'And when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful¦, this quote from Ruskin Bond, a famous Shimla author, sums up the spirit of calm that Shimla exudes.
Shimla is one of the most toured city in India. Presently the capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla has long been an attraction of tourists from the country, as well as from other parts of the world. Shimla came to prominence during the long British rule that lasted in India for close to 200 years. Often visited by high profile English royalty, visiting dignitaries, high ranked military and civil officials and members of the judiciary, Shimla soon became a place that was revered as a place tailor made for the high and mighty. Today, Shimla is as approachable as most big cities in India, despite being just a small Himalayan city. If you are visiting Shimla for the first time, you would be glad to know that cheap hotels abound in Shimla, like they do in most of the Indian cities.
Make Your Stay Cost a Bargain
Talking about budget hotels in Shimla, it must be mentioned here that Shimla is not exactly a place where you can expect to find multi-storeyed luxury establishments with hundreds of rooms and dozens of staff to tend to patrons. Instead of these, Shimla is home to over 100 well-maintained budget lodges that will not only make your stay warmer (you will need all the warmth you can get, when in Shimla) but also more memorable.
These establishments cater to tourists of all nationalities and races, and are often a melting pot of local and international culture.
Shimla's Most Luxurious Hotels
As mentioned earlier, there are not too many luxury hotels in Shimla. That, however, is not to say that Shimla has no luxury establishments whatsoever. The usual chains of luxury accommodation providers like Oberoi, Hilton, Ibis and Taj are all present in Shimla, and they provide impeccable comfort to their visitors “ albeit at exorbitantly high prices.
Amenities like Himalayan chopper tours and rope ways are often reserved for the visitors to these establishments without any extra charge incurring to them.
Boutique and Independent Choices in Shimla
Along with various budgets and luxury establishments, there is a new trend that's on the rise in Shimla. Many people, most notably wealthy expats, have bought and refurbished empty land pockets in Shimla to build luxury villas and independent lodges that draw a line that passes through somewhere between luxury and budget establishments. These independent and boutique range of establishments “ though difficult to book unless you actually get there “ is something that will definitely appeal to tourists who plan on staying for more than two weeks in Shimla. These are not exactly cheap hotels, per se, but they are certainly more affordable than, let's say, an Oberoi suite.
They also provide free parking, free Shimla tour in a private car and free airport pickups and drops.
As a Visitor in Shimla, What Should I Know?
The only thing you need to know before sightseeing in Shimla is that the city itself has much less to offer than its surroundings. If you are willing to get off your perch and take a tour of many scattered sights around the city, you will certainly find a lot more to see. From colonial British bungalows to majestic Himalayan peaks, Shimla in its full bloom is a sight worth beholding!
Your hotel in Shimla, especially if it is one of the few luxury Shimla Hotels, will be more than likely to have express facilities in place to help you get around Shimla, along with the provisions of specialist tour guides who have extensive knowledge of what it is that you should invest time in when in Shimla. Time is perhaps the only thing you will have be to be worried about in Shimla, because in the lap of snowy mountain peaks and weather that's always as fresh as a daisy, time really flies. Before you know it, it will be the time to leave for home. And in order not to be left reeling, you need to manage your time better.
Apart from various peaks and historical buildings “ especially the Viceroy House and the President's Retreat “ there is much more to see and do in Shimla. If you are an avid foodie, you will get to eat the best of Himalayan cuisines, yak milk tea, exquisite milk sweets and homemade Pashmina shawls. Shimla is also famous for its ingenious tea leaves that are often priced much too high for tourists' liking. But if you get a chance, make it a point to take a few ounces home when you want to embark on a nostalgia trip to Shimla beauty.
Transportation in Shimla
The state of transport in Shimla is not really world class, as it is still a city that generates most of its income from incoming tourist streams. However, it must be mentioned here that Shimla is well connected by air to most of the Indian cities, including Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Bangalore and Indore. The city is also well connected by road to Chandigarh, New Delhi and entire North India. Indian Railways operates special trains to and from Shimla, especially during peak travel months of April and May. However, getting a ticket to these trains is an ordeal in itself. So, tourists are better off resorting to a slew of domestic flights that are very reasonably priced, and very frequent, too.
In Shimla, the chief mode of transport are private cars. You can hire radio cabs and app-based taxi services with relative ease. State Transport Corp buses are very frequent, as well, and can be the best option, economically speaking, if you want to get to various places in Shimla. Many Shimla hotels that are worth their salt do host in-house taxi services.
To summarize, it can be said that a stay in Shimla will not only rejuvenate your tired mind and body, but it will also make you ready for the working grind that follows as your holidays end. From the Beatles to Bill Clinton, myriads of celebrities have visited and sung praises of Shimla “ it's high time you join the list, as well!