Shimla is built on a central ridge, around which seven peaks jut out into the sky. The most famous address and titillatingly named Scandal Point is so named because of the number of romantic rendezvous that were once routinely arranged there. While the erstwhile British summer capital of Shimla has numerous attractions, I pick out the best ones.
Jakhu Temple – Perched atop a hill, this temple is dedicated to the Hindu God ‘Hanuman’. Its an uphill forty minute climb from the ridge and the views enroute are fabulous. The monkeys can be a nuisance and are known to take away spectacles among other things. One temple on the top also has footsteps, supposedly of Hanuman and is a revered site. There are sweeping valley views from the top.
Viceregal Lodge – The Viceregal Lodge was built by Lord Curzon to serve as an official residence for the British Viceroys, it now houses the Institute of Advanced Studies. Admire the oak and rhododendron forests on the way to this grand structure set amidst beautifully manicured gardens.
The 2.5 km walk from Scandal Point is a part of Shimla’s Heritage Walk and don’t miss the very old Grand Hotel, Kalibari Temple and the regally named Gorton Castle along the way.
Gaiety Theatre – Gaiety Theatre was once a social centre of town, and sometimes still hosts exceptional plays. It used to be the stage for Rudyard Kipling. The auditorium inside is marvellous and the stone walls from the outside are beautiful too. While walking from The Ridge, take a look at the cool architecture at the Town Hall.
Himachal State Museum & Library – Exquisite wood carvings, coins and jewellery, manuscripts from Kangra & Rajasthan, paintings of Shimla, arms and armoury are present here. It’s an hour long walk from the Scandal Point. The United Services Club & Shimla Heritage Museum are worth a look.
Christ Church – Located at the far end of The Ridge, Christ Church looms large on the skyline and is Shimla’s most famous address. The architecture is delightfully British and the construction itself is at least 150 years old. Sadly the elegant frescoes originally adorning the place have been destroyed but the stained glass windows are particularly intricate. If you are here on a Sunday, do not miss the morning service.
Oberoi Cecil – One of the oldest luxury hotels of our country, this is surely Shimla’s classiest hotel. The central atrium has gorgeous colonial architecture and the bar and restaurant is a must visit, even if staying here is steep. The staff is very warm and friendly in assisting for recommended places to visit nearby.
Prospect Hill & Summer Hill – There are breathtaking views and a Kamna Devi Temple at Prospect Hill. Summer Hill is home to Manorville, a mansion where Mahatma Gandhi once stayed. Its a good place for pleasant walks. History buffs would like to know that it was from here that Gandhi, along with Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Maulaza Azad and other freedom fighters set out to meet Viceroy Lord Wavell in June 1945 for discussions about India’s independence.
The Glen & Annandale – The Glen was so named due to its similarity to the Scottish Highlands in Glencoe. It’s approximately a 4 km walk from Scandal Point. Annendale is a pretty flat green meadow on the way to The Glen. It was once the site of a famous racecourse and the British Colonials organised cricket and polo matches here.
Have I missed anything that you would like to add? Feel free to comment below.