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About Shimla Holidays - Nestled in the south-western reaches of the Himalayas and shrouded in mist for most of the year, Shimla is the epitome of a hill-station holiday in northern India. The wide range of Shimla tour packages from Thomas Cook India offers you the perfect vacation at the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’. From a quick weekend getaway of 2 nights and 3 days to a full-fledged Shimla tour of 12 nights and 13 days, you get to decide the duration of your Shimla holiday. With such a variety of Shimla holiday packages to choose from, your vacation to Shimla doesn’t need to be a pricey affair. A Shimla trip from Thomas Cook India starts an extremely affordableINR10,599 to a very pocket-friendly INR 54,111.
With a Shimla tour package that is thoughtfully created by our team of holiday experts, your Shimla holiday is bound to be a memorable experience. Thomas Cook India takes care of all your travel arrangements and bookings, taking the hassle out of your holiday planning. No detail is too small, and no problem is too big. You can book your Shimla holiday package online on our website or pay us a visit to customise your vacation to Shimla. Where else can you find a holiday that is planned to the last detail?
Getting to Shimla from around the country is quite easy. You can easily find a train, bus or flight to take you to your holiday destination. All you must do is pack your bags and be guided along on your holiday by a well-planned itinerary that will take you around the most iconic places, as well as the not-so-well-known ones, in Shimla.
The British Raj’s commitment to move its administration’s summer capital to Shimla every year, despite being extremely difficult to reach, is a testament to its captivating beauty. A beauty that will bewitch your mind and mesmerise your soul. Stubbornly retaining the remnants of the Raj even in these modern times, Shimla has captured the imagination of holiday goers for well over a hundred years. It has a timeless appeal that keeps it fresh even after all these years and keeps on attracting generations of travellers to its wooded slopes. The cold alpine weather belies the warmth that emanates from its every corner. The snow-clad mountains in the distance beautifully frame the beauty of Shimla and try to contain its enticing allure.
The old architecture and its inherent old-world appeal are distinct reminders of its colonial past that still dictates the customs and traditions of this gorgeous hill station. And nowhere is it as obviously apparent as in the Kalka-Shimla train ride. The railway line that connects Shimla to Kalka in Haryana was built by the British in the year 1898. Though the coaches have since been updated, a ride on this railway line is the ticket to instant nostalgia, a magical time in the past that seems to hold a collective attraction regardless of age. Shimla is an alluring honeymoon destination as well as a popular family getaway. Nothing can substitute real Shimla experience other than a well-planned vacation. Get ready for your vacation to Shimla with a well-planned holiday package from Thomas Cook India.
The Best Time to Visit Shimla
Summer season, between March and June, is the best time to visit Shimla. Enjoying the warmth at temperatures ranging between 15°C to 30°C, summer is also the peak season in Shimla. The winters are biting cold where the temperature averages between 0°C and 15°C. While it may be too cold for the regular tourists, adventure seekers flock in to test their mettle in the fresh powder that envelops the region in its freezing embrace. Skiing, snowboarding and ice skating are the most favourite pastimes during this season. If you’ve always dreamed of playing in the snow, you can fulfil that dream in Shimla, in winter.
Monsoon is not a preferable time to visit Shimla. Though the temperatures during the monsoon stay between 15°C to 25°C, constant heavy rains make sightseeing impossible. The inclement weather has one advantage though, you can enjoy heavy discounts on travel and hotel bookings. But summer is the time to be in Shimla. The perfect hill station weather urges you to make most of your vacation and venture out under the wide-open blue sky. Shimla has an exciting selection of summer activities such as hiking, trekking, paragliding and river rafting. Soothe an exciting summer day of sightseeing and adventure with a serene hill station sunset for a perfect ending to a perfect day.
How to Reach Shimla
Located in Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is well connected with the rest of the country by air, road and rail. Shimla’s Jubbarhatti Airport is only 20 km away from the city. But it is a small aerodrome that cannot handle a large volume of air traffic. Then there’s also the fact that this airport doesn’t remain operational throughout the year. So, if you’re looking to fly into Shimla, Chandigarh is the closest airport with reliable connectivity. You can proceed further from the Chandigarh Airport by bus, private taxi or train.
A road trip from Chandigarh takes around 3 to 4 hours. There’s a regular state-run bus service that operates between Chandigarh and Shimla, in addition to an abundance of private buses. A private taxi is much more convenient but is substantially more expensive than the bus. Shimla also enjoys good connectivity with other places as far as Jaipur, Punjab, Delhi, Haryana and many parts of Uttar Pradesh.
Kalka Railway is the nearest broad-gauge railway station to Shimla, which itself is well-connected with major cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad. The journey from Kalka to Shimla is a leisurely odyssey full of breath-taking sights and awe-inspiring beauty which lasts between 5 to 6 hours.
