Top 22 Best Places to visit in Shimla

March 12, 2024

Best Places to visit in Shimla : Shimla’s allure lies in its evergreen forests, undulating valleys, mesmerizing lakes, and the delightful weather that collectively impart a distinctive charm to this hill station. Undoubtedly, Shimla stands out as a destination that guarantees unforgettable memories, boasting a diverse array of attractions, ranging from natural wonders to impressive man-made marvels.

Whether you’re embarking on a family vacation, a romantic honeymoon, or a solo adventure, Shimla has something for everyone. This blog presents a comprehensive guide to the top tourist spots in Shimla that are bound to captivate your senses. So, gear up and prepare to embark on an exhilarating journey to Shimla, one of the most sought-after hill stations in close proximity to Delhi.

1. The Ridge, Shimla

The Ridge, Shimla

Considered as the pulsating center of Shimla, The Ridge stands as the nexus of location and tourist allure. Functioning as a spacious thoroughfare stretching from east to west along the Mall Road and linking it to the renowned Scandal Point, this Shimla hotspot holds a distinctive charm. The panoramic vistas of snow-clad mountain ranges contrasting with the azure sky contribute to the allure of this heavenly destination.

Dotted with enduring British establishments, The Ridge invites visitors to partake in delightful shopping sprees and gastronomic indulgences. Boasting a vibrant array of boutiques, bars, restaurants, cafes, and shops, it establishes itself as the social epicenter of the region. It’s worth noting that The Ridge ranks among the city’s most captured scenes, owing to its lush natural beauty and the Gothic structures that define its exquisite ambiance.

2. Jakhoo Hill and Temple, Shimla

Jakhoo Hill and Temple,Shimla

Draped in a lush coverlet of alpine trees, Jakhoo Hill stands as the pinnacle of Shimla, providing enchanting vistas of the snow-laden Shivalik Ranges and the neighboring town of Sanjauli. Nestled at an elevation of 8000 ft. above sea level, Jakhoo Hill is home to an ancient Hanuman temple boasting the world’s tallest statue (108 ft.) of this revered Hindu deity. Imbued with legends and enigmas, the hill captivates both devotees and tourists alike.

According to local lore, the temple occupies the very spot where Lord Hanuman paused during his quest to procure the Sanjeevani Booti for Lakshman’s revival amid the war in Lanka.

3. Mall Road

Mall Road, Shimla

When seeking romantic spots in Shimla, the Mall Road is an absolute must-visit for couples. Beyond its romantic appeal, this area is a vibrant and bustling locale that draws visitors of all ages to the hill station. Offering an array of cafes, restaurants, showrooms, departmental stores, and shops selling unique handicrafts, the Mall Road encapsulates the essence of Shimla’s touristy charm. From exquisite jewelry and books to intricately crafted wooden artifacts, the variety of items available for purchase is diverse.

Furthermore, exploring the surrounding attractions, including the Kali Bari Temple, Town Hall, Gaiety Theatre, and Scandal Point, adds an extra layer of richness to the Mall Road experience. What enhances the charm even further is the fact that vehicular traffic is restricted on this road, allowing couples to take leisurely evening strolls while relishing the scenic beauty of the hills. Notably, some of the best hotels in Shimla are conveniently situated around the Mall Road, making it a central and convenient hub for visitors.

4. Kalka-Shimla Railway

Kalka-Shimla Railway, Shimla

Embarking on the Kalka to Shimla toy train journey stands as a pinnacle in Shimla tourism, and rightfully so. Constructed in 1898, this narrow-gauge railway has recently earned its place on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list, adding to the allure of India’s mountain railways. Traversing a breathtakingly scenic and mountainous route from the foothills of the Shivalik Range in Kalka to Shimla, the train ride unfolds panoramic views of hills and villages.

Along the journey, the train makes stops at various tourist destinations such as Solan, Dharampur, Summer Hill, Salogra, Taradevi, and Barog, among others. The ride boasts an impressive tally of 864 bridges, 919 curves, and 102 tunnels, providing a truly immersive experience. While the toy train ride itself may not be categorized as a specific ‘place’ to visit, neglecting this journey equates to forgoing the opportunity to witness some of the most splendid sights that Shimla has to offer.

5. Kufri, Shimla

 Kufri, Shimla

Embarking on a roughly 40-minute journey from the city center leads you to Kufri, a destination that is a definite must-see in the region. Nestled at an elevation of 8607 ft., this petite hill station guarantees breathtaking panoramas of the nearby snow-capped mountains. However, Kufri extends beyond mere Shimla sightseeing; it stands as an adventure haven, providing training and facilities for exhilarating winter sports such as ice skating and skiing. This distinction has earned Kufri the title of the winter sports capital of India. Given its regular winter snowfall, Kufri holds a prominent position among the top Shimla visiting places, particularly in December.

