Shimla, the beautiful capital of Himachal Pradesh is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the country. Especially during the summer months, this marvellous location stays jam-packed with visitors. There are a number of tourist places in Shimla that can be visited on a vacation. It is quite a popular destination for its Victorian architecture, which can be witnessed in a certain section of the Ridge and the Mall. Shimla is also known as one of the ideal places of interest for the honeymooners. The cool and pleasant climate of Shimla makes it a renowned summer retreat. It is nestled at an elevation of around twenty-two hundred meters above sea level. The region of Shimla is a beautiful hilly terrain covered with lush greenery all around. Although this place is mostly visited during the summers there are also a number of vacationers who prefer visiting Shimla in the autumn months owing to the less amount of crowd and the mesmerizing views.
Top 25 Places To Visit In Shimla
- The Ridge of Shimla
- Green Valley
- Jakhoo Hill
- Kiala Forest
- Himalayan Bird Park
- Christ Church
- Viceregal Lodge
- Summer Hills
- Indian Institute of Advanced Studies
- Jakhoo Hill
- The Shimla State Museum
- Naldehra Peak
- Kali Bari Temple
- Chadwick Falls
- Mall Road
- The Scandal Point, Ridge
- Shaily Peak
- Johnnie’s Wax Museum
- Jubbal Palace
- Rothney Castle
- Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary
1. The Ridge of Shimla
The Ridge of Shimla is renowned for arranging various governmental fairs and functions. For all the various festivals and celebrations the Ridge of Shimla is a major location. One of the major festivals held here is the colourful Summer Festival.
Location – The Ridge of Shimla is situated in Shimla’s heart. It is located along the popular Mall Road which is the main shopping centre in Shimla. Therefore you would not require to invest much time to reach the destination.
Highlights – The Ridge is the main hub of all the various festivals and cultural activities of Shimla. Some of the major Shimla sightseeing places including the Lakkar Bazaar, Jakhoo hill, Scandal Point etc. are situated in the close vicinity of the Ridge of Shimla.
Best time to Visit The Ridge of Shimla – Although the Ridge of Shimla is open all throughout the year, it is mainly visited by most of the tourists during the summer months. Therefore, you can plan your trip to Shimla during the month of April or May in case you wish to witness the amazing Summer Festival.
Kufri is a well-known destination for its amazing surroundings and mesmerizing views. Kufri is also popular by the name of the Switzerland of the East amongst the travel enthusiasts. The beautiful Kufri Hill is for sure to bring a smile on your face. Kufri features a number of adventure things to do in Shimla including hiking and skiing. You would enjoy these activities to the core while in Shimla. The major attraction of Kufri is the snow-laden hills where the skiing activity is carried out by the enthusiasts.
Location –Kufri is situated at a distance of nineteen kilometres from the centre of Shimla and one can easily reach it. The best way to reach Kufri is by taking the road to Kufri as it is situated quite close to the National Highway twenty-two.
Best Time to Visit Kufri – The best time to explore Kufri is during the winter months. The winter months ranges from November to February. During these months you can easily enjoy skiing. Additionally, for the ones who are not interested in adventure sports like skiing then you can plan your trip during the months ranging from April to June.
3. Green Valley
The Green Valley is another famous attraction of Shimla that is also a renowned photography point. Green Valley also brings forward endless beauty of Mother Nature. It has been beautifully described in various tourism books and articles.
Location – It is situated close to Kufri and is conveniently surrounded by the verdant hills.
Highlights – A highlight of Green Valley is that one can spot various animal species like yaks wandering and grazing in the spot. Plus, the exceptionally picturesque surroundings of the place is worth your praise.
Best Time to Visit Green Valley – This place is open all around the year and you can visit it whenever you desire. But the ideal most time to explore Green Valley is after the months of the monsoons or in the summer months. These are the times when the place features lush greenery. Therefore, the ideal time to visit Green Valley is from February to April and from July to October.
4. Hike to Jakhoo Hill
The highest point of Shimla is Jakhoo Hill. It is packed with brilliant looking Alpine trees. The hilltop is flat, the top of which features the recently built Hanuman statue as well as the coloured Jakhoo Temple. It is said to be one of the calmest escapes that Shimla owns. The visitors must be beware of the monkeys of the location as they tend to skilfully rob things and food from the various travellers.
