Published: 10 Dec, 2018 Jatin
Dad: …..So, where you want go on this summer/winter holidays?
Me: (showing my excitement) Shimla 😀
My Siblings: Not again!!
So, this a glimpse of a conversation which used to happen in my family while planning a vacation prior to our (me and my sibling) annual summer or winter breaks. Well, the reason behind sharing this small talk with you guys is simple, it shows my eternal love for Shimla. And I am pretty much sure that you guys also must have some special memories of this place, right? Shimla is not just any other hill station in India, it’s a heaven and haven for all the nature lovers and honeymooners. Doesn’t matter you chose to visit this place in summer or winter, one thing is pretty much sure that you will be having a really good time exploring top tourist places and indulging into the best things to do in Shimla. On a whole, this blog helps you to solve your problem of how to plan a perfect trip to Shimla by giving you a detail information about its places of tourist interests along with the activities which one can enjoy while vacationing here. So, without much delay let’s start our list of best places to visit and things to do in Shimla.
Mall Road – Eat, Stroll, Shop and Repeat!
Indeed, the centre and the must visit attraction of this beautiful hill station in Himachal Pradesh, Mall Road is the most vibrant street in Shimla. If you are in a mood for some serious shopping or want to try the local cuisine then Mall Road is the best place to head to. The entire street is crammed with shops, restaurants, cafes, book shops, hotels giving you enough to explore. Just to let you all know, Mall Road was constructed during the British period, and this is the reason why you can expect to see a reflection of the colonial architecture here. At present, Shimla Mall Road is not just a famous landmark in the city but is also counted amongst the top tourist attractions in Himachal Pradesh.
Famous For: Food, Stroll, Shopping, Photography, and History.
Entry Fee: No Entry Fee
Timings: Open All Days – Morning till Night
Viceregal Lodge – A Historical Encounter
Another British marvel in Shimla hill station, Viceregal Lodge was designed by British architect Henry Irwin. From 1888 till the Indian independence, this magnificent building served as the summer residence of Indian Viceroy – The British Raj leader. Precisely, Viceregal Lodge is situated atop of Summer Hill which is the part of the estate of the Indian Institute of Advanced Technology. After the Independence, Viceregal Lodge has been called Rashtrapati Niwas.
Everything in Viceregal is so intact and beautiful that it can surely take you back to the time. Moreover, as you enter the building, there is located a souvenir store attached to the ticketing counter; from where you can buy various things like postcards. This place has also got a beautiful lawn where one can sit (after done exploring the lodge) to adore the mesmerizing view of the entire building.
Famous For: History, Sightseeing, and Architecture.
Entry Fee: 20 INR for Indians and 50 INR for Foreigners.
Timings: Tuesday to Sunday: 10:30 AM to 5 PM (Monday is Closed)
Christ Church – A Divine Experience
Touted as the second oldest church in North India, Christ Church is an impressive construction of neo-Gothic architectural style from 1857. Situated at The Ridge, Christ Church is one of the must see tourist attractions in Shimla. It’s not just the architecture for which one must visit this beaut landmark, the church also has a number of books and sculptures that are equally enthralling. The sculptures at Christ Church depict the different virtues of Christianity. Though the place is beautiful all the time, yet, a visit during the evening it becomes even more charming, mainly because of the gleaming lights that light up this place.
Famous For: Pilgrimage, Architecture, Sightseeing, History, and Photography
Entry Fee: No Entry Fee
Timings: All Days – 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Summer Hill – The Land with Eternal Grandeur
Doesn’t matter where you are or where you go in Shimla, the immaculate nature will always be there to treat your eyes with some panoramic beauty. In the suburbs Summer Hill is one such top vacation spot where you can pamper yourself with the view of snow-clad hills and lush forests. This gorgeous hill has a unique charm in itself that is enough for a reason to give this place a day to two to explore. Located at a mere distance of a few kilometres from Shimla, Summer Hill is also known for Chadwick Falls, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and Kalka-Shimla Railways.