6. Christ Church

 Christ Church, Shimla

Christ Church, Shimla, stands as a prominent landmark in the city and holds the distinction of being the second oldest church in North India, following St John’s Church in Meerut. Renowned for its exceptional architectural beauty, the church serves as an exemplary showcase of the neo-Gothic style. Positioned on the Ridge, its historical roots date back to 1857, marking an enduring legacy of the colonial era. The imposing silhouette of this edifice is recognizable from a considerable distance, adorned with stained glass windows, a brass church bell, and captivating towers that collectively present an unparalleled aesthetic.

While the church exudes majesty during daylight hours, its transformation into an enchanting spectacle when illuminated at night adds another layer to its allure. Notably, Christ Church houses the largest pipe organ in India, further enhancing its significance. Even for those planning a swift two-day itinerary of Shimla’s sightseeing places, this splendid attraction should not be overlooked.

7. Green Valley, Shimla

Nestled near Shimla and Kufri, the awe-inspiring Green Valley lives up to its name, showcasing a mesmerizing natural dale. Framed by snow-clad mountains and flourishing pine and deodar forests, the valley is adorned with a lush carpet of greenery. Serving as a tranquil refuge from the bustling tourist crowds, Green Valley offers a pristine encounter with nature’s magnificence, establishing itself as one of the premier destinations for honeymooners in Shimla.

Appreciated for its unspoiled beauty, Green Valley has also earned its place as a sought-after location for Bollywood film shoots, gracing the frames of numerous Hindi movies. While accessible throughout the year, the optimal time to experience its splendor is during the summer months when nature is in full bloom.

8. Rashtrapati Niwas or Viceregal Lodge by Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla

Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla

If the prospect of visiting the historic site where the pivotal decision to carve out Pakistan and East Pakistan from India intrigues you, then your journey must lead you to the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla. This distinguished location stands as one of the iconic attractions in Shimla and Manali. Originally constructed as a residence for Lord Dufferin, the Viceroy of India from 1884 to 1888, the building was initially known as the Viceregal Lodge.

During Lord Dufferin’s tenure, the impressive edifice boasted electricity connectivity as early as 1888, pre-dating the widespread use of electric power in Shimla. Following India’s independence, the site transformed into the summer retreat for the country’s president, earning the name Rashtrapati Niwas, before ultimately being repurposed into a center for advanced study and research.

9. Kali Bari Temple, Shimla

While some temples captivate visitors with their religious or historical importance, and others with their architectural splendor, few manage to excel in both aspects. The Kali Bari Temple in Shimla stands as a prime example of this dual charm. Constructed in 1845, the temple seamlessly combines architectural beauty with profound religious significance. Dedicated to Goddess Kali, the temple houses a captivating idol of the deity, offering a harmonious blend of spiritual sanctity and aesthetic allure.

Situated in close proximity to the Mall Road, the Kali Bari Temple serves as an ideal retreat for those seeking moments of serenity and introspection. Notably, an intriguing facet is that Goddess Kali is referred to as Goddess Shyamala here, and it is believed that Shimla derived its name from this divine association.

10. Himachal State Museum

Himachal State Museum, Shimla

Situated along the iconic Mall Road, the Himachal State Museum, also known as Shimla State Museum, finds its home in a colonial mansion. Within its walls lies a diverse collection encompassing miniature paintings, stone sculptures, coins, weapons, armor, dolls, jewelry, handicrafts, and numismatic articles unearthed from the valley. Each item curated within serves as a tangible link to the state’s rich cultural legacy, preserving remnants that echo the grandeur of its history.

Of particular fascination are the bronze idols sourced from various temples scattered across the Himalayas. For enthusiasts of history, the museum unfolds as a veritable treasure trove, offering a rich blend of heritage and informational insights.

11. Tara Devi Temple, Shimla

 Tara Devi Temple, Shimla

Whether you’re a fervent believer or not, a visit to the Tara Devi Temple in Shimla is a must. Perched atop Tara Parvat, this sacred sanctuary boasts a history dating back approximately 250 years. Goddess Tara, revered by Tibetan Buddhists and counted among the nine sisters of Goddess Durga, reigns as the presiding deity. Local lore suggests that the wooden idol enshrined within the temple was transported from West Bengal.

Beyond its spiritual ambiance, the Tara Devi Temple beckons tourists with its remarkable architecture, adding an extra layer of allure to this revered destination in Shimla.

12. Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex

 Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex

If your accommodations are in proximity to Mall Road in Shimla, the Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex is sure to catch your eye as you step outside your hotel. This century-old edifice, constructed in the Victorian style, stands as an imposing structure that was once the premier venue for various social gatherings in Shimla. Despite a portion of the original building being dismantled, the remaining structure continues to be a grand visual spectacle.

In its heyday, the building hosted noteworthy performances by luminaries such as Prithviraj Kapoor, K.L. Sehgal, Rudyard Kipling, and others. Presently, the complex encompasses an exhibition hall, an art gallery, a multipurpose hall, and an amphitheater. As a renowned hub for performing arts, it attracts artists and art enthusiasts from around the globe.

