The best way to know Shimla is to walk on some of its quieter roads, which explain to you why the town has captured the hearts of so many. There are enchanting deodar and oak woods, crisp weather, new vistas after every curve…. In summer, the cool winds are a welcome relief. Autumn is wonderful with the leaves changing colour. In monsoons, the town is at its quietest, tourists are few and rain and mist provide a romantic atmosphere.
The Sanjauli-Jakhoo Hill-Ridge walk has plenty of silence, birdsong and dappled sunlight, with some Himalayan views. From Sanjauli Chowk, take the road ascending up Jakhoo Hill. Where the road forks, take the path going left, called the Upper Forest Road. After about 1 km, at the bifurcation, take the road going up to the right. It leads to a spot called Five Benches. Here, three roads branch off. One goes to Jakhoo Temple (climbs up to the right), one goes straight, and the third goes to Rich Mount (descends to the right). Take the last before descending to The Ridge.
Ridge-St Bede’s walk has you heading south-east to Chhota Shimla. The road goes past Oak Over, the Chief Minister’s residence. Go left, to Raj Bhavan (erstwhile Barnes Court), the Governor’s residence. It was in here that the 1972 Shimla Agreement was signed between India and Pakistan. At the entrance of Raj Bhavan, take the road going left (east) to Nav Bahar. This is known as Lovers’ Lane. It is a quiet road winding through oaks and conifers, past Churail Baori (the witches’ spring) to the crossroads above St Bede’s College. You can bus it back to Shimla.
The Vidhan Sabha-Annandale walk starts from the Vidhan Sabha, past the Electricity Board Office and a concrete rain shelter, and turns right to descend to the Annandale Meadow (a golf course now). A path goes on straight before descending left to The Glen. Silence and cedar woods, and a stream at The Glen (which may have water). Occasional buses ply on this road, to and from Annandale, so you can bus back up.