Posted 17 November 2022

Why you should experience the magic of Shimla during winter

Visiting hill stations in the summers is on everyone's list. However, traveling to hill stations during the winter months is not unheard of. During winters, hill stations are at the peak of their beauty, and you’re really missing out if you don't pay a visit.

Himachal Pradesh's capital, Shimla, is a favorite destination for tourists. It is steeped in colonial history because it was the summer capital during the British era India. It has colonial houses, market places, lakes and snow-capped mountains, making it picturesque. Shimla's beauty increases abundantly during the winters.

Being a capital city, Shimla is well-connected by all mediums of transport. It is a good place for adventure seekers and people looking for quiet time in nature's lap. There are many activities you can enjoy in Shimla.

But here are the top 5 reasons to visit Shimla during the winter season -

1. Historical importance

It got its name from the Hindu Goddess Shyamala Devi. Shimla city is also rightfully known as the 'Queen of Hills'. It has a distinct colonial history that makes it one of the most beautiful towns you will ever visit. You can still find the old buildings, and huge houses where British Excellencies lived, and bazaars filled with local fresh produce. British encounters with Indian culture gave it a distinct identity. The Victorian and Elizabethan eras inspired its architecture and then were adopted by the Indian hilly architecture. Strolling is the favourite activity of the natives as well as tourists. You can start your stroll from Mall Road and end it around any eatery.

Apart from the historic architecture, you will also find the religious places in Shimla that are evident in India's cultural and religious harmony. For example, the Jakhu/Jakhoo Temple, a Hindu pilgrimage site, and the Christ Church are fine examples of colonial architecture. You can trek to these places and others while staying in Shimla.

2. Wildlife

Shimla is strategically placed, and so you get to enjoy woods and wood life creatures. You can find many wildlife animals and beautiful birds in Shimla. The jungles in Shimla are not only beautiful but also have an element of mystery attached to them. In case you like that mysterious, spooky ambience, then strolling in Shimla will not disappoint you. There are several wildlife sanctuaries like Shimla Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary, Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary and Chail Sanctuary, among the many famous Himalayan bird parks and animal reservations located in Shimla.

Read more about: Wildlife Tourism: Fifteen best National parks in India for a memorable wildlife experience

3. Ambience

Shimla is perfect at providing ambience for every mood. Its snowfalls and cold season are best for the honeymooners, picturesque beauty is ideal for sightseers, and the fresh and pollution-less atmosphere is suitable for the elderly and children. Though a hill station, Shimla has an enjoyable nightlife for youngsters. It is good for recreational activities as well. During winters, the Shimla administration organises the winter carnival for everyone. It has a fashion show, ice skating and snow-related games like snowman making and snowball fights.

Taking the Kalka Shimla toy ride will be a beautiful journey you can make that will fill your heart with peace and soothe your mind, thanks to the scenic beauty.

4. Spirituality

Shimla sits in the Himalayan mountain ranges' lap, making it the ideal place for meditation, especially during the winter season. Fog and cold weather will give a much-needed boost to your spirituality. There are also many religious places near Shimla that hold the highest of significance in Hinduism. Apart from Jakhu/Jakhoo Temple, you can visit Kali Bari Temple, Tara Devi Temple, Sankat Mochan Temple and Hatkoti Temple. All of these temples are located either on the river banks or in the hills. By visiting them, you will find solace in the temples and the nature surrounding them.

5. Winter sports

Shimla is great for adventure lovers. You can take simple strolls, trek in the woods on your own or sign up for adventure sports. Following are some of the adventure sports in Shimla:

  • River Rafting: It is better for youngsters and adults and is a great way of viewing nature in its raw form. The ideal time for river rafting in Shimla is from October to February.
  • Paragliding: It is a must for you if you wish to soar like a bird. It is best suited for youngsters and adults. The ideal time for paragliding in Shimla during winters is from October to November.
  • Camping: It is ideal for families as well as youngsters. The ideal time for camping is from December to January.
  • Ice skating: You can participate in ice skating at Shimla's winter carnival. There are many ice skating rings in Shimla that cater to tourists. It is a game that can be enjoyed in winters only. The best time for ice skating in Shimla during winters is from October to February.
  • Mountain biking: Mountainous region around Shimla makes it perfect for mountain biking. It is ideal for youngsters, couples and adults. If you are with family or have children with you, then you can opt for simple cycling. The best time for mountain biking in Shimla during winters is from September to October.

