Himachal Tourist Information

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Shimla, Kasauli, Narkanda

Queen of Hills - Shimla
The tranquil beauty as well as the picturesque view of this magnificent city is something which will give you a thousand reasons to enjoy and cherish your stay at this place. Previously known as Simla, Shimla is also referred to as the ‘Queen of Hills’.The mighty hill station is seen as one of the best places to visit and enjoy holidays with family and friends. Located in the state of Himachal Pradesh at an elevation of 2,205 m above sea level, this gorgeous city has a number of attractions to lure the attention of the travelers all around the world.

Surrounded by lofty mountains of the Himalaya, this city has created a special place in the heart of a number of people with its dense pine forests and beautiful apple orchards. Shimla derives its name from the Goddess Kali, she descended here in the form named 'Shyamali Devi'. The magnificent city was the summer capital of the British rule.

Shimla tourism is fired by many reasons and enjoys many seasons. The hot summer season when the Indian plains begin to boil many young people and even families travel to Shimla on Shimla tour packages and the another huge season for Shimla tourism comes during the post wedding season with thousands of honeymoon couples flock up to see the attractions in Shimla region.

The main tourist places in Shimla are the Arki Fort, Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex, Scandal Point, Jakhoo Temple and Christ Church.
Access
By Air

Shimla can be easily reached by air. The place has its own airport at a place called Jubbarhatti, which is located at a distance of 23 kilometers from the main city center. Flights from New Delhi, Chandigarh and Kullu (another hill station) operate on a daily basis. Jagson Airlines is the flight that operates from these places on a regular basis.

By Train

The nearest railway station that connects Shimla to neighboring states is at Kalka. This place is located at a distance of 96 kilometers from Shimla. From Kalka, it takes around 6 hours to reach Shimla. The frequency of trains that ply from Kalka to Shimla is pretty good, with atleast 4 trains plying to and fro from Shimla. The journey from Delhi to Kalka is an overnight journey and reaches Kalka early morning. There are many tunnels en route with the longest being 1.2 kilometers long!

By Road

Shimla is well connected to neighboring places like New Delhi and Chandigarh through national highways. The journey from Delhi to Shimla by road takes approximately 8 hours. The highways are well maintained by the authorities and are a pleasure to drive on. There are many tourist buses that ply from neighboring places to take tourists to this beautiful hill station.
Distances
Shimla to Delhi 355 kms. approx.
Shimla to Narkanda 60 kms approx.
Shimla to Chail 40.3 kms approx.
Shimla to Kasauli 76 kms approx.
Places to Visit
Christ Church

Christ Church in Shimla is the second oldest Church in India. Christ Church is one of the prominent landmarks of Shimla. The silhouette of Christ Church is visible for miles around the vicinity of Shimla city. Christ Church remains one of the enduring legacies of the British Raj.

Christ Church was designed by Colonel JT Boileau in 1844; but the Church was consecrated only after 1857. The clock which adorns Christ Church was donated by Colonel Dumbleton in the year 1860. The porch was added in the year 1873.

Christ Church has survived partition and the subsequent political upheavals of the Indian subcontinent. Christ Church continues to be very well maintained and remains in good condition. However the mechanical appendages of the Church like the clock does not function-a natural progression of entropy through time.

You could not help but notice the stunningly beautiful stained glass windows inside the Church. There are five exquisite stained glass windows in Christ Church Shimla. One of them represents the virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Patience and Humility.

The Pipe-Organ of Christ Church is the biggest in the Indian subcontinent and was erected in September 1899.

The tuning of the Pipe-Organ was completed in September 23 1899,and the dedication and opening recital was conducted in September 28,1899.

The Pipe Organ was made to order for a then princely sum of Rs.23,000. The Pipe-Organ was refurbished and re tuned in 1932.

Jakhoo Temple

The Jakhoo Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Located on Jakhoo Hill, 2.5 km from the Ridge, the Jakhoo Temple offers beautiful views of the Shivalik Mountains and the nearby town of Sanjauli. HRTC taxis are available at very nominal rates(near Ritz movie
hall) from The Ridge to Jakhoo Temple.

