Shimla is one of the most beautiful destinations in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is widely known for breathtaking scenic beauty, snow-covered Himalayan Mountains, crystal clear lakes, waterfalls, mysterious atmosphere and a very cool and pleasant climate. There are so many beautiful places to visit in Shimla that sometimes it becomes difficult to finalise the itinerary.
The local people and culture of Shimla are so vibrant that for a time being you will forget your own world and enjoy their warm welcoming gestures. Shimla is blessed with so much beauty that you can’t get enough of it. So let’s have a look at the some of the most amazing destinations of Shimla that is a must include in your travel bucket list. So without further ado, let’s talk about the best places to visit in Shimla.
Best Places To Visit in Shimla
Best Places To Visit in Shimla For Nature and Wildlife Lovers
The destination is famous for the world famous high altitude Golf course in Shimla. It is an amazing location to spend some quality time with your family and friends. The golf course is best known for its 9 holes with lush green landscapes all around. The entry to the main golf course is however restricted without a membership but you can enjoy strolling in the surrounding areas exploring the landscapes.
If you are with family then hiring a pony ride is the best way to enjoy the well-groomed green landscapes around the course. Summers are the best to enjoy the location.
It is a beautiful snow-clad town in Shimla and an ideal destination for summer camps. The location is actually a small hill slope which was built to help people escape from the hot summers. The town is surrounded by mesmerizing deodar forests accompanied by pine and fir forests. The destination is perfect for the nature lovers to enjoy the timeless beauty of the place. It is also famous for Chail Wildlife Sanctuary
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It houses the World’s highest cricket ground and the lake restaurant. Another important religious landmark is Gurudwara Sahib Chail. The ideal time to visit this place is from March to June and if you looking for some amazing snowfall, December to March is the best option.
It is a perfect tourist destination located in the Kotkhai valley of Shimla. The forest is a very interesting tourist spot surrounded by green vegetation and indigenous animal species. The forest has the perfect blend of nature and wildlife attracting numerous visitors from the world to sink in its beauty.
It consists of some of the rich varieties of wildlife and plant species. The forest is an ideal destination for photography with some incredible pictures of the surroundings and animals roaming around. It is open to the tourists throughout the year but the best time to visit is from March to October. It is one of the best places to visit in Shimla for nature lovers.
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Himalayan Bird Park
It is the crowded tourist destination in Shimla. The place is ideal for the bird lovers and photographers. Shimla is blessed with the rich variety of wildlife species residing in the hilly areas and the forests. The Himalayan Bird Park is an example of such varieties with different rare species of birds to be found anywhere around the world.
The park has some endangered collection of birds along with the exclusive ones. The most popular bird species available here are Peacocks, Himalayan Monals, pheasants etc. The Park is surrounded by different trees and flowering plants with a peaceful and serene atmosphere. It is one of the best places to visit in Shimla for bird watchers.
This is one of the places in Shimla to have fun with adventure. The location is basically a flat terrain which had been further converted into a playground. It is ideal for the sports like cricket, golf, and polo. The location is also good for a family picnic. The playground here is famous since the British era as the Britishers used it for sports like Cricket, polo, and racing.
It used to hold many other entertainment activities along with sports during that time. The location has picturesque beauty with the enchanting views of Shimla city in the surrounding intercepted with deodar and oak trees.
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This is one of the breathtaking sights in Shimla which is not to be missed at any cost. The glittery white cascading waterfall moves all the way down in its full bloom from an altitude of 86meters. The location was originally known as “Chidku Jhaar” where “Chidku” refers to the birds and “Jhar” refers to the waterfall.
The name was given as such due to the height of the waterfall, whose top can be reached only by a bird. The British people later named it “Chadwick Waterfall”. It is an ideal destination to visit after a hectic day to have relaxation in the dense Glen Forest surrounding the waterfall.
Himalayan Nature Park
The nature park is located at a distance of 18km from Shimla. The park is well known for its exquisite variety of flora and fauna. The Nature Park has incomparable scenic beauty especially during the winter seasons when the mountains covered in snow blanket reflect prominently under the blue sky.
