A memorable trip to Shimla

posted in: Destinations, Hill Station, Himachal, India, Travel | 60

On some stoic days where the daily routine gets too terrible to handle and your soul shouts for some freedom, you realize that you need a vacation. A strenuous trek or a spiritual place just wouldn’t help. At such time you need to book a train from IRCTC Indian Railways site and head straight to Kalka, and then embark further on a trip to Shimla.

Toy Train 1

Why Kalka? Well because, the Heritage Mountain train route from Kalka to take a trip to Shimla is mesmerizing beyond words! The administrative capital of Himachal Pradesh is Shimla and it is renowned for it’s scenic beauty as well as bustling tourism. The Kalka Shimla Toy Train is a heritage of India. It passes through the most picturesque parts of the himalayan ranges. And is a treat of a journey when taken in both summer and winter alike. Read here about the Kalka Shimla Toy Train

And why a trip to Shimla? Shimla is one of the most popular honeymoon spots in India.  The amazing climate of Shimla will rest your wrecked nerves and give you the peace you need. A short break from work is all you need to revive your dampened spirits and bounce back to life. So, 3 days is all you need to explore Shimla and get the best out of it.

Here are the places you must visit when in Shimla.

Mall Road

Mall Road is the main street of Shimla and you must have seen this picturesque location a hundred times in movie and posters advertising Shimla. Trust me, it is just as beautiful as it looks! Lined with shops and restaurants, The Mall has still somehow preserved the ambience of a quaint and shy town, not affected by commercialization to a large extent. Enjoy shopping here for exquisite jewellery and fine clothes and showpieces to take back home as memoirs. The heart of Mall Road is The Ridge. This is the place to be in if your are looking for serenity and a bedazzling scenic view of Shimla. Take a long stroll or ride a horse and watch the life pass by in Shimla! Sounds poetic right? The feeling certainly is a relaxing one.

Mall road Shimla
Mall Road Shimla, near the ridge

Kufri

You must visit Kufri when you visit Shimla during winter seasons. The snow covered, highest point of Shimla is a place full of thrills. Try snowboarding and skiing here, the experience is spine chilling if it is your first time. You can find eternal snow at higher altitudes in Kufri almost year round just like Mount Titlis in Switzerland. The ride from Shimla to Kufri is a very adventurous one. Upon reaching Kufri, from here you can treat your eyes and soul to the magical beauty that nature offers lapped up quietly in Himachal Pradesh.

The Indian Institute of Advanced Studies

If you are more of an architectural buff, I suggest you visit The Indian Institute of Advanced Studies located on the observatory Hill of Shimla. The victorian-architecture is sure to engulf you with amazement by its majestic grandeur. The building once was the house of Viceroy of India, Lord Dufferin (from 1884 to 1888). And this is where it derives it’s name as the Viceregal Lodge. Since then it housed all the subsequent Viceroys of India. Did you know, the observatory hill, the hill on which it stands, is one of the seven hills surrounding Shimla. After India became independent, this building was renamed as the Rashtrapati Niwas. It’s architecture is really breathtaking inside out.

Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary

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All the wildlife enthusiasts are going to fall head over heels for Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary. You can witness animals like monkeys, leopards, jackals and barking deers in their natural habitat here. The place is rife with exotic flora and fauna and a very quiet place to relax. You can catch a glimpse of Pir-Panjal ranges of Jammu and Kashmir from here and it is quite stunning. A favourable place for trekking and picnics. A small village named Chharabra lies in the middle of the Reserver Forest Sanctuary. It houses the summer home of President of India as well as governor of Punjab. Also, it has a famous boarding school and now a few five star hotels as well. It is a very beautiful retreat in the heart of the Reserve Forest Sanctuary. A must visit for nature lovers.

Green Valley

It is said that the gifts of nature are always unexpected and hauntingly beautiful. Green Valley is one such place. Shimla’s treasure, the Green Valley will transfix you in a sparkling daze of green. The sun rays on the green landscapes turns into the Green Valley into a Valley of gems. This place is sure to charm you in the most lustful way possible. Green valley is located on the way from Shimla to Kufri. As the name suggests, it has mountains with massive amount of greenery that your eyes just get fixated to the views. Although there is no place for visitors to stay here. Which is good in a way. Because, if hotels start getting constructed here, then the Green Valley may no longer be green. Nevertheless, visitors can always stop here to soak themselves in the immense beauty of nature and greenery that surrounds them here.

These are just some of the places that will get you ready and jumping for a short vacation. You can refer to a 3 day travel itinerary as well to plan the trip. There are many other charming places to visit in the town of Shimla apart from the mall road like Sankat Mochan Temple, Naldehra Trek etc to name a few. When we visited Shimla with our family, we also did a lot of research on places to stay in Shimla. And here’s our recommendation on different places to stay in Shimla. Overall, Shimla has something for everyone. Love in the air, cold winds for wrecked souls and adventure for the thrill-seekers. A must visit place! I can say for sure, if you visit here once, you are bound to visit here again and again.

