Shimla Sightseeing Attractions
Before we venture to introduce and describe the most popular Shimla sightseeing attractions we should be a little oriented with the fame and popularity factors that made Shimla so much sought after a destination in the hills. Shimla as one of the hill stations in the Himalayas and having close proximity to the higher mountain ranges and the north Indian cities in the plain is an ideal tourist destination for mountain views and most comfortable sub-tropical climate. Shimla sightseeing attractions are numerous and widely varied specially because of the heritage that the city preserved from its British past and its typical position on the verge of great Himalayan mountain peaks on the north and lower foothill mountains and plains in the south. We would introduce here some of the most popular Shimla sightseeing attractions that have made a bigger name in the tourist map of the whole Country.
Vice Regal Lodge or Indian Institute of Advanced Studies
This is probably the greatest Shimla sightseeing attraction by any measure. The gigantic edifice of the great architecture is one of the most astounding instances of the brilliance of British and European Gothic architecture. This huge mammoth architectural marvel that with its surrounding gardens and lawns, flower beds, silent circling roadways and lanes covers a total hill, that is one of the seven main hills upon and around which the whole city of Shimla, sightseeing attractions and cities functioning places are built is called the Observatory hill. The whole architecture is a wooden and iron edifice with huge ballrooms, administrative quarters of the former British rulers and civil servants, spacious and gigantic residential accommodations as well as recreational facilities for the former British viceroy?s family and a spacious lush green lawn facing the lawn dotted by lofty Himalayan trees, flower beds and exotic collection of orchids all around. The interior of the building is having a museum that depicts and tells you about the great historical heritage that this building possesses from its beginning as the Vice regal lodge in the British era when Shimla was the summer capital to the post-independence time when this place became the summer retreat of the president of India and consequently bore its name as Rashtrapati Niwas. As observatory hill upon which this architectural marvel is situated is the highest point in the western fringe of the Shimla city, it overlooks the mountain ranges to places far away and the best point to see the sunset in Shimla. Reclining in one of the rot iron benches beside the flower beds of the lawn when you look toward the descending sun in the distance you are likely to be charmed with the best moment in the most popular Shimla sightseeing attraction.
As this palace houses one of the posh and most famous hotels in Shimla, this place is considered by many tour operators and travelers as a hotel and this becomes an automatic discouraging factor for the tourists. But whoever went to this big German country house like villa that is situated atop the sunny side of the hill and dotted with thick lines of Himalayan pines, cedars and rhododendrons, could not turn him or herself around from this picturesque beauty it offers from its sprawling lawns and the beautifully crafted wooden interior. Though this building is not that much popular in the tourist map to be considered as one of the most popular Shimla sightseeing attractions, the place is really unforgettable for the viewers and boarders alike with distinct charms of natural beauty and royal heritage sprawled all over. The palace is built by the King of the Jubbal in the eighteenth century and now houses one of the marvelous museums depicting the splendors of local history and heritage. This must be a great Shimla sightseeing attraction for the tourists who have a special knack for heritage in the setting of natural beauty.
From long afar, even before you set foot on the proper Shimla city the tall gothic pillars of the Christ church up on the Mall road in between the close clusters of buildings surrounding the Mall road draws your attention. Christ church more than just one of the most visited and most popular Shimla sightseeing attractions is a place that you invariably would visit, at least from its exterior as this church is located at the central place of the Mall road, popularly named as Ridge point. The faith inspiring lofty and gothic style of this architectural marvel and its famous glass stained five windows are really something that deserves artistic appraisal from the viewers.
