Set in the hills of the state of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla became popular in the 1800s and early 1900s as a summer holiday destination for the British escaping the heat of other areas of India… even Rudyard Kipling spent several of his summers here.
Since the departure of the British from India, it has become a popular holiday destination for well-to-do Indians, and for good reason. The weather in Shimla is cool most of the year, the views from all around town are spectacular, and the hotels and facilities of this town are top-notch. At times it felt like we were in a village in Switzerland rather than India – I can see why so many Indians flock here for their holidays.
Another big benefit is that motorised traffic is banned from the main ridge-top streets of Shimla, making it a wonderfully quiet escape from the usual madness of Indian traffic.
Ironically, we got honked at while taking the above photo!
We spent a few days in Shimla – walking around the town, hiking up to a temple with a giant Hanuman statue at the top of the hill, and sitting in cafes or our awesome hotel room waiting for the rain to stop. It was a lovely and relaxing few days which we enjoyed immensely.
One of the main reasons for passing through Shimla was to take the “toy train”, which winds along the hills and through 102 tunnels and over 988 bridges as it snakes its way to Kalka. This train has been operating since 1906, and provided was a lovely 6 hour ride. Even though the seats were really uncomfortable, it was nice to just sit and gaze out the window at the beautiful scenery passing us by.