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A quaint little hill train chugs up into the Shivalik foothills, over dramatic loops and high arched bridges to the hill resort of Shimla (2130 m) the capital of the mountain state of Himachal. Shimla was one a string of hill stations that the British established to escape from the scorching heat of the plains. The 12 km, crescent shaped ridge on which it is located was first occupied by the British troops, in the early part of the 19th century, during the Anglo-Gurkha War. The little village of Shymala, a retreat for British officers, soon grew to become the glamorous summer capital of the British, in India. Shimla's salubrious climate, easy accessibility and numerous attractions have made it one of the most popular hill stations in northern India. The splendid views of the snow-clad ranges of the Himalayas, fine walks through oak and flowering rhododendron, enchanting resorts within easy reach, golf at Naldehra and skiing at Kufri and Narkanda make Shimla an attractive destination throughout the year.

The Mall: All visitors to Shimla inevitably walk down the Mall, the main promenade that runs along the top of the ridge - a busy shopping area with old colonial buildings, souvenir shops and restaurants. At the top end of the Mall is Scandal Point, a large open square with a view of the town - a favourite rendezvous for visitors and the local people. Overlooking it is the elegant Christ Church with its fine stained glass windows. The labyrinth of Shimla's bazaars spill over the edge of the Mall.

Jakhoo Hill : The steep climb to Jakhoo Hill, Shimla's highest point, is rewarding for superb views of the town and its surroundings. At the top is an old Hanuman temple. (2 Km / 1.2 mile)

Summer Hill: The quiet and lovely suburb of Summer Hill has secluded, shady walks and charming views. It was here that Gandhiji stayed on his visits to Shimla, in the elegant Gergorian mansion that belonged to Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. Summer Hill is located on the Shimla - Kalka railway line. (5 Km / 3 mile)

Chadwick Falls : Just beyond Summer Hill is the 67 m waterfall, cascading into a deep gorge. The Falls are best seen after the monsoon. (7 Km/4 mile)

Himachal State Museum: Very close to the Institute(Indian Institute of Advanced studies), in a colonial building set in spacious lawns, is the museum. It has collections of Pahari miniatures, stone sculpture, local handicrafts, textiles and embroidery.

Sankat Mochen: On the Shimla - Kalka road is the famous "Lord Hanuman" temple. It commands an excellent view of Shimla town. The place can be reached by Bus/Taxi. (7 Km)

Prospect Hill : A 15 minute climb from Boileauganj, Prospect Hill is another favorite walk and vantage point with breath-taking views. There is little temple to Kamna Devi on the top of the hill (5 Km/3 mile)

Barog - 55 kms
Chail - 43 kms
Chindi - 94 Kms
Fagu - 22 Kms
Mashobra - 13 kms

BEST TIME TO VISIT: April to Mid-July, Mid-September to Mid-November

By Air: Nearest airport is Kullu- 23 km

By Rail: Nearest railhead is Kalka- 90 km.The 6 hour journey from Kalka by a mini train would take you through 103 small tunnels and give a scenic view. It is advisable to reserve seats in advance. Kalka is linked with many other Indian cities

By Road: Shimla is connected to Chandigarh, Delhi, Amritsar, Kalka and other cities of Haryana and Punjab by road. The state transport operates regular services. Chandigarh- 117 km, Kullu- 220 km, Manali- 260 km, Delhi- 343 km, Pathankot- 380 km, Ambala- 151 km, Chail- 43 km, Dehradun- 240 km etc.

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