Shimla is perhaps the most picturesque town that you would come across on your tour of north India. During the British era, Shimla was the summer retreat and was renowned as the “Queen of the Hills”. Its topography is characterized by undulating hills, lush green valleys, garrulous rivers, dense woods and a pleasant climate that makes it an ideal getaway from the din and rush of the plains. The old world charm still comes to life here as it is dotted with a number of colonial buildings and churches that also accentuate the exquisiteness of this town. Besides, you will also encounter several tourist attractions in Shimla that are worth catching a glimpse such as:
Himachal State Museum & Library:
This museum is indisputably one of the prime tourist attractions in Shimla and remains open to the public except on Mondays and public holidays. This museum houses a fine collection of antique sculptures, paintings, coins, photos and other items not only from the state but also outside it. You will also find a library here which houses several historical books and manuscripts.
Viceregal Lodge & Botanical Gardens:
Also famous as “Rashtrapati Niwas”, it is a spectacular building located on the Observatory Hills and was formerly the residence of the British Viceroy Lord Dufferin. Its construction was accomplished in the year 1888 and every brick for the building was carried by mules according to the sources. The massive six-story building is surrounded by well manicured gardens and lawns.
Indian Institute of Advanced Studies:
Located in the Viceregal Lodge, it was constructed in the year 1888. The kind of architecture is English Renaissance with stonework of the walling in light blue limestone and the wrought stonework being done in sandstone in a stunning light gray shade. The grounds are open to the public only on Sunday and you need a ticket in order to enter.
This place is an open space in the heart of town and offers outstanding views of the distant mountain ranges. The two prominent landmarks of Shimla, the Neo-Gothic structure of Christ Church and the new Tudor Library building are the other attractions located here.
It is the key shopping centre of Shimla with restaurants, clubs, banks, bars, Post Offices, tourist offices and most of town’s highlights. The place becomes breathtakingly romantic in the evening offering wonderful views of the lit up city below. You can laze around around the Mall and spend some intimate moments with close ones. It is the most significant among the tourist attractions in Shimla.
It is a scenic spot located near Shimla at an altitude of 1,283 meters and is much visited by the tourists. The legendary Indian leader, Mahatma Gandhi during his sojourn in Shimla spent some time in the elegant Georgian House of Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur located here.
It is a charming picnic spot and is a 4 km walk through the dense woods located at a height of 1, 830 meters. You can also go for picnic at this spot since it is completely secluded and tranquil.
Tara Devi Temple:
Among the various places to visit in Shimla, this temple occupies a crucial place and is also of great importance for the pilgrims. It is located on top of a hill facing Shimla and commands panoramic vistas of Shimla. It is also an ideal picnic spot surrounded by thick forest of oak and rhododendron.
Other Good places :
Apart from a promenade along the Mall and the walk to Jakhu Temple, there are many pleasant walks around Shimla. Summer Hill (2,103 m), about 5km along the Shimla-Kalka railway line, makes a good walk. The Holme is the pretty villa of one of our most loved artists, Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-41). Gifted to her by her parents, the house is where Amrita painted her beautiful pictures when in the country. The Holme now serves as a cozy heritage hotel. Summer Hill is also famous because Mahatma Gandhi once stayed at the Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur mansion here. Chadwick Falls, which are about 67m high, are only worth visiting during or just after the monsoon between July and October. The falls are 7km from Shimla and can be reached via Summer Hill. Prospect Hill (2,176 m) is about 5km west of Shimla and a 15-minute climb from Boileauganj. The hill is a popular picnic spot with fine views over the surrounding country. The Kamna Devi Temple is nearby.
Sankat Mochan, 7km from Shimla on the road to Chandigarh, has a Hanuman temple, and offers fine views of Shimla. It can also be reached by car. Tara Devi Temple, about 10km from Shimla, is dedicated to the Goddess of stars. Located atop a hill, it is near another temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. About 2km up a path from Tara Devi station on the Shimla-Kalka railway line, it offers fine views. Wildflower Hall, at Chharabra, is a 13km trek from Shimla. It used to be the residence of the British Commander-in-Chief Lord Kitchener. Later the HPTDC (Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation) turned it into a hotel, but the building was seriously damaged by a fire in 1994.