10 Best Things To Do In Shimla, India: British India's Summer Capital

things to do in shimla india

Strung out along a 12 km (7.4 mile) ridge, with steep forested hillsides falling away in all directions, the Himachal capital is a good appetite-whetter for the awe-inspiring mountain tracts of the state’s interior. Shimla is one of India’s most popular hill resorts, buzzing with a happy flow of Indian vacationers and full of relics of its previous life as the summer capital of British India.

1. The Mall Road

Gaiety Theater - Mall Road - Shimla 2014-05-07 1285-1288 Compress
Source: Photo by user Biswarup Ganguly used under CC BY 3.0

The Mall Road is one of the most prevalent tourist attractions in Shimla that has numerous hotels, restaurants, clubs, bars, banks, shops, offices, post offices, and tourist offices. People can walk up and down the Mall Road at their own leisure and enjoy the scenic views of the nature, while sipping their favorite cup of tea or coffee at the various cafés available.

You can roam around on the Mall Road, visit St. Michael’s Catholic church, or take a horse ride. It’s a good place for photography and to spend nice quality time. A lot of people gather at the Ridge and Scandal point on Mall Road, as it is the place to meet and catch up with friends or just hang out with the view of the Himalayan range in the background. The Mall Road is where a sculpture of the nationalist leader, Lala Lajpat Rai, has been erected.

The Mall Road

Address: Mall Rd, Bemloi, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001, India

2. Annandale

Annandale, Shimla
Source: Photo by user Rohit Chhiber used under CC BY 2.0

A flat landscape in Shimla, Annandale has been established as the playground for the residents and visitors coming to Shimla. Situated approximately 3 km (1.8 miles) from the Ridge, Annandale is mainly used to play cricket and to organize picnics, golf tournaments and polo matches.

Annandale is an impressive and picturesque location as it imparts a charming interpretation of the city of Shimla and its environments are enveloped by deodar trees, oak trees and many other species of cedar trees. Annandale is renowned due to its allegiance with the early British officer who used this location as a playground for racing, polo, cricket and other entertaining activities.


Address: Annadale, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171003, India

3. Jakhu Temple

Jakhu Temple
Source: Photo by user Aleksandr Zykov used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Jakhu Temple is an ancient temple devoted to Lord Hanuman, an ardent devotee of Sri Rama and one of the central figures in the Hindu epic Ramayana. Legend has it that this particular temple is in possession of the actual footprints of Lord Hanuman.

Jakhu Temple is situated on the Jakhoo Hill, which is 2.5 km (1.5 miles) from the Ridge and presents stunning interpretations of the Shivalik Mountains and the nearby town of Sanjauli. It is the highest peak in Shimla and gives shelter to countless playful monkeys which can be found waiting to be fed by visitors.

Jakhu Temple

Address: Jakhu Temple Park, Jakhu, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001, India

Phone: +91 09818530514

4. Craignano

Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

This scenic destination, which was formerly the summer resort of the Italian countess of Craignano, is situated a few kilometers away from Naldehra. Encircled by beautiful oak and pine trees, this place gives a magnificent view of the gardens bursting with an abundance of flowers such as daffodils, hyacinths, asphodels and celandine. It is located approximately 18 km (11 miles) from Shimla at an elevation of 2,149 meters (7,050 feet) above sea level.

Craignano is celebrated for the beautiful Italian Villa, constructed by Chevalier Federico Peliti, a baker to the Viceroy of India. This villa was constructed using wood, amidst dense forest of oak and pine trees. Craignano is also a famous picnic spot, where activities like rock climbing, and fishing are common.


Address: Shimla-Naldehra Road, Mashobra, Shimla 171012, Himachal Pradesh, India

Phone: +91 9816078074

5. Viceregal Lodge (Rashtrapati Niwas)

Viceregal Lodge (Rashtrapati Niwas)
Source: Maxpixel

This splendid edifice was constructed in 1888 as the abode of the British Viceroy Lord Dufferin. It is situated at the observatory hills and is enclosed by well-maintained gardens and lawns, circled by beautiful pine trees and rose plants. The Viceregal Lodge, also known as “Rashtrapati Niwas” is now converted into the Indian Institute of Advanced Study and students come here for higher studies.

Designed by British architect Henry Irwin and built in the Jacobethan style, the building boasts of grey limestone edifice and is striking to look at. Due to its location at an elevation, the views from this place are fascinating and cannot be described in words.