The Park offers a natural habitat environment to the wildlife species where they are cared and encouraged to have a better living. The most common among them are Musk Deer, Barking Deer, Sambar, Hangal, Bharal etc. The Park also houses adventure activities like trekking and camping for the visitors. October to April is the best time to visit the park.
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Shimla Water Catchment Forest Sanctuary
The location is an ideal combination of wildlife and nature. It is situated at a distance of 11km from Shimla and covers a total area of 951 hectares. It is famous for the rich variety of wildlife species like Kakkar, leopards, Jackals etc and variety of birds like Chikor, Himalayan Eagle, Pheasant, and Patridge.
The Sanctuary is surrounded by various trees like pine, oak, deodar, Horse chestnut, rhododendron, and maple. It offers stunning views of the Himalayan Mountains like Deo Tibba, Chota Shali, Bandar pooch, Badrinath and Pir Panjal. The picturesque location offers the best site for photography to the tourists with adventure activities like trekking and mountaineering.
It is nothing less than a paradise in Shimla for all the wildlife lovers. The sanctuary is famous for its rich biodiversity of the flora and fauna. The location is an ideal site for camping with no resorts or hotel located in the area. The popular sanctuary attracts millions of visitors every year across the world to view its endangered species; it is famous for the Mountain Goat or Goral which is a very rare species and the endangered Cheer Pheasant.
The sanctuary is situated on the beautiful Himalayan terrains offering a picturesque view of the surroundings to the visitors. The best time to visit here is during winters.
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Places To Visit in Shimla for Snowboarders
It is the most beautiful tourist attraction located at a distance of 19km from Shimla. The location is also known as Switzerland of the eastern region. It offers a breathtaking view to the tourists with its stunning localities and tranquil surroundings. The Kufri hill is another major attraction with its enticing beauty and popular for various adventure activities like Skiing and Hiking.
You have done nothing if you have not explored the snow-clad Kufri hills by skiing on your Shimla trip. The ideal time to visit this location is during the months of November to February in the winter season. This is one of the best places to visit in Shimla who wants to enjoy playing in the beautiful white snow.
It is a hilly town located at a distance of 60 km in the highway between Shimla to Kinnaur. It stands high at an altitude of 8100 ft. above sea level and covers 2 hours journey from Shimla by various winding roads. Narkanda attracts the tourists with its beautiful snowy peaks and its distinct location in the watershed between the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
The surrounding regions of Narkanda are famous for orchard plantations like cherry, apple etc. The best season to visit this place is autumn when the sunset offers an awe-inspiring view with red, crimson and orange lines in the clouds and snow.
Religious Places To Visit in Shimla
Jakhu Temple is a famous tourist destination in Shimla. The famous temple revolves around hundreds of monkeys in its location and the various stories associated with them. It is famous for the world’s highest statue of Lord Hanuman which was built in the year of 2010. The statue is 108 ft. in height and stands at an altitude of more than 8100 ft. above sea level.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and it got its name due to its location on the Jakhu hill. The temple lies in the highest peak of Shimla surrounded by awesome scenic beauty.
Tara Devi Temple
The holy pilgrimage site is located at a distance of 11km from Shimla Bus Stand. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Tara Devi. It is situated in between the dense forests of oak and rhododendron. The temple offers beautiful scenic beauty with the lofty Himalayas surrounding it.
It is a popular tourist spot with its clean and refreshing atmosphere and helps people to get some peace and relief from daily worries of life. The temple holds high religious significance as it is believed Goddess Tara Devi came all the way to Himachal Pradesh from Bengal to bless her devotes over here.
It ranks among the top 10 tourist attractions in Shimla. The church is an example of excellent architecture built for the Christian devotees during the British era. It is located in the Ridge street of Shimla and a must visit tourist spot. If you want to explore the flavors of Christianity in the ancient times this is a perfect place for you.
The Church highly portraits hope, humanity, faith, patience, fortitude, and charity. It makes the visitors aware of the preachings of Jesus and the rich culture of Christianity. The surroundings of the church offer a beautiful scenic beauty making it a prominent structure.
