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Nestled at an altitude of 2,159 meters (7197 feet) above sea level, Shimla was discovered by the British as their summer capital. Even today the hill station continues to be patronized by holidaymakers from within and outside the country who come here to escape the torrid heat of the plains and revel in its scenic surroundings, Some of the most notable attractions here include Viceroy Lodge, Christ Church, Gaiety Theater and century-old temples such as the Sankat Mochan Temple, Tara Devi Temple and Bhimkali Temple on the outskirts of Shimla.


History
The history of Shimla begins in the early yeas of the 19th century. In 1804, the Gurkhas suffered a terrible defeat at the hands of the Sikhs at the Battle of Kangra. It is believed they lost thousands of men in battle and to disease. The troops retreating from Kangra went on a rampage in the hills. By 1808, the Gurkhas had captured all fortified posts between the rivers Jamuna and Sutlej. They also built a number of fortresses in the hills around Shimla.

Controlled from the capital at Akri, the rule of the Gurkhas was ruthless. The people of the hills suffered and were eventually forced to raise their plight to the British. A small British contingent led by Major General Sir David Ochterlony was sent to help the hill folk, where a number of local chiefs joined them. The Gurkhas were finally defeated in 1815 after a tough battle at the 3750 ft high Ramgarh Fort of Nalagarh. The Gurkhas eventually surrendered and peace was restored to the hills.

Since then, Shimla’s history has primarily been that of British rule. Within four years of the conquest, a Scottish civil servant, Charles Pratt Kennedy, built the first British summer home in 1822. A few years later, the Governor-General of Bengal, Lord Amherst set up summer camp here. The next decade saw rapid growth in the numbers of town’s British inhabitants. The cool summer of the hills was a welcome relief to the British who found if difficult to adjust to the heat of the ‘burning plains of Hindoostaun’.

Till 1911, the capital of the British Empire was Calcutta. Sir John Lawrence, Viceroy of India 1864–1869, decided to move the capital and the Raj’s business to Shimla, over a 1,000 miles away for the duration of the summer. Since then, the British carefully managed the planning and development of Shimla.


Getting Around
Much of Shimla can be accessed via car or bus. The most popular forms of transport in these areas, which includes central Shimla are walking and horse riding, which can be easily hired.

The areas surrounding central Shimla are connected by a circular road and local buses ply regularly on them. All roads connecting the Mall Road to the Ridge are sealed to traffic, as are the roads from Scandal Point, Kali Bari Marg to Kali Bari and Chotta Shimla Chowk to Kennedy House. Light vehicles can ply without permits on roads specified as unrestricted link roads that include the route from Cart Road to Annandale, Chotta Shimla, IGMC Hospital and Marina Hotel.

Rental cars are also easily available; just ensure that you fix on the price well-beforehand while hiring one. In an endeavor to regularize the fares, the state transport government has demarcated the rental taxis as metered and non-metered taxis, with separate parking areas and taxi stands for both. Metered taxis can be taken from Lakkar Bazaar, IGMC main entrance opposite the dental college, in front of the railway station booking counter, at the main bus stand’s Shimla-Kalka Union counter and its main exit point, near the band box, and HPTDC lift on Cart Road. Metered taxis can also be hired from Chotta Shimla, New Shimla and other nearby areas.

The Mall Road, the Ridge and the nearby markets are pedestrian-only areas. Another option is to take the lift from near the parking lot on Cart Road to the Mall Road. Operated by HPTDC, the lift connecting the east end of the Mall Road and Cart Road takes just a few minutes and is functional between 0800 and 2200 hours. The cost for a one way lift ticket for one person is 7 INR.


Shopping

The Mall Road in Shimla is lined with shops offering beautifully embroidered shawls, traditional Himachali caps, and vibrantly colored hand-knitted socks and other woolen clothes from Chamba, Kinnaur and Lahaul.

Intricately carved wooden items such as walking sticks, toys, and key chains peek out of the shops’ display windows at Lakkad Bazaar. Local specialties such as apple jam preserves, squashes and pickles are popular bought by tourists. Handcrafted Chinese shoes, antiques and rare first editions of books and maps, miniature paintings, Buddhist banners and silver trinkets are some of the other stuff that you can buy.

At the state government-run Himachal Emporium on the Mall Road, you can find everything that is exclusive to Shimla.

