Among the popular hill stations in India, Shimla owns a distinct place owing to its unique charm which makes it a memorable experience to stay in Shimla. Located at a distance of 340km from Delhi, Shimla is a great choice for a weekend getaway from Delhi and Chandigarh. Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh is a beautiful hill town with natural wonders and lots to do. Laden with beautiful dense forests of pine, oak, and deodar it is a truly refreshing experience to stay in Shimla.
Where to stay in Shimla
You will find umpteen options of where to stay in Shimla ranging from small budget accommodations to fancy luxurious hotels. A holiday in Shimla is possible for anyone – whatever your budget may be. But do keep in mind that the best area to stay in Shimla is the Mall Road. The spectacular views of sunset and the numerous shops for shopaholics are the two primary reasons why demand for hotels in Shimla near Mall Road is ever increasing. Here, the grand mountain ranges in the background embrace the beautifully nestled city that boasts of the unique coexistence of nature and man-made beauty. One of the best hotels to stay at Shimla – the USP of which is its prime location – is Hotel Willow Banks. It is located on the main Mall road and all you need to do to start shopping and enjoying the city is simply step out of the hotel. All popular attractions of Shimla are within 1.5km walking distance of this hotel. And for those, who are looking for a quiet, undisturbed vacation and yet be close to the action that the city has to offer – this hotel offers boutique studio rooms surrounded by dense woods and with a private kitchenette and private garden sit out. So you get to wake up to the chirping birds and still reach the shops and restaurants within minutes!
What is the best time to stay in Shimla
Shimla is a year-round destination.
March – June: Summers in Shimla are pleasant and perfect for trekking, camping, and rafting. The temperature varies between 15 ° & 30 ° and you would need light woolens during the night hours.
October – February: Winters in Shimla are popular for snowfall and snow activities. The temperature varies between – 2 ° & 8 ° and you would need thick woolens.
The best time to stay in Shimla is December – February, especially for those who wish to enjoy the snow. One can go skiing and ice-skating during this period.
What to do when you stay in Shimla
- Catch the sunset at the scandal point: Scandal Point, one of the major tourist attractions in Shimla, is a flat platform on the Ridge Road. It offers mesmerising views of the snowcapped mountains and the lush valley. A paradise for photographers and nature lovers, Scandal Point offers splendid spectre of the sunrise and sunset.
- Photography at the Indian Institute of advanced studies: Built by the British, the building was made as a summer retreat for the Indian President. But it was passed on to the nation by Dr. S Radhakrishnan, the then President of India, as an institute to promote advanced studies in arts & humanities. The grand architectural beauty and the soothing surroundings make it one of the popular tourist attractions in Shimla. And the colonial building is perfect for some wonderful camera shots.
- Walking through the pine forests: There are many interesting short hikes from Shimla that take you through the pine forests in and around the city. Some of the beautiful trails lead you to the Glen, the Summer Hill, the Prospect Hill, and the Kamna Devi Temple. Owing to their beauty and the romantic weather, these nature walks are among the best things to do in Shimla for couples.
- Trekking the Jakhoo Hill in Shimla: At an elevation of 2,455 m above the sea level, the Jakhu Hill is said to be the highest peak, at a height of 8,000 feet, in Shimla. Trekking to the top of Jakhu Hill to visit the Jakhoo temple is one of the popular things to do in Shimla. Though it can be tiring on a sunny day, cloudy, windy and rainy days can turn this 2.5 km trek into one of the most enjoyable activities of your trip.
- Shopping for souvenirs at Lakkar Bazaar: When the sun reaches the horizon in the evening, Lakkar Bazar is a different sight, altogether. The long stretch of shops on either side offers some of the finest woodwork artefacts. Apart from artefacts, you can also buy winter wears at a very cheap price. It is a good place to pick souvenirs and little gifts for your loved ones.
- Experience Asia’s only open-air ice skating rink: Showing off your skills at the open-air ice skating rink is one of the things to do in Shimla during peak winters. The rink attracts thousands of people every year in search of an amazing ice skating experience. The ice is formed by a special technique that the British taught the Garhwali highlanders. The thickly forested hillside keeps it shaded and the low temperatures in winters prevent it from melting.
- Relax in the evening: When you stay in Shimla, no trip is complete without experiencing the true Himalayan rejuvenation: spa, steam and sauna. And after all this sightseeing and walking around, this is something your body surely deserves. Check out Akasa spa at the Mall Road for a relaxing massage therapy.
Where to eat when you stay in Shimla
Shimla is a foodie’s paradise. From street food like momos, pastries to chhole bhature and patties – Shimla has something for everyone. You can visit Trishool bakery for some of the best patties, cakes and pastries or drop into Hotel Cecil for a fancy meal and experience the elegance of old-time Shimla. Two restaurants that you should not miss while you stay in Shimla are Cafe Simla Times and Eighteen71. The former is an open air cafe that not only boasts of excellent food especially wood fired pizzas and tiramisu but the best view in all of Shimla. Grab a beer and sit here for hours while enjoying the music and the beauty of Shimla. If you are a bookworm, you can spend your time reading books and enjoying a cup of coffee. The other restaurant that is a must visit is Eighteen71. A beautifully done up fine dining restaurant that is open 24 hours and serves the best dishes from across India and the Orient. So whether you like Bengali food or Rajasthani or Goan or Mughlai – the menu has something for everyone. And the same if you are looking for a delectable dinner with Malaysian, Thai, Chinese and Burmese specialities. These two are must visits!
So, if you are planning a trip to Shimla, whether for a vacation or for a weekend getaway, I believe you will find the above information helpful for your stay in Shimla.