SHIMLA - Way back in 1817, a small village tucked away in the Himalayas was discovered by British surveyors and pronounced an ideal retreat for the homesick colonizers. Named after Shyamla Devi, an incarnation of the fierce goddess Kali, stories of Shimla's salubrious climate and invigorating surroundings made it grow in popularity.
Sprawled over 12 kms on a crescent shaped ridge, Shimla is the largest hill station and erstwhile summer capital of the British in India. Descending in layers from the top of the ridge, at 2,213 meters, Shimla straddles several hills, including the Jakhoo, Prospect Hill, Observatory Hill, Elysium Hill, and Summer Hill.
Though Shimla, which is now the capital of Himachal Pradesh, has come a long way from the days of the Raj, the old British buildings, quaint cottages and churches still remind visitors of an era long gone by.
Shimla is also famous for Kalka to Shimla train journey which is the one of the most sought after journey in the country. This track is now on the UNESCO's world heritage rail site. This is one of the oldest hill railway track built by the British in India.
Pine forests and apple orchards, crisp, clean air and breathtaking views - that's Shimla in a nutshell. Sprawled over 12 kms on a crescent shaped ridge lies Shimla, the largest hill station and erstwhile summer capital of the British in India. Descending in layers from the top of the ridge, at 2,213 metres, Shimla straddles several hills, including the Jakhu, Prospect Hill, Observatory Hill, Elysium Hill and Summer Hill.
Visit the Christ Church, which was consecrated in 1857. It is a prominent yellow painted building with a Victorian-Gothic spire. Inside, some of the finest stained glass windows in India depict faith, hope, charity, fortitude, patience and humility. Next to the church is the mock-Tudor Library, built in 1910. It has a collection of historical books and subscribes to most English language dailies.
Jakhu Temple, sitting on top of Jakhu hill at 2,455 metres is the highest point on the ridge. This temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the monkey god, is quite appropriately beset with hordes of very aggressive monkeys. It is best to steer clear of them and keep all eatables well out of reach.
State Museum, housed in a colonial mansion, is half an hour's hike from the centre on the western edge of town. The museum has a good collection of traditional as well as contemporary art. The ground floor has a gallery with fine Pahari miniatures, a style developed under the auspices of the Kangra rulers.