"If you are fond of walking, Shimla will unfold parts that remain hidden to vehicles."
Blessed with some of the most spectacular and beautiful landscapes anywhere, Himachal is a travelers paradise -lofty snow peaks, deep gorges, lush green valleys, fast flowing rivers, enchanting mountain lakes, flower bedecked meadows, beautiful temples and monasteries steeped in time. Be it relaxing, sightseeing, trekking, mountaineering, fishing, para-gliding, skiing, ice skating or golf. You name it and its there. Himachal is especially famous for snow. The literal meaning of Himachal Pradesh is Region of snowy mountains. Thus it is a land of snow-clad mountains and rivers. It’s also a land of gods, goddesses and saints. There are numerous Hindu and Buddhist shrines and monasteries. Thus it is also known as Deva Bhumi (the land of the gods). Knowing all this I was very excited to go there.
I went there last year in the month of September with my family. It was a lifetime experience. The city which we saw in Himachal was the city of Shimla (capital of the mountain state of Himachal). It was established by the british to escape from the scorching heat of the plains, and thus in this way the little village of Shymala (a retreat for British officers) soon grew to become the glamorous capital of Himachal. Within and around Shimla, the public and private sector offer an enormous range of accommodation that range from modern to heritage hotels. We had a booking in one of these which was arranged by my tour operator (http://www.indiantraveldestinations.com/). It was a lovely hotel. We reached there at 11.00 in the morning. Took rest for some time and then headed for our first destination. It was the Mall -hub of Shimla’s social life. We walked down the Mall, the main promenade that runs along the top of the ridge. It is a busy shopping area with old colonial buildings, souvenir shops and restaurants which resembles an English Home County’s marketplace. The Gaiety Theatre, which is a reproduction of an old British theatre, is a center of cultural activities. Lakkar Bazaar adjacent to the Ridge is popular for its wood crafts and souvenirs. At the top end of the Mall is Scandal Point, a large open square with a view of the town. Then we also saw the elegant Christ Church with its fine stained glass windows. It was a lovely sight.
After this we went to see the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS), is India's premier academy for higher research. It was built in 1988 and is a spectacular english renaissance-inspired grey-stone structure with superb Burma teak woodwork on the interiors. It is surrounded by magnificent grounds and also has a small museum, known as the Himachal State Museum. It has collections of Pahari miniatures, stone sculpture, local handicrafts, textiles and embroidery. It is also famous for ancient historical sculptors and paintings of Himachal Pradesh. Then we saw the famous Jakhoo Hill which is Shimla’s highest point and offers a panoramic view of the town’s hills and distant mountain ranges. There are spectacular views at sunrise and sunset especially during the monsoons. It was mind-blowing. The peak also has a temple dedicated to "Lord Hanuman" known as the Sankat Mochan Mandir. Our tour operator told us the famous legend about the temple. Legend has it that he stopped here while searching for the sanjivini plant – the herb required to cure Laxman who lay mortally wounded on a battlefield in Lanka in an episode from the epic Ramayana. A variation of the legend says that his sandal fell here. Thanks to our agent who took us to this famous place. Last but not the least was the visit to the Daranghati Sanctuary , located in the upper area of the Shimla district and has an undisturbed forest area with plenty of wildlife. There is a network of bridle paths in the sanctuary. The area is ideal for those who love to trek.
It was the end of our Shimla tour. Like always I want to thank the team of http://www.indiantraveldestinations.com/ without whose cooperation our tour had not been enjoyable. Our tour covered all the major destinations and delivered the best through meticulous planning. Thanks a lot for arranging an excellent trip for us.