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Situated among the Himalayan foothills, Shimla is perhaps best known as the former summer capital of British India. Because of its high elevation, Shimla is mild and moderate for most of the year - it was ideal for British civil servants and officers seeking refuge from the stifling heat of the Indian lowlands. While today Shimla city is struggling with the challenges of modernization and development, many of its colonial-era buildings remain and the town is also a gateway to outdoor adventures in the Indian Himalayas.
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In the vicinity of Shimla lie the ski resorts of Kufri and Narkanda. Brought to the area in 1930 by the British, skiing has remained one of the most consistently popular pastimes in this part of India. The ski season runs approximately from January to mid-March.
Closed to motorized traffic, the Mall is Shimla’s main commercial and nightlife district. Filled with bars, shops, restaurants, nightclubs, banks, and more, it is a bustling pedestrian center that attracts both visitors and locals alike.
Built in 1846, Christ Church is the second oldest church in north India. Well-maintained through the years, it appears much as it did upon unveiling, with tall, distinctive spires, a clean off-white exterior and a working clock. Its interior is decorated with a series of stained glass windows, as well as a fresco designed by Lockwood Kipling, Rudyard Kipling's father.
Dharamsala and Kinnaur
Near Shimla are several towns and settlements populated mainly by ethnic Tibetans who fled their homeland. One is Kinnaur, which sits on the border of Tibet. Another is Dharamsala, best known to the world as the home of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. While both towns are 100 miles from Shimla proper, they remain worthwhile destinations, especially for those seeking a glimpse of authentic Tibet.
A mile outside Shimla stands Jakhu Hill, the summit of which reaches 8,000 feet (2,438 meters), and affords a bird's-eye view of the surrounding Himalayas and Shimla town. Atop the hill is a temple to Hanuman, a Hindu monkey deity known for his loyalty and fidelity to Rama, and a prominent character in the Ramayana. Within the temple is a giant statue of Hanuman, one of the highest-standing statues in the world.
Built in 1888, the Viceregal Lodge is a large mansion that once served as the summer residence for the Viceroy of India. A sprawling structure built in the Jacobethan style, the Viceregal Lodge features prominent Tudor arches, turrets, balustrades, and stone-trimmed windows and doors.
The playground of Shimla, Annandale sits at a comfortable 6,117 feet (1,864 meters); its grounds host a polo court, cricket pitch, and wide, grassy meadows perfect for picnics and group festivities.
Shimla Mountain Train Railway
Built in the 1900s to connect Shimla with the outside world, the Kalka-Shimla Railway is a relic that evokes the British Raj in all its grandiosity and stubborn determination. Today, because of its excellent condition and its status as a significant feat of engineering, the railway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While there are a number of roads leading to Shimla, travelers may appreciate the excellent, panoramic views offered by a ride on this historic railway.
Step into India’s great outdoors on this exciting 14-day luxury adventure through Kashmir and the Himalayas. You’ll tour Old Delhi, receive a private blessing from a Buddhist monk, visit Khardungla Pass, stay at the lovely Windflower Hall high up in the Himalayan mountain range, and fish Kashmir’s rich waters.
Make your way from New Delhi to the foothills of the majestic Himalayas on this exciting 10-day luxury tour, taking you to Shimla where you’ll check out interesting architecture and stay at the beautiful Wildflower Hall, and on to Rishikesh for its great outdoors and holistic experiences.
Take a private jet through the world’s highest peaks - the Himalayas - on this incredible 11-day luxury India tour. You’ll jet into New Delhi, over to Shimla to stay in its stunning Wildflower Hall, onto Rishikesh for yoga and meditation at a luxury spa resort, ending in Darjeeling for an exclusive tea tasting.
Oberoi Wildflower Hall rests atop the Himalayas at 8,250 feet high. Once the estate of the British Commander-In-Chief, Lord Kitchener, Wildflower Hall offers outdoor jacuzzis, heated swimming pools and restaurants overlooking the sweeping mountain views. Each of the resort’s 87 suites is equipped with Satellite television, Wi-Fi connectivity and a separate walk-in closet with an electronic safe. Guests have an option of three restaurants which serve a range of Pan-Asian, International and authentic Indian cuisines. Other facilities at the hotel include a fitness center which offers steam baths, a private spa pavilion and a Billiards room. Wildflower Hall is approximately a 25-minute drive from Shimla Airport and two hours from Chandigarh Airport.