13. Mashobra

 Mashobra, Shimla

For those seeking an adrenaline rush and scouting for December destinations in Shimla, ensure that this spot finds a place in your travel plans. When winter sets in, Mashobra, a quaint town in Shimla, undergoes a magical transformation into a haven for winter sports enthusiasts. The once lush green landscapes are cloaked in a shimmering blanket of snow, creating an ideal terrain for skiing. Amid the serenity of less frequented places near Shimla, Mashobra offers a refreshing ambiance and a plethora of enjoyable activities, all without the bustling crowds.

Whether you yearn to carve through the slopes on your skis, engage in spirited snowball fights with your loved ones, or construct a snowman with your kids, this destination provides the perfect setting for a memorable and thrilling winter adventure.

14. Chadwick Falls, Shimla

Nestled amid the lush Glen Forests, Chadwick Waterfall stands as one of Shimla’s most enchanting natural wonders. Plummeting from a height of 86 meters, the waterfall gracefully descends down a sizable gorge. Embraced by the verdant embrace of deodar and pine trees, it creates a captivating spectacle. The optimal time to experience its allure is during the monsoon season, from June to September, when the water level surges, and Chadwick Waterfall seems to come alive with renewed vigor.

During this period, the cascade transforms into a vibrant display of nature’s beauty. If the prospect of immersing yourself in the invigorating cold waters doesn’t deter you, feel free to take a dip and revel in the refreshing ambiance of Chadwick Waterfall.

15. Annandale, Shimla

If you fancy a spirited game of polo or a round of cricket set against a picturesque backdrop, Annandale is a destination tailor-made for you. This flat expanse nestled in the foothills of Shimla has long served as a sporting haven since the era of British rule. Today, Annandale remains a popular hub for various sports, including polo, cricket, and racing.

Encircled by majestic oak and deodar trees, Annandale is ensconced within a deep valley in the western part of Shimla, offering a serene and stunning setting. Renowned for its exceptional beauty, it stands out as one of the prime places to explore in Shimla, particularly during the month of November. While immersing yourself in the surroundings, make sure not to miss the Annandale Army Heritage Museum, a key attraction that adds a historical dimension to this captivating location.

16. Himalayan Bird Park

Situated directly across from the Viceregal Lodge, the Himalayan Bird Park boasts a charming assortment of exotic birds that are sure to captivate your interest. Revel in the vibrant beauty of the Monal pheasant, marvel at the resplendent peafowls, and witness the majestic peacocks in all their glory within this delightful sanctuary. The lush green surroundings also make the park an ideal spot for relaxation and leisure.

17. Summer Hill

Nestled approximately 5 km from the Shimla Ridge, Summer Hill stands as a charming suburb of Shimla. This scenic locale not only hosts the Himachal Pradesh University but also offers a plethora of quaint eateries and guest houses. If you seek respite from the usual hustle and bustle, Summer Hill provides the ideal escape, creating a perfect haven away from the regular crowd.

18. Shaily Peak

Shaily Peak emerges as a stunning gem among Shimla’s tourist attractions. To reach this picturesque destination, embark on a trek through the scenic Naldehra Hills. While the journey may demand some effort, the breathtaking view awaiting you at the peak makes it unquestionably worthwhile. As you explore, make sure not to miss the unique temple dedicated to Sage Manu, a distinctive feature as the sole temple in the world built in honor of this revered Sage.

19. Lakka Bazaar

Lakka Bazaar

For a charming shopping experience amidst quaint stores and a chance to interact with friendly locals, head to Lakka Bazaar. Nestled at the foothills of the Jakhoo Peak, this market offers an intriguing atmosphere, making it an ideal spot to spend a few leisurely hours.

20. Manjathal Sanctuary

Situated along the Shimla-Bilaspur Highway, the Manjathal Sanctuary is a wildlife haven of moderate size that warrants a visit. Included in the roster of renowned destinations in Shimla, this natural reserve is home to a variety of rare and exotic animal species, with a special emphasis on the conservation of the endangered Goral.

21. Gorton Castle

Positioned along the Mall Road, this neo-Gothic style castle stands as a captivating attraction in Shimla. Constructed in the 19th century, the castle boasts grey stone walls and is encompassed by extensive grounds, creating an intriguing destination to explore.

22. Scandal Point

Scandal Point

Among the must-visit spots in Shimla, Scandal Point deserves a prominent place on your list. Situated between Mall Road and the Ridge, this bustling location is steeped in history, rumored to be the site where the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh, eloped with the daughter of a British Viceroy. Scandal Point remains a hub of activity, surrounded by numerous hotels in Shimla that cater to visitors seeking a stay near this iconic location.

Best Places to visit in Shimla : This selection is just a glimpse, and Shimla undoubtedly offers numerous other wonders waiting to be discovered. Given its perennial popularity, securing accommodation in one of the top hotels in Shimla well ahead of time is advisable. For those contemplating a combined trip to both Shimla and Manali, exploring hotel options in Manali is also recommended. The journey between Manali and Shimla is conveniently covered in just 6 hours by road, making it feasible to drive or take a cab. So, commence your trip planning and succumb to the allure of the hills!

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