Shimla is one of the easiest hill stations to access. It is well connected by air, rail and road. There are multiple ways to reach Shimla. Whether it is Delhi to Shimla or Chandigarh to Shimla or if you are heading out from any city in the North or any top city across India – Shimla is a destination that is easy to reach.
The closest airport to Shimla is 23km from the town at a place called Jubarhati. There are regular flights that come here from Delhi to Shimla and Chandigarh to Shimla. Flight connectivity has recently improved and rates slashed substantially. The flight is 1 hour 15 mins duration and air tickets can now be purchased for as low as Rs. 1900 if booked early. These can be booked from any of the top online travel agents makemytrip, expedia, yatra, cleartrip etc. Click on the link to check.
From the airport you can easily get a taxi to Shimla. If you are staying at Hotel Willow Banks, the travel desk can arrange an airport transfer for you. For more details, http://www.willowbanks.com
There are several comfortable Volvo buses that ply on the Delhi to Shimla or Chandigarh to Shimla route. These are run by Himachal Road transport as well as private operators. Distance from Delhi to Shimla by road is 343 km and Chandigarh to Shimla is 117km. Buses ply in the day as well. It is a convenient option to take an overnight air conditioned luxury bus from ISBT Kashmiri Gate. Most buses stop en-route for dinner. The bus leaves at 9-10pm from Delhi and reaches Shimla by around 6-7am in the morning. Bus timings vary season to season. Check out the following links to book the same.
Tip: Try to take HRTC buses instead of private operators. They tend to be more comfortable and reliable.
Regular trains ply uptil Kalka station. Kalka is well connected to Delhi and Chandigarh by regular trains. You can take the Kalka Shatabdi which goes from New Delhi Railway station to Kalka Railway station via Chandigarh. The train ride is comfortable and takes about 4 hours from Delhi to Kalka. You can use the link below to book tickets:
From Kalka to Shimla
This route can be covered by either toy train or taxi.
- Toy Train: The small railway station in Shimla is just 1 kilometre away from the centre of the town and is connected to Kalka by a narrow gauge rail track. The famous toy train of Shimla goes between Kalka and Shimla, covering a distance of 96 kilometres in about 7 hours. More than a mode of transport, it is really an attraction. It comes under the UNESCO World heritage site list and the train crosses 106 tunnels on its beautiful journey from Kalka to Shimla with the longest being 1.6km long! The frequency of trains that ply from Kalka to Shimla is pretty good, with at least 4 trains plying to and fro from Shimla. Check out the link below for booking:
2. Taxi: Taxis are easily available from Kalka railway station to come to Shimla at any time of the day. They charge approx. Rs.2000. In case you are staying at Hotel Willow Banks, the travel desk can help arrange a taxi for you from Kalka to Shimla. For details: www.willowbanks.com
By Road – Taxi/ Self Drive
The road from Delhi to Shimla is great for driving yourself or to take a taxi. It is a well maintained highway and the journey from Kalka to Shimla especially is a treat for the eyes! If you are driving from Delhi to Shimla, you will have to take the outer Ring Road towards GT Karnal Road, then turn right on NH 1. After you reach Ambala, leave NH 1 and move on to NH 22 towards Kalka. Keep going on same highway towards Solan and then on to Shimla. The journey usually takes about 7 hours depending on traffic. There are umpteen options to stop over on the way for food or to access the washroom. Stops include Highway Greens at Karnal, Dana Choga at Karnal, Haldiram at Zirakpur, Mcdonalds at Zirakpur, Burger King at Zirakpur and many smaller road side dhabas if you would like to eat there.
Distance from other cities to Shimla is as follows
Manali to Shimla : 260 km : Accessible by road (Self drive/ taxi or luxury buses)
Amritsar to Shimla: 310 km : Accessible by road (bus/ car), travelling from Amritsar to Chandigarh and taking a flight or Train from Amritsar to Kalka and toy train/cab thereafter to Shimla
Dehradun to Shimla: 230 km
Jalandhar to Shimla: 220km
Ludhiana to Shimla: 190km
From all other major cities of India like Jammu, Srinagar, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai etc the best way to reach is to get to Chandigarh or Delhi and plan travel from there or take a train directly to Kalka if possible.
Parking in Shimla
If you are driving to Shimla do note that the main road i.e. the Mall is not open for cars and hence cars have to be parked on the Cart Road parking itself. In case you are staying at Hotel Willow Banks, call the hotel 24 hours in advance before your arrival to reserve a slot for yourself at this public parking. Parking on any sealed road will attract heavy penalties.
Travelling within Shimla city
Taxi is the most convenient way to travel within Shimla. Do however note that the city is placed on a hill top and all major places of tourist interest are actually on the Mall Road which is pedestrian only and cars are forbidden here. The taxi will take you to the closest Lift or Metropole road that you can take to get onto the Mall Road and then explore these places.
Tip: Book a hotel that is centrally located on the Mall Road so that you are within the main city and a stone’s throw away from all these attractions. Hotel Willow Banks is a great property to base yourself. For details: http://www.willowbanks.com