Location – To reach the topmost spot of the hill one requires to take a long walk of around thirty minutes after which there is another pleasant way leading to the Jakhoo Hill.
Highlights –Jakhoo Hill’s summit is about two thousand four hundred and fifty-five meters high. It is also two hundred meters higher than Shimla’s central ridge. The temple nestled on the hilltop is dedicated to the Hindu monkey god called Lord Hanumana. Therefore, undoubtedly playful monkeys rule the Jakhoo Hills. Hiking is one of the major highlights of the Jakhoo Hill. Many hiking enthusiasts can be spotted here all round the year.
Best Time to visit Jakhoo Hills – One can visit the Jakhoo Hills every day in a week. But the ideal most time to pay a visit during the winter months ranging from November to March.
Have you ever wondered how exciting would it be to set up camps in a town that is laden with snow? If you desire to experience the same then Chail must be your place to be. It is a hilly slope in Shimla that was developed to help people escape the scorching summer heat. And with time it has turned out to one of the most popular tourist destinations in Shimla. In fact, the place is a resort offering its guests a convenient exposure to the beautiful deodar forests that stay scattered all around the hilly region. Along with the deodar, the place also boasts fir and pine forests for the tourists to explore and adore.
Location – It is situated at a distance of forty-five kilometres from Shimla at the hills lying at the foot of the Himalayan ranges.
Highlights – This place is an ideal spot for people who seek calm environments for a vacation that keeps them away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan. Besides being immensely close to Mother Nature one can also dine at the renowned Lake Restaurant or take a stroll at the world’s highest cricket ground.
Best Time to visit Chail – The ideal most time to pay a visit is from March to June. Additionally, in case you desire to witness snowfall then make sure to explore Chail in the months ranging from December to March.
6. Kiala Forest
One of the perfect tourism locations in Shimla is the Kiala Forest. It is nestled in the Kotkhaai Valley and is beautified with rich green vegetation along with an ample number of indigenous animal species. It is considered as an ideal spot for all the nature loving travellers and wildlife enthusiasts. The forest welcomes a number of travellers each year from near to distant places.
Highlights –Kiala Forest features rich vegetation and wildlife. This is also an ideal place for photographers as they can capture both wildlife in their natural home and nature itself. The place also features restroom facilities. There are also locker and storage facilities available for anyone who wishes to use the same.
Best Time to visit Kiala Forest –Kiala Forest is open to visit all around the year. But the ideal most time for the same ranges from the month of March to the month of October.
7. Himalayan Bird Park
Himalayan Bird Park is quite a famous tourist destination amongst photographers and bird admirers. While Shimla is quite popular for its beautiful scenic surroundings, its beauty is further enhanced by the wide range of wildlife that thrives in the forests and hilly slopes. The Himalayan Bird Park is a spot that features a wide range of captivating birds that you might haven’t spotted ever before.
The park also features variously endangered and exclusive birds species. Additionally, in order to give them home like feel the park also features calm and soothing trees, fauna, and flora. You can spot various beautiful and colourful birds including the Himalayan monals, pheasants, peacocks and so much more.
Location – The Himalayan Bird Park is situated in the close vicinity of Shimla’s Vice-Regal Lodge.
Highlights – The Himalayan Bird Park of Shimla is one of the rare locations that would impart serenity to its guests. It would play a major role in escaping reality and feeling calmness to the core.
8. Christ Church
The very renowned Christ Church is one of the top ten visiting places of Shimla. It is quite a popular destinations amongst the travelers and the locals. It is an outstanding monument that was developed back in the era of the British. It is an excellent architectural monument and people pay a visit in order to serve the almighty or even otherwise just to adore its beauty. In case you wish to get a taste of the Christian religion from the colonial times then this is your place to be. It was crafted in such an elegant manner that it portrays hope, faith, patience, charity, patience, as well as humanity such that people get aware of the classy and rich Christian culture. Additionally, the surroundings of the Christ Church are also quite pleasing.
