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Great Himalayan Journey
 
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About Shimla
 
Shimla, was the Summer capital of India under British rule . Presently, it is the state capital of Himachal Pradesh, with its population around 1.6 lacs (Shimla town only). Shimla has seen many important historical events such as the famous Shimla Pact between India & Pakistan which was signed here.

Formerly the summer capital of British India, Shimla drives its name from Shyamala the goddess whose temple is situated in the thickly wooded hill region of Jakhoo. In the early 19th century palling through various phases of Gurkha was the young Captoin Kennedy decided to build the first permanent residence in 1822 to get relief from the heat of the plains this and settle in cool, healthy climate. Subsequently it was nurtured and popularized by the government, the elite and the traders. This is the largest hill station in the world associated with the 'Old Raj'. Situated on the lower spurs of North-west Himalayas at a height of 2205 mts it has always enticed and cast a rare spell on anyone who once sets his foot on these slopes.

The sun in Shimla rises from behind the Jakhoo Hill in the east and sets over the State Museum in the west. Most of the points being on hill tops, command an excellent view of Himalayan grandeur and Shimla town. These walks pass through hill town's charming heritage buildings.

Places to Visit : -
JAKHOO HILL : Access by car, pony trek. 2kms. From town, 2,455 mts. Highest point of Shimla.
'Jakhoo' is believed to be derived from Yaku after Yaksha. The hill is legendary abode of Yakshyas, Kinnars, Nagas and Asuras. Legend says that sudden landing of Hanuman flattened the hill. There is an excellent view of sunrise, mountains and town.
JAKHU TEMPLE : Access by car via Nav Bahar Chowk, ponyride/ walk from Ridge.
Ancient historical temple of Hanuman, the Monkey God. A legend says that Hanuman's sandals fell here. Presence of monkeys.
NAV BAHAR : Access by car.
Behind St. Bede's College in Himachal's floriculture and fruit processing unit. Walk through poly houses and nurseries. Retail of Himalayan rare plants. Sale of pure apple, rhododendron and other juices, squash, canned fruit, jams, pickles, etc. at factory price. There is a well maintained Cemetery nearby. Charming drive, excellent view of Sanjauli, Kasumpti and Junga.
SRI SANKAT MOCHAN : Access by car/bus, 8 kms.
Sri Sankat Mochan temple of Hanuman ji was built by Baba Neem Karori Maharaj. This temple is made of stone in natural peacefull surroundings, Shodasa (Lord Ganesh) Dravidian temple. Weekly 'bhandara', marvelous view of twinkling lights of Shimla town at night time.
PROSPECT HILL : Access by car/ bus. Climb 2 kms. From Boileauganj.
Kamna Devi Temple , also known as Krera Devi Mandir, situated on the summit of Prospect Hill. Moon rise and sun set can be seen here together, a steep meandering path admist forests leads to this place. Temple dedicated to Durga Mata, believed to have been built by Rana of Junga. Also known as Kamna Devi, as wishes are believed to be fulfilled, after praying here. Excellent view of Jutogh, Subathu, Tara Devi. Solan district, Old Shimla- Kalka bridle path and Choor Chandni Dhar.
INDIAN INSTITUJTE OF ADVANCED STUDIES : Access by car/ foot via Chaura Maidan. 1,983 mts. Built in 1998, atop Observatory Hill by Henry Irwin, a renowned architect during the tenure of Lord Dufferin 1884-88. Made of Himalayan grey stone and Burmese teak wood. Formerly known as Vice regal Lodge, once the residence of Viceroys of Imperial Raj. After independence , this was converted into Rashtrapati Niwas. Donated by President Dr. S. Radhakrishan for higher studies. Renamed Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. Renowned center of academic research. Spacious lawns and gardens.
BIRD'S SANCTUARY : Access by car, 4 kms.
Near Peterhof an HPTDC hotel, is the Himalayan Bird Sanctuary. Exotic, rare colourful birds.
HIMACHAL STATE MUSEUM : Access by car. 3 kms. This is Housed in Inverarm, an old colonial building. Ancient historical sculptures, Pahari miniature paintings, philately, coins , landscapes, Gandhi gallery, etc. reflecting the cultural heritage of Himachal and Shimla. Has a historical letter box which the British had got from Dharamsala. Breathtaking view of Shimla's sun set.

