Here’s the list of Shimla’s well kept secrets:
What’s Steaming In There!
Go down the stairs (left hand side) near the Baljees Restaurant and ask anyone the way to Aunty’s momo place. It’s a small joint that serves mutton momos, both steamed and fried. You could also order half of both. The soups amongst other things are also a delight, especially when it’s snowing outside.
The joint once belonged to an old Chinese woman while her daughter in law runs it today. It’s usually crowded during lunch time so try visiting it during the evening for a wholesome treat.
Streaks, Bangs, Pixie, Bob and More
Get the craziest hairstyle or those blue streaks you’ve always wanted to at Minsen. Ask for Brenda and see her magic work on your hair. Post pictures of your fun look on Facebook and let the world know that you’ve been having a kickass holiday!
Minsen is bang on The Ridge. Take the stairs that lead to an underground shopping area near Indira Gandhi’ statue. It’s on the second floor. Use Tara Hospital as a landmark.
Chinese Made Shoes
Trendy leather shoes in all styles. Pick a pair in yellow, green or even purple for that matter. And show them off at the next party you attend. These are sort of unique to Shimla, made by the Chinese people who’ve been living here since forever.
There are three of these shops on the Mall Road. Two of these are in the same line as Dominos, on the right hand side. The third is near the Benetton showroom.
Say A Little Prayer
A little off the Mall road, near the Army Command area is this grey structure with a serene air surrounding it. St. Michael’s Church is a 19th century Gothic Style Church. It displays the entire journey before his death on its pillars and has a collection of pipe organs too. It has a back door in case the front door isn’t open. Outside the church sits Bullet, a friendly dog that chases away the monkeys all day long.
They say, a wish made in a church you’re visiting for the first time comes true. Wish carefully.
Well, why should kids have all the fun. The Mall Road also has at least two video game parlours, one near Sagar Ratna and the other a little ahead. Race and shoot and have the time of your life. Also, when the game makes you hungry, grab a quick bite at the little pastry and burger shops alongside.
Chetak The Horse
Chetak is just one horse that stands with Basanti and the others on the Ridge, just as you enter the Lakkar Bazaar area. Each horse has a name and you can pick the tallest or the most handsome of them all for a quick ride of the ridge and Lakkar Bazaar.
Dollops Of Honey
A favourite for the youngsters in Shimla, Honey Hut is one of the best places to enjoy the cold weather and some ice cream. Even if it’s snowing! You can sit inside or outside in the open. You can also shop for some honey based products and pure honey here.
It’s on the road that runs below the Christ Church. Everyone in Shimla knows where Honey Hut is so just ask for directions once you are on the Mall Road.
Homemade Cakes at Embassy
Delicious cakes ranging between INR 250 and upwards goes brilliantly with the steaming mug of coffee here. The guy at the counter is not just a great chef but also a well read person if you are interested in some philosophical discussions. He also has some interesting books. There are muffins, cakes and pastries apart from a whole menu of other things.
As you walk from the lift towards Cecil, you’ll find a little wooden place – that’s Embassy for you!
A Walk To Remember
The walk from Scandal Point to the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (through Chaura Maidan) is lined with pine trees and colonial buildings. This stretch will make you feel like you’re taking the same track as Hansel and Gretel did in the story. There is the Railway Board and The AG Office. Once at the AG office, try spotting Tara Hall School and Annadale.
These are a few glimpses of Shimla you’d love to take back as beautiful memories. Further ahead, there are eating places and ever the Cecil Hotel, in case you want to stop for coffee.
You Can’t Get Around It
On the way to the Viceregal Lodge or the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, up the hill from Oberoi Cecil is the TV Tower (Chaura Maidan). The size seems to grow as you go uphill. It’s huge. Try putting your arms around to test and you’ll know how enormous it is. It’s right next to the State Museum.
Around the Oberoi Cecil, is the Spars Lodge where you can stop for a bit when you come down from the Viceregal Lodge or Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. If lucky, you’ll also find some smoked trout among other things. Just so your taste buds also know that you are on a holiday!
Pretty Umbrellas Of All Kinds
Two must haves if you are visiting Shimla during snowfall are sturdy shoes and an umbrella. You can find both these things in the Lower Bazaar. All sorts of umbrella shops are around the Bata Showroom. Keep you eyes open for the shoe shops too. There are boots and gumboots that work perfectly on snow. Plus, there are caps and mittens and other woolen essentials for a happy snowfall.
Books, Books And More Books
Glance through the Antique Book Store which is on the Mall Road, somewhere near the Octave Showroom. Amongst the inviting smell of books and the pretty looking bounds, who knows you might just find some treasure. That too at affordable rates.
Wake and Bake is perhaps the only place in Shimla that serves a million types of pancakes, bacon and hot chocolate in huge cups. Here, you’ll also get to hear some locals jamming with their guitars. So, there is food and music and the beautiful wall art to set the perfect mood. It’s a one of its kind place in all of Shimla run by a young entrepreneur who is very particular about both taste and quality. Wake and Bake is right opposite the Town Hall.
Stare Away To Heaven!
From The Ridge take the General Post Office Road to reach the Kali Bari Temple. The temple area provides a beautiful overview of the hills, like the birds would see it. Then, go down the sandstone coloured stairs and try counting them when you go down and again when you climb up. Bet you’ll get different numbers.
While you’re on your secret expedition, if you ever feel lost, ask any of the locals for directions. They’ll be only happy to help.