Shimla- The Queen of Hills

Shimla- The Queen of Hills

Shimla, also better known as Simla, is the capital of the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. This picturesque city is a heavenly abode with the natural beauty, serenity and sanctity at its best. Embraced in the protective arms of northwestern Himalayas, Shimla is a snow covered dreamland. The elegance of the nature is mesmerizing and soul-soothing.

Shimla

Shimla

The city is at an altitude of 2,397 m above mean sea level and extends along a ridge with seven spurs. Shimla was built on top of seven hills namely: Inveram hill, Observatory hill, Prospect Hill, Summer Hill, Bantony Hill, Elysium Hill and Jakhoo Hill. Jakhoo Hill is the highest peak about 2454 m high.

History-  During the eighteenth century, the area that mark the boundaries of Shimla was covered by dense green forests. Civilization was very sparse around Jakhoo temple.

It came under the clutches of British East India Company in 1816. The cool, refreshing and revitalizing climate of Shimla, felt England-like to the British army personnel, Viceroys and officers and thus attracted them during summers. Many Officers spent their summer vacations here. It was at a time also called as the summer capital of British East India Company.

Since time immemorial, Simla has been a preferred location for rejuvenation.

Fascinations-

Buildings-  Buildings of Shimla are architectural genius. Dating from the colonial era, these buildings are in Tudirbethan and neo-Gothic in style.

Mountain Biking- Starting in 2005, Shimla hosts every year the mountain biking race MTB Himalaya, the biggest event of its kind in South Africa.

Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking

Culture- Cultural festival of Shimla is celebrated in summers stretching over a period of 3-4 days. The ethos of this place is well conserved over the years, which is very evident in that festival.

Jewels of the Queen of Hill Stations (Places to Visit)-

  • Jakhu Temple- Famous as the Hanuman Temple among the locals, Jakhu temple is a must-visit place on a trip to Simla. According to mythological belief, it is said that Lord Hanuman rested here while he was on his way to fetch “sanjeevani booti” (a very rare herb) for Laxman.
Jakhu Temple

Jakhu Temple

It has a magnificently gigantic 108 feet statue of Lord Hanuman that is very divine in its very presence.

  • Christ Church- Designed by colonel J T Boileau in 1844, is an exquisite architecture. The stained glass windows are very conspicuous. There are five of these glasses, representing the five virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Patience and Humility. The ambience is very serene and divine.
Christ Church

Christ Church

  • Shimla State Museum- It has a collection of myriad of magnificent paintings. Built is the style of colonial edifice, with very spacious lawns, this museum was inaugurated in 1974. Open on all days but Monday, this museum also houses a great collection of historical books. It conserves the rich cultural heritage of this place and protects the royal legacy of its glorious past.

It contains a huge collection of Mughal and Rajasthani paintings and a layout of Himachali dolls are showcased here.

Shimla State Museum

Shimla State Museum

The various galleries of the Shimla State Museum are:

  1. Pre-Historic Gallery - consists of ancient stone-age tools and models of extinct animals.
  2. Wood-Carving Gallery - Remains of wood panels of ancient temples and traditional wood artistry and stone work is preserved and showcased here.
  3. Archaeology Gallery - Storehouse of sculptural works and terracotta stuffs of Maurya, Shunga and Gupta period.
  4. Wall Painting Gallery - Houses wall painting of the Rang Mahal of Chamba.
  5. Numismatic Gallery - Has got an extensive and antique collection of the coins of Himachal Pradesh.
  • Gorge Castle- Located on the highest point in the core of the National Park, George Castle was built in 1911 by Jivaji Rao Scindia. Built in an attractive English style, this castle is very exquisite in its appearance. It was a shelter for British officials who came here on a hunting spree.
Gorge Castle

Gorge Castle

Standing at the castle, diverse fauna of this forest is visible. One can see Nilgai, Black buck, Sloth beer, Wild Pigs, Jackals and several other animals. It is a perfect point to cast a glance at the entire forest at once.

Other places in Shimla that are do-not-miss locations are Summer Hill, Jutogh, Tara Devi, Junga, Tehsi, Totu, Sanjauli, Kufri etc.

The Queen of Hills is indeed quintessential beauty and charm. The aura; the ambience; the sanctity, It is divine and royal, indeed!

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