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Destination of the Month

Shimla, Himachal Pradesh

It was the summer capital of the British during their Raj. A hill abode much liked and loved by all for its proximity to chaste Nature surrounded by pine and deodar trees which offer some mesmerizing whistling sound as cool wind blows through them. One of the most famous tourist destinations of India, Shimla located in Himachal Pradesh is definitely a beautiful hill station much too sought by one and all. Commonly known as Simla, this abode derives its name from "Goddess Shyamla", who is supposed to be an avatar of Goddess Kali.

Shimla offers boundless natural bounty that unarguably looks picture perfect. This lovely hill station amidst the lofty snow-clad Himalayan ranges and being surrounded by lakes and lush green pastures clearly offers a feel of an artist's creation on canvas. Fascinatingly, Shimla has retained its colonial charm with an unadulterated ambience found nowhere else in India. Shimla is one tourist destination that may be visited throughout the year and offers perennial services to its patrons. Summers are warm with cool and pleasant evenings while winters are bone chilling and the temperatures can fall below zero. This wide difference is what makes Shimla a must visit for all.

"Holy City of Bliss" is an adjective bestowed on this city, which is closely associated with the history of one of the most gallant and fearless communities in India, the Sikhs. Located on the banks of River Sutlej in Ropar District of Punjab, strung out along a 12km ridge, with steep forested hillsides falling away in all directions, this Himachal capital is continuously buzzing with a happy flow of Indian vacationers and full of echoes of its past role as the summer capital of British India. The long, winding main street, the Mall, runs east and west just below the spine of the hill. South of it, the maze-like alleys of the bustling bazaar cascade steeply down to traffic-busy Cart Rd, which has the train station, Old Bus Station and taxi stands. Traffic is banned from the central part of town, so walking anywhere is pleasant. There is a provision of a passenger lift that provides a quick route between the Eastern Mall and Cart Rd.

A small uphill offshoot from the Mall connects the tourists to the most famous tourist attraction in Shimla known as The Ridge. The Ridge is the hub of all cultural activities of Shimla. It is situated along the Mall Road, which is the famous shopping center of Shimla. Most major places of Shimla like Lakkar Bazaar, Mall, Scandal Point, Jakhoo hill, etc. are connected through the Ridge. Barely 3 kilometers from the Ridge is Annandale, a lovely picnic spot that attracts many. Here one can simply relax and unwind and spend as much time as they want to. A quick afternoon nap on the green grass is a favorite with many. Another main attraction here is the Army museum which houses some big artillery guns and many other weapons, mannequins of army personnel in different uniforms, posters, etc. A must visit for all who visit Shimla.

A thickly wooded forest, Glenn is another famous picnic spot that is located around 4 kilometers from Shimla. The thick cover of the deodar trees makes this place a calm and tranquil locale. It used to be known as the playground of Shimla where racing, cricket and polo used to be the favorite pastime of the British. Situated at a height of 2155 meters, the Prospect hill is a great place to visit and unwind in the natural surroundings. It is also famous for a hilltop temple dedicated to Kamna Devi. Another major attraction is The Shimla State Museum and Library that is located at a distance of around 2.5 kilometers from the heart of Shimla. Here the relics of the past in form of ancient sculptures, paintings, coins and photographs are well preserved for public display. The museum has samples of the famous Pahari miniature art form, which ceased to exist when the Western art form took over. This museum should be visited by one and all coming to Shimla.

A charming spot famous for its university of Himachal Pradesh is located at The Summer Hill, perched atop a height of 1283 meters above sea level. It is believed that Mahatma Gandhi used to come to stay here during his visit to Shimla. An architectural delight in form of The Viceregal Lodge is located atop the Observatory Hills. This magnificently beautiful building was constructed by the British in 1888 and is well maintained till date. This served as the residence of the then Viceroy, Lord Dufferin. This Lodge has now been transformed into the famous Institute of Advanced Studies and the six storey building still stands in all its splendor. The lodge has famous gardens and perfectly manicured lawns; definitely a very famous tourist attraction which cannot be missed.

The best reason to visit Shimla during summers is to witness the famous Summer Festival which is held each year in the month of May. This famous festival is a riot of colors and festivity and is celebrated on a grand scale. The Summer Festival in Shimla is a beautiful amalgamation of various talented people of India who make it an event that is remembered for a long time to come. Shimla is surrounded by many surreal places which include Chail, Kasauli, Kufri, Naldhera, Narkanda, and Jakhu to name a few. Each of these destinations has an interesting story to tell. So pack your bags, catch the next flight and come to Shimla - A place where dreams come true!