Location – Christ Church conveniently occupies a spot on the Ridge Road which is one of the busiest roads of Shimla.
Highlights – The Christ Church boasts the excellent art of the British times which makes it unique in itself. The church has also been inspired by the Neo-Gothic style, a glimpse of which can be captured while exploring the place.
9. Viceregal Lodge
The most captivating building of Shimla is the Viceregal Lodge. It also holds great historical significance. It boasts outstanding architecture of the ancient times and one might take up to half a day to explore the entire setup in depth. Back in time, from the year 1888 to the year 1946, this beautiful setup was the residing place of the Indian Viceroy during the summer months. The Viceroy is responsible for quite a lot of significant developments in the Lodge.
Location – The Viceregal Lodge is at around a distance of two kilometers from Shimla. Situated in the west, on the Observatory Hill summit this Lodge look mesmerizing amidst the breath-taking surroundings. In order to reach the Lodge, one needs to take the Chaura Maidan Road from Shimla and travel for up to a distance of five hundred meters along the road.
Highlights – Other popular names for the Viceregal Lodge include the President’s House or the Rashtrapati Nilayam. The reference is to the era ranging between 1947 to the middle of the year 1960. This was the time when the Indian Presidents used the logo as their summer retreats.
Entry Fee – The Viceregal Lodge charges an entry fee of 20 INR.
10. Summer Hills
Summer Hills is a beautiful township and suburb, just 5 kilometres from the famous Ridge of Shimla. Part of the seven-hill cluster, it is one of the best tourist places to visit in Shimla, owing to its breathtaking natural views amidst profuse greenery of Pine, Oak and Deodar trees, and offers a splendid view of the magical sunrise or sunset. It is an ideal spot for trekking, paragliding, nature walks and other adventure sports. The spot is a photography haven for anyone looking to capture the hues of colours of natural grandeur. The serene district is situated at an altitude of about 2,123 meters above sea level and is ideal for those who wish to take a leisurely walk amidst the tranquility of Mother Nature. During the yester years, when Mahatma Gandhi used to visit Shimla, he stayed in these calm surroundings at the elegant Monorville Mansion, belonging to erstwhile freedom fighter, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur.
Location: 5 kilometres from Shimla, on the way from Shimla to Kalka
Best time to visit: October to February (for snowfall) and March to June
11. Indian Institute of Advanced Studies
If you have an interest in history, art, and education, then the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies has to be on your list of famous places to visit in Shimla. Built in the British era, the institute primarily served as the summer retreat of Indian viceroy and was passed on to the nation by the then president, Dr. Radhakrishnan as an institute to promote advanced studies in humanities and arts in India. The building has a classical architectural design and features photographs and stories of moments of key historical events between Indian leaders and Britishers, and takes you on a journey through the modern Indian history.
Location: Rashtrapati Nivas, Chaura Maidan, next to Birds Zoo, Shimla
Timings: Daily except Mondays, 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Entry fees: 40 INR for Indians and 85 INR for foreign nationals
This historical masterpiece was a favourite amongst Britishers, who used to enjoy several thrilling entertainment sports like racing, golfing and horse riding during their rule. Annandale is a flat terrain that has now been developed as a playground of Shimla for hosting various sports like Golf, cricket and Polo, and is located at just about 3.5 kilometres from the popular Ridge. At the altitude of about 1,864 meters, the area falls under the authority of the Indian Army. It is covered with beautiful deodar and Oak trees, and offers one of the best views of the city and its surroundings.
Timings: 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Best time to visit: November to February
13. Jakhoo Hill
Believed to be the highest peak in Shimla, Jakhoo Hills is one of the best places to visit in Shimla and a hamlet for all nature lovers and pilgrims who come to take blessings from the holy God Hanuman, standing tall at an altitude of 108-feet at the Jakhoo Temple. The hill is 8,000-feet high and is a major tourist attraction in Shimla. Located at just about 2 kilometres from Shimla, the statue offers a magnificent view of the scenic vistas of surrounding lofty mountains of the Shivalik ranges and the nearby town of Sanjauli.
