|The British empire may have ceased to exist, but its echoes linger on in Shimla (2130 m). As the summer capital&39 of the British in India, this was the country&39s focus for the better part of every year and now, it is the state capital of Himachal Pradesh. Today, its well developed facilities, easy accessibility and numerous attractions make it one of India&39s most popular hill resorts. Places in the lower ranges of the Himalaya mountains, it is surrounded by pine, deodar, oak and rhododendron forests. Within the town are a host of splendid colonial edifices, quaint cottages and charming walks. Shimla holds a variety of shopping, sport and entertainment.
The airport is at Jubbarhatti, 23 km away. Shimla is connected to Kalka by an enhancing narrow gauge railway line - wherer even a quiant rail-car plys. By road, Chandigarh is 117 km, Manali is 219 km, Chail is 45 km and Delhi is at a distance of 370 km. From Delhi, the driving time is about eight hours. From Delhi, Manali and Chandigarh, luxury coaches and taxis ply to Shimla.
Indian Institute of Advanced Study : At 1983 m, this magnificent English renaissance structure was the former Vicerega Lodge. Its lawns and woodland and added attractions. Entry by ticket nominal charge). A portion of the interior is also open to the public, except on Sundays and Holidays.
Climate : In winter, the temperature can drop below freezing point when heavy woollens are required. Summer temperatures are mild and light woollens/cottons are recommended.
Place of interest in and around Shimla :
The Ridge : This large open space in the heart of town presents excellent views of the mountain ranges. Shimla&39s landmarks - the neo-Gothic structure of Christ Chursh and the neo-Tudor library building are here.
Lakkar Bazaar : Popular for its wood crafts and souvenirs, this is just off the Ridge.
Jakhu Hanuman Temple:- No visit to the state capital Shimla is complete without visiting Jakhu Hill. This hill looms over Shimla town and is the geographical nucleus. the Hanuman temple at the top of Jakhu hill is the highest point in town. The steep climb is rewarding for the fine views it offers over the surrounding valleys, out to the snow capped peaks and over Shimla it self. the temple is only 2 km from the Ridge but it could be an hour walk for a person not used to mountain climbing. the temple is one of the most favoured spots for tourists apart from pilgrims. There are many monkeys around the temple, but surprisingly they don&39t attack people. Pilgrims offer them eatables which they readily accept. The approach to the temple is through a dense forest of deodars, though many find the climb tiresome. Ponies are available for a to and fro ride to the temple.
St. Micheal&39s Cathedral : This dressed - stone church with fine stained glass has a cruciform design. It is located just off the Mall, below the District Courts.
The Glen : At 1830 m, this is a thickly wooded ravine through which a stream flows. It is a popular picnic spot.
Annandale :- Surrounded by a thick deodar forest this large glade has an ancient temple on an edge.
Bhargaon (4 km) : Approached either past the cemetery below St. Edward&39s School, or through Tutikandi, this village ha splendid examples of traditional Himachal architecture.
Prospect Hill and Kamna Devi (6 km) : At 2125 and crowned by a temple dedicated to Kamna Devi, the Hill offers spectacular views of the area.
Sankat Mochan (7 km) : This is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman.
Chadwick Falls (8 km.) At 1586 m, these rain-fed falls are approached through Summerhill.
Tara Devi (11 km) : A thickly wooded hill whose peak has a temple dedicated to Tara Devi.
Mashobra (12 km) : At 2149 m, this beautiful subrub is surrounded by a thick forest. From here, a track leads down to Sipur which is an exquisite glade shaded by ancient deodar trees. There are old temples on a side and a fair is held every April.
KUFRI MINI ZOO ADDED ATTRACTIONS TO TOURISTS
Kufri, famous tourists spot only 16 kms. Shimla has an added attraction of Mini zoo amidst dense forest to the tourists where a rare breed of wild animals and pheasants species commonly found in Himalayan forest region have been kept in natural habitat. Spread over an area of twenty hectares of land with rich flora and fauna about 140 wild animals including pheasants of different verities &39Monal&39 the State bird of Himachal Pradesh and one of the endangered species of Himalayan region has been the other attractions of this zoo also been placed safely in this mini zoo. The other attraction of this zoo are Tibetan wolf, Brown Bear and Barking Deer. There are other popular wild animals species in the Mini zoo such as leopard, Ghoral, Samber, Himalayan Thar, Yak, black bear and number of pheasants varieties.Himalayan Nature Park has been set up at Kufri in 1992 which is spread in 90 hectare area and mini zoo has been set up in this Park which has been set up at a cost of Rs. 5 crore. Infact, Kufri was popular for winter sports especially skiing which used to be organized here till 1990 with the passage of time and due to substantial decrease in snowfall, the winter sports from Kufri shifted to other places like Dhomri in Narkanda in Shimla District and Solang Nalla in Kullu District where snow for longer duration is available during winter. Taking advantage of the space available,The Forest Department decided to restored the attraction of this popular tourist spot by establishing Himalayan Nature Park thereby giving boost to wild life tourism.
