Once the summer capital of India during the British Raj, Shimla is perhaps one of the most famous hill stations in India – whether you’re looking for a good adventure or simply yearning for the perfect tranquil getaway with the whole gang in the midst of nature and vast open spaces. It is blessed with astounding natural beauty that ranges from a colourful spring to a snowy winter that are both such a delight to experience. Shimla is therefore an ideal location for a family holiday, because there is something for everyone! With several opportunities for shopping, museum hopping and exploring the town, or setting out on trekking, go-karting, white water rafting and many more fun adventures, everyone enjoys their time in the picture postcard town of Shimla.
There are many ways to get to Shimla – the easiest way is by air. Jubberhatti airport is only 22 kilometers from town and has regular flights from Delhi. By train, the closest railway station is Kalka, which is around 90 kilometers away. From here you can either take a private taxi or book a seat in the once-in-a-lifetime experience of the toy train. By road, Shimla is well accessible from Delhi (370 kilometers), but the city of Chandigarh is much closer – 117 kilometers.
Here is a comprehensive list of things that you can do along with your family in Shimla:
(Also read: Top 8 Honeymoon Destinations in Himachal Pradesh)
Arrive in Style in the Toy Train
The Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge train that traverses the scenic, mountainous route to reach Himachal’s capital city is lovingly known as the toy train. This train, covering a track of 96 kilometers, first began in 1898, and is still going strong today. It is a proud member of the UNESCO list of mountain railways World Heritage Sites, and it is no surprise, because the train is equal amounts jaw dropping scenery, unbridled joy and engineering marvel. With 107 tunnels and 864 bridges along the route and a dramatic view of the mountains and the nearby villages, the toy train is the only way to get into Shimla if you want to do it in style.
Shopping Spree in Lakkar Bazaar
Lakkar Bazaar is a small marketplace located near the ridge in Shimla that is famous all over the world for its wooden articles. It is said that a century ago, a group of Sikh craftsmen migrated here from the town of Hoshiarpur in Punjab. Lakkar bazaar has only grown in reputation since then, most famous for its intricate wooden handicrafts, toys and delicately carved walking sticks. Its the perfect place to enjoy a family shopping spree in Shimla.
Go-karting and Sunset Views in Kufri
Located only 20 kilometers from Shimla, Kufri is a hill station that is most famous today for being the highest point in the surrounding region. The sunsets in Kufri are a sight to behold and it is a wonderful picnic spot for the whole family. Kufri is also home to Fun World, which has a go-karting track and other adventure rides nestled among dense apple orchards.
Visit Jakhoo Temple
The historic Jakhoo temple is said to be a resting place of Lord Hanuman while he was on the lookout for the Sanjeevani herb to cure Lord Lakshmana. Located about 3 kilometers uphill from the Ridge in Shimla, the walk to Jakhoo is a refreshing short hike among rhododendron and pine. Excellent views of the surrounding Shivalik ranges can be seen from the top of the hill, where the temple is situated. Here you will also find the world’s tallest statue of Lord Hanuman, a mind-boggling 108 feet high – surpassing the world famous Christ the redeemer statue in Rio, Brazil by 10 feet!
Admire the Viceregal Lodge
It is a lesser known fact that Shimla was once the summer capital of India during the British Raj. The Viceregal Lodge was the summer residence of the Viceroy of India at that time. This imposing building is a sight to behold, built in a Jacobethan style with blue limestone and grey sandstone. Among other luxuries like sprawling grounds and intricate interiors, it also holds an indoor tennis court. Today, a part of it is converted into a museum holding some precious artefacts, while the rest of it has been converted into the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, where scholars do their post-doctoral research.
Spend an Evening at the Ridge
The iconic ridge is literally and metaphorically the beating heart of Shimla. It is a large open and elevated space located along the mall road, which is the hub of all cultural and social activity of the town. You haven’t really relaxed in Shimla if you haven’t spent at least one evening on the ridge, chilling with the locals, having hot chai and bhutta. Watch out for the beautiful Christ Church located on one end of the ridge built in fascinating neo-Gothic style of architecture.
River Rafting in the Sutlej
The swift flowing river Sutlej is the ideal spot to indulge in a bit of adventure around Shimla. White water rafting through the gushing Sutlej waters is one of the most exhilarating experiences you will have over here as a family. You do not need any prior training in the sport, as the guides are well trained and provide you with the right equipment. A short trip usually takes you five to eight kilometers through the river rapids. More experienced rafters can go for longer trips in more advanced locations along the river.
Trekking along the Hills
Perhaps the best way to experience the beauty of Shimla is on foot, hiking through the dense slopes covered by pine, fir and rhododendron. There are many excellent beginner and intermediate hiking trails around Shimla that are excellent for a family outing. For example, Chharabra and Naldehra hills are great options for day treks. More advanced trekkers can look at the Hattu Peak trek via the Sutlej valley.
This is just a taste of the incredible things you can do with your family in Shimla. To know more or for help with your customized itinerary, get in touch with TripFactory! Start planning your family holiday.
Also read: Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations in India