Situated above 2213m Shimla, the largest hill city in India and formerly the largest in the world, is the capital of Himachal Pradesh. To the tourists it images itself as the Hill Queen of irresistible charm. With a dry refreshing breeze drifting along the calm azure, Shimla on a wide half-moon shaped ridge12kms to the N-West of the Himalayas, is exactly surrounded by soothing natural scenes.
This beautiful hill city takes it name from Goddess Shyamala. It was discovered by the British around 1819 who wanted to escape from the scorching summer heat. Shimla was accorded the status of the summer capital during british rule.
These days new palatial buildings are mushrooming to daunt the old Tudor and Georgian style cottages the british had built in Shimla. The old residences with their corrugated tin roofscast a shabby look. Shimla is an echoing green teeming with firs, oaks, deodars and pines. Lilies, rhododendrons and several other unknown flowers of the hills blossom in abundance to add to the charm of and fraganance of Shimla. The breathtaking landscape of Shimla has earned it a lot of names such as' Abode of the Little Tin Gods'. The attractive view of ice and snowfall turns it into a crowded tourist spot from the end of Dec till Feb. May- October makes the season for tourism.
Shimla is just the perfect holiday destination for those who want to relax and rejuvenate their tired nerves and its scenic beauty is ideal for a romantic stroll. The enchanting valleys and the snow-peaked hills have witnessed many romantic tales since british rule.
Apart from its hypnotizing beauty, Shimla boasts of having the best market for the handicrafts of Himachal Pradesh. Woollen and pashmina shawls, decorative items, dolls, woollen caps, carved wooden sticks, toys and other items made form wood are made in Shimla itself and are on sale in the Lakkar Bazar. There are several Tibetan shops near the Ridge famous for tibetan jewellery and trinkets.
Shimla offers a lot of adventure sports It has the only natural ice-skating rink in India. The Ice-skating Carnival organized by the Ice-skating Club every year during January is certainly a craze among the adventure lovers.
The summer festival in Shimla is a gala event. Artists from all parts of Himachal Pradesh and from other parts of the country assemble to entertain visitors with song, dance and music both Indian and Western.
Besides the summer festival, regular cultural programmes are organised in Shimla during the tourist season. The Indian Coffee House along the western Mall are famous for great coffee and mouth watering south Indian snacks. Both Indian and Western delicacies can be enjoyed at Embassy Restaurant and Park Café on the eastern mall.