The Ridge of Shimla

The Ridge of Shimla is a large open spacious platform from where you can have a panoramic view of the mountain peaks of Shimla.
The snow capped mountain ranges engulfed in the beauty of the nature is a phenomenal view that the Ridge of Shimla offers to the crowd.
The Ridge at Shimla also provides the tourists a view of the age old Christ Church built in the Neo-Gothic style of architecture as well as the new Tudor library. These two are the milestones of the town of Shimla.

The movement of vehicles is strictly prohibited here. As such the Ridge in Shimla always remains crowded with hundreds of people. Tourists from all over the country visit this awesome hill resort and paying a visit to the Ridge is a must for them for the view of the sunset at the dusk is something that one will never forget in his lifetime.

The Shimla Ridge is also flocked by the pedestrians for just pleasant walking in the cool breezy weather of Shimla.
The Ridge of Shimla exhibits an awesome view of the Mall that is located below it. The water supply of Shimla comes from the water reservoir that is present at the Ridge of Shimla.

The well known Summer Festival is organized near the Ridge.

The Ridge is the connecting point of Mall Road, Lakkar Bazaar, Scandal Point, US Club and Jakhu. The locals of Shimla provides a warm welcome to the tourists by their performances of dances and mimicry.

The statue of YS Parmar who is the founder of Himachal Pradesh and of Mrs Indira Gandhi has been erected at this place.

Shimla State Museum

The Shimla State Museum houses a huge collection of magnificent paintings, sculptures, coins, handicrafts, photos, etc of not only the state of Himachal Pradesh but outside too. The state museum is a major attraction of the Mall area of Shimla built in the style of colonial edifice with sprawling lawns all around. This museum was inaugurated in 1974.

The museum is open from 10 a.m.to 5 p.m.It is open on all days except Monday and the national holidays. The state museum of Shimla also comprises a library that is loaded with historical books and manuscripts.

The Shimla State Museum was erected solely with the purpose of preserving the rich cultural heritage of the state and to spread the message of cultural legacy over generations.

The paintings depicts the life and culture of the hilly people. Besides there is a huge collection of Mughal and Rajasthani paintings. The museum holds the sculptural merit of the 8th century stone works of Masrur and Bajaura. Also a wide lay out of Himachali dolls are displayed here.

The Shimla State Museum is visited by the researchers from both domestic as well as foreign lands.

The various galleries of the Shimla State Museum are as follows:
Pre-Historic Gallery - The gallery consists of ancient stone age tools as well as models of extinct animals.
Wood-Carving Gallery - Remains of wood panels of ancient temples and traditional wood artistry and stone work is found here.
.Archaeology Gallery - Storehouse of sculptural works and terracotta stuffs of Maurya, Shunga and Gupta period.
Wall Painting Gallery - Bags wall painting of the Rang Mahal of Chamba.
Numismatic Gallery - Has got an extensive collection of the coins of Himachal Pradesh.
The other galleries of the Shimla State Museum are:
Himachal Archaeological Gallery
Pahari Miniature Painting Gallery
Photographs Gallery
Rajasthan Miniature Painting Gallery
Bronze Gallery

Himachal State Museum

Himachal State Museum: A colonial building laid out in a spacious lawn, this museum is located on the Mall Road and is home to an excellent collection of coins, photographs and local handicrafts.

The Mall

The Mall of Shimla is the prime attraction for the tourists as it is the center to a large number of shops, restaurants, a heritage theater and above all a hub of merriment. Adjacent to the Mall of Shimla are the Tibetian and the Lakkad bazaar.

The Mall has a number of restaurants that offers a wide range of cuisines from Punjabi and South Indian to Chinese and Continental dishes. Besides there are also a number of good dhabas and fast food joints where you can look out for some yummy pizzas and burgers.

The Mall of Shimla holds the age old amateur theater- The Gaiety theater. This building has a great appeal to the tourists and is a focal point of cultural activities.

The Shimla Mall also owns a number of emporiums and showrooms which is the storehouse of shawls, caps, pullovers, jewelery, potteries, books and other handicrafts and toys of Himachal Pradesh. The place looks wonderful during the evening hours as the entire place glitters with lights and crowds of people.

The Mall in Shimla is referred to as the 'heart of Shimla'. The Mall extends from Barnes court in the eastern side to Vice Regal lodge in the western side. Movement of vehicles are prohibited in the Mall of Shimla.

The places of interest around the Mall of Shimla are:
Scandal Point- It is at the extreme end of the Mall road that gives a spectacular sight of the mountain ranges. A statue of Lala Lajpat Rai have been erected here.