Ice Skating

Ice Skating - BindaasTravel.com

Shimla has the only natural ice-skating rink in Asia. Skiers of all ages head to the rink to enjoy ice-skating, ice-hockey, and take part in skiing, figure-skating and short track speed skating competitions, in addition to fancy dress shows for children. The ice-skating rink conducts two sessions per day one in the morning and one in the evening from December to February. Skates can be rented for a nominal fee and temporary membership for single sessions is also available.
Bheemakali Temple

Jakhu Temple

Jakhu Temple - BindaasTravel.com

Nestled atop the highest peak of Shimla at an altitude of 8202 feet (2461 meters), the century-old Jakhu Temple is Shimla’s most popular landmark. It takes a 2-kilometer (1.24 miles) trek to get to the temple - the path flanked by dense forests home to a large population of monkeys. As you approach the summit, the temple would seem as though jutting out of greenery.

Bheemakali Temple

Bheemakali Temple - BindaasTravel.com

Dedicated to Goddess Durga, also called Bheemakali, the Temple is one of the fifty Shakti Peeths and is nestled amidst towering deodar trees on a hillock at Sarahan. Over 800 years old, the temple has a Buddha idol and several Hindu deities such as Goddess Durga, Lord Shiva and Parvathi, Ganesha, and Brajeshwari. The architecture of the temple is also an interesting blend of Hindu and Buddhist styles, with elements such as wooden-sloped concave roofs, golden towers, pagodas and silver-coated doo

Surface
Shimla is well-connected by road also and the journey by road can be as scenic. Tourists coming in from Delhi or Ambala can take National Highway 1, while those coming from Chandigarh can take National Highway 21, which goes on to join the NH – 1. Another option is to take the train to Pathankot and drive on from there.

The HPTDC (Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation) also offers regular deluxe bus services from Jaipur, Chandigarh, Delhi, Jalandhar, Gurgaon, Amritsar, Dehradun/Haridwar, Ludhiana, Ambala, and Jammu/Pathankot. Private bus operators also offer regular services to Shimla.

Train
A train ride to Shimla takes you through landscapes of immense beauty. Past rolling gorges and lush meadows, the train chugs through as many as 102 tunnels, 919 curves and over 800 arched bridges. The narrow-gauge railway line between Kalka and Shimla was laid out by the British and features in the Guinness Book of World Records for the steepest rise in altitude spaced over a distance of just 96 kilometers.

Four services are available on the Kalka-Shimla rail line. Step back in time with a journey aboard the Deluxe Rail Motor Car, which resembles a Second World War vintage bus and includes features such as a transparent fiber-glass roof. Only 14 passengers can travel on it at a time, so book well in advance. Tickets cost 340 INR and include a complimentary meal.

There is the Shivalik Deluxe Express connecting Howrah to Kalka, with a capacity of 120 passengers. Its features include wall-to-wall carpeting, wide glass windows, reversible cushioned chairs and music system. Tickets cost 340 INR and include a complimentary meal.

Air
The nearest airport to Shimla is at Jubbarhatti, about 23 kilometers (14 miles) from Shimla town. Regular air services by Jagson Airlines, Indian, and Air Deccan connect Shimla to Delhi, Kullu and Chandigarh. In winter months, the flights are often cancelled due to bad weather.

Taxis, available outside the airport, can be easily hailed to cover the rest of the journey to Shimla town.

Brightland Hotel

Brightland Hotel - BindaasTravel.com

Brightland Hotel is a nice 3-star hotel that offers a pleasing stay in Shimla. Set in a peaceful environment, the hotel overlooks the splendid mountains and pine trees. The interiors of the hotel reflect a perfect amalgamation of traditional décor and modern accessories. The hotel offers excellent accommodation, besides providing hospitable services. Brightland Hotel has all the facilities, required for a comfortable and hassle free stay on a visit Shimla.
Address : Cosy Nook Estate, Near Army Training Command
Adjacent The Mall, Shimla-171003 India

Camp Potters Hill

Camp Potters Hill - BindaasTravel.com

Sited at an altitude of 2050 mtrs, Camp Potters Hill is an amazing retreat about 5 kms west of Shimla. It is spread over 100 hectares of prime Western Himalayan Forests of Himachal. It offers ample opportunities to Naturalists, Trekkers, Painters and Bird watchers to quench their thirst. This adventure camp provides the best outlet to people to rejuvenate their mind, body and soul. Camp Potters Hill offers all the services and the best of accommodation for a pleasurable staying experience.

Cedar Heights Resort

Cedar Heights Resort - BindaasTravel.com

Cedar Heights Resorts a magnificent property is located in a picturesque environment amidst the forested hills of Shimla. The resort offers the panoramic views of rugged mountains, snow-clad peaks, lush green meadows and cedar forests. Besides the best of services and amenities, the resort offers recreational activities such as mountain bicycling, trekking, bonfire, and indoor games etc. In brief, Cedar Heights Resorts is a perfect holiday destination in Shimla.

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