The snow clad peaks and the cool hill stations on the foothills of these hills provide respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Himachal Pradesh is a mountain State of great natural beauty and spiritual calm. Lush green valleys surrounded by lofty snow-clad peaks, rivers roaring through gorges or flowing placidly in the valleys, dense forests of deodar and oak, flowering meadows.
Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh was once part of the Nepalese kingdom and was called Shyamala, another name for the Goddess Kali. It is gained fame under the British who made it their Summer Capital. And after the construction of the Kalka - Shimla railway line in 1903, the town really bloomed. Located at an altitude of 7,267 feet, is inhabited around a crescent - shaped ridge, which is blessed with perennially cool air and amazing views. It provides superb panoramic sights of the valleys, and the lofty peaks of the great Himalayan range, on both sides. The colourful local bazaars of Shimla are sprawled over the southern slopes of the ridge. The town still echoes of its colonial past with neo-Gothic Churches and imperial buildings dotting this beautiful hill station.
St. Michael's Cathedral
St. Michael's Cathedral is a dressed-stone church with fine stained glass has a cruciform design. One of Shimla's major landmarks, it is located just off the Mall. The Christ church is the second oldest church in Northern India and was built in 1846.
The Ridge is a large open space in the heart of town presents excellent views of the mountain ranges. Shimla's landmarks - the neo gothic structure of Christ Church and the neo- Tudor library building are worth seeing.
Kufri is located 16km from Shimla, is famous for its wide views and ski slopes. Its main attractions are the Nature Park and the exciting trek that leads to the divine Mahasu peak. The nearby countryside also offers some great hiking.
Mashobra is a small village 11km from Shimla. One can enjoy walks through deep oak and pine forests. Nearby is the Wild Flower Hall, built as the residence of the then British commander-in-chief Lord Kitchener; specifically it seems to irritate his rival Viceroy Lord Curzon.
The Jubbarhatti airport is 23-km from Shimla and major domestic airlines cater their services from here to Shimla. One can catch direct flights from Delhi.
Shimla has a narrow gauge railway line on which Toy Train runs from Kalka to Shimla. The train cruises its way through valleys and beautiful landscapes at a very slow pace making the journey very pleasant. From Kalka one can take trains to other parts of India too. The Toy train from Shimla is of two types - one is the normal multi coach train and the other is the single car train, which has a glass roof giving an enthralling experience during the journey.
Roads connect Shimla with other places in Himachal as well as other major towns and cities of the neighbouring states. There is regular bus service from Delhi and Chandigarh as well as ordinary; semi deluxe, deluxe and AC coaches for Shimla are available too.