General Post Office- This post office of Shimla located in the Mall has an unique system of delivering the mails by Tonga.

Kali Bari Temple- This temple consists of an wooden idol of goddess Kali.

Christ Church- This church is considered to be the second oldest church of Northern India.

Tara Devi Temple

Tara Devi Temple is one of the notable temples of Shimla. Tara Devi Temple captivates even the most life's battle hardened soul by its ethereal beauty and splendid location. Tara Devi Temple is situated at a height of 1851 meters above sea level. Tara Devi Temple is situated at a distance of 11 kilometers from Shimla. Tara Devi Temple is accessible by rail, bus and car. The road is the National Highway 22 (NH 22).

Tara Devi Temple has an unique history. Tara Devi Temple was built approximately 250 years ago. Legend was that the goddess Tara Devi was brought to Himachal Pradesh from the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. According to that legend a King of the Sen Dynasty of Bengal visited Himachal Pradesh. The King was in the habit of carrying his personal family idol around the upper torso of his arm.
One day while hunting in the dark and dense forests of Juggar, Raja Bhupendra Sen fell asleep and had a dream; in the dream he saw his family deity Ma Tara and her consorts Dwarpal Bhairav and Lord Hanuman requesting him to unveil them before the common economically dis- empowered populace. Inspired by his dream, Raja Bhupendra Sen donated 50 bighas of land and sponsored the construction of a temple in the land. The first Idol was made of wood which was installed in accordance with Vaishnav traditions. Later generations of the Sen Dynasty gradually improved the structure. Raja Balbir Sen commissioned the 'Ashtadhatu' deity which is still seen today.

Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex

Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex: One of the most historic places in Shimla, the Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex is 122 years old and has been recently been reopened to the public. The theatre is built in a Gothic Victorial style and is an important centre for various cultural and literary events.

Naldehra

Naldehra is the site of the the oldest golf course in India. The beautiful golf course at Naldehra was the brainchild of none other than Lord Curzon-a viceroy of the erstwhile British Raj. Naldehra got its name from a Nag temple situated inside the golf course. Tall deodar trees surround the links making it one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world.

Naldehra is located at a distance of 22 kilometers from Shimla. The distance from Delhi to Naldehra is 392 kilometers. The easiest way to reach Naldehra from Delhi is to travel by car via Chandigarh. Chandigarh is 139 kilometers distant from Naldehra. The nearest airport is Chandigarh, and the closest railway station is Shimla. Only narrow gauge rail services are available in the region.

The USP of Naldehra is its unusual golf course. The golf course is India's oldest and is regarded as one of the most challenging links in the world. The golf course of Naldehra is situated at a height of 2044 meters above sea level.

The presence of small hillocks, boulders and trees lends a certain challenge to the golfers playing on the golf course. The nine hole Par 68 course has four new greens and tree hazards in the back nine. Himachal Tourism maintains the Naldehra golf course. Avid golfers can play a round of golf after paying the required fees.

Naldehra can be visited all around the year. Summers are pleasantly cool with the temperatures fluctuating in a range between 15 degrees centigrade to 28 degrees centigrade. The winters are extremely cold with the temperatures below zero degree centigrade.

Naldehra is a complete holiday destination.

Chail

One would always prefer visiting Manali or Shimla, but have you ever thought of visiting the summer capital 'Chail' of Patiala's Maharaja Adhiraj Bhupinder Singh. This hill station is well-known for its remarkable history.


In the late nineteenth century, His Highness of Patiala was expelled from Shimla, which was then known as British Raj's summer capital, because he was said to be flirting with the daughter of British Commander-in-Chief Lord Kitchener. He then promised of building his own summer capital 'Chail'.

From Shimla, Chail is just 49 kilometres away. Chail appears as a peaceful and calm place because it is far away from Shimla's hustling-bustling life. This hill station is located in the state of Himanchal Pradesh in Solan. It is very close to Kandaghat Mandal.

Chail is located at a higher altitude than Shimla. Due to this, one and enjoy the glance of snow-covered Himalayan ranges which appear as lit during the sunset and sunrise. This small hamlet is surrounded by gigantic and big deodar trees and chir pine forests.