It is believed that during the battle of Ramayana, Lord Hanuman stopped at this spot to take some rest before resuming his search for the much acclaimed Sanjeevani Booti, to revive Lakshman, who was seriously injured by Indrajit’s (Ravana’s son) arrow. To reach the temple, you have to trek through the dense Deodar and Alpine forests, or you can hire a pony or a taxi instead to reach there. Large number of monkeys can be found roaming around the temple complex, and you can feed them and enjoy their company.
Timings: Daily, 07:00 AM to 08:00 PM
Best time to visit: November to March
14. Shimla State Museum
Located on Mount Pleasant, the Shimla state museum is one of the many charming places to visit in Shimla round the year. The sprawling lawns and the magnificent British architecture makes a visit to this place totally worthwhile. The museum was opened for public in 1974 and houses historical artefacts, paintings, sculptures, and handicrafts from the Colonial rule showcasing the glorious past of the state with its rich culture and heritage. The building also serves as a residence of Indian government officials.
Timings: All days, except Mondays, 10:00 AM to 01:30 PM and 02:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Entry fees: 20 INR for Indians and 100 INR for foreigners
15. Naldehra Peak
Witness the gorgeous sunrise and sunset views from the small scenic Himachal town of Naldehra. The place is widely known for its nine-hole Golf course and is one of the famous places to visit near Shimla, offering the most picturesque sunrise and sunset views. With verdant expanses of hills, dense Deodar and Pine trees and naturally rich flora and fauna, the quaint town has amazing forest cover to be enjoyed on a pony ride. The stunning view, serene ambience and fresh air are sure to leave you gasping for more.
Location: Post Office, Durgapur, Naldehra, Shimla
Timings: Sunrise to sunset
16. Kali Bari Temple
Constructed in the year 1845, this temple has been one of the favourite locations of the tourists who visit the place to admire its sheer beauty along with its culturally rich architecture. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali who is also popularly known as Shyamala, and hence the name Shimla. When in Shimla, make it a point to visit the place for witnessing a blissful journey. The place also draws attention from tourists for the beauty of nature that can be witnessed very closely from here. For those who are in pursuit of peace, this temple is a paradise and a perfect place to spend some time alone. To make the most of your holiday, visit the place in the morning or during the evening prayers.
Location: Kali Bari Road, Shimla
Timings: 07:00 AM to 06:30 PM
17. Chadwick Falls
Chadwick Falls are amongst the must visit tourist attractions in Shimla for those seeking to escape the daily humdrum of city life. The fall scales from a height 90 meters, and is surely a sight to behold! Its base is surrounded by small streams merging into a deep gorge, and a lush green valley surrounding it which gives the place its scenic beauty and makes it just picture perfect. This peaceful waterfall is one of the must places to visit near Shimla. The fall is majestic soon after the rainy season when the cascading water feels magical! Rainy season is also a good time to visit the place as it will be completely green and appealing. Food and water are easily available from small shops located in the village, that also serve piping hot chai, Maggi, samosas or other quick snacks.
Location: 5.4 kilometres from Shimla
Timings: Sunrise to sunset
Best time to visit: July to October
18. Mall Road
Of all the Shimla tourist places, Mall Road is one place, which you can’t go wrong with. It is not only an attraction for the tourists and visitors but is also one of the most favourite shopping places of the locals. From warm woollens and traditional footwear to beautiful handicrafts, jewellery and show pieces, this famous shopping street is a haven for shopaholics and one of the famous places to visit in Shimla. It also features several restaurants, banks, cafes, clubs, tourist information centres, and post offices. Tourists love to stroll along the Mall, explore the many shops or watch a movie at the Gaiety Theatre, a replica of an old British theatre.
Timings: 10:00 AM to 09:00 PM
The amazing town of Shimla is a haven for you to marvel at the untouched natural beauty and buzzing market places. The hill station continues to enthral its visitors with open hands round the year. Make sure to explore all the beauties of the location while on your trip to explore Shimla. The place being a hotspot amongst tourists from all across the country stays jam-packed during most of the months of the year. Hence, a pre-planned trip with all the bookings done in advance would be no less than a cherry on the cake.
19. The Scandal Point, Ridge
The Scandal Point is the intersection between the Mall Road and the Ridge marked by the statue of Indian freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai. The exact reason why it was named so remains a mystery, usually associated with romantic folklore.
