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Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and a major travel hill station in India. Shimla is also an important administrative centre. It has been variously described as the Indian Capua, Mount Olympus and the Abode of the Little Tin Gods. At the other end is Sir Edward Lutyen’s (the architect of New Delhi) snooty remark – "If I had been told it had all been built by monkeys, I would have said, what wonderful monkeys, they must be shot in case they do it again."!! Shimla and attention have always courted each other.

The city spreads over a 12km ridge with just two main roads – The Mall which runs from the far west to the lower eastern side, and the Cart Road which circles the southern part of Shimla. This is where the railway station and the bus and taxi stands are located. The crescent of the wooded Ridge stretches from the lofty 2476 m high Jakhu Hill and Chhota Shimla in the east, to the Observatory (2,148 m) and Prospect hills (2,176 m) in the west. The best time to travel to Shimla is in autumn, when the days are warm and bright and the nights crisp and cool. Summer sees a burgeoning tourist population and this is precisely why you should avoid going there at this time.

The people of HP are simple and warm. They feel strongly about their natural and cultural heritage so do not in any way belittle their customs or rituals. Norms of dress and behaviour are pretty relaxed in Shimla, as the tourist traffic every year has made the place almost cosmopolitan. A word of caution, however, don’t travel to the interiors of the state without a reliable and authorized tourist guide and also beware of touts.


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