Chail was called as the perfect village covered with thick and majestic deodar trees and a soothing scented smell of the pine trees around. With the crisp air around, Chail is like Mother Nature's most loved child. This little village has never heard of deforestation and pollution ever.

Chail has a very well-known architectural palace, where Patiala's royal family lived. This palace now functions as a hotel. With the blue clouds, lush greenery and hills, Chail is a favourite honeymoon spot. This 'slice of heaven' has the magic to turn you poetic and transforms you into the most romantic person.

One can reach Chail from Kalka, which is about 86 kilometres via Kandaghat. The total distance from Delhi is roughly 380 kilometres. Kandaghat, one would take one and a half hour to Chail by road. Buses leave on regular intervals from Delhi, Chandigarh and Shimla to Chail.

Best Time to visit

Chail is considered as an ideal tourist spot for summers as well as winters. The best is considered to be between May and July, and September and November. During monsoon, the rainfall here is average.

Places to see in and around Chail

Chail is a very small village but the various sceneries and sightseeing locations here are extraordinary. Chail is also known as a paradise for hikers.
Maharaja's cricket and polo ground- Chail has the world's tallest cricket ground at 2444 metres altitude. It is also a polo field. The ground is very well maintained and huge pine and deodar trees surround it. This ground located at an altitude of 2444 m. The Military School of Chail uses this ground as a playground.

Valley- Chail's palace is built on the Rajgarh Hill and the main village is situated on Sabba Tibba hill. If you overlook the valley or river of Satluj you can view Kasauli and Shimla at night from Chail.

Mountains and peaks- The view to mountains and peaks from Chail is extremely mesmerizing. The Shivalik range looks breathtaking during winters when the sun rises and sets. One can keep gazing at it for hours together. The hill tops are covered with snow till beginning of springs.

Chail Palace- The hotel turned palace is a must see place here. The village of Chail is built on three different hills- Rajgarh; Pandhewa and Sabba Tibba hill. The Maharaja made sure that he would make Chail a better place than Shimla and never left on a single detail while planning it. He had built lodges for his relaxation; fishing and hunting which are now open to the tourists.

Sadhupul Sanctuary (3 kilometres)- This sanctuary has various wild animals and is a must see for the tourists. Animals like sambahr and ghoral along with red jungle fowl and kakkar can be seen here.

Kufri

Kufri offers an ideal locale for trekking and skiing in the months of winter. The wonderful place of Kufri in Himachal Pradesh is located at a distance of sixteen kilometers from Shimla. It is situated at an elevation of 2510 meters above sea level.


Kufri is a natural park in the Himalayan belt. It is the abode to a large number of hilly birds and animals. The mountain ranges are covered with snow that looks brilliant.

Tourists love visiting the village of Kufri over and over for its natural beauty. The place attracts numerous people from not only India but abroad too. Taking a short walk from Kufri will lead you to the Mahasu peak that has got a temple and a ridge.

Shimla's Kufri has also become an ideal picnic spot over the years. There is a Potato Research Center at Kufri. The place used to be a part of Nepal long ago. Kufri celebrates the Annual Winter Festival in February with great enthusiasm and gaiety. During the event, the place witnesses winter sports like skiing where some people take part actively.

The place is encircled with green hilly wealth and rolling stones. The climate is extremely favorable. One can also have rides on horse and yak at Indira Tourist Park that is located closely to Kufri.

The other attractions of Kufri are the musk deer, ibex, ghoral, black and brown bears that you will notice at the Himalayan Nature Park located closeby.

The National Snow Statue competition of Kufri takes place in the month of January. It is sometimes called the 'Switzerland of India'.
Kasauli
Kasauli has dense woody forests that make it an ideal tourist destination for the travelers. This place is located in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh. This beautiful destination is known as the abode of frequent endangered species of Himalayan fauna that lures a large number of travelers every year. Its gurgling torrents, fascinating alpine paddocks and towering snowstorms, magnetize a lot of travelers every year. This place is well known for its snow clad mountains, opaque forests and verdant foliage which traits to the perfect beauty of this hill station.
Places to Visit
Anglican Church

Built in the shape of a cross. A grove of chestnut and fir trees surround this 159-year-old structure. The church was built by the British families who also laid the foundation of Kasauli town in 1842.


