If there’s any place as charming today as it was during the colonial era, it is Shimla. This capital city of Himachal Pradesh lies 2200 meters high with magnificent hills, gorgeous valleys, and magical forests surrounding it. One of the most popular destinations among solo travellers, families, and honeymooners Shimla has been attracting thousands for the last five decades and more.
Once the summer capital for the British, this charming town keeps its quaint façade, gorgeous architecture, stunning temples, and churches even today. Not to forget, the walker-friendly Mall road where you can enjoy a stroll to the town centre. If you haven’t visited Shimla yet, then plan a holiday soon. Whether you holiday with your family, go alone or better yet plan a girls-only trip, Shimla has plenty to keep you engrossed and entertained. We at Kesari Tours thought you would like to get all kinds of info before you pick a Shimla tour package for the next holiday.
Best time to visit Shimla
Shimla is an all-year tourist destination and the best time to visit Shimla for a fabulous holiday is during the summer from March to June if you prefer a lovely climate during the day. It is one of the best ways to beat the scorching summer in other parts of India. For a snowbound holiday adventure, November to February are ideal months.
Shimla is known for its stunning Victorian architecture, shimmering lakes and natural beauty that makes you stare at it in wonder. Called the Queen of Hill Stations in the north, you can plan a long weekend trip to Shimla or take your time and enjoy the fantastic climate.
Places to visit
We understand you’d love to explore the town and its tourist attractions quickly if you are short on time. However, take your time to explore thoroughly, taking in the beautiful vistas and play in the snow if you are visiting during winter. Look at the places you must visit on your Shimla tour.
The Shimla Ridge: To soak in nature, click Insta-worthy photos and shop to your heart’s content visit the Shimla Ridge. In the town centre the Ridge offers some of the best panoramas of the mighty Himalayas. A large open space that runs the length of the Mall Road that is equally famous in Shimla, the Ridge connects you to the Scandal point too. You can shop, eat at local restaurants, visit the stunning Christ Church, explore the Tudor library, and enjoy the panoramic view of the city. It is open every day from 8 am to 6 pm.
Christ Church: If you love architecture then a fantastic example of neo-gothic architecture is the Christ Church sited on the Ridge. Built in 1857, this church is an integral part of Shimla. The gorgeous stained-glass windows, the murals inside and the clock tower make the church a must-visit. It is home to the largest pipe organ in India and has been a part of well-known Bollywood movies like 3 Idiots and Black. It is open every day and a good place to understand history, architecture and click photos.
Summer Hill: On the outskirts of Shimla is a quaint town called Summer Hill where potters collected clay for their pots. Also called Potter’s Hill it is 1283m above the sea offering stunning views of the lush valley and verdant greenery around. It is around 5km away from the Ridge and a part of the seven hills that together form Shimla. Take the time out to enjoy the sunrise when the sun colours beautiful mountains in shades of orange and purple. You can spend a day exploring the charming town. Don’t forget a visit to the gushing Chadwick Falls and a ride on the Kalka-Shimla train.
Annandale: Are you wondering what is Annandale? Well, it is the playground where the British played cricket, polo, and raced horses. Called Annadale, today it houses a small golf course, Helipad, and an army museum. Entry to the museum is free and it is open 10 am -2 pm, 3 pm-5 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. It is around 4 km away from the Ridge and known for its hiking trails. You can plan a hike to the Glen or the highest peak in Annandale. Immerse yourself in nature, the serenity around in the gorgeous gardens nearby. The Cactus museum is nearby.
Chail: Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala founded this charming hill station Chail. Legends say, the King eloped to Chail with the daughter of the Viceroy of India during the British Raj. The place he eloped from is called the Scandal point in Shimla today. Lord Kitchener of Shimla banished the couple from Shimla, who then settled at this hill station. It homes the highest cricket ground in the world and is the perfect place for a carefree vacation. The hill station is around 55.1 km from Shimla. You must-visit the Palace Hotel, Kali temple, Sidh Baba temple, and the magnificent Chail Wildlife Sanctuary.
Kufri: Another hill station that is worth a visit, is Kufri. It is 17km away from Shimla and known for its lush forests, picturesque vistas, and adventure sports. Located at the foothills of the Himalayas at 2510m above the sea this mountain abode is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and adventure lovers. Once a part of the Nepal kingdom, Kufri offers a stunning view of the lofty snowclad Himalayas and has plenty of choices for adventurous activities and sports like skiing. If you plan to enjoy snowfall, then Kufri must feature on your Shimla itinerary. Make sure you visit the Himalayan Wildlife Zoo and the Kufri Fun World.
Things to do in Shimla
We know you’d like to have fun and there’s plenty to enjoy in Shimla. Some of the things you can do in Shimla are
- a two-day camping trip in Shimla that includes trekking.
- Forest camping in Junga at Shimla
- Visit the Shimla State Museum
- Explore the Arki Fort for the architecture, history, paintings, and photos.
- Visit the Lutru Mahadev and Shakhni Mahadev temple near the Arki Fort.
Is Shimla safe for tourists?
Shimla is safe for tourists. However, you must take the normal precautions that you would take when visiting any other city. If you plan a winter vacation do consider the landslides that occur occasionally. Speak to your Kesari travel connect before you embark on your holiday.
