A memorable trip to Shimla

posted in: Destinations, Hill Station, Himachal, India, Travel | 72

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


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


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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72 Responses

  1. Road Trip Goa to Himachal, Manali - Travel Route planning Guide

    […] stop Shimla (Himachal Pradesh region) – 1 […]

  2. you.theworld.wandering

    Great post! I’m from Australia and I visited Shimla back in August this year – absolutely loved it!! I did a tour inside the castle of where the Institue of Advanced studies is – amazing old building. Shimla is great. Really enjoyed wandering Mall road. I stayed at Chealet Naldehra – beautiful place! Would love to return in the winter time!

    • Neha

      Great to know that you had a wonderful trip to Shimla and you have such nice memories of the place. Definitely, it is a lovely place. Although getting overburdened by tourism. Next time you happen to be in the region, check with me. I will tell you about other lovely places to explore around Shimla as well.

  3. thatguywithstories

    Shimla is where I had my first love affair with a girl at a bus station. She had apple coloured cheeks and to me who came from the Desert state of Rajasthan, that was like staring at the Taj Mahal. Shimla amazes me no end.

  4. swatisinha09Swati

    Shimla surprised me when I visited it last summer. I love the fact that the older areas are left untouched. The only way (IMHO) to reach Shimla is by the Heritage train from Kalka :). Great post, took me back to my visit

  5. BnBNation

    Hi neha
    A wonderful post about a wonderful destination. I love going to shimla and even though it’s getting crowded and polluted but it still hasn’t lost its charm. It’s good that you covered the sanctuary,as I couldn’t visit it on any of my trips earlier. Thanks for sharing.
    (Ambuj Saxena )

  6. Anindita

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

  7. Backpackways

    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.

  8. Agness of aTukTuk

    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?

    • Neha

      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

  9. Red Nomad OZ

    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 😀

    • Neha

      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

  10. Cristal (@tofutraveler)

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

  11. Malith Fernando

    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.

  12. Chasing Potatoes

    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.

  13. SindhuMurthy

    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.

    • Neha

      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 🙂

  14. Ami Bhat

    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. 🙂

    • Neha

      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

  15. James

    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.

    • Neha

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

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