Shimla is a city in Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is situated in the north – west Himalayas, and is the capital of Himachal Pradesh in north India. Hill station Shimla is worth visit in the off season when it is less crowed with the tourists and also in the off season most hotels give “off season discount” which ranges from 20 – 25 % of room rent. Shimla drive its name from Shyamala – the goddess kali where as English named it simla. Shimla is connected by air, road, and rail with all parts of himacha Pradesh. And also with the neighbouriy states of Punjab, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir and the union territory of chandigarh. Shimla is surrounded by beautiful forest of fires, pines, oaks and rhododendron. Shimla provides well developed facilities, easy accessibility and a number of attractions which make it one of the most India’s popular hill-Station.
The houses of local are made of stone and mud with thatched roofs. The several materials are used for the roofs but the style is always similar. The roofs slant down on both sides of the houses. Which helps the snow to slide down during the winter and the roofs are mostly colored bricks green or red. Shimla was declared the summer capital of India in 1864. After India’s independence, Shimla become the capital of Punjab till 1966, when it came under Himachal Pradesh
History Of Shimla:
Shimla’s history is intimately linked to India’s. The British discovered Shimla in the form of a little village in 1819 and made it the summer capital of the Indian empire; building in a style reminded them of Victorian home. 1903 saw the completion of the narrow gauge ‘toy train’ railway up to the city to aid this process. It was during lord williaw Bentinck’s time that Shimla was truly acquired by the government of India.
In 1819 Shimla was discovered by the British and it gained popularity in 1864 and it was announced as the summer capital of India. Before that Shimla was under the rule of the Gurkhas. It was after the Gurkha war that the British soldiers founded a dense forest near the temple of Godden Shyamala and gave it the name Shimla. But some historian contradict is saying that Shimla is derived from the word ‘Shyamala’, meaning the blue house based on a house built by blue slate by a fakir which is another name of goddess kali. There would not have been a story of Shimla if the Britishers had not discovered it. A report of 1836 declares that most European products, ranging from fine fabrics to French sauces, scot sardines, English sweets and even fine horses were all available in Shimla. In Shimla the mode of travel for ladies was the jam pars and horses for men. The jam pars were like a chair, usually covered and attached to two or four men. Wheeled carriages were not allowed as well as were not feasible in Shimla till as late as 1840s. In the period of 1848 – 56 Lord Dalhousie spent two seasons in Shimla but did not quit. He wrote in a letter “this place has been greatly overrated is clin every thing else”. The tone of Shimla’s social life is the 19th century was normally set viceroy & his lady. In 1876 peter hott, the government house was occupied for the first time in 1876 by the fashionable viccroy couple, the lyttors.
Peter hott created a reputation for hospitality, particularly for the quality and quantity of exotic drinks served there. The gaiety theatre opened in 1838 but it was lady lytton who brought it of age almost40n years later. Theatre opened in the town hall building in 1887. In November 1903, Shimla was connected by the railways. It was a monumental event that changed Shimla for ever. In a year, Shimla constructed 1400 new cottages, hotels like cecil, grand, metropole followed in their modern form. Within 5 years of the coming of the railways, the summer time population of Shimla had averaged to 38,000 of whom 7000 were Europeans. Among the first non official permanent residents were the members of the dyer family who then owned the brewery at solan
Shimla is located at an altitude of approximately 2000 m above sea level, which makes it a very cool place and is covered by dense and evergreen forests. Tourist prefers to visit Shimla during spring or autumn as this place is less crowed with the tourist. The temperature range is not very high and the maximum temperature rarely crosses 25º during summer. During this time nights are cool and light warm clothes are required. Winters are cold and chilly winds from upper Himalayas make this place very cold. Around Christmas or last week of December Shimla gets snow. The best season to visit Shimla is between April & August.
The languages spoken in Shimla are Hindi, Punjabi, Pahadi and English.
People in the Himachal Pradesh are simple, hard – working and found of music & drama. They worship the goddess shakti & one can see small temples on hillsides, in valleys, on peaks & ridges.
Jakha temple is an ancient temple dedicated to lord Hanuman is perched on a 2438 m high hill. The Hanuman temple is the highest point in town. The temple is only 2 km from the ridge but it could be an hour walk for a person, not used to mountain climbing. There are many monkeys around the temple, but they don’t attack the people.
The most famous building among the tourist is the yellow Christ Church, which was built over a span of 11 years (1846 – 1857), and is the second oldest church in northern India. The beauty of the church is enhanced by the stained glass in its windows. It is a yellow painted building with a victoriangothic spire.
The Mall: The mall packed with shops and eateries, is the centre of attraction of the town, you will find the mall always crowed with tourist. This is the main shopping centre of Shimla. It has many restaurants, post offices, banks, clubs, etc. the ridge and scandal point are the two man meeting points at the mall.
Taradevi Temple: Taradevi is 11 km from the Shimla bus stand. Taradevi has a temple dedicated to the goddess of stars on the top of the hill. Tara devi is located on tara parvat. A road mean less uphill through the pine forest. This holy place is accessible by rail, bus & car. From the station one can visit the temple either on foot or by taxi or jeep.
Shimla State Museum: The museum was opened in 1974. Museum collected objects are mostly related to art, archaeology & culture anthropology of Himachal & other state of India. At this time museum, has about 9000 objects in its collection. At the outset, museum started with four galleries. These galleries pertain to pre – historic Indian archaeology, woodcarvings, Pahari miniature, photographs, arms gallery contemporary art & wall paintings gallery. The museum has a good collection of traditional as well as contemporary art. The ground floor gallery has fine pahari miniature, a style developed under the auspices of the Kangra rules. Other parts of the museum display a collection of traditional costumes and jewellery, temple bronzes and stone sculptures.
The prospect hill is at the height 2155 m and is a 15 minute walk from Boileavganj on Shimla Bilaspur top, there is a temple of Kamna Devi. From this temple you get a grand view of the southern side of Shimla.
Summer hill is about 5 km away from town and a stop on the Kalka – Shimla rail line, has quite walks through wooded surroundings. This hill is quite and charming hamlet basks in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.
How To Go:
The nearest air port is at Jubbarhati, 23 km away from Shimla and is also linked to Chandigarh, Kullu and Delhi.
Shimla is well connected by road. Chandigarh is 117 km, Manali is 219 km, Chail is 45 km and Delhi is at a distance of 370 km. the driving time is about 8 hours from Delhi. Taxi services are available on the seat basis between Shimla and Kalka and also deluxe bus service between Shimla & Delhi.
Shimla is connected by a broad gauge line up to Kalka. Kalka is 90 km from Shimla. The journey takes about 6 hours. Kalka has direct rail connections with Delhi, Calcutta and Amritsar and also rail line was constructed between Kalka & Shimla. To enjoy the natural beauty of this region, travel to Shimla on the Kalka – Shimla train.