Shimla is capital of Himachal Pradesh, a state in north India. Shimla was once dense forest during 18th century with only Jakhoo temple and few scattered houses. The city got its name from hindu goddess, Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Kali. The city acts as hub for tourist travelling across Himachal Pradesh; especially for tourist travelling to Kullu, Manali, Kinnaur, and Kangra. What we know as present-day Shimla was once ruled by Bhimsen Thapa, prime minister to the ruler of Nepal. The British East India Company took control of the area as per the Sugauli Treaty after the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814–16).
After India’s independence, Shimla was declared as capital of Punjab and later capital of Himachal Pradesh, when the later was carved out of Punjab. Shimla is historically made up of 19 hill states of including Baghal, Baghat, Balsan, Bashahr, Bhajji, Bija, Darkoti, Dhami, Jubal, Nalagarh (Hindur), Sangri, Tharoch among others. British soldiers, merchants, civil servants during British Raj used to shift their base to Shimla each year to escape the hot summer season in India, as such since 1864 the city was called the ‘summer capital’ of British India.
The city is well connected by roads from neighboring states, with airport at Jubberhati near Shimla serving as air link. The best way to reach the city is the Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge rail line built in 1903 that adds to Shimla's accessibility and popularity. The railway line with 806 bridges and 103 tunnels, is an engineering feat and was touted as "British Jewel of the Orient“. In 2008, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is also known for its tunnels, mainly Lower Bazaar tunnel once called Khachhar Surang built in 1905, Elysium or Auckland Tunnel built in 1905, and Victory tunnel built in 1945.
The city is home to several colleges, research institutions, and educational institutes where students from all over India come to study. Most of the school buildings are styled in Tudorbethan and neo-Gothic architecture from British colonial era. In Shimla apart from tourism and education; employment opportunities in horticultural processing attracts many people especially on seasonal basis. Government is promoting IT sector as new area for employment in Shimla.
Mall Road is the main street in the city and is the hub of tourism related activities. On both sides of the road there are numerous government offices, showrooms, shops, departmental stores that sell everything from woolens to blankets, branded and low priced western to traditional India dresses. Restaurants, cafes on the road sell variety of Indian, Chinese and international cuisine. As automobiles except emergency vehicles are banned; the entire road is pedestrian friendly and tourists can walk freely to enjoy street food being sold from various stalls on the mall road. As the prime tourist destination the city has numerous 2-star, 3-star, 4-star and 5-star hotels and even low cost lodges for people on show string budget.
Scandal Point at western end of Mall road is a must visit place for tourist. Its’ said the location got its name, as it’s from here Bhupinder Singh, Maharaja of Patiala eloped with daughter of British Viceroy. The Maharaja after being banished from entering Shimla, established the hill station of Chail overlooking Shimla. Chail, houses the highest cricket ground in the world.
The city’s mild climate gives it the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’ status. The biggest attraction for tourist during winter season is the snow fall. Shimla Summer Festival, a 10 day extravaganza held each year since 1960s; draws huge crowd of tourists in summer. Events like folk dance, flower show, food festival, ice skating, and orchestra are organized. Shimla and its surroundings have numerous places to visit; like Christ Church, Himalayan Bird Park, Sankat Mochan Temple, Jakhu Hill Temple, Jutogh, Shimla State Museum, Summer Hill, Annandale, Tara Devi Temple, Kali Bari Temple. Other places to visit include Viceregal Lodge, Junga, Anand Vilas, Himachal State Museum, Johnnie's Wax Museum, Shimla Heritage Museum, Mashobra, Kufri, Chharabra, Naldehra, Shaily Peak, Chadwick waterfall, and Tattapani hot springs. British era cemetery like Nuns Grave Yard, Sanjauli Cemetery, Kanlog Cemetery, Oakover Cemetery also attract tourist. The city allows people to escape the heat of plains.
Shimla is full of life, local people are more popularly named ‘Shimlaites’ with a large population of cosmopolitan crowd coming every year to celebrate Shimla Summer Festival usually lasts from 3-4 days. The famous performers from India are the special highlights of the festive mood. The town celebrates Christmas and New Year in a very bustling style when snowfall is the highest around the area.
You can book budget hotels, luxury hotels, Honeymoon suits, two star hotels, three star hotels, spa and resorts, cottages, in Shimla with www.mashahur.com to make your trip more pleasurable and memorable.
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