°F) to 31°C (88°F) over the course of a year. The average temperature during summer is between 19°C (66°F) and 28°C (82°F), and between −1°C (30°F) and 10°C (50°F) in winter. Snowfall in the region, which historically has taken place in the month of December.
Places Of Interest:
How To Reach Shimla:
- Christ Church: Situated on The Ridge, Christ Church is the second oldest church in Northern India. It has a very majestic appearance and inside there are stained glass windows which represent faith, hope, charity, fortitude, patience and humility.
- Jakhu Hill: 2 km from Shimla, at a height of 8000 ft, Jakhu Hill is the highest peak and offers a beautiful view of the town and of the snow-covered Himalayas. At the top of the Hill, is an old temple of Lord Hanuman, which is also the home of countless playful monkeys waiting to be fed by all visitors. A 108 feet (33 metre) statue of Lord Hanuman, a Hindu deity, at 8,500 feet (2,591 metres) above sea level, is single statue to stand at the highest altitude among several other master pieces in the World, overtaking the Christ Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- Jutogh: Located just 8 km away from the city centre, this army cantonment is near Totu, an important suburb of Shimla city.
- Shimla State Museum: The Museum, which was opened in 1974, has tried to protect hill-out and the cultural wealth of the state. There is a collection of miniature Pahari paintings, sculptures, bronzes wood-carvings and also costumes, textiles and jewellery of the region.
- Summer Hill: Situated at a distance of 5 km from The Ridge is the lovely township of Summer Hill, at a height of 6,500 ft on the Shimla-Kalka railway line. Mahatma Gandhi lived in these quiet surroundings during his visits to Shimla. Himachal Pradesh University is situated here.
- Annandale: Developed as the playground of Shimla, Annandale is 2–4 km from The Ridge at a height of 6,117 ft. It is a favourite spot for cricket, picnics and polo.
- Tara Devi: 11 km from the Shimla bus-stand. Tara Devi hill has a temple dedicated to the goddess of stars on top of the hill. There is a military Dairy Town here as well as the headquarters of Bharat Scouts and Guides.
- Sankat Mochan: A very famous Lord Hanuman temple is located here.
- Junga: Junga is near Tehsi, 26 km from Shimla. Its original name (with diacritics) is Jūnga and is a former royal retreat of the princely state of Keonthal. It is also known as the Keonthal Estate.
- Anand Vilas: Midway between Shimla and Junga. "Sarva Dharma Mandir", Temple of all Faiths, is a spiritual group dedicated to Mother Nature. Thousands of visitors and devotees come here every year. There is an "Art is Values" school with students from all over India. Classes are provided free of cost.
- Mashobra: 13 km from Shimla, site of the annual Sipi fair in June.
- Kufri: 16 km from Shimla at a height of 8,600 ft, Kufri is the local winter sports centre, and it also has a small zoo.
- Shimla by Air: Shimla has its own airport that offers connections for Delhi and Kullu. The Jubbarhatti airport is 23-km from Shimla and major domestic airlines cater their services from here to Shimla. One can catch direct flights from Delhi. Chandigarh also well connected with Delhi by many domestic flights, and is the gateway to Shimla.
- Shimla by Rail: Reaching Shimla by rail is also very convenient as Kalka is the nearest major railhead which is connected with Shimla on the narrow gauge. The city boasts of three railway stations with Shimla, being the main station with other two located at Summer Hill and Totu (Jutogh) respectively.
- Shimla by Road: Access to Shimla by road is made possible by the well-maintained and efficient network of roadways and National Highway 22 that links the town with Chandigarh. The transport system within the town is also good and bus or private vehicles can be used to travel from one part of the town to another.