Perfectly poised against the stunning mountains, its strategic location forms an ideal base from where you can make visits to nearby tourist attractions. Dotted with numerous shops and cafes, this is an excellent place for enjoying horse-riding or just relaxing on the benches.
Go for: Horse-riding and views.
20. Shaily Peak
A two-hour drive from Shimla to Khatnol followed by a five-kilometre steep trek leads one to the Shaily Peak. The steep trail crosses dense forests and perpendicular trails covered in foot-deep snow.
Stranded on an isolated rock-face amidst green deodars and pure-white snow, this point attracts countless adventure seekers every year for its splendid views of the expansive landscape. Those not good at steep treks can ride on ponies available at the base.
Do carry charged batteries to capture the breathtaking views in your camera.
Go for: Views and photography.
21. Johnnie’s Wax Museum
A must-visit place in Shimla, this museum is located within the historic Willow Banks estate on the Mall Road. It has 16 life-size wax figures of icons from Bollywood, Hollywood and politics standing side by side, all imported from London.
Mahatma Gandhi’s idol is installed right at the entrance with statues of Johnny Depp, James Bond, Robert Downey Jr, Harry Potter, Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and others completing the display at the museum.
This spot provides for a somewhat unusual experience for visitors who come to this hill station expecting the regular sightseeing routine.
Go for: A museum tour.
22. Jubbal Palace
At a distance of 5.8 kilometres from the heart of the city, this mansion is inarguably the grandest structure present in Shimla. Coloured in a cream hue with sloping roofs and red chimneys, it stands tall between the dense forests of pine and cedar, along with terraced gardens and Virginia vines adding to the finesse of the building.
History has it that Raja Rana Sir Bhagat Chandra demolished the original Victorian structure in 1938 to build this summer palace in its place. A unique blend of Indian and Chinese architectural styles was used to put it together. The exteriors are all about elaborate citadels and artistically designed walls, while intricate carvings, suspended attics, signed photographs and paintings of eminent people fill its interiors.
A massive wooden door covered with copper and studded with coins marks the entry to the palace. Old furniture and other artefacts from the time of the Kings are still well retained along with a rich library.
Go for: A heritage tour.
23. Rothney Castle
On the road that goes up to the Jakhu Temple near Lakkar Bazar, you can peep through the gates of this 19th-century mansion to lay your eyes on its intricate glass and wooden work.
This house was built for colonial reformer and naturalist Allan Octavian Hume who spent most of his time here working for political reforms and documenting birds of the Indian subcontinent. After more than a hundred years, the house is now in shambles with moss growing on its walls, looking more or less like a garden.
Entry inside the property is restricted, but it is still worth a visit for those who love history.
Go for: The architecture and history.
Theog is a reserved little place sitting snugly in the arms of the lofty Himalayas. Here you will find nothing but a mix of wooden and concrete houses, with apple trees hugging their walls. There isn’t much chatter and movement and that is precisely its charm.
The village forces you to slow down, and to shift your attention to the little details around you, like the way sunlight falls on the leaves of the trees across the window of your room. But you can work up an appetite for local delicacies like sidu (steamed bread stuffed with seeds), and saag, and interact with the locals about the joys of simple living.
32 kilometres away from Shimla, Theog is blissfully far from its madding crowds.
Go for: A peaceful break.
25. Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary
This reserve is home to the usual suspects like leopards, deer and jackals. Go for surreal views of Deo Tibba, Bandar Poonch, Pir Panjal and other peaks. Monkeys and langurs occupy the canopies of trees like deodar, pine and oak. The abundance of weeping willows and maple provide ample cover to stalking animals. During monsoons, wild strawberries grow to add colour to the forest.
Apart from its aesthetic appeal, it is an important corridor that connects Shimla Reserve with the Chail Sanctuary in the south. Home to a variety of birds, species like the Himalayan eagle, chikor, partridge and pheasant can be seen flitting about the low canopy.
Perfect for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers, the Forest Sanctuary is spread over an area of 951 hectares at a distance of 11 km from Shimla.
Go for: Wildlife and photography.