Shimla is the capital of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, in the Himalayan foothills. Once the summer capital of British India, it remains the terminus of the narrow-gauge Kalka-Shimla Railway, completed in 1903. It’s also known for the handicraft shops that line The Mall, a pedestrian avenue, as well as the Lakkar Bazaar, a market specializing in wooden toys and crafts.
Dehradun to Shimla is about 224.2 km (takes about 5 h 46 min)
Popular Destinations in Shimla
The Ridge road is a large open space, located in the heart of Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, India. The Ridge is the hub of all cultural activities of Shimla. It is situated along the Mall Road, which is the famous shopping center of Shimla. Most major places of Shimla like Snowdon, Mall, Jakhoo hill, etc. are connected through the Ridge.
It runs east to west alongside the Mall Road, and joins it at the Scandal Point on the west side. On the east side, The Ridge road leads to Lakkar Bazaar, a wooden crafts market. It’s the major landmark and the most easily recognized face of the hill station. When winter sets in and when the country had its first major snowfall of the year, most news papers printed photos of the ridge submerged in clumps of fresh snow.
Prominent landmarks on the Ridge are a neo-Gothic structure of Church from 1844 and a tudorbethan styled library building built in 1910. There are three statues on the ridge; that of Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, and Dr. Y.S. Parmar, the first chief minister of Himachal Pradesh.
The biggest hillstation of the world, at one time the base ridge of Shimla had the thickest forest of the area, now the green slopes are covered with firs, pines, the Himalayan oak and carmine rhododendron trees, among which are dotted red-roofed chalets, half-timbered houses and Gothic Government buildings are visible from The Ridge.
Christ Church, Shimla, is the second oldest church in North India, after St John’s Church in Meerut. It is a parish in the Diocese of Amritsar in the Church of North India. Its current incumbent is The Rev. Mushtaq Achher Malk, B.D., M.Th., whose ecclesiastical designation is presbyter-in-charge. Worship is conducted in Hindi and English.
It is designed in the typical Elizabethan style and consists of a great collection of books and ancient scriptures. The church looks absolutely magical during night when lights placed at strategic corners illuminate this beautiful church. The church glows with all its beauty and grandeur and is an amazing sight to look at.
The church contains five fine stained glass windows. One represents the Christian virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Patience and Humility. The pipe-organ of Christ Church is the biggest in the Indian subcontinent and was installed in September 1899.
The Kalka–Shimla Railway is a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge railway in North-West India travelling along a mostly mountainous route from Kalka to Shimla. It is known for dramatic views of the hills and surrounding villages.
The Kalka–Shimla Railway was built to connect Shimla, the summer capital of India during the British Raj, with the Indian rail system. Now, Shimla is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh and Kalka is a town in the Panchkula district of Haryana. The route is famous for its scenery and improbable construction.
The route winds from the Himalayan Sivalik foothills at Kalka to several important points such as Dharampur, Solan, Kandaghat, Taradevi, Barog, Salogra, Totu (Jutogh), Summerhill and Shimla at an altitude of 2,076 meters (6,811 ft).
Originally 107 tunnels were built on Kalka Shimla Railway Track and 102 remain in use. The longest tunnel is at Barog. Engineer Colonel Barog dug the tunnel from both ends and could not align them and was symbolically fined one rupee. He couldn’t live with the shame and committed suicide inside the incomplete tunnel. Chief Engineer H.S. Herlington later completed the tunnel with help from Bhalku, a local sadhu.
Summer Hill is a small town on the outskirts of Shimla, the state capital of Himachal Pradesh at a height of 2,123 meters. It is on a hill, 5 km west to the Shimla Ridge, and is part of the seven-hill cluster.
In the past, Summer Hill has offered residence to Mahatma Gandhi, who stayed here at the Georgian mansion of Rajkumari Amrit Kaur during his Shimla visits. Also known as the Potter’s Hill, these pine and deodar laden slopes have many quaint residences, like one belonging to the family of noted painter Amrita Shergil (1913-1941).
Besides being a popular tourist destination, the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (established 1965), housed in the former Viceregal Lodge, which was built in 1884-88, is on the nearby Observatory Hill.
Today, it hosts the Himachal Pradesh University, which mainly offers post graduate programmes in Humanities, Commerce, Science, Management, Law and Languages, and was started in 1975. Most students walk to the Hill Station of Shimla from the campus, though Summer Hill lies on the Kalka-Shimla Railway line.
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