A quaint path strewn with rustic houses is how I remember Shimla. Out of many places to visit in Shimla, there are a few which are my favorites. Some of the unique things about Shimla definitely lures a traveler again and again here. The Neo-Gothic and Tudorbethan architecture create an attractive maze of amazement. The city is host to the biggest biking race event in South Asia called as MTB Himalaya. Shimla also has the biggest natural ice skating rink in South Asia which can be one of the interesting places to visit in Shimla.
Here, I have listed some attractions along with things to do and places to visit in Shimla.
1) Viceroy Lodge
Situated 2 km west of Shimla, Viceroy or Viceregal Lodge has quite a historical significance. Situated on the Observatory Hills of the state, this structure was the residential place of the British Viceroy of India. The building houses some photographs and old articles dating back to the British era. The Viceregal Lodge is also famous as President’s House or Rashtrapati Nilayam. The structure took 8 years to complete and was planned by Henry Irwin. It has been built according to as per the Jacobethan style. If you have an architectural interest, you should definitely include this attraction in your list of places to visit in Shimla.
2) The Christ Church
Take a step back in history and admire the architectural brilliance of this place. The second oldest church in the northern side of India is the Christ Church. The church has been built as per the Neo-Gothic architectural style. The foundation of the church was laid on 9th September 1844 and took 13 years to for construction. The church was made by Bishon Wilson of Calcutta. The additional things that include the clock and the stained glass windows put on the altar were set in 1960.
The frescoes on the walls of the church were colored according to the designs made by Mr. Lockwood Kipling who was the father of the renowned author Rudyard Kipling. The church also houses a pipe organ which was constructed in the month of September of the year 1899 and is also the biggest pipe organ in the country. Apart from this, the other splendid characteristics of the church include canvases that depict the life of Jesus Christ. Another marvel for admiration, this attraction goes right to your list of places to visit in Shimla.
3) The Jakhu Temple
This attraction is not just a religious spot. It also offers bountiful views! Situated on the top of the Jhaku Hill, Jhaku temple is one of the most popular places to visit in Shimla. This religious place is located at an altitude of 8000 feet above the sea level and is at a distance of 2.5 km from another popular tourist place, the ridge. It is an old temple that is said to be constructed by sage Yakku. The Hindu god Hanuman is worshiped in this shrine. As per the legend goes, it is believed that Lord Hanuman stopped at this place and paid his respects to the sage while he was on his way to get Sanjeevani plant for wounded Lakshmana in the battle of Ramayana.
The main highlight of this temple is the statue of Lord Hanuman which is 108 feet tall. The temple is adorned with delicate carvings that are a testimony to the architectural brilliance of the artisans and architects of that era. Dusshera is celebrated with great pomp and grandeur at this temple. Tourists can walk up the path leading to the shrine or make use of taxi or a pony to get to the temple. If you want to visit an attraction steeped in history, this temple is one of the recommended places to visit in Shimla.
4) The Kalka-Shimla Railway line
A UNESCO World Heritage site, this railway line offers the travelers astonishing views while you enjoy the train journey. The Kalka-Shimla Railway Line connects the hill station Shimla with the historic and prosperous town Kalka. The railway route was set down by the Britishers in 1903 to get access to the then summer capital, Shimla. The train on this route 864 bridges, 102 tunnels, and 20 stations. There are 2 bridges and 2 tunnels between every two stations and an awe-inspiring beauty of the nature that will surely astonish you.
The longest tunnel in Barog, the Bridge No. 226 and Bridge No. 493 are some of the spectacular architectures that are unusual factors to the route. One can witness the beauty of nature through the glass windows of the train’s coaches. The train comes with all luxurious facilities to give you an enriching experience during the journey. If you want to know the Shimla of the British era, you have to include these railway lines in your places to visit in Shimla. Certainly, one of the most interesting things to do in Shimla.
5) The Ridge
The Ridge is the prime place for organizing the cultural activities of the city. It is an enormous open space where the fairs and government programs are held. The major occasions and celebrations are held at this place. This place is also famous for the popular Summer Festival that is held during the months of April- May and attracts a large number of tourists from all over the country. The place is engulfed with snow during the winters and provides a magnificent view which is often covered in newspapers when the country receives its first snowfall. A quick visit to this attraction in Shimla would be a good addition to the places to visit in Shimla.
6) The Mall Road
This is the main street in the city which was built when British ruled India. This road is situated below The Ridge. A majority of the municipal corporation offices, police headquarters, fire service, restaurants, cafes, shops, department stores and showrooms are located on this road. No other vehicles other than the emergency vehicles are permitted on this road. Just walking around on this road and spending a relaxed afternoon can be one of the interesting things to do in Shimla. For a laid back traveler, including this in places to visit in Shimla is highly recommended.
