It is easy to see why Shimla tops most Indians’ must-visit list–it is India’s only hill station to combine the beauty of the high Himalayas, the energy of a city and the sleepy charms of a hill station. Here is a 4-day itinerary for Shimla so that you can explore its beauty to the hilt!
Day 1- The Mall, Ridge and Visceral Lodge
The best way to know Shimla is to walk! Start your day with Mall Road, which is one of the longest of open-air, pedestrian, eating-strolling-shopping promenades in the world. Christ Church, with its imposing structure stands tall on the Mall Road and next to it is the charming building of the State Library. Another site worth visiting is the Dorje Drag Monastery, replete with Tibetan prayer flags, chants of the monks and prayer wheels.
The Ridge-to-Viceregal Lodge bit of the Mall forms the core of the notified “Heritage Zone” of Shimla. The horse rides and ice-cream vendors draw children, the bars and restaurants draw adults, and the cosy benches and views draw everybody. Start early so that you can cover attractions like Telegraph Building, Catholic Church, State Bank of India building and other heritage buildings on the Ridge Road. Also, don’t miss Wake and Bake Cafe, one of the best travel cafes in India, in between your sightseeing expeditions on the Mall.
Day 2- A joy ride on the toy train
Heard a lot about the Kalka-Shimla toy train and always wanted to book a ride for yourself for an unforgettable train experience? Well, start early and head straight to the Shimla railway station for booking a ticket on the toy trains or you can do it online also with the ixigo train app. In case you don’t have prior bookings, it is recommended to reach at the railway station before 10 in the morning as the first train (Himalayan Queen) departs at 10:30 AM for Kalka. The toy train journey is almost a day’s affair as you will be back not before 4:00 PM.
You can either choose to walk from the railway station to Mall Road (it’s a long walk though) or take a cab till the lift area of the main market. Explore the shopping areas of Shimla on your way back including the famous Lakkar Bazaar which is where you must look for excellent wooden items. The shopping area is chiefly the Mall itself — more precisely, the area between Combermere Bridge and the Telegraph office.
Day 3: A day trip to Kufri and Chail
Even though Shimla has so much to explore in itself, there are beautiful and fun getaways like Kufri and Chail which are easily visited in a day. Regular HPTDC buses ply from Shimla for these places and you can get your bookings done from the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Office located at the Mall Road.
It takes around one hour from Shimla to Kufri and in case you don’t want to opt for public transport, book a cab for a hassle-free travel experience. Kufri has a lot of offerings to choose from–skiing, trekking, tobogganing, camping, rock climbing to horse rides and peaceful walks. Chail is the next stop but there is nothing much to do here except visiting the Chail Palace where you can take a walk around the sprawling campus, enjoy a lavish menu at the in-house restaurant and click some amazing pictures of the magnificent palace.
Photo by Biswarup Ganguly
Day 4: Jakhoo Hill and Heritage Walks
Jakhoo is the tallest of Shimla’s hills (7,500 ft) and towers over The Ridge. It’s crowned by the famous Jakhoo Hanuman Temple and an extravagantly gigantic statue of the god. There are viewing points and benches looking over the enchanting sunrises and sunsets. You can climb up the hill from a lane near Christ Church or you can drive up the other side of the hill from Sanjauli.
Shimla is also a walker’s paradise and there are many interesting walking trails including Ridge-St. Bede’s Walk, The Vidhan Sabha-Annandale Walk and Sanjauli-Jakhoo Hill-Ridge walk which are worth taking up. Opt for the Heritage Walking Tour in Shimla, one of the famous walking tours in India, to get the best of this pretty hill station.
Where to Eat: In between your sightseeing and expedition tours, head to restaurants like Ashiana & Goofa, Baljees, Combermere Restaurant and Embassy. For the ultimate dining experience, there’s always The Oberoi Cecil. Sumptuous cuisine served in the midst of wood-panelled and chandeliered elegance. If you are in a hurry, try the chhole bhature at Sita Ram’s in Lakkar Bazaar.
I hope this 4-day itinerary for Shimla will help you in exploring the local flavours of this pretty hill station and bring home some exciting memories.
About the author:
Jigyasha loves to read and travel.