'Queen of Hill Stations' is no hyperbole for Shimla. Not just weather, it is the atmosphere of the glory days gone by, a hint of which continues to cling. During the British Raj, Shamla was declared the summer capital and it thus became Shimla. Then love, politics and grand balls were talked about for long. The summer capital is now a holidayer's paradise with romantic air for honeymooners, frolicking avenues for friends and scenic mountains and verdant forests of pines, oaks & deodars for just about everyone. No wonder movies like Black, Gadar, Jab We Met and 3 Idiots were shot here. The town brings more. The single gauge toy train running between forests and towns from Kalka to Shimla, the soft shawls, antique books, colourful hats and wooden handicrafts present themselves with a chance to bargain! The temples with folklores and the grandiose churches offering views of valleys, the treks, solitary hiking sessions and Victorian buildings are what Shimla is. Let's take you to a quick ride through the hill town.

 

Sight seeing
Hills of Shimla have history and grandeur and thus many options for a curious traveller. The grandeur of the Viceregal Lodge, where the Partition of India was signed, is mind blowing. The Gaiety Theatre's reputation as the centre of British social life is well-known. Time has taken its toll on many of the buildings, which are fast becoming a memory. But the scent of the pine still lingers. For seekers of mythology (or adventure), Kamna Devi Temple, Tara Devi Temple and Christ Church attract a flow of devotees. The Sankat Mochan Temple is a popular Shiv temple near Shimla. The Hanuman Temple atop Jakhu Hill, the highest peak in Shimla, is known for monkeys, trek and panoramic views. Shimla is also an access point to many other destinations nearby. Chail, Kufri, Tattapani Hot Sprints and Naldhera are for adventure and sport lovers. Check out the nine-hole golf course in Naldehra, which also makes for a perfect picnic spot. Pay a visit to the zoo to see the lean, mean Himalayan snow leopard. Shimla boasts of the only natural ice skating rink in Asia. There's more than just skating action during their annual carnival. Spend the evenings hanging out with the locals at their favourite haunts: The Mall, Ridge and Scandal Point, which found its notorious name when the Maharaja of Patiala made off with Lord

Kitchener's daughter from here. Gaze at the moon, stars and everything in between. Astronomical telescopes will give you a closer look at the sky. Wear the traditional Himachali costume and say cheese, standing next to a white yak, a rare breed that saunters around the hills. And yes, just don't miss the charming Toy Train.


Shopping
Travellers with a nose for souvenirs will delight in Shimla's quaint shopping scene. The Ridge and Mall Road are packed with restaurants and shops. They are extra busy during the Summer Festival. Wander over to the Ridge and the tiny shops crammed with wooden handicrafts that make up Lakkar Bazaar. There are toys, shawls, carpets, show pieces, ladles and rolling pins. The big, colourful wooden bangles and walking sticks are good buys. Tibetan shops are worth browsing if you like funky statement jewellery, casual dresses and bags.

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