Viceregal Lodge (Rashtrapati Niwas)

Address: Boileauganj, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171005, India

Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Sunday and Tuesday)

Website: Indian Institute of Advanced Study

6. The Ridge in Shimla

Ridge, Shimla
Source: Photo by user ShashankSharma2511 used under CC BY 3.0

The Ridge is a huge open space in the heart of Mall Road that delivers an outstanding view of the Himalayan Mountain range overwhelmed by the beauty of nature. It is one of the most well-known attractions in Shimla that is worth visiting with family and friends. The Ridge connects the Mall Road at the Scandal Point on the west side and offers a panoramic view of the snowy mountains of Shimla.

The Ridge

Address: Mall Rd, Bemloi, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001, India

7. Scandal Point

Ridge - Scandal Point - Shimla 2014-05-07 1215
Source: Photo by user Biswarup Ganguly used under CC BY 3.0

Scandal Point is one of the famous addresses in the city of Shimla and is amongst the most visited spots for tourists. ‘Scandal Point,’ where the Ridge and the Mall (road) converge, got its name in the 19th-century. As agreed upon by most people, the story goes that the then Maharaja of Patiala had eloped with the daughter of the British Viceroy. This led to the Maharaja being banished from entering Shimla by the British authorities. He contradicted the move by building himself a new summer capital - now a famous hill resort of Chail, which is 45 km (28 miles) from Shimla.

Scandal Point

Address: Mall Rd, Bemloi, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001, India

8. Christ Church

St. Michael's Catholic Church, Shimla
Source: Photo by user ShashankSharma2511 used under CC BY 3.0

Christ Church is one of the oldest churches in North India and was constructed by the British in 1857 to serve the large Anglican British community in the area. The majestic appearance of the church and its stunning location makes it a prime attraction in Shimla.

The church has stained glass windows, which signifies faith, hope, charity, fortitude, patience, and humanity. It is one of the enduring legacies of the British rule in India and Shimla’s most prevalent landmark. The church structure is constructed in the Neo-Gothic style of architecture and anyone visiting Shimla should spend some time in this magnificent structure.

Christ Church, Shimla

Address: Mall Rd, Lakkar Bazar, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171001, India

Phone: +91 01772652953

9. Kalka Shimla Railway

KSR Steam special at Taradevi 05-02-13 56
Source: Photo by user AHEMSLTD~commonswiki used under CC BY 2.5

Kalka to Shimla via toy train offers a grand view of pine covered hill tops, flora and fauna, and the characteristic representation of Shimla which makes the hills, the Queen of Hills. The toy train is the best mode of conveyance to explore the treasures of the great Himalayas. The train is currently a world heritage listed site of UNESCO and stands at fourth place. The scenic beauty which starts from Kalka to Shimla is exhilarating and delightful throughout the route.

The time to reach Shimla is around 5-6 hours. The Kalka Shimla route is 96 km (59.6 miles) long, including 103 tunnels, and every tunnel has its own story to tell. The longest tunnel, at Barog, will take around 3 minutes to complete. The Kalka Shimla train runs on a narrow-gauge track and covers main passenger points such as Dharampur, Solan, Kandaghat, Barog, Taradevi, Summer Hill and Shimla.

Bookings for the Kalka Shimla Railway can only be done one month in advance, with bookings needing to be done early in peak tourist season, especially during summer and winter. One can book during the Deepawali holidays, Christmas Eve and New Year when the bookings are not rushed. Bookings can be done online through IRCTC.

Kalka Shimla Railway

Website: IRCTC

10. Sankat Mochan Temple

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Sankat Mochan Temple is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Shimla, which is situated amid the lush green and tranquility of Himachal Pradesh. Tourists visit this temple to pay homage to the deities of Lord Rama and other notable gods of the Hindu pantheon. This spiritual destination is located approximately 5 km (3.1 miles) away from Shimla and it is the second most popular tourist spot after Jakhu Temple.

The Sankat Mochan Temple was established in the year 1950 because of a resourcefulness taken by the noted religious figure Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj, who was astonished and enthralled by the beauty of the place. He remained in the deep dark woods for ten days and decided to establish a Hindu temple on the location. This majestic temple houses the deities of Lord Rama, Lord Shiva, and Hanuman.

Sankat Mochan Temple

Address: Bagh, Taradevi, Himachal Pradesh 171010, India

Phone: +91 9450885611

The hill station with a rich colonial history

Undoubtedly the most popular hill station in northern India, Shimla has always been famous for its Mall Road, the Ridge, the Scandal Point, the toy train trip from Kalka to Shimla, the Rashtrapati Niwas and all the quintessential locations, among honeymooners and families for generations. Shimla can be visited throughout the year, as each season has its charm and the Queen of Hills shines bright through every month.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Darryl Gonsalves is a serial entrepreneur and owns Syena-Tech.com a business intelligence consultancy company and Nidago.com a web content solutions providing company both based in Mumbai, India....Read more

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