Shimla on Wheels : -
This toy train's heritage route is especially meant for tourists driving upto Shimla, who have missed out the charm and romance of travelling by Shimla's mountain train. Termed as 'Scientific Fiction' and started in 1903, this unique railway track of the world, was been declared a 'World Heritage' site by UNESCO and finds mention in the Guiness Book of Railway Facts From Shimla, the train's heritage route is via Summer Hill, Jutogh, Tara Devi and Shogi. The train moves slowly zig-zagging sometimes around 480 . And then it goes across beautiful bridges over sparkling streams in dense forests. Sometimes it disappears into long dark tunnels. This particular stretch has eighteen tunnels including two of the longest tunnels of the Shimla- Kalka track. One of them is tunnel no. 103 and the other is the Tara Devi tunnel. Just watch those old beautiful lanterns which give red and green signals still in use today !
TARA DEVI : Access by car : Alight at Shogi railway station to take a taxi for Tara Devi Temple.
Access by trek: Alight at Tara Devi railway station. 4 kms. Via Homestead, a halting and picnic point. Climb through forests of Oak to ancient Tara Devi temple also once called Bhagwati temple. Was called Shubhsthan since centuries. Believed that before the temple was built, a statue of Devi Mata existed here. Tara Devi temple was built by a Raja, who had vowed that he would build a 'mandir' here, if his ailing son recovered.
Lord Shiva's temple on the northern side of Tara Devi temple. Built by Bawas of Udasis sect. Walk down to Shogi from the Tara Devi temple's back side or take the train back to Shimla.
Boy's Scout Hut and Physical Training Centre.

Woods- N- Valleys : -

LONGWOOD : A long shady walk, which gives the best views of the grandeur of snowy ranges. Green Gates, a heritage building.
PINE MOUNT : Via Dhalli on National Highway.
Asia's thickest deodar (Himalayan Cedar) forest. In autumn creepers clinging to the trees, give brilliant shades of red and orange colours.
KALYANIHELIPAD : 8 miles ft. near Chhrabra.
Level ground giving excellent views from 3 sides. Seasonal flower nursery.
KUFRI : 13 kms. 2,633mts.
Small village. Excellent view of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Pirpanjal and Shiwalik ranges from a height. Valley dotted with hamlets, orchards and snowy slopes in winter. Trek or pony ride to Mahasu peak and small temple of Lord Shiva.
INDIRA TOURIST PARK : 15 kms.
Mini zoo. Bhojpatra trees on which ancient texts like the Ramayana were written. Yak and pony riders.
MASHOBRA & CRAIGNANO : 13 kms. 2,149 mts.
Summer retreat of reformer ruler of Faridkot. St. Crispin's church, kali Mandir, Fruit Research Station having exotic trees and plants. Craignano-3 kms away. In 1920, Chevalier Peliti made an Italian type of villa named Carignano in 29 acres. Annual Sipi fair, a hill fair in honour of Sepu Devta, also to view hill belles for matrimony. Have trees which are mentioned in history like Weeping Willows which were grown from a witting over Napoleon's grave in St. Helena. Ideal walks admist oak and pine.
NALDEHRA : 6,700 ft. 23 kms from Shimla enroute to Tattapani.
Once called Nal Deo. Ancient temple of Mahunag. Lord Curzon named his daughter Lady Alexandra Naldehra after the beauty of this place. Also laid a golf course, once India's oldest and highest golf course, still in use. Pony rides.

Misty Meadows : -
Ideal for quiet and lesser know places.
Shimla-Kufri-Fagu-Narkanda-Hatu Peak


FAGU : 22 kms. 2,510 mts.
View of two valleys opposite each other, having orchards.
TUNGESHWARI TEMPLE : 4 kms by vehicle. It is situated in Tungesh village. Mixture of Pahari and Gothic architecture. Rishi Vashist meditated here and Rama visited during Treta. Discovered / developed by a scientist saint, Swami Avikeshwranad in 1962.
NARKANDA : Access by car. 64 kms. 9,000 ft.
Gurkhas had once built a fortress here in nineteenth century and the Sutlej Valley offers a splendid view of snow- scapped Mountains of the inner Himalayas. Trekker's delight in summer and skier's paradise in winter. Trek or pony ride on meadows called domdi locally. Narkanda is Himachal's answer to Kashmir's Gulmarg. Himalayan horse-chestnuts (Aesculus indica) locally called khanor, are grown.
HATU PEAK : Access by jeep. 4 kms. Pony & trek. 3 kms. 7 kms from Narkanda. (3,300 mts.)
Temple of Kali Devi worshipped locally as Hatu Piru. Two huge rocks on the peak are called Bhimsen-ka-chulha from Mahabharata epic. Local annual fair is held. A path leads to a meadow, Joh Bagh. Area abounds in medicinal herbs, walnuts, conifers and alpine vegetation.
Tanijubbar Lake : Access by car
8 kms from Narkanda on Thanedhar road and half kilometer upwards from Jarlo, is Tanijubbar, an enchanting lake. Temple of Naag Devta. Local fair called Chattermukh held annually in May-June.

