Things to do in Shimla
Shimla, the beautiful town of valleys, is the capital of the Indian state, Himachal Pradesh. The picturesque beauty of Shimla has attracted many visitors from all over the world. It is a popular holiday destination among tourists because it is blessed with breathtaking natural beauty. Whoever visits this scenic valley can’t stop talking about waking up to misty and chilly mornings, walking down the historic lanes of the town and participating in various adventure activities. Though one can’t get enough of this spectacular place, here is a list of top five things to do in Shimla.
1. Visit and Stay at Woodville Palace Hotel
Originally known as Jubbal Palace, this palace turned hotel is situated at an altitude of approximately 7000 feet above the sea level. It is located on Raj Bhawan Road which is just 6 km away from The Mall Road. Until the year 1977, it was the residence of the royal family of Jubbal. Later, Raj Kumar Uday Singh, grandson of Raja Rana Sir Bhagat Chand, converted a part of this palace into a heritage hotel. The palace is spread over 4 acres of land and is surrounded by towering pine and deodar forests. It’s beautiful location and Indo-Chinese architecture is worth seeing. You can stop for a drink at the 1930s themed Hollywood Bar which boasts of a wall of signed photographs of the yesteryear Hollywood film stars like Clark Gable, Laurel and Hardy, Katherine Hepburn, Greta Garbo and Spencer Tracy. One can choose from many brands of whisky or gin that are available in the bar. In the Tiger Lounge, visitors can enjoy a glass of fresh orange juice or a chilled beer. The hotel offers different kinds of rooms and suites namely, Deluxe Bedroom, Majestic Suite, Royal Suite, Imperial Room and Princely Suite. This magnificent palace is shown as Michelle’s (Rani Mukerji) house in the movie Black and as the venue where Pia (Kareena Kapoor) was getting married in the movie 3 Idiots. Just go there and enjoy the royal services.
2. Get on the Shimla-Kalka Toy Train
A UNESCO World Heritage site, it was built by the British in 1903 to provide an easy access to their summer capital Shimla. It runs for 96 kms (60 miles) through 20 railway stations, 103 tunnels and 864 bridges. The longest tunnel which stretches for 1.2 km is near the main railway station at Barog. There are three main tourist toy train services that run on the Kalka Shimla railway namely Shivalik Deluxe Express, Himalayan Queen and Rail Motor Car. Other than the normal train services, there are two heritage carriages that run on the Shimla-Kalka route as part of the newly introduced Special Heritage Train. The Shivalik Palace Tourist Coach built in 1966 and the Shivalik Queen Tourist Coach built in 1974 were renovated recently to recreate the bygone era for passengers. Hop on it and enjoy one of the most scenic train journeys in India.
3. Buy wooden handicrafts at Lakkar Bazaar
Located on the eastern side of the Ridge road, the shops of Lakkar Bazaar sell local wooden handicrafts. The wooden toys made here are quite popular among tourists. One can choose a lot of gift items for their loved ones from this bazaar. Some of the most sold products are key rings, pen stands, trays, clips and toys. The shops here offer almost everything from decorative items to Kitchen articles. One of the most sought after products are the highly stylized wooden walking sticks which are generally bought by avid hikers or folks who are not used to climbing the hilly areas. It costs around Rs. 100 or above. Don’t miss out this market while roaming around the Ridge road.
4. Go for Ice Skating at Shimla Ice-Skating Rink
Located on Circular Road, near Lakkar Bazaar, Ice-Skating Rink is the only open-air and natural ice skating rink in India. The skating rink is operational between December to February and attracts large number of people from India and abroad. Two different sessions are arranged in the morning and evening. The Himachal Tourism Department organises a carnival on December for welcoming all ice skating enthusiasts. During the festival, events like fancy dress competition, dance performances and ice hockey are organised. The rink also provides basic equipments like cap, skates and knee pads.
5. Taste Street Foods of ShimlaWhen it comes to street food, Shimla has many local shops and stalls that sell mouth-watering local delicacies. The Bhihari Lal Sharma Stall located at Takka Bench above The Ridge was the first fruit chat seller in the city that started operations in 1948. You can enjoy the healthy fruit chat with spicy chutneys along with some yummy gol gappas. At The Verma Tea Stall (Kewal ka Dhabba), located at Chawda Maidan, you must try out the famous butter bun with a cup of hot tea. It is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. If you want to have the best channa bhatura in the town of Shimla, Sita Ram and Sons dhabba, located at Lakkar Bazaar is the place for you. Savour a plate of lip smacking channa bhatura that will cost you just 30 bucks. Enjoy the yummy foods at a nominal price. By Anita Bhandari
Best SeasonSep - June