Situated near The Ridge, this is another popular destination that is frequented by the tourists. during the British rule in India, this place was used for games like racing, cricket, and polo. The spot is famous as a picnic spot too. This field is now owned by the Indian army and houses Army Heritage Museum. The playground also has a temple situated at the edge. You can club this attraction with other places to visit in Shimla along with the Mall road and the Ridge.
8) Johnnie’s Wax Museum
Shimla, popularly known as “The Queen of Hills” also has the latest attraction that is perfect to enthrall the visitors. Johnnie’s Wax Museum is the first ever wax museum that is set up in Himachal Pradesh and includes the wax statues of eminent personalities around the world. The museum was started by BM Brothers who are based in Gurgaon. There are a total of 16 wax statues as of now that include outstanding persons who have excelled in their respective fields.
The museum houses figures of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ex-President of the USA Barack Obama, singer Justin Beiber, Bollywood personalities Aamir Khan, Yo Yo Honey Singh, sporting legend Lionel Messi etc. More famous personalities such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, saint Mother Teresa will be soon included in the wax statues. The entry is free for children aged below five years whereas other individuals have to pay a nominal fee of Rs. 250. For a history geek, this museum can be a good addition to your list of places to visit in Shimla.
9) The Scandal Point
Situated on the western edge of Shimla, this place is the meeting point of the two important roads of Shimla. The Mall road and The Ridge converge at this particular point. This place is actually a small square and derives its bizarre name from the factual yet gripping story related to its past. The story goes that the charismatic monarch, Maharaj of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh influenced the daughter of Lord Kitchener who was a British Viceroy.
It is said that she left the comfort zone of England once she fell for the Maharaja. The tale tells that the two had eloped at the Scandal Point after they met there in 1892. However, the tourist guides in Shimla convey a different story and say that the young lady was kidnapped by the king. Using his powers the then British Viceroy expelled the Maharaja from Shimla who is said to have built his summer place 50 miles way from the place in Chail. Visit this out of the places to visit in Shimla to imagine the story behind this attraction.
10) Indian institute of Advanced Sciences
Built in 1964, this is a residential institute for higher education. The inauguration of the institute was done by the hands of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. The institute is said to be century old. IIAS was initially built as a residence for Viceroy of India, Lord Dufferin who was the Viceroy for the period 1884-1888. Many important and historic decisions such as the Shimla Conference of 1954, Separation of Pakistan and East Pakistan at the time of independence in 1947 were made in this building.
After India gained independence, it was primarily used as the summer residence of the President of India. Later on, it was converted to a research hub for humanities, social and natural sciences, religion and the Indian culture. The structure was planned by Henry Irwin. It has been built using eye-catching Burmese teak and gray stone which give it a rich heritage look and cast an impression on the onlookers. The building has been built with extravagant architectural beauty that will surely leave you in awe of the structure. The IIAS also has a well-kept museum and a beautiful garden within its premises. You should include this in your places to visit in Shimla only if you are interested in soaking in some history or architect. The building is the same as Viceroy Lodge mentioned earlier.
11) The Shimla State Museum
Also referred to as the Himachal State Museum, this is a colonial structure that was constructed in 1974. The construction of this building was aimed at preserving the archeological and cultural artifacts of the state. The museum is surrounded by lush green lawns that add beauty to the place. A phenomenal collection comprising of various handicrafts, sculptures, portraits and different artifacts that have been preserved through the ages and can be admired here.
The museum is subdivided into many sections that include various galleries such as the Rajasthan Miniature painting, Pre-historic galleries, Archeology galleries, Pahari Miniature painting and Photographs which are worth fascination for professions that are related to subject scholars, archeologists, and historians.
The museum is home to other artifacts such as Himachali dolls; paintings that date back to the Mughal era and stone works of Masrur and Bajaura which belong to the 8th century. You can also find a library here where you can discover old manuscripts and ancient history books. Again, this attraction goes to your list of places to visit in Shimla only if history interests you.
12) Chadwick falls
Situated at a distance of 7 km near the Summer Hill in Shimla, this is a major tourist hangout place. This place is located at the height of 1550 meters above the sea level and is amidst the hills. The Chadwick falls are surrounded by dense forests. This place is crowded throughout the year and observes a large footfall of the public especially during the monsoons. In addition, the serene beauty of nature the Chadwick falls are also regarded highly as a religious spot owing to the number of temples that are located in its vicinity. This, out of all the places to visit in Shimla, is a good option to experience pure nature without traveling too far.