Read more about- Adventure destinations in India - The ultimate guide for every adventure enthusiast

Places to visit in Shimla

Shimla is loaded with numerous tourist spots for you to visit, which include:

  • Moshbara: A small sleepy town not too far away from Shimla city. Moshbara is a place for people who wish to enjoy nature from the city. It doesn't have the crowds of Shimla, and therefore, becomes an ideal spot. Visit it to participate in your adventure sports.
  • Kufri: Just like the Moshbara, Kufri is a quaint little town near Shimla city. It is situated on a hill at the height of 8607 ft. You get the best panoramic mountains and ridge views from Kufri. Valleys and the snow-capped mountains in the background give it the tranquillity and the beauty that you may seek.
  • Annandale: It is a beautiful small army town in Shimla. During winters, it gets covered with snow completely. You can stay here just to experience the white snow's beauty or participate in snow-related adventure sports. Watching sunsets and sunrise from here should be on your bucket list of the top 5 reasons to visit Shimla during the winter season.
  • The Mall Road: The Mall Road is the central spot in Shimla and heaven for shoppers and food lovers. It is well-connected to all the important spots in the city. Mall Road also offers nightlife, and the food is the best you will get at an affordable price. Shops on the Mall Road hold all the excellent products of the local makers.
  • Visceral Lodge: It was the Viceroy's abode during the summer months. It is a pre-independence structure that is preserved for history lovers and architecture enthusiasts. Visit the place to enjoy quiet family time at the gardens surrounding the lodge. It is situated on the second tallest hill in Shimla.
  • Johnnie's Wax Museum: Families and children enjoy visiting Johnnie's Wax Museum, and therefore, it is a famous family spot in Shimla. In the museum, you will find replicas of eminent personalities, like Gandhiji and famous movie characters from Harry Potter to James Bond.

Travel tips for Shimla

Shimla, a hill station, has a travel advisory that you must follow while visiting it, especially during the winter months. Although Shimla is a safe tourist spot, it is always nice to take precautions.

  • Bring warm clothes: It is a hill station, so by default, you need to have warm clothes with you. You must bring a few extra sweaters and scarves to keep you warm if you visit during winters. Also, nice pair of sports shoes and warm socks will go a long way in Shimla.
  • Carry your medication: Shimla weather is comforting, but it might not suit people with weak immunity. Therefore, keep your dose of cold and first aid with you.
  • Take care of your luggage: It is a travel advisory for all tourist destinations. Keep an eye on your luggage and valuables. Also, while having strolls or shopping in the market, be careful with your money.
  • Carry identifications: Being an Indian citizen, you may not have to show your identification at every place you visit. Still, keep at least one identification proof with you all the time. While participating in adventure sports, they might ask for your age proof. Many places, these days, also ask for COVID-19 vaccination proof. So, keep that with you.

Climate in Shimla

The beautiful and soothing climate and the atmosphere are among the top 5 reasons to visit Shimla during the winter season. The weather in Shimla can be harsh during winter but that makes it all the more exciting and beautiful. There are many places and activities that specially cater to tourists during winters. Even if you don't want to participate in sports and are just there for the calm and nature, then rent a cabin and spend your days drinking tea while reading a good book and enjoying the serene view by the fireside.

How to reach Shimla?

Shimla is well connected by all modes of transport, making it convenient for visitors to

reach. Here are the options of how you can reach Shimla:

  • By air: Shimla has an airport in Jubbarhatti at a distance of 23 km from the city. The functions of this airport can be affected by the weather conditions. Alternatively, you can opt for Chandigarh Airport, which caters to visitors all year longand falls on the IndiGo Chandigarh flight route . After reaching Chandigarh, you will have to make a road or rail trip to Shimla. It is at a distance of 120 km, but the journey will be worth the time because of the scenic beauty of the mountains.
  • By rail: Shivalik Express runs to Shimla from the major junctions of India. Shimla has a motor gauge near Kalka, and you can make a six-hour journey from Kalka to Shimla and vice versa. Shimla is most accessible by rail route through the Delhi Junction. Many trains reaching Shimla are designed especially for tourists. You can travel by toy train or the vista train, an open-roofed train that will show you glimpses of Shimla's nature on your journey.
  • By road: Many people, especially youngsters, prefer travelling to Shimla by road because of the scenic roads. You can start your journey from Chandigarh, Delhi, Lucknow, Kullu or Dharmashala by the national highways, then take theconnecting route.

Best time to travel

The best time to visit Shimla is during summers and winters. You can escape the scorching heat of India during summers by visiting Shimla. Winters are also an ideal time to visit Shimla. Depending on weather conditions, you can enjoy different sports. For example, camping or trekking is more suitable for summers, while winter is more suitable for snow-based games and the rosy weather.

Conclusion

Shimla, with its rich colonial history and serenity of nature, should be on your bucket list. Here, you can enjoy the distinct cuisine of the hilly region, local artistry and the adventures of a lifetime. So, if you are planning a trip to Shimla, then visit in winter to experience the hill station at its finest.

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