The summer capital of
200 years approx.
It was an English dream made a shade delirious and out of the true by
the thin, high air, combined with all that many a heart loved with
passion in India – the outdoor life, the horses, the wild animals, the
early walking in the Indian mornings, with their matchless dazzling
purity that makes each day seem the first ever created. The lanes, the
downs, the tumbling streams were all there, to be tamed and enjoyed as
much as possible in the likeness of home."
Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and a major travel hill
station in India. Shimla is also an important administrative centre.
It has been variously described as the Indian Capua, Mount Olympus and
the Abode of the Little Tin Gods. At the other end is Sir Edward
Lutyen’s (the architect of New Delhi) snooty remark – "If I had been
told it had all been built by monkeys, I would have said, what
wonderful monkeys, they must be shot in case they do it again."!!
Shimla and attention have always courted each other.
The city spreads over a 12km ridge with just two main roads – The Mall
which runs from the far west to the lower eastern side, and the Cart
Road which circles the southern part of Shimla. This is where the
railway station and the bus and taxi stands are located. The crescent
of the wooded Ridge stretches from the lofty 2476 m high Jakhu Hill
and Chhota Shimla in the east, to the Observatory (2,148 m) and
Prospect hills (2,176 m) in the west. The best time to travel to
Shimla is in autumn, when the days are warm and bright and the nights
crisp and cool. Summer sees a burgeoning tourist population and this
is precisely why you should avoid going there at this time.
The people of HP are simple and warm. They feel strongly about their
natural and cultural heritage so do not in any way belittle their
customs or rituals. Norms of dress and behaviour are pretty relaxed in
Shimla, as the tourist traffic every year has made the place almost
cosmopolitan. A word of caution, however, don’t travel to the
interiors of the state without a reliable and authorized tourist guide
and also beware of touts.
Shimla - the Summer Capital of British Raj
There probably isn’t one mountain freak in India who hasn’t set foot
in Shimla. Having been the official summer capital of the British Raj,
it is among the largest and most popular hill stations in the country
Shimla (formerly spelt Simla) is set amidst spectacular hills and
seeped in an aura of crumbling colonial charm. More than a government
seat, it worked as the perfect setting for romance in the days of the
Today Shimla tourism has
translated into being the grooviest spot for honeymooners.
Apart from seeing evidences of some great colonial architecture in
monuments like the Christ Church, Viceregal Lodge, Gorton Castle and
others, there are dozens of tiny travel places around which offer the
most pleasant walks like Summer Hill, Prospect Hill, Chadwick Falls,
Tara Devi, Chharabra and others. Two of the most famous nearby
getaways are Kasauli and Chail. and its not that there is nothing for
the more adventurous kinds; Shimla tourism has excellent scope for
Splendid by itself, Shimla is also the tee off point for the rest of
Himachal, with roads leading west to the Kangra and Chamba valleys,
north to Kullu and Lahaul valleys, and east to Kinnaur and Spiti
Valley. South of it lie the lower districts of Solan and Sirmaur.
Christmas is particularly fun here owing to the overwhelming British
presence in the past. A white Christmas is what Shimla’s inhabitants
really look forward to. Here we will only discuss festivals that are
unique to this area or celebrated here in a manner distinct from the
rest of the country.
Though celebrated in many northern states, this agrarian festival is
celebrated differently in different regions of Himachal. Generally
held on the first of Baisakh (13th April), it is called Bissu or Bisha
It signifies vigour and vitality and serves as a ritual before the
onset of the harvesting season. Burning the jhalra – a pile of dry
twigs with a pole bearing a conical bamboo basket erected in the
middle – is an important ritual. It is set afire in the morning as
young boys sing and dance around it.
Rhyali is the festival of the rainy season. In the Indian society
rains denote good harvest thus ensuring prosperity. Therefore it’s an
absolute must to keep the rain god happy.
Rhyali is celebrated on the first of Shravana (16th July). Some ten
days before this, seeds of five or seven kinds (wheat, barley and the
like) are mixed together and sown ceremoniously by the head of the
family or the family priest in a small basket filled with earth, or
near the place where the household gods are kept.
Then one day before the actual day, a kind of a mock wedding is
performed with a wooden hoe, and as many kinds of available fruits are
placed near the tender saplings.
Clay images of Shiva and Parvati are placed amidst the tender growth,
and the priest chants, "O Haryali, may thou ever remain in the green
fields..." and a whole lot of rituals follow. Rhyali is same as
Haryali of Kangra.
A Summer Festival conducted by the tourism of Himachal is held in
Simla every June which includes cultural programmes from Himachal and
neighbouring states. An art and handicraft exhibition, a folk dance
festival, a Mushaira (recitation of Urdu poetry), the Red Cross Fair,
sports tournaments, a fashion show based on folk costumes and a flower
show are also scheduled around this time to make most of the tourist
season. The extravaganza of the Ice Skating Carnival is normally
reserved for December, where the winter winds carry with them the
delights of ice skating at Shimla.
from major cities
How to reach there
Shimla's Jubbarhatti Airport is well
connected with daily flights from Delhi.
Shimla has meter gauge railway
station and connected with Kalka (close to Chandigarh).
Shimla is well connected by Jaipur,
and other major nearby cities.
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