Places east of the Tourist office/Scandal Point
(Index numbers correlate to the map)
- The Mall (2200 m) is the hub of Shimla’s social life and is lined by shops and restaurants. It is a pedestrians heaven with no vehicular traffic.
- The Ridge (2250 m) lies just above the Mall and has wide views of the mountains and valleys. A place for the family with ice-cream shops, balloon-sellers and house-rides. It is flanked by Christ Church constructed in 1857 (0177-2652953) with fine stained glass windows and memorial tablets, and the neo-Tudor building of the Library. The Church remains open every Sunday from 9 AM for English Worship & 11 AM for Hindustani Worship.
- The Lakkar Bazaar (2255 m) lies just 0.5 km off the Ridge and has budget-range souvenir shops. The Bharari spur (5 km round trip) is approached through Lakkar Bazaar and makes a good walk.
- The Gaiety Theatre (2250 m) on the Mall was completed in 1888. Built in Neo-Gothic style of architecture, the British had thought of pulling it down after a fire. However, it has stood the test of time and has been recently restored to its glorious form. Now theatrical shows are hosted here fairly regularly. Several noted artists including the Prithvi Theatre have staged their shows here.
- Chotta Shimla (2200 m) 5 km, makes for a pleasant walk and enroute, near the Chief Minister’s residence, ‘Oakover’, lies Shimla’s oldest Christian cemetery.
- The Jakhoo (2455 m) hill towers over Shimla. The top is crowned by the tmple dedicated to Lord Hanuman (2.5 km). The views from the top are fantastic and you can hire a pony (from the Ridge) or a taxi (via Sanjauli) to go to the top.
- Buddhist monasteries are at Kasumpti (Nyingma-pa sect, accessible by vehicle, 7 km) and at Sanjauli (Geluk-pa sect, 5 km).
- On Shimla’s southern slope, lies the village of Bihargaon (An 8 km hike going downhill). This has excellent examples of traditional Himachali architecture. The main temple is dedicated to the deity of harvest, Dhanu devta is located by a glade looking up at the town of Shimla. It is approached through the old cemetery below St. Edward’s School or through Tuttikandi.
Places West of the Tourist Offices/Scandal point :
- St. Micheel’s Cathedral (0.5 km) lies just below the Deputy Commissioner’s office and is built in the French-Gothic style.
- The temple of Kali Bari (2100 m) 1 km lies past the half-timbered General Post Office and the deconsecrated church of St. Andrew (now a wing of the State Library). The temple is dedicated to the goddess Kali and is believed by some, to hold the original stone image of the goddess ‘Shayamala’ after whom the town of Shimla may have been named.
- Himachal’s State Museum (2150 m) 3 km, has a rich display of the state’s cultural, artistic and archaeological heritage. Open from 10 AM to 5 PM. Closed on Mondays and ‘Gazetted Holidays’.
- The former Viceregal Lodge (1983 m) 4 km, today houses the Indian institute of Advanced Study. Completed in 1888, this combines a variety of architectural styles like Scottish Baronial and English renaissance. The interior has remarkable woodwork. The building is surrounded by attractive gardens while the hill has some good short walks. Entry by ticket (Also accessible by car via Boileauganj).open 10 Am to 5 PM on all weekdays.
- Both Potter’s Hill (1280 m) 7 km and the Chadwick Falls (1586 m) 9 km, lie past the university campus at Summer Hill. As the name suggests, Potter’s Hill was where Shimla once got its clay for pots and pitchers. Ahead of this lie the rain-fed Chadwick Falls. Summer Hill and Potter’s Hill are accessible by car. The former residence of Rajkumari Amrit Kaur where Mahatma Gandhi often stayed is also located here. A Photo Art Gallery located here is worth visiting a place.
- The Glen (1830 m) 9 km round trip by foot going downhill. It is a thickly wooded ravine, through which a stream flows. It is a popular picnic spot and is quite pristine after crossing the initial stretch. It can be approached by small vehicles or on foot from Annadale.
- Annandale (1864 m) 9 km round trip. (Downhill going, uphill returning. Also accessible by car). is best known as a helipad. It is a large glade that has a golf course and is surrounded by thick deobar woods. There is an attractive little temple, built in the local style on its periphery.
- The Kamna Devi temple(2150 m) 5 km is revered by many and lies above Boileauganj and offers good views of the town, the airfield and the mountain ranges.
- The hill of Tara Devi (1851 m) 12 km is crowned by a temple of the same name. Vehicular access to the shrine is along a road that bifurcates at Shoghi. The views are spectacular. Sunday mornings witnesses a throng of devotees while the temple administration offers a luch ‘bhandara’.
- The Sankat Mochan Temple (1250 m) 6 km is dedicated to Hanuman Ji, and lies just short of Shimla by the Highway and is accessible by vehicle.
(These places are all accessible by vehicle. Distance are from Shimla)
- Junga (1500 m) 26 km, has an old palace, the State Police Training Centre and the Ashwani stream. A hike trail leads from Shimla’s Kasumpti locality to Junga.
- Dhami (2090 m) 28 km, was the seat of the erstwhile princely state of the same name and lies just off the highway that leads from Shimla to Mandi. The remains of its old palace may still be seen. Its thick woods of oak and deodar, were popular hunting grounds of the British viceroys.
- Arki (1045 m) 52 km, was the capital of the erstwhile princely state of Baghal. The old palace has some fine wall paintings. There are many old temples in the area-one of the interesting ones is that of Luturu Mahadev that lies in a deep cave accessed by a sharp climb. Picturesque picnic spots are there at Kaliseli, Brrahmpukhar, Bari dhar and Ghanagu Ghat.