Where to Go in Shimla
A blissful retreat with sightseeing galore and an exciting adventure hub with a wide selection of outdoor activities; Shimla wears many hats to be a complete holiday destination. The serene winter landscape, covered by layers upon layers of pristine snow, is interspersed with pockets of excitement fueled by the thrill of winter sports. The summer days are filled with the hustle and bustle of tourists seeking escape from the heat of the plains. Whichever season, the hill station always echoes with sounds of fun and excitement. Here are some places you must not miss visiting in Shimla.
The Ridge is the heart of Shimla’s famous mall road. Lined with shops selling touristy knick-knacks and restaurants offering flavourful soul-warming delicacies, the Ridge is always buzzing with activity. Framed by the far-off snow-capped mountains, the Ridge is an inseparable part of Shimla’s social fabric. Apart from being the most photographed part of the hill station, it is also a showcase of Shimla’s colonial past. The old British establishments along the Ridge beckon you with a promise of a trip back in time. Connecting to the Mall Road, Scandal Point and Lakkar Bazaar, the Ridge should be an integral part of your itinerary.
Mall Road is the de-facto shopping hub of Shimla for souvenirs as well as local handicrafts and handlooms. But sitting at the eastern end of the Ridge, Lakkar Bazaar offers a fair competition to the reigning shopping champion. Mostly selling wooden decorative pieces, you will also find stalls selling Pashmina shawls, Kullu shawls and a variety of local handloom. Lakkar Bazaar is the starting point of the climb to Jakhoo Peak. Buy yourself a sturdy walking stick that will help you along your way to the top. If you’re looking for small souvenirs to carry back home, Lakkar Bazaar will surely have something for you.
A favourite picnic spot among the locals, Annandale is a sprawling area located near the heart of the town. With a golf course, a cactus museum, an Indian Army museum and a playground, it offers you multiple options to spend a leisurely day outdoors. The playground especially is a versatile venue of entertainment, hosting cricket and polo matches depending on the season. The Indian Army Museum is worth visiting for its exhibits that tell the story of our army from its inception and the wars that have shaped and defined it over the years. If you just want to watch the world go by under a bright blue sky, pack a picnic basket and head to Annandale.
Scandal Point certainly lives up to its name with its origin story. History says that this is the very place where the love-struck King of Patiala had abducted the viceroy’s daughter. Now a major intersection between Ridge Road and Mall Road, Scandal Point is a collection of shops, cafes and arcade games. One other surprising thing of note here is a statue of Punjab Kesari, Lala Lajpat Rai. Enjoy unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains as you tuck into a hot meal. Scandal Point makes for a nice break in a day filled with sightseeing and other outdoor activities.
Not too far from the city centre, located in the Glen Forest, Chadwick Falls is yet another picnic area popular with the locals. It is more a serene cascade rather than a roaring torrent. It forms the perfect backdrop for a relaxing picnic, enjoyed under the dense canopy while grooving to the music of the forest. A brisk walk through the forest is a perfect preamble to a leisurely picnic. Originally named as ‘ChikduJhaar’ (waterfall of the sparrows), it became Chadwick falls for British convenience. But the 100-metre-tall waterfall is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Shimla.
Food in Shimla
The bracing mountain air of Shimla is a great catalyst for your appetite. A hot meal goes a long way in satiating the soul, especially if you are gorging on local delicacies. Shimla has an amazing food culture that champions the local flavours and culinary customs of the Raj. Here’s our take on food in Shimla and some dishes you should try during your vacation in Shimla.
Madra - Flavours of the Hills
Madra is Himachal Pradesh’s answer to Punjab’s PindiChhole. A variation also uses vegetables in place of the chickpeas. It is a well-loved dish and finds a place in almost every home regularly, especially during festivals. The harmonious medley of fresh spices is highly evocative of the mountain flavours. You will find this staple in almost all the restaurants around Shimla, with each one adding its own unique twist to the dish.
Dham - Traditions on a Plate
Dham is more of a tradition than a specific dish. Traditionally, Dham is prepared in copper vessels and served on leaf plates. The restaurants around Shimla now serve a modern interpretation of this traditional staple. It includes an array of dishes that include a dal, rajma, greens, rice and a curd-based dish. During festivals or special occasions, ankalos (made with rice flour) and aktori (cake made with wheat flour and buckwheat leaves) are added to the Dham.
Sidu - For Those In-between Times
This is a popular snack that will power you up and keep you going in between meals. Sidu is a wheat pocket that is stuffed with a mix of mashed green peas, paneer, roasted peanuts and walnuts. It is served piping hot with a side of dal and spicy green chutney. It makes for a hearty bitter power your Shimla sightseeing.
Babru - Interesting Take on Kachoris
The Himachali version of kachoris is as flavourful as its better-known cousins from around the country. It uses soaked black chana dal ground up into a paste and infused with herbs and seasonings. The deep-fried goodness is enhanced with a sticky sweet-and-sour tamarind chutney. A plate of steaming hot plate of Babru and a cold Shimla evening are a match made in heaven.