Famous For: Photography, Sightseeing, and Nature
Entry Fee: No Entry Fee
Timings: Open All Days
Annandale – One Place, Numerous Treasures
Evidently, the beaut city of Shimla is known for gorgeous long walks and one of such walk takes you to a serene location of Annandale. I guess, you guys must have also heard about this place, right? If you know about this place then you must have the idea of what this is all about – a golf club, lawns, and an Indian Army Museum spellbinding this place.
Going back to the history, Annandale was once serving as a prominent playground for British before the Indian independence. For avid golfers, the place houses a nine-hole public golf course where one can come and try his/her hands in golf. And if golf is not your thing then a picnic with your family would surely be enough to make your day at Annandale amazing. For that, there is a machan and a greenhouse which are the kids-friendly attraction in Shimla. Besides, the Army Heritage Museum is also a worth exploring attraction at Annandale as it houses a number of old stuff.
Famous For: Nature, Photography, Sightseeing, Golf, History, and Picnic
Entry Fee: No Entry Fee
Timings: Army Heritage Museum
- April to October: 10 AM to 2 PM and 3 PM to 5 PM
- November to March: 10 AM to 2 PM and 3 PM to 4 PM
Note:Open All Days Except Monday
Gaiety Theatre – The Only One of its Kind in Shimla
An old Victorian theatre located on the Mall Road, Gaiety Theatre is one of the oldest surviving British structures in the city and is also one of the main places of tourist interest in Shimla. On 9th June 1838, the first play was performed at Gaiety Theatre, however, after few decades the building was stated structurally unsafe. It was partially demolished but the theatre remained untouched. Later in 1887, the entire building was redesigned by Sir Henry Irwin.
The present structure of Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex houses an array of venues including an art gallery, an exhibition hall, amphitheatre, a multi-purpose hall, and an old theatre. Just to let you know, this place still have plays performed at. When you will explore this place you will get to notice that the acoustics in the theatre are all natural. There has never been the use of mics not even today, which is a unique fact in itself. There is papier mache line all along the theatre that reflects sound. If you don’t believe it, come and experience it yourself. Coming on to the photo gallery, they have preserved some of the pictures of early plays at Gaiety Theatre. This section is worth checking out as it gives a glimpse of its opulent history.
Famous For: History, Culture, Architecture, and Photography
- 10 INR per person without the camera
- 25 INR per person with the camera
- 25 INR per person without the camera
- 50 INR per person with the camera
Timings: Tuesday to Sunday – 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM (Monday is Closed)
The Ridge – The Heart of Shimla
Just by the caption, you can imagine the importance of this gorgeous landmark in Shimla. An ideal sightseeing place in Shimla, The Ridge is a large clearing from east to west along The Mall Road and Lakkar Bazaar. It is counted amongst the cleanest places in India. Even a small stroll on The Ridge gives the feeling of being at some European destination altogether, mainly because of the splendid architecture that date back to the British era. Besides, the marvellous views of rolling mountain ranges and the gorgeous valleys are enough to make you fall in love with this place. After done relishing the views and exploring the colonial constructions, one can also head out for shopping or to try some local delicacies. For that, the region houses a number of restaurants and cafes.
Famous For: Sightseeing, Nature, Photography, Shopping, and Food
Entry Fee: No Entry Fee
Timings: Opens from morning till evening
After the attractions, now let’s check out some top things to do in Shimla.
Hop into The Toy Train
Apparently, this is one of the not-to-miss experiences in Shimla! Listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the toy train in Shimla is certainly a journey from a fairy tale. Traversing the mountain tunnels and gorgeous valleys, the toy train runs between Kalka and Shimla and proffers the best sightseeing experience in Shimla. This mesmerizing journey covers some picturesque stations like Solan, Barog, and Dharampura. The 96 km route is blessed with exquisite vistas that pamper you throughout the journey that passes through more than 100 tunnels and 860 bridges.