Raised at an altitude of 8000 feet above the sea level, Kufri is a famous hill station of the Shimla district. Situated at 16 km away from the central Shimla this place falls on the NH-22. The snowcapped landscapes and the pretty environment leaves the tourist spellbound and in awe of nature’s beauty. The destination has some exciting places that one should definitely not miss while touring Shimla. The Mahasu Peak which is the highest peak in Kufri is worth visiting that allows the individual to explore some breathtaking visuals of the dense forest. The place also includes the Himalayan National Park, an amusement park Kufri Fun World and Chini Bungalow that is famous for its statues and unique architectural style. If you find all the places to visit in Shimla to be crowded, you can consider visiting Kufri. There are many orchards which can conjure unique experiences for you.
This place is primarily famous for having the highest cricketing pitch in the world. Here, you will be surrounded by a large number of pine trees and deodar trees that offer a pleasant and serene atmosphere. The place is also renowned for Chail Palace that is famous for its brilliant architecture. The Chail palace has actually been converted into a heritage hotel now. It was filmed in 3 Idiots and is showcased as Rancho’s mansion. Since the palace is located at great altitude one can also get an amazing view of the beautiful city which looks more even more splendid under the starry sky and dim lights. You should definitely include this attraction in your places to visit in Shimla.
15) Tara Devi Temple
This beautiful place is situated in the middle of Shimla-Kalka highway. The 250-year-old shrine is 1 km away from Shimla and is located on top of Tara Parvat where Maa Bhagwati Tara Devi is worshiped. The sacred place has an enthralling architecture which is sure to amaze the visitors. The idol is said to be made from ashtadhatu. Raja Balbir Sen who belonged to the Sen Dynasty is said to have been constructed this temple in 1825.The shrine is surrounded by dense forests having Pine trees and remote snow-capped hills of Himalaya add to the mesmerizing beauty of this holy place. This attraction would again go to your bucket of religious places to visit in Shimla.
16) Lakkar Bazaar
Famous for well-crafted wooden products, Lakkar Bazaar is a marketplace that is in the proximity of the Ridge in Shimla. This place was set around 100 years back by a lot of Sikh carpenters who came from Hoshiarpur. The wooden artifacts are the center of attraction for both locals and tourists. The products are made of walnut and deodar trees that are in abundance in the city. The bazaar also includes various hotels, a roller skating rink and an ancient theater. If shopping is on your mind, Lakkar Bazaar makes the recommended list of places to visit in Shimla.
Situated at the height of 2450 meters, Fagu is a small village in Shimla which is a renowned destination for skiing. The hamlet, located 23 Kms from Shimla, is a famous spot for hiking and walking amidst nature. The place offers a picturesque view of the Himalayan peaks and also includes the state tourism accommodation, Hotel Peace. Fagu is also an offbeat category attraction around Shimla. For an adventure junkie or offbeat traveler, Fagu is a definite recommendation for the list of places to visit in Shimla.
18) Shaily Peak
Situated at a distance of 23 km from Naldehra, Shaily Peak is located in the vicinity of Mahakali Lake. The steep trek from base camp Khatnol to the top of the peak is 8 km. You can also hire a pony if you feel you are unable to complete the entire stretch. Located amidst the lush dense green forests and snow-covered Himalayan Mountains, this is the best place if you are looking for some adventure. To experience trekking and hiking in landscapes devoid of tourists, Shaily peak goes right in your places to visit in Shimla.
19) Jubbal Palace
This historical building is situated at 7000 feet above the sea level in the middle of mountains that have cedar and pine trees. Famous as a heritage site, the authentic Victorian building was destroyed by Raja Rana Sir Bhagat Chandra. Later onwards, a summer palace was constructed on the same site with a mix of Chinese and Indian architecture styles. Located in the heart of the city, this place is adorned with intricate carvings, autographed photos, and paintings of distinguished personalities in the interiors. It was the residential place of Raj Kumar Uday Singh till 1977 and was later transformed into a luxurious heritage hotel. The palace is located in Jubbal, a quaint town in Shimla district. A road trip here would make a good addition to the places to visit in Shimla.
20) Manjathal Sanctuary
Manjathal Sanctuary is situated on Shimla-Bilaspur highway and is located in the Himalayan ranges. The place is rich in biodiversity and has rich flora and fauna. It is home to many rare and endangered animal species like Goral, Cheer Pheasant and is a paradise for nature lovers. Do include this in your places to visit in Shimla to spot some pure nature.
I hope you like my recommendations. Do share your experiences and suggestions in comments below.