A memorable trip to Shimla | Himachal Pradesh | India

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60 Responses

  1. Inspite of the crowd,Shimla keeps calling.There is definitely something magical about the place

  2. One of the destinations in India I am longing to visit. Through this post I can determine how charming the queen of hill stations would be. Riding the vintage train is one of the things I am excited about.

  3. Shimla seems so stunning and picturesque. This place has lot to offer and I would definitely love to explore it more soon. When’s the best time of the year to go there?

    • The definition of best time of the year depends on what you seek Agness. Those who want moderate cold head here in the summer months. Those who want to enjoy the snow go in the peak winter months around new year and January – February. So, I would say, actually year round. Maybe you can avoid the peak monsoon (rainy) season due to chances of landslide

  4. I like the natural attractions best – the Forest Reserve and Green Valley really appeal to me – but I’ve heard so much about Shimla’s beauty and other experiences like the railway I’d have to see it all! Sounds like a LONG vacation for me if I want to see everything this gorgeous place has to offer 😀

    • That’s true. Even for me, the main attraction is always the natural beauty around. But with that beautiful natural backdrop several temples, museums, and other heritage buildings and streets have come up in Shimla that are totally worth a visit

  5. It really does look like a beautiful place. I would definitely visit the Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary to see the monkeys and other wildlife.

  6. Greetings from Sri Lanka. The train ride in between the mountains would be so thrilling. Would love to visit India again. Your short story of the train ride gives another unique experience in India. Happy Travels.

  7. Riding a vintage train to Shimla looks like an amazing trip. This adventure is now added to my bucketlist. India never cease to amaze me so thank you so much for sharing your story.

  8. Though I haven’t been to Shimla, I have spent a few days at its close cousin Manali while returning from my Ladakh trip.( hope I’m not wrong in comparing the two places) and my experience has been quite contrary to what you saw. It was so crowded everywhere and most of the tourist places were commercialized. Probably it was the peak season when I visited in June. Returning from a peaceful and desolate location like Ladakh, it was an assault on my senses to enter the crowded town of Manali. I m really glad to know you had a wonderful time at Shimla. Probably, I should plan another visit during the shoulder season to avoid the crowd and if I do that, I shall definitely visit the green valley and hop on the toy train.

    • It was the peak season definitely Sindhu. And otherwise also, you will always find Shimla much more crowded than Ladakh and that is but expected given Shimla is so much more accessible and not a harsh climate so people go on family vacation with little kids. But it still holds that magical charm. The key is to stay a little off the main town or in a nearby place and then explore Shimla from there 🙂

  9. For all that I have been to, I have missed Shimla completely. It does look lovely though a lot of people warn me that it is very crowded. Kufri seems to be a place that is not to be missed. I sure would want to relive Mount Titlis. Thanks for sharing this note. 🙂

    • Shimla is crowded and commercialized also Ami. But, the places around are still so beautiful. When you go, we strongly suggest stay a little off the main town and you will totally love it

  10. I visited Shimla in the summer but didn’t do the train. I must organize a trip on the train and visit in winter next time. This town must be so beautiful in the winter with the snow covered surroundings.

    • Right James..even I have seen such a Shimla in pictures only but I badly want to be there some winter

  11. I had been to Kufri and not yet satiated with Shimla. Love the pics.
    Hopefully I get one more chance to go there some day.

  12. I dream of going to India, I have read so much about your country I have pretty much convinced myself to go there hahaha… Anyway, one of my goals actually is to ride a train and with that picturesque view, I would surely take a train to Shimla. Yes, I am going there when I can and hopefully during winter so there’d be snow. I haven’t experienced snow in my life, I know right, pathetic hahaha..

    • When you ever come to India, you should definitely enjoy the train journey to Shimla Marge. You will love it

  13. Shimla seems like an amazing place for sure. And a vintage train trip would make it into a great cultural adventure. This is such a tempting idea. We’ve been reading a lot lately about these types of train trips. We’d like to include one our our next visit to India.

    • For sure. You can let me know if you need any further information about this train

  14. I would love to go on a ride on that mountain train, the scenery passing by is so pretty. Shimla sounds like a beautiful place to explore. The Reserve Forest Sanctuary sounds like a treat to visit. Do you go by car or you walk?

    • You can go by a car. Walking might be a bit too much. It’s a long way from the main town. But then inside the Sanctuary itself, it will be a very good experience to walk around and explore

  15. Shimla was one of my early solo trips. It had charmed me to no end. I want to see it in snow now. I missed sitting in that toy train. So there is one more reason to go back. I had good view of snow capped mountains from Kufri.