Manali where the snowbound peaks beckon you
No Shimla tour is complete unless you visit Manali, too. Snuggled between the snow-bound mountain slopes of the Pir Panjal and the Dhauladhar ranges, Manali is a popular hill station in India. With enchanting views, verdant green jungles, expansive pastures carpeted with flowers, overflowing blue tributaries, a permanent fairytale-like fog scented with pine lingering in the air, Manali is home to astonishing scenic beauty. From picturesque little hippie hamlets, lively upmarket streets, temples, museums, to river adventures, and trekking trails, Manali has several reasons it is tourist magnet throughout the year. Don’t forget to look for Shimla-Manali tour packages.
Best time to visit Manali
One of the best seasons to visit Manali is winter, which lasts from October to February. For those who prefer the snowfall, January is the best month to enjoy fresh snowfall. Remember, carry enough warm clothes as the temperature drops below 0° C. If its pleasant climate you look for, then summer from March to June is ideal.
Manali is famous for clean roads, tall eucalyptus trees, charming eateries, kitschy marketplaces, and quaint cafes that serve delightful local food at fantastic prices. If you are looking for a serene and tranquil place, where you can hear the birds twittering with the Kullu River roars in the background, then Old Manali is the place to be. Manali is also famous for its adventurous activities such as skiing, paragliding, rafting, and mountaineering and the well-known Mall Road.
Places to see in Manali
14 km to the northwest from Manali is the stunning Solang valley, which is a must-visit for most visitors. A chosen destination among adventure lovers, you can try parachuting, paragliding, horse riding, or driving mini-open jeeps in the valley.
During winters, the Solang valley becomes the place to be if you love skiing or plan to learn how to ski with several training institutes in the valley. When the snow melts in summer, zorbing becomes the favourite sport where you may see a huge transparent ball with two people inside it rolling down the slopes. Make sure you visit the vibrant and enjoyable Solang valley when in Manali.
At 51 km from the main town, the road is the only way to reach the Rohtang Pass. This pass is 3978m high in hills offering mesmerising views. The Manali- Keylong road lets you enjoy the beautiful landscape as you wind through the mountain going up. One of the highest motorable roads in the world, the pass is a favourite among film directors.
On your road trip curl up on your seat in the car and enjoy the chill with every metre you go up in the mountains and look out for captivating vistas. Experiencing Rohtang pass is unlike any other where nature is at its harshest where snowbound mountain peaks surround it offering breathtaking views and astounding landscapes that you can marvel at. Rohtang Pass is the best place to enjoy the white landscape and echoing tranquility.
The Hadimba Temple amid the snowclad hills of Manali is devoted to Hidimba Devi, wife of Bhima and mother of Ghatothkach from the epic Mahabharata. Magnificent cedar woods surround the temple built on a rock that resembles Goddess Hidimba. The style of the Hidimba Devi temple is unique and unlike any other temple with its wooden doors, walls, and conical roof the temple is beautiful. The magnificent temple is immensely popular among Hindus and nature lovers. The temple offers the quiet and natural abode you are looking for on your Manali tour. The Hidimba Devi festival attracts thousands across the world and is known for its colourful folk dances.
Things to Do in Manali
For nature lovers and the adventurous, there is no dearth of activities you can try. There is something for every discerning visitor to Manali. Here are a few things you must-do when in Manali
Manali is known for its exceptional skiing conditions making it one of the favourite spots among ski enthusiasts. The rolling slopes of Solang Valley and Rohtang Pass offer the perfect ground for amateurs learning their first move or avid skiers skiing down the harder slopes. If you are a newbie get a professional trainer to teach you before you enjoy the thrill of skiing on the scenic mountains of Manali.
The Vashisht Temple in Manali is a popular attraction among visitors. The Vashisht Baths in the temple are more interesting though. The bath is a hot water spring that many believe has medicinal values. Called Vashisht Springs, many tourists take a dip in the water to purge themselves of skin diseases and infections. 6 km away from Manali, beautiful sandstone temples go with the Vashisht Baths where you will find separate bathing areas for men and women.
Paragliding in Kullu
Manali is well-known for paragliding. At 2050m above the sea, it is the best place to enjoy paragliding and see the gorgeous green dales, clear blue skies, and snowbound mountain peaks. The portrait-worthy valley boasts of idyllic wind environments for paragliding that both international and domestic tourists flock to. You can plan for a small 15-minute flight or a long 40 min to 1-hour flight. For those with a paragliding license can choose solo flights while newbies can choose to take tandem flights – where the pilot goes with you and steers the glider.
Manali is the heart of adventure activities in Himachal Pradesh. Whether you’d like to try white river rafting, camping, trekking, zorbing, or horse-riding Manali has some of the best options for you. If you’ve never tried but would love to try, then Manali is the best place to be.
How to reach
The nearest railway station Joginder Nagar is 50 km from Manali. It is a narrow-gauge station and not connected to larger cities. The nearest broad-gauge stations to Manali are Chandigarh and Ambala. You can take a flight to Bhuntar, which is also 50 km away from Manali or book a bus or hire a cab to reach Manali.