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Shimla - India
Me2Desi Travel Information
Shimla, originally called Simla, is capital city of Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. In 1864, Shimla was declared the summer capital of the erstwhile British Raj in India. A popular tourist destination, Shimla is often referred to as the "Queen of Hills". Located in north-west Himalayas at an altitude of 2,130 metres (6,988 ft), the city of Shimla, draped in forests of pine, rhododendron, and oak, experiences pleasant summers and cold, snowy winters. The city is famous for its buildings styled in tudorbethan and neo-gothic architecture reminiscent of the colonial era. Shimla is connected to the city of Kalka by one of the longest narrow gauge railway routes in India. Shimla is approximately 115 km (71.4 miles) from Chandigarh, the nearest major city, and 365 km (226.8 miles) from New Delhi, the national capital. The city is named after the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu Goddess Kali. Shimla was annexed by the British in 1819 after the Gurkha War. The Kalka-Shimla railway line, constructed in 1906, added to its accessibility and popularity. In addition, Shimla was also the capital of the undivided state of Punjab in 1871 and remained so until the construction of the new city of Chandigarh (the present-day capital of Punjab). Upon the formation of the state of Himachal Pradesh in 1971, Shimla was named its capital. Pre-independence structures still dot Shimla; buildings such as the Viceregal lodge, Auckland House, Gorton Castle, Peterhoff house, and Gaiety Theatre are reminders of British rule in India. The climate in Shimla is predominantly cold during winters and moderately warm during summers. The temperatures range from 3.95 °C (39.11 °F) to 32.95 °C (91.31 °F) over the year. The average temperature during summer is between 14 °C and 20 °C, and between -7 °C and 10 °C in winter.

Employment is largely driven by the government and tourism. Government jobs account for almost half (47%) of the working population. Direct hospitality industry personnel such as tour guides, hotel and restaurant employees, etc., are few (10%). Individual crafts and small scale industries, such as tourist souvenir production and horticultural produce processing, comprise most of the remainder. The city's development plan aims make Shimla an attractive health tourism spot. The main places of interest are The Mall, Christ Church, Jakhu Hill, Shimla State Museum, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Summer Hill, Annandale, Tara Devi, Sankat Mochan, Junga, Mashobra, Kufri, Naldehra, Tatapani, Chail and Arki among others. Regional attractions are Kinnaur, Manali, Kullu Valley, Dharamsala, Chail, Chandigarh. Amritsar, Jammu etc.

Shimla has its own airport at Jubbarhatti that accommodates turbo-props. Chandigarh airport offers far better options. After landing at the airport, take a pre-paid taxi to minimize hassle. The nearest broad gauge head is at Kalka - a four-hour journey from Delhi. After that, take the mountain train from Kalka to Shimla. This railway track has recently been granted the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The view is stunning, with the line passing through an amazing 103 tunnels. A taxi from Kalka costs approximately Rs 1100 and takes about three hours. To get around, taxis are easily available and are generally hired from taxi-booths that are liberally scattered all over town.

Websites:

http://wikitravel.org/en/Shimla
http://www.hpshimla.nic.in/
http://www.indianrail.gov.in
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