    • That is one thing I also badly miss. I want to see Shimla cladded in snow some winter. Just don’t know how to time it well. I want to actually experience a snow fall in Shimla or Manali

  16. Nature must remain its beauty and peacefully greens. It’s wonderful there are no constructed commercials here ( as of the moment ) and hopefully none in the future as the magic of nature would remain. Indeed, memorable to go on a trip here at Shimla. I would also love to witness the wilds in their own homes where they could just live freely and be at peace.

    • Commercialization is a need of the hour Cathy. But at least we can reserve some patches like these and not let them get spoilt by commercialization. I hope with growing awareness that happens more and more.

  17. Tales of travelling sisters

    I so want to take up this beautiful heritage train ride. I recently got back from a trip to Himachal amd it was amazing. Sadly, I couldn’t fit Shimla to my itinerary, but reading your post makes me wish I had. Lovely write up Neha :).

  18. Trains are my favourite mode of travel and this would be some adventure! SO many interesting and picturesque things to see.

  19. Couple of winters ago Shimla and Kufri were so crowded that we decided to drive on till Narkhanda. It was very peaceful and scenic and my two kids who were then 4 and 6 loved running on the snow covered street. Having read your blog, I think we must explore the e Heritage Mountain train as well 🙂

    • That’s true Richa. For me, a trip to Shimla won’t complete without a ride on the heritage train. I would strongly suggest you try it the next time. And your kids are going to love this so much

  20. these photos are incredible! I sadly have not had the chance to visit India…yet! but it is high up only list, thank you for this post!

  21. Shimla gets me all nostalgic. so many memories!! 🙂 Love the colonial architecture and those winding roads! 🙂 Your bird pic is gorgeous:)

    • Thank you. Shimla definitely is so wonderful. I have myself been there twice and I can’t wait to go back again

  22. Neha, I feel cheated. I’ve reloaded the post severally and no picture of Green Valley yet your description makes me long for it more. I can imagine the lush of green and its beauty. I must say, it is a must visit for me.

    • It’s so beautiful Lydia..alas I didn’t have a good shot to put up so I let it pass. Perhaps I was too submerged in the beauty here to care about taking pictures 🙂 And anyways, they won’t do justice to the actual beauty that this place has got, you must see it with your own eyes

  23. The Heritage Mountain Train Route looks amazing! I’d love to take that route to Shimla.

    • You definitely should. And let us know about your experience when you have been there 🙂

  24. Nice post, I have been to Shimla like 6 years back, and frankly I didn’t liked it much, as it is too much crowded.

    • The main town has got crowded over the years Anushka. But the nearby areas are not. And you also need to pick the season in which you travel wisely, and you will be rewarded with much less crowd. I love the town, no matter what. But yes, this time around when we visited there, we preferred to stay a little far from the main city

  25. The train ride looks very fun… and a bit dangerous going across the valley like that. The train bridge is really quite beautiful. In today’s world, so often they design for function rather than beauty so we are stuck with a bunch of ugly buildings and structures. Glad to see that you had such a good time.

    • Thats an insightful thought. Indeed this train runs through one of the most beautiful terrains in the world, so, the journey is totally worth it. Owing to the height and mountain terrain, the tracks are narrow gauge and the train runs at a slow speed. I didn’t feel it was dangerous.

  26. I would love to take the Heritage Mountain train to Shimla. It looks like an amazing journey!

  27. A plan to Simla when I was in Delhi, flopped miserably a few years back and since then, I still haven’t gotten a chance to explore Simla!
    A trip on the Kalka Simla railway or a safari inside the Simla Reserve Forest sanctuary would be just an awesome thing to do.
    Hope I’ll get to explore the places soon.

    • I wish your journey materializes sometimes soon. It is definitely an experience of a lifetime, particularly the ride on the heritage train

  28. The mountain train looks beautiful. I always think of India as being chaotic but Shimla sounds like the perfect escape.

    • The cities are chaotic but as you move to the beautiful landscapes like the mountains, sea shores, reserve forests or even the villages, it is so calm and beautiful. That’s why many say, there are two India inside India. And yes, it’s the land of yoga and meditation..that provide the ultimate calm and peace of mind!!

  29. Abigail Sinsona

    I haven’t ridden a train in ages! This post has inspired me to want to go on a rail journey, especially with a heritage train such as this. It makes the whole travel experience worthwhile in itself.

    • I am sure this is an experience of a lifetime for anyone. The Kalka Shimla toy train is one of the highest rail lines on the highest mountain range in the world

  30. Shimla is rightly known as the queen of hill stations. Shimla is enchanting right from the moment the road from Chandigarh starts its serpentine and curvaceous approach to the hill station. We had a dream like couple of days in Shimla during the peak of winter. We missed the heritage mountain rail though and need to head back for it.

    • Oh..I have that dream which you have already lived 🙂 I want to spend a few days of winter in Shimla, surrounded by it’s white snowy beauty. In fact I want to be there when it snows, I just don’t know how to time it right.

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