The Mall road, The Scandal Point and The Ridge
Like any Himalayan hill stations Shimla also has the Mall road as the center of all tourist attractions and other activities around the city and no wonder as the most accessible place for the tourists from all over the India and the world it comes as the first Shimla sightseeing attraction for the newly arrived tourists in the city. Like all the celebrated Malls across various hill stations in the Himalayas Shimla mall road also boasts off some of the great architectural marvels of the British era around the old heritage buildings that are built alongside it, though the Mall road in Shimla is relatively longer in length than most of the other mall roads in other hill stations. Many of the most popular Shimla sightseeing attractions are located along the Mall road that is stretched from almost the observatory hill in the western fringe to the High Court in Shimla in the eastern end. Along the Mall road several important positions are having different level of importance as the popular Shimla sightseeing attractions. Among these The Scandal point in the middle of the Mall road is historically popular as from here in the British era the daughter of the then Viceroy of India had been lured and taken away by the King of Patiala. Ridge point just by ascending from the scandal point is the most popular Shimla sightseeing attraction among the spots that are situated on the Mall road. Ridge is the most elevated point on the Mall road that overlooks all the surrounding hills and valleys and almost the whole central part of the city from both sides. The wide open clear expanse of the Ridge with colors of the traveling tourists doting over the picturesque frame and the lofty height of the gothic church compels you to stay a little longer. Especially for sunrise and the sunset the Ridge is the most attractive spot as it comes out with the hue and color of the sky and mountain range and the beautiful glow and shades of the sun in evolving charms and combinations.
Once this famous architecture used to house the recreational and amusement activities of the British Aristocrats who used to take refuge in the cool abode of Shimla as it was their summer capital. Gaiety theatre is associated with many of the greatest and most astounding cultural activities that ever happened in Shimla. With expansive and lofty dome up above and surrounding designed pillars the architecture is hugely reminiscent of the great influence of the Byzantine architecture on the gothic tradition. This architectural masterpiece has several historical paintings from the British era that contributed to this great Shimla sightseeing attraction.
Jakhoo is the highest hill point within the city of Shimla and overlooks the entire mountain range and the farthest recesses of the Shimla city. In a bright and sunny day it provides enormously huge, sprawling and expansive specter of the Shimla city and the distant mountain range with ever changing color and hue of the lush, all-encompassing greenery of Himalayan trees and distant range of blue mountains and the glow of the sunrays. Just at the end of the monsoon and at the beginning of the autumn you can be lucky to find all of a sudden great arch of the beauty of a rainbow that would almost leave you spellbound for some moments. The great view of the surrounding forest, distant mountain range and the panoramic specter of the city of Shimla made Jakhoo one of the most popular Shimla sightseeing attractions.
Kufri is not situated within the main city but as without visiting this place the tour to Shimla is considered as incomplete, Kufri is an invariable choice in our list of the most popular Shimla sightseeing attractions, especially because of the breathtaking beauty that the city offers of its great mountain height, one of the longest stretch of Himalayan pine forest and seasonally in the winter months great specter of snow and in the subsequent spring time a scope of snow sport. As a popular Shimla sightseeing attraction Kufri satisfies the traveling taste of the tourists in all seasons.
Mashobra is picturesquely green and steeply ascending in many places from the great gorge underneath. The all fresh and green look of the lofty heights of Mashobra makes this one of the most favorite spot for outing around Shimla city.
Naldehra Golf Course
Naldehra golf course is on the way en route to Tattapani from Shimla and one of the highest peak points around the Shimla city. The lush green wavy landscape of the golf course dotted with great range of Himalayan trees like pines, rhododendrons, cedars, etc. made this place one of the most scenic to attract almost all incoming tourists in the city and its corresponding status as one of the most popular Shimla sightseeing attractions.
Shimla State Museum
The depiction and exhibition of the local culture comprising of local paintings, sculptures, art and crafts, jewelry and traditional costume made it one of the Shimla sightseeing attractions for tourists who have a knack for local and aboriginal culture and heritage of the city.
Though it is far from the proper city of Shimla and is almost situated at the confluence of the districts of Shimla and adjoining district of Mandi the hot water spring at the banks of the river Satluj is one of the most popular Shimla sightseeing attractions as this spot provides great spectacular view of the river and its beautiful curves and turns through the lofty mountain ranges all around and also for the healing effects that the bathing from this spring can bestow.
Chail palace should also be considered as one of the most beautiful and popular Shimla sightseeing attractions and many of the tour operators consider it to be worth including as must pick choice as an inevitable part of the Shimla sightseeing, but as the Chail palace tour takes more than a full day?s time including traveling and sightseeing and as the place is located outside of Shimla in the Solan district, it could not be considered. Apart from this consideration about the estate of Chail we have only considered those places in our list of Shimla sightseeing attractions that are invariable in most of the Shimla sightseeing charts.