Kali Bari Temple
It is one of the popular pilgrimage sites of Shimla. The temple is dedicated to Kali Mata. The main importance of the temple is due to Goddess Shayamala from whom the city got its name as “Shimla”. The temple was initially situated at Jakhu hill but later shifted by the British to the Kali Bari road which is the present destination of the temple.
The temple houses the Shrine of Goddess Shayamala who is believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Durga and Goddess Kali The temple is believed to be exceptionally religious and no one visiting Shimla should miss this holy place.
Sankat Mochan Temple
After Jokhu temple this is another famous tourist attraction at a distance of 5k from Shimla. The temple is situated among the green hilly localities of Shimla. The temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman, Lord Rama, Lord Shiva and other Hindu deities.
The temple was constructed by Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj in 1950 who was awe-inspired by the beauty of the location. He spent ten days in the dark woods to construct this temple in the picturesque location. The temple though holds the religious importance for Lord Hanuman and Lord Rama also houses other temples like Navagraha temple and Ganesha Temple.
St. Michael’s Cathedral Catholic Church
The church is an important landmark in Shimla. It reflects the Victorian era with its traditional French-Gothic architecture. The Church was constructed by Henry Irwin and it was the first roman-catholic church of Shimla. It consists of a nave, a vestry, a baptistery room, a confessional room and two aisles.
The atmosphere inside the church is so spiritual that it will not let you leave without lighting a candle. It also houses the statue of “Our Lady of Guadalupe” which has been received from Mexico as a gift. The Church is an example of an amazing artwork and a must visit destination of Shimla.
This is one of the very popular tourist spots of Shimla. It was built in the year 1907 and located at the Padhawa hills. The Gurudwara is a small one but its intricate architectural details in the interior and exterior make it an attractive location for the devotees and the tourists.
The Gurudwara is dedicated to all the Sikh communities around the world and the Shimla region who believes in the equality of all human beings. So people from any caste and communities are allowed to enter the holy place. It offers a peaceful atmosphere surrounded by the beautiful hills and holds a high spiritual value.
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Historical Places To Visit in Shimla
It is an important building of Shimla holding major historical significance. It is popularly known as the “Rashtrapati Nilayam” or “president’s House” in Shimla. The building has a rich architecture and a perfect location for a half day excursion. It was the summer residential building of the Indian Viceroy during the period of 1888 to 1946.
Viceroy took many major decisions in this lodge. The lodge lies at a distance of 2km to the western part of Shimla standing high on the observatory Hill summit. The surroundings of the lodge offer picturesque views of the location and perfect for photography.
It is one of the oldest forts of Shimla. The fort is 800 years old and was the residence of the Royal Kurthar family once upon a time. In recent times a major portion of the fort has been converted into a resort. It sprawls across a total area of 52.8 sq.km surrounded by an ancient temple, glittery fresh springs, and a beautiful garden.
The architecture of the Fort follows the classic Rajasthani style exemplifying the manifestations of Rajput architecture. The fort consists of beautifully designed pillars, arches, and gateways. The Fort offers a breathtaking view of nature and the hilly surroundings.
The castle glorifying the Pal Dynasty is located in Naggar village at a distance of 21kms from Manali. It is made of Stones and wood built around 500 years ago by Raja Sidh Singh. The Royal family used to reside in the Castle till the time it went into the hands of the British.
This resulted in some modifications in the Indian architecture like the additional staircase, fireplace, and chimneys. The castle has a small temple in the courtyard popularly known as Jagti Patt. It also houses the art museum inside. In spite of various renovations, it is still well preserved and serves as the must-visit heritage site in Manali.
It is more than century-year-old castle constructed during the Colonial period. The structure perfectly illustrates the Indian heritage and culture during the Colonial period. The castle follows neo-gothic architecture. It holds a mesmerizing surrounding being situated at the hilltop accompanied by the tall deodar trees.
The stone structures and glass windows of the castle are so fascinating that it takes the tourists back to the ancient times. The castle is a mixture of different craftwork having the jail work in the balconies in pure Rajasthani style. Being located in the heritage zone of Shimla it is a lovely place for all the history lovers.
Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex
It is one of the finest examples of Victorian Gothic architecture. The complex is 122 years old located at the heart of Shimla city. It is a very interesting tourist spot that takes you back to the 19thcentury era. The entire complex once consisted of ballrooms, galleries, armories, police office but due to the structural instability half of it got destroyed leaving the theatre remaining intact which is just one side of the complex.
The Complex holds the footprints of major personalities of the bygone era like Rudyard Kipling, Baten Powel, Prithviraj Kapoor and many others. The building now is used for cultural programs and art exhibitions. I would highly recommend to add this place to your list of best places to visit in Shimla if you have interest in historical buildings.
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Other Amazing Places To Visit in Shimla
If you are a shopaholic person this is the best destination for you in Shimla. Shimla is famous for the most vibrant mall road with a range of shopping options like food stalls, eateries, cafes, 24hours ATMs, and banks to help you in currency exchange. The shopping stalls in mall road have an exclusive collection to make you stop in almost all the stores located there.
The items are a bit expensive but you can brag the most if you have good bargaining skills. You can also do window shopping by leisurely walking around the lanes watching the collections and enjoying some good food. It is one of the best places to visit in Shimla to buy local souvenirs for your relatives and friends.
It is situated in the western tip of Shimla at the converging point of two main city roads –The ridge and the mall road. The destination has an interesting story which has given it the name of “Scandal point”. The tale of this location revolves around the King of Patiala- “Maharaja Bhupinder Singh” who was a womanizer with many wives and the daughter of a British viceroy.
The daughter of the British Viceroy was forced to leave England and when she reached Shimla she fell for Maharaja Bhupinder Singh. It is believed that from this location the girl was further kidnapped by Maharaja and they ran away secretly in 1892. He was expelled by the British Viceroy-Lord Kitchener from Shimla. The story has severe loose ends and many people have different views regarding it.
Johnnie’s Wax Museum
This is one of the newly built tourist attraction in Shimla. It was founded by MBM brother at the beginning of 2016. The wax museum is now among the famous tourist attraction due to its display of the incredible wax statues of some famous personalities.
It consists of 16 wax statues in total including Bollywood, Hollywood personalities with some famous Indian and International sportsmen. Some of the famous personalities in the museum are of Daniel Radcliffe, Mahatma Gandhi, Lionel Messi, Narendra Modi and many more. These statues mostly are built by the famous craftsmen working in Madame Tussauds museum of London.
It is an amazingly beautiful tourist spot of Shimla located at a height of 1283 meters. This is an ideal place for the nature lovers to enjoy a leisure walk admiring the beautiful nature. It falls in the Kalka-Shimla route at a distance of 5km from Ridge Street in Shimla. Summer Hill is best known for the quiet hills and serene atmosphere.
The location is surrounded by beautiful palm and deodar trees. It also serves as a romantic gateway due to its snow-covered mountains. The best time to visit this location is during the winters though it has a pleasant climate all around the year.
Shimla State Museum
The museum represents the History and culture of Shimla City and the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is built inside an old Victorian Building and was inaugurated in 1974 on 26th January. The museum has exclusive collections of paintings, wooden carvings, coins, photos, sculptures, textiles, jewelry and archeology of Shimla and India collected over different periods.
The museum is situated on Ivernam hilltop near the Ridge Street with a distance of 3km from Scandal point. It aims at preserving and maintaining the antique collections throughout the years. It is open for the visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Mondays and other gazetted holidays.
It is another famous shopping destination of Shimla. It is popularly known as the “Wood Bazar”. It is kind of an old flea market located close to the Ridge Street. It is known for an exotic collection of wooden decors and all other regular items of daily use. The market gained its significance when the Sikh craftsmen from Hoshiarpur moved here and started carving out beautiful wooden structures from the most available deodars and walnuts in Shimla region.
The famous attractions here are the wooden toys and decorative items, walking sticks, Roller skating hall, Meena Bazar and delicious Indian snacks like Aloo Tikki and Chhole Bhature.
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