Famous For: Nature, Sightseeing, and Photography
Hike Up Jakhoo Hill
Wondering what’s so special about this to give it a try? Well, a 30 minutes hike on the route, full of lush forest and natural beauty along with numerous mischievous monkeys, is surely enough to spellbind you. If that’s not enough to lure you, then the absolute gorgeous city view, from the top of the hill is something that one can’t miss out on. Moreover, atop the hill, there is a Jakhoo Temple which is devoted to Lord Hanuman. The shrine is one of the most popular temples in Shimla because of its religious significance and a large statue of Lord Hanuman and also for the monkeys which you can see here in abundance. If you’re planning to visit Shimla in September or October, try to plan your trip during Dussehra as Jakhoo Temple is also the place for the largest celebration of Dussehra in the city.
Famous For: Nature, Pilgrimage, Sightseeing, and Photography
Give a Shot to Ice Skating at Circular Road
A winter activity in Shimla, Ice Skating is truly an amazing experience to relish while spending a vacation here. Comes under the authority of Ice Skating Club, there is an open-air skating rink, which is the oldest of its kind in entire Asia, it is where one can show off his/her skills of skating. If you are on a family holiday and looking out for some activities for kids then Ice Skating is certainly a must-do in Shimla.
Shop Till You Drop
Well, this is one such activity which undeniably has to be in your bucket of best activities to do in Shimla. The capital city offers lots of exciting options; The Mall Road is the most popular of them. Here, you can find numerous shops that sell some cool and amazing products and souvenirs. Lower Bazaar is the next option where you blindly head out to shop in Shimla. The Bazaar houses a number of curio shop where you can buy brass products, statues, and lots of unique things. Lakkar Bazaar is another shopping market in Shimla that sells wooden goods. This is indeed a worth visiting market. There is also a Tibetan Market that not only gives you a chance to shop and stroll but also proffer the gorgeous vistas of the rolling mountains and dense valleys.
Savour the Taste of Different Delicacies
While vacationing in Shimla, you can find a large number of options to quench your urge of giving your palate tastes of various delicacies and that too of different cuisines. From India to Mexican to Italian, there are numerous cafes and restaurants on The Mall Road, Lakkar Bazaar, Lower Bazaar, and Tibetan Market where you can savour the taste of these diverse cuisines. However, I personally recommend you to visit Sitaram & Sons in Lakkar Bazaar for Chhole Bhature (Chhole Lucchi). And if you are looking for some local fare them Dham is one of the popular traditional feasts of Himachal Pradesh which is best served at Himachali Rasoi, located near The Mall Road. Indian Coffee House is another popular cafe on The Mall Road, Shimla which is known as the breakfast haven for tourists. They offer an irresistible taste in their coffee that makes it a must-visit restaurant in Shimla.
For more cuisine, Cafe Sol on The Mall Road is the best option to satiate your stomach with Italian, Mexican, and Thai delicacies. Besides all these, if your choice of a restaurant is somewhere lies around nature and food then Wake and Bake Cafe on The Mall Road is the perfect candidate for your winter holiday destination in Shimla. With an outdoor terrace overlooking the majestic mountains and valleys and a hot coffee in your hand gives a perfect ambiance to enjoy your winter holidays in Shimla. Baljees is also a popular food joint in Shimla which is known for serving the best of Indian, Mughlai, Continental and Chinese cuisines. So, if you crave some exotic taste, Baljees is the right place to head out.
So, this was all about the Shimla’s attractions and activities. Hope you found this blog useful to plan your solo, honeymoon or family trip to Shimla. If so, then hit on the like button or drop a feedback in the comment box below. We would also be pleased to treat your queries and suggestions. Moreover, we at Tour My India also offer amazing Shimla holiday packages accompanied with incredible services and flawless arrangements. You can book your holiday package with us with an assurance of unforgettable holidays.