State Museum : This houses a representative collection of Himachal Pradesh&39s rich heritage exhibits inculde archeological artifacts, carvings, paintings and sculptures. Closed on Tuesdays and holidays. Himachal State Museum was opened on January 26, 1974 with the purpose of collecting and protecting the scattered cultural heritage of Himachal Pradesh particularly in the Westem Himalayan principalities.
Since then this institution has been preserving the state cultural and artistic heritage and imparting its service to acquire, conserve, and exhibit the arte- facts to educate the people. The Research Scholars and people at large visit the institution from India and abroad. The art objects displayed in the museum stand as eloquent testimony to life of the past and have their value to access the technological, artistic and religious concept. It is housed in an old double story heritage building, &39Inveram&39.
The Government of India had transferred this building having historical importance for housing the Museum. Previously, the building was a private residence of Lord William Beresford, the Military Secretary to the Viceroy for many years. After Lord William Beresford left India, the General Sir Edwin Collan occupied it and then by Sir Edward Law, the Financial member of the council. After it served as residence of Indian government officials.
Art objects in the Museum collection are mostly related to art, archaeology and cultural anthropology of Himachal and other states of India. At present Museum, has about 9000 objects in its collection. At the outset, museum started with four galleries. Since then more galleries have been added. These galleries pertain to Pre- historic, Indian Archaeology, Woodcarvings, Himachal Archaeology, Pahari Miniature Paintings Monuments, Photographs, Rajasthan paintings, Bronzes, Numismatic, Arms Gallery, Gandhi Gallery, Philatelic, Anthropological, Contemporary Art & Wall Paintings gallery. In addition to these galleries museum has one exhibition hall for arranging the exhibition and other museum activities.
Pre- Historic Gallery: -At the entrance of museum, the visitors can have a view of some fiberglass models of extinct wild animals which were used to roam in the Shivalik hills, million of years ago. In the gallery, some stone tools and fossils are on display, which show the development of technique of tools.
Wood-Carving Gallery:- Here one can find the display of wood carving and panels retrieved from the old- age temple and houses of state. There is a fine display of masks, which are still used in various religious and cultural festivities. The gallery serves as a living example of traditional wooden art of Himachal. Apart from this Some stone sculpture of Himachal are also on display.
Archaeology Gallery:- The sculpture from different parts of India are displayed here. The themes, styles and material of these sculptures provide us with a good perspective of the cultural life of the various regions and provide a comparative study of art for research. Apart from this, some terracotta&39s of Maurya, Shunga and Gupta period and pottery shreds of proto- historic period are also on display.
Himachal Archaeological Gallery: - Gallery has a unique collection of stone sculptures from different parts of the State which reflects the artistic skill of the regional artists. The sculptures of Simhavahini Durga from Hatkoti, Surya from Kullu, Vishnu and Lakshmi from Nirmand, Kartikeya from Karsog and Nidhi from Kangra are among the displayed sculpture.
Pahari Miniature Painting Gallery: - Himachal is well known for its Kangra Miniature Paintings in the art history. The miniature painting of different school like that of Kangra, Guler, Basholi, Bilaspur and Mandi etc are on display. These paintings were done on hand-made paper prepared by the prisoners of Sialkot Jail and natural colors are used in paintings. The themes of these paintings are drowned from epics, Git-Govinda,Ragmala ,Baramasa, Bihari Satsai and other secular themes.
Wall Painting Gallery:- The tradition of decorating the temples, palaces and royal houses with wall were prevalent in Himachal. The wall paintings displayed here are retrieved from the palace &39Rang Mahal&39 of Chamba and dated back to first half of 19th century A.D .
Photographs Gallery: -In up-stair one can find the display of photographs of important monuments of Himachal Pradesh. The photographs depict the hill architecture.
Rajasthan Miniature Painting Gallery:- Miniature paintings and portrait from various school of Rajasthan, i.e. Jaipur, Mewar, Buildi, Kota, Malwa,etc. are on display. In addition, some paintings of Mughal School, Sikh School and Company period are also exhibited.
Bronze Gallery:-Bronzes of different regions of Himachal are exhibited in this gallery. In addition to it bronzes of rest of India are also displayed which reflects the cultural tradition, artisanship and religious belief of the people.
Numismatic Gallery:- Coins discovered in different parts of Himachal are chronological displayed in the gallery. Gallery throws a complete light on the numismatic history of Himachal. Coins right from Punch mark i.e. first Indian coin to the present coins are on display in its chronological order. Apart from this some chart of coins showing the different types of coins issued by the ruler during their reign.