Shimla offers much more than charming colonial buildings against a backdrop of the magnificent snow-capped Himalayas. Much more than the dozens of Bollywood songs set on Mall Road or its oldest boarding schools. The upper reaches around the Shimla region offer skating on natural ice as well as host the MTB Himalaya (South East Asia’s biggest mountain biking race). Shimla also boasts ownership of the 16th century “Arya Astha Sahasrikas Prajna Paramita” Tibetan script (at the quaint Maria Brothers antique booksellers) and the Jakhu Temple Shrine with Lord Hanuman’s footprints.
Jakhu Temple Hike
Heritage and reverence have co-existed in the hill-town of Shimla for a long time now. Hike up from the east end of the ridge of Shimla, towards the revered Jakhu temple. Through the gates of the Rothney Castle; once the home of the great naturalist, A.O. Hume, hikes uphill to a beautiful temple complemented by the hymns filling the air and the wall murals depicting Hindu myths! A looming 33m tall Hanuman statue and a battalion of His minions stay with you as you stroll through the surrounding forests.
Toy Train Ride
103 tunnels, 864 bridges, 919 curves, and a ride of a lifetime: Welcome aboard the Shimla-Kalka ‘toy train’. This UNESCO heritage train chugs slowly up the mountains, seemingly playing an interesting game of hiding and seek with tunnels. Gradual ascents on winding tracks, flanked by age-old trees on either side, seem straight out of a storybook. Over a century old, the ‘toy train’ still chugs into the hearts of the hundreds who travel in it every day. Made more memorable with numerous Bollywood songs, there’s nothing like a ride up to Shimla with the tune of ‘gaadi bula rahi hai, seeti baja rahi hai’ probably playing on in your head.