Man-ki Point (Famous as: Monkey Point)

The highest point in Kasauli called Monkey Point. It's just 4Kms from the Kasauli bus stand. A small temple is also situated on the top of the hill, which is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. According to a legend, at the end of Ramayana when Lord Hanuman was returning from the Himalayas after obtaining Sanjivani Booty or the Magical Herb, his foot touched the hill and thus the top of hill is in a foot shape.


Lower Mall

A beautiful 3 Km walk with different scenic views and old heritage building views, goes up-to Monkey Point, Kasauli. It's mostly on a descending gradient.


Upper Mall

A beautiful 3.5 Km walk with different scenic views and old heritage buildings, goes up-to The Flag Staff House (HQ 95 Infantry Brigade's Brigadier Residence). It's mostly on a ascending gradient.


Kasauli Club

Established in 1880, this is one famous club in Himachal Pradesh. Only members and the military officers serving in Kasauli are entertained in the same. No civilians or tourists can enter the same without being sponsored by a current member of the club.


Not to Miss things when in Kasauli

[a]The Famous "Band-Samosa" of Kasauli, The Poor Man's Burger, but strangely so fulfilling and satisfying. It only comes in for Rs.12, and after eating a single BANDSAMOSA, one might just skip the next meal. Must eat the same at Mohan's Sweet Shop in Main market, Kasauli.

[b] Famous Jams, pickles and wines such as plum wine, apple wine, peach wine, sherry wine, black grape wine etc. all can be bought from Gupta Provisional Store or from the Daily Needs store near the Kasauli bus stand.

[c] For non-vegetarians, an unusual and conventional way with which the lip-smacking Ham, Bacon, Salami, Sausages are made by The Daily Needs Store, adjoining State Bank of Patiala, Kasauli


[d] Dumplings (Momo's) in the famous Tibetan market is something which is not to miss. Since this preparation is a lateral version of the regular momo's we usually see in the big cities. Must try this at the Dumpling's corner.


Sunrise Point

Situated on lower mall, Kasauli 350 mts ahead of Ros Common. Sunrise can be viewed at it's full with no obstructions from this place. This point was formerly called as Hawa Ghar, since the point witnesses an all year round air currents through it.


Sunset point

Situated on upper mall, Kasauli 100 mts ahead of Kasauli Club. Sunset view from this place is a moment to treasure.


Scandal Point & Lover's Lane

A few meters ahead of the Sunset point lies this bliss from honeymooners. Must visit to find out what it is actually.


Gilbert Trail

Approx 700Mts ahead of lovers lane is Gilbert trail which offer a long walk in perfect nature bestowed small kuchha path. One must walk carefully to avoid slipping on the same. Not recommended when it's raining.


C.R.I: Central Research Institute

C.R.I. was established in 1905 and it is a premier National Institute engaged in many R& D activities. The anti-rabies inoculation was invented and is still being made here. Also many anti snake bite vaccinations are being made here.


Important Fact

Many websites and online blogs have been misguiding tourists visiting Kasauli of an attraction, that there is some river or water steam in Kasauli. This information is completely fake. Kasauli is a water scarce area and there is no such water attraction here is Kasauli. To reckon is that the water scarcity issue is so prominent here that none of the hotels or resorts even has a swimming pool facility.
Narkanda
The beautiful Narkanda hill station is situated at an altitude of around 2700 meters and offers a stunning view of the lofty ranges of Himalayas. Narkanda hill station is at a distance of 60 kilometers from Shimla. It is an ideal getaway for people who seek to relax in an undisturbed and tranquil location, far away from the bustling city life. The place is famous for its apple and peach plantations. The dense forests are always successful in attracting tourists who enjoy each and every moment walking in the dense thickets of the slopes. The Narkanda hill resort near Simla should be visited in case you are visiting Shimla.

The best time to visit Narkanda is during the winters. You are recommended to carry a good stock of woolen clothes as it can get really cold high up in the hills. Narkanda has its own ski resort and is a hit among tourists who come to visit this place. The ski resort was started in the year 1980 and has grown by leaps and bounds. Today, it is one of the most well known ski resorts in India.

There are many places near Narkanda that are worth the visit. Situated at a height of 2000 feet above Shimla is the Hattu peak. It can be reached in an hour by trekking. You can also visit the Hattu Mata temple that is located over here. The Hattu peak is famous for its skiing activities and hiking and is teaming with adventure seekers during winters when it snows, making the place look like a white wonderland.
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