ChhaGosht - Spicy Indulgence
The ChhaGosht is an unmistakably Himachali dish that serves lamb meat in a curry made with gram flour and yoghurt. Seasoned with a savoury mix of herbs and spices it is an aromatic dish redolent with the flavours of the region. The rich texture and the complex flavour palette come together beautifully to pamper your taste buds. ChhaGosht is best enjoyed hot accompanied by roti or steamed rice.
Things to Do in Shimla
Dubai is one of those holiday destinations that does not let you sit still. Between its malls, theme parks and beaches there are a range of activities that will keep you busy on your Dubai holiday. While most of the activities can be done without venturing outside, there are those that cannot be contained indoors. Here are our recommendations of things to do in Dubai.
Enjoy Ice Skating in Shimla
Shimla is one of the very few places in India where you can enjoy ice skating at an outdoor ice-skating rink. And the one in Shimla has been around since 1920! In fact, the Shimla Ice Skating Rink is the largest and the only naturally formed ice-skating rink in South Asia. Set against a breath-taking backdrop of the mountains, this is ice-skating at its best. It is also the venue for several national-level competitions and the annual carnival. This is one experience you should not miss in Shimla.
Explore the Himachal State Museum
Located in an unassuming building on Mall Road, the Himachal State Museum is a treasure chest of the region’s history. It displays the influence of the Pahari art form in the paintings, handicraft and handlooms of the region. It also exhibits ancient coins and amazing archeological artefacts unearthed around Shimla which include 8th-century stone images. The museum’s doll gallery and its literary collection, made up of over 10,000 books, journals and magazines, are the highlights of the museum.
Take the Shimla Heritage Walk
The Shimla Heritage Walk is a guided leisurely exploration of the town that takes you around the most famous and significant sights around. If you hire a guide, you will be regaled with the tales and anecdotes of the British era that are as spellbinding as a Rudyard Kipling or a Ruskin Bond story. The backstories will give you a new perspective on old things and a renewed appreciation for Shimla’s laid-back, nostalgic charm.
Be a Part of the Bhoj Fair
Every November the Gumman village in Shimla comes alive with celebrations honouring Lord Banshor, Lord Parshuram and Lord Kilbaru. The 3-day-event is a riot of colours as people from the nearby villages and towns throng to Gumman to offer prayers. A colourful palkhi takes out the gaily decorated deities in procession even as people take turns to carry it around the village. But the highlight of the fair is the entertainment which takes various forms such as fun rides and performances of the traditional Nati Dance.
Go Shopping at Mall Road
Mall Road is the heart and soul of shopping in Shimla. More than a shopping hub, it is also the social hotspot of Shimla that brings together locals and tourists alike for a day of shopping and get togethers. You can get all your shopping done at one place and get a finger on Shimla’s local pulse. Enjoy an afternoon of idle chit chatfuelled by endless servings of ice cream or simply spend a lazy evening with a cup of hot coffee and a plate of steaming hot Babru.
When is the best time to visit Shimla?
Summer is the best time to visit Shimla for a cool hill station vacation. The weather stays pleasant between the summer months of March and June and all attractions are open and accessible. However, if you want to enjoy snow and experience the thrill of skiing and ice-skating, then winter is the time to be in Shimla.
Which is the closest airport to Shimla?
Shimla’s own Jubbarhatti Airport is only 20 km away from the city. But it is not on the regular routes of commercial airlines. Chandigarh Airport is the closest airport to Shimla which is well-connected with the rest of the country. It is around 130km from Shimla and it takes around 3hrs and 45mins by road.
Can I travel to Shimla by train?
Yes, you can travel to Shimla by the Kalka-Shimla rail line. The narrow-gauge tracks are 94km long and start from Kalka in Haryana. There is a total of 5 trains which ply between the two stations and take between 5 to 6 hours to complete the journey.
When does it start snowing in Shimla?
It starts snowing in Shimla from the end of December onwards.
How far is Kufri from Shimla?
Kufri is around 15k away from Shimla, a distance covered in 45 minutes by road.
How many days are necessary for a holiday in Shimla?
5 nights and 6 days should be the ideal duration of a Shimla holiday to explore and enjoy all that it has to offer.
How far is Chandigarh from Shimla?
Chandigarh is around 130km from Shimla and it takes around 3hrs and 45mins to cover the distance by road.
Is Shimla a family friendly destination?
Yes, Shimla is very much a family-friendly destination. It has many activities and attractions that can be enjoyed with family.
Is Shimla an expensive destination?
For what it offers, Shimla is a reasonably-priced holiday destination. The prices may go up during the peak season. But if you book your holidays in advance, you can save money. Thomas Cook India’s Shimla holiday packages start at an incredibly pocket friendly INR 10,999.
Which are the best places in Shimla to stay at?
Shimla has a range of hotels, lodges and resorts to choose from depending on your budget. The higher-priced hotels will offer better service and amenities than lower-priced ones. You can also choose a home stay for a closer connection to the local culture.
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