Himalayan Heights : -
Shimla-Kufri-Indira Tourist Park-Chail-Dochi-Sadhupul-Kandaghat
CHAIL : Access by car/bus. 43 kms . 2,226mts.
Chail Palace, a heritage hotel. Once the summer palace of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh and later of his son Maharaja Yadvendra Singh of Patiala, reminder of lavish life style of royalty in a remote place. Built in 1891, 100mts, higher then Shimla, on Rajgarh Hill in 75 acres. Has the world's highest cricket pitch, wild life and Sidh Baba ka Mandir.
Excellent view of Choor Chandni' (mountain of silver bangle), twinkling lights of Shimla at night and walks among majestic pines
DOCHI : Access by car/bus.
Another charming residence of Maharaja of Patiala. Retails Himalayan plants, gladioli and other flowers. Area abounds in nurseries (like Rajeev Flowers) having honey, pickles, rabbit's merino products like shawls, orchards of stone fruit.
SADHUPUL : Access by car/ bus
Charming place on banks of Ashwini river in open valleys. Old Durga Mata temple. Scenic beauty, ideal halting/ picnic place. Many interesting treks along the river and in forests upto Dochi from Sadhupul bridge.
KANDAGHAT : Access by car/bus (Situated on National Highway)
It has magical allure embraced in history Conspires to lift you gently to that glorious age of grace and beauty and transports you back to the period of Maharaja of Patiala and Pandvas. Nestling amongst the towering Deodars and Pines of Himalayan slopes. The scenic beauty is fascinating. It promises variety of outdoor attractions idyllic walks, both easy and not so easy trek routes are available to BIRNI TOP, TEHAL TOP & KAROL TIBA (Pandvas cave and historic mandir).

Walker's Paradise

SCANDAL POINT : A popular though unlikely story is that the name is derived from Maharaja of Patiala's dalliances. Lala Lajpat Rai's statue re-installed here, being brought from Lahore after independence. Rendezvous place.
GENERAL POST OFFICE : This once boaoted of Imperial Shimla's Mail Tonga Service, only one of its kinds in the world. Mail brought from Kalka on tongas driven by Pathans on Kabul horses.
GRAND HOTEL : Once called Bentinck Castle. Have perhaps Shimla's only remaining rickshaw.
KALIBARI : Built in 1845. Dedicated to Kali Mata. Believed that an ancient temple of Shamla (blue female) i.e. Kali Devi existed near Rothney Castle on Jakhu. Wooden image worshipped locally. During early British days, it was removed to a wooden structure, present Kali Bari. STATE BANK OF INDIA : Once called Dalzell House. Later Imperial Bank of India in 1924.
STATE BANK OF INDIA: Once called Dalzell House. Later Imperial Bank of India in 1924.
ST. MICHAEL'S CATHEDRAL: Built of stone and teak in 1885 by Lord Ripon, at Ripon Place. Gothic style. Has structure of St. Mary, gifted by Mexicans.
GORTON CASTLE : Imposing castle made of grey Himachal stone, retains original turrets, conical roofs, arched doorways and windows. Believed to be quake and fire proof. The original house belonged to Mr. Gorton ICS in 1840. This was then rebuilt on its present lines as the British secretariat. Now Himachal's office of Accountant General.
VIDHAN SABHA : Built in 1925, the Council Chamber is now Himachal's Vidhan Sabha.
KENNEDY HOUSE : First permanent house of Shimla built in 1822(now burnt down) by Capt. Charles Pratt Kennedy.

Shopping :
Handicrafts. Shawls and tweeds. Fruit juice and jams. Honey. Quality woollens. Silver jewellery. Rare books and etchings. Contemporary pahari miniature paintings. Metalware. Rugs and carpets. Handmade footwear. Wooden items like walking sticks.

Nature :
Some routes offer a greater variety of Shimla trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns. If you are lucky some bird species can also be sighted.
 
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