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What to See and Do in Shimla – a guide to notable attractions and landmarks

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High above sea level in the Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh, surrounded by snow-capped mountain ranges, pine tree-crammed forests, and fruit-filled orchards, this bustling hill station has been a summertime retreat from the sweltering northern Indian lowlands since Colonial days. It’s still as popular as ever, with plenty of Indian newlyweds, citied-out families and foreign visitors, who enjoy the novel mix of Colonial-era buildings, a refreshing mountain breeze, and a bustling Indian town.
Viceregal Lodge

 

 

One of Shimla’s most iconic colonial buildings, Viceregal Lodge was constructed in 1888, as the grand official residence of the British viceroys. Its structure was built in the Renaissance Revival style, and is adorned with arched windows and carved columns, while its interior is home to old world teak panelling. The grounds too, are stunningly well-kept, with lush grass lawns and flower beds. You can take a tour of the house with or without a guide, before watching the sunset over the Himalayas from the grounds. Jakhu Temple

 

 

Soaring above Shimla atop Jakhu Hill, the bright red Hanuman statue at Jakhu Temple is definitely a sight you won’t miss. A steep 30-minute hike from the Ridge, the trek is worth it just for the lunchtime dhal – or lentil curry – and rice, which you can grab from the dining hall for a donation. Devotional music floats around on the mountain breeze, while Hindu devotees pray to Hanuman – the older part of the temple is home to a small shrine surrounded by colorful murals. You can admire the wide-reaching panorama of snow-topped Himalayan peaks before heading back to town.

 

State Museum

 

 

This brightly painted white and blue building – another striking landmark from the Victorian era – is the place to go if you fancy a look at fascinating old artefacts and Indian paintings. Once the private residence of a string of notable British gentleman, it’s now home to a vast collection of ancient art, including sculptures, paintings, and photographs. There are also other rare objects in the form of weapons and coins, as well as a collection of dolls from Himachal Pradesh.

 

Chadwick Falls

 

 

Get your walking boots on for the scenic walk from Shimla to Summer Hill, on the outskirts of Shimla, and then onwards to Chadwick Falls. Icy clear water rushes out from the rocks into a deep gorge at this mist-shrouded beauty spot. It’s set within the Glen – a dense forest brimming with pine trees that was once a favourite leisure spot for the British, who found it reminded them of the Scottish wilds. You can hike to the Falls, which are at their best in autumn after the monsoon.