The beauty of Shimla goes beyond words and it is one of those places where you just have to go to truly experience it. This capital and largest city of the hill state of Himachali Pradesh is blessed with lush green forest cover and dotted with interesting and unique sightseeing destinations. Even before the British decided to make Shimla their summer capital after Calcutta, Shimla has been housing different tribes and communities for centuries and ages.
Being one of the best and most popular hill stations of India, Shimla caters to thousands and lakhs of tourists throughout the year. Even during the off-season people flock to Shimla not only just get some respite from the scorching summer heat of the plains or just feel closer to the scenic natural beauty where the spiritual vibe is immeasurable.
Shimla is best experienced when you go there with the right planning and scheduling. Here are some travel tips for Shimla that will help make your holiday a memorable one:
Know When to Visit
This has to be one of the most important factors of any trip. The weather conditions can make or break your holiday plans. Avoid going to the hills during the monsoon season. There are chances that the rivers may overflow and flood out the city and even cause damage and destruction to property. The month of July to mid-august should be avoided. The best time to visit Shimla is the rest of the year i.e. the summer spring months of March/April to June and from September to February. Summer temperature in Shimla ranges from 9 to 27 degrees Celsius while the winter temperature in Shimla is 9 to 4 and sometimes even below zero when you can experience fun snowfall!
Pack Right Not As Per Weather
Consider which time of the month you will be travelling to Shimla. The packing for summer and winter have one thing in common, warm clothing. No matter what time of the year you go to Shimla, be sure to pack the right amount of warm and woollen clothing because nighttime on the hills tends to get a little too chilly. Pack up the best quality of warm/thermal layers and accessories like a muffler, gloves, woollen socks and ear muffs or beanies to keep yourself warm during the coldest of winter days. Do not underestimate winter in the Himalayan hills of Shimla.
Pick Out Your Mode of Getting To Shimla
Shimla is one of the most famous hill stations in India. That being said, the government has made it possible for people from all over the world to access Shimla as much as easy as possible. You can get to Shimla via train journey, flight trip or road journey. If you are living around Shimla or Himachali like in Punjab, Haryana or Delhi, then the best way of getting to Shimla is via a fun-filled road trip or a bike ride. You can also take private Volvo buses or state-run buses. If travelling on a budget then train journey from any other part of India to Delhi or Chandigarh first and then a smaller train that will cover around 96 km of the travel journey via a Kalka train. If budget is not a problem, then a flight journey will be the best option for you. Jubbarhatti is the nearest airport located 23 km away from the main town of Shimla. Other than that the next nearest airport to Shimla is Chandigarh airport.
Book Hotels ASAP!
Shimla has accepted its popularity gracefully and caters to tourists throughout the year. This means that there is not a dearth of hotels and accommodation options to choose from. From luxury resorts and lodges to hotel rooms and hostels you can choose any type of accommodation your budget allows. However, the more options there are, the more quickly they will run out, especially during the peak tourist seasons. So it’s very important for you to make up your mind and book the hotels (after confirming and reading the reviews) ASAP!
Food to Expect
Shimla offers any type of food you wish to have. There is an endless list of cute quirky cafes, Dhabas, luxury restaurants and delicious world-class bakeries. You can pick your favourite choice from Himachali food, north and south Indian cuisine, continental food and literally anything you can imagine. It is surely a heaven for food lovers. One must visit the food trail would be at mall road which is iconic and one of the best places to explore in Shimla.
Keep the Important Documents
For a hassle-free trip and no matter where you are travelling to, it is important to pack all your updated and latest identification copies or at least have them on your phone in case of an emergency. You should pack your Aadhaar Card, license and registration if travelling in your personal vehicle and any other ID that you think will be required while travelling. For international travellers be sure to safely carry your passport along.
Save Emergency Numbers for Tourists
Being a tourist you should have all the important numbers for the place you are visiting. In Shimla, especially if you are going on a road trip to ensure the safety of the loved ones travelling with you. Here are some numbers that you should save while travelling to not just Shimla but to anywhere in Himachal Pradesh:
- Police: 100
- Ambulance: 102
- District Control Room: 1077
- Emergency Contact Number [Integrated Police/ Fire Station/ Medical Services]: 108
- Tourist Information Office (Shimla): 0177-2658302, 0177-2652561
- Tourism Information Office (Manali): 01902-253531
- Tourism Information Office (Kullu): 01902-222349
- Tourism Information Office (Dharamshala): 01892-224212
- Tourism Information Office (Dalhousie): 01899-242136
Follow Safety Precautions
Shimla is a hill station with deep valleys, jagged terrain, narrow roads and a river flowing through. The government and even the locals have set up signs ensuring the travellers stay off the riversides in some parts or not venture out alone in the forest or even litter. Whatever it is, make sure to follow all the regulations set up in place for the tourists.
These travel tips for Shimla will make your holiday in this hill town not just memorable every day but also safe for you and your loved ones to travel in peace.