The popular Shimla can not be left unvisited when she visits Kullu-Manali! Shimla, Himachal Pradesh’s capital, is a place everyone wants to visit. Until one day I wanted to visit Shimla so badly. I took a bus from Manali and traveled overnight, the only one starting at 10:30, from HP state transport. I had a window seat reservation. Unfortunately, I had trouble with the window shutter. The shutter was sliding open and there was no lock. Oh, oh, oh, oh! It was cold! It was cold! I was stunned and worried that I could have a cold burn on my nose! I took a local bus from the new bus stand to somewhere near the Mall Road paying for Rs.5.
They went up from there to stay in budget hotels. The town of Shimla in the Himalaya is very warm in the northwest. Well, Queen of Hills has a heading of Summer Capital at an altitude of 2,205 m above MSL … And so the Bangaloreans are expected to be very cold by the end of October.
Did a 3D/2N private taxi package pay Rs 4,500 for one day’s sightseeing? It wasn’t a good deal or a bad one, I’m not sure. I felt tired of climbing down through the narrow and shabby alleys just to see the little rooms and dirty linens. The only thing I’d change later is that I’d not go to the private sightseeing taxi package. Because of its location, I would try to negotiate the room price between Rs.700 to Rs.900 per night. The hotel’s Mall Road is one block away. The cleanroom with large windows overlooks the town. Hot water constantly and the guides never expected room service tips!! When I tipped them, they were timid. Nice eye? Nice eyebrow? Or maybe a single woman wouldn’t be comfortable with them!! Ho Sakta hai (maybe).
One day my private taxi sightseeing tour was to Kufri, Nature Reserve, Fagu Valley, ViceRegal Lodge, Himalayan bird sanctuary, Sankat Mochan Temple, and tours to Kufri, Nature Park, and Zoo. Would it be worth the cash? It’s up to … Rest, I did taxis on my feet.
In Shimla, Mall Road is the main attraction. Branded shops and high-end restaurants are available here. You can shop for hours here or in the window shop. Alternatives such as the Lower Bazaar and The Lakkar Bazaar have become extremely crowded, and people are buying souvenirs for reasonable prices. The Gaiety Theater on the Mall Road is a historical tourist attraction.
The Ridge is where people hang out and overlook the city. On the Ridge there are Bapuji, Indiraji, and Parmarji statues and several buildings in Tudorbethan style as well as neo-gothic churches. There’s little to say about the statues, but the church is one of its kind. The lights up church carries tourists in the night to mediaeval times (not physically, of course).
Visited the temple of Kali Bari, the actual temple of Shyamala Devi. Shimla’s name comes from the goddess’ name. The temple of Jakhu Hanuman is on top of the highest summit of the area. There is a very interesting legend associated with this temple. The Hindu epic Ramaiana was used by Hanumanji to save the life of the injured lakshmana on Himalayan Sanjeevini. Hanumanji rested on the way here.
The top of the mountain, the weight of Hanumanji is thought to be flattened and the temple is constructed around its footprints!! You can walk 2 KM steep hill from the Ridge to arrive at the temple. Or rent a Rs.200 private taxi. Or wait for a joint taxi that takes Rs. 10 one way, as I did. It is quite adventurous to ride up and down the hill. The monkeys are very numerous and famous here. They train themselves in robbing sunglasses for food and camera. Visited another Hanuman temple on the Shimla-Kalka highway, Sankat Mochan. On the way to an interesting cave temple of Vaishno Devi a few steps up. The route from this temple.
The Viceregal Lodge is a popular Shimla attraction surrounded by pine trees and gardens. The building has beautiful wooden interiors built in Scottish style. The panels are beautifully decorated, and the walnut ceilings. The Indian Institute of Advanced Studies is situated on the Observatory Hill in the building. Tourists can not reach most of the building. Some of it is worth a visit, which is a museum. The admission fee is plus a fee for the camera. The museum showcases the furniture used by the Viceroys.
The images of Indian leaders who arrived at the 1945 Shimla Conference are also on display. A lot of it, common Bapuji, Chachaji, and so on. I posted Dr. Rajendra Prasad ‘s picture, India’s first president. He was the only chairman to be in the post twice. The photos of leaders, who are less well known to generations today, were good to see.
If you are interested in history and archaeology, the Shimla State Museum is a must visit. The Mall Road is a long walk. The road is only a few places away. The museum is a vast collection of monuments, prints, paintings, archaeological ruins, metal sculptures, writings, books and photographs which tell of the Himachal Pradesh history, lifestyle and environment.
I visited the Himalayan Zoo and a Nature Park in the vicinity of Kufri. A Himalayan Bird Sanctuary is located near the Vice-Regal Lodge. There is an admission fee plus a camera charge in all these places. I believe it’s alright to skip these parks.
Shimla is a wonderful city for a relaxing holiday. Again, I’m going to visit you!