In this post I am going to cover attractions near Shimla such as Naldehra, Kufri, Jakhoo temple, Mashobra and Kalka Shimla Railway and reaching Shimla, accommodation and food. Read my first post on Shimla and the page on Himachal Pradesh for more information.
Attractions around Shimla
Kalka Shimla Railway
Running between Kalka and Shimla over a distance of 96 km, Kalka Shimla Railway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The highest elevation is at Shimla ~2200 m. The views of the hills and the villages are mesmerizing. The train takes on average 5.5 hours to cover the distance on a narrow gauge (2′ 6″ track). In comparison the road journey from Chandigarh takes approx. 3 hours.
Located at about 35 km from Shimla, Kufri is a popular destination in Himachal Pradesh among honeymooners. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Himachal Pradesh. During warmer months the weather is pleasant and the area is lush green. During winter months the weather is freezing cold and the area is covered in a blanket of white snow, making it a beautiful sight. One of the oldest places in India, where skiing is done.
Mashobra is less frequently visited small town near Shimla. Out of the two Presidential retreats in India, one is in the vicinity of Mashobra. It is an ideal place for travelers seeking solitude and and serenity with natural beauty. In the season, one can go for walk in apple orchards in Mashobra.
Naldehra, a small town about an hour’s drive from Shimla. Similar to Kufri this place is for those seeking to be close to nature but avoid places frequented by tourists. Naldehra has a grand 18 hole golf course which is one of the oldest and in the scenic surroundings. Pony rides are also available to go around the hills and get a view of the golf course.
This temple is dedicated to Hindu deity, Hanuman and it is located on the Jakhoo Hill, the highest peak in Shimla at ~ 2500 m. It is believed that Hanuman stopped here while searching for Sanjivani Booti to revive Lakhmana. At 108 feet in height, the statue of Hanuman is probably the tallest statue of a standing deity and is easily visible from the Mall Road. One can take a cab to reach the temple (roads have steep gradient). Recently a ropeway has been constructed.
By rail: Nearest broad guage station to Shimla is Kalka ~90 km. Kalka – Shimla toy train is a wonderful experience and takes about 5.5 hours to cover the distance. Taxis are also available from Kalka to reach Shimla.
By road: Chandigarh Shimla highway is in good condition and the driving time required is about 3 hours and distance is approx. 120 km.
By air: Shimla airport is located in Jubbarhatti about 22 km from Shimla. However limited flights are operated to this airport. For practical purposes the major airport near Shimla is Chandigarh.
Within Shimla city many options are available around the Mall Road. One advantage of staying here is that you are close to the happening places in Shimla like the Ridge, the Christ Church and the Mall Road. If you are looking for a little isolation and solitude but still want to be in Shimla, you can look for options in Lakkar Bazar area.
Some of the premium and heritage style options in and around Shimla are: (1) Oberoi Cecil Shimla (2) Wildflower Hall, An Oberoi Resort, Chharabra (3) WelcomHotel Mashobra by ITC (4) Clarkes Hotel on the Mall Road and (5) Radisson Jass near the Lakkar Bazar in Shimla. Other options on the medium and economical side are (1) The Snow Valley Resorts (2) Kapil Hotel and (3) Honeymoon Inn.
Food & drinks
Similar to its natural beauty, Himachali cuisine is aromatic and flavorful. The influence of Punjabi and Tibetan style is clearly seen. Options to eat range from street side stalls, authentic cafes and restaurants. Most of the hotels also have their restaurants. Aloo Parathas and Rajma – Rice is universally available. Momos are available at street food joints and restaurants. Other traditionally Himachali dishes that can be tried are (1) Dham: which is a combination of dal, rajma, rice and curd. (2) Babru: A Himachali variation of the north Indian Kachori (3) Chana Madra – a dish cooked in oil and spices, consists mainly of chickpeas or vegetables.
Locally brewed wines such as apple, apricot and plum can be tried for different experience to the traditional options.
Notable places to experience are (1) The Restaurant at the Oberoi Cecil (2) HPTDC restaurant – Asiana and Goofa at the Mall Road, (3) Wake and Bake Cafe at the Mall Road for the breakfast (4) Himachali Rasoi for the traditional Himachali food and (5) The Brew Estate can be tried for freshly brewed beers. If you are taking a leisurely walk along the Mall Road – one can try several options from Momos, traditional Indian sweets, to pastries and pizzas.
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*** My travel experiences before the COVID-19 pandemic.