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Shimla is the capital city of the state of Himachal Pradesh. Located at an altitude of around 2,100 metres, it is often referred to as the ‘Queen of hills’. During the British rule, Shimla was the summer capital of India. Its cool climate, easy accessibility and numerous attractions have made it one of the most popular hill stations in northern India. Blessed with some of the most spectacular and beautiful landscapes anywhere, it is a traveller’s paradise with lofty snow peaks, deep gorges, lush green valleys, rushing rivers, beautiful temples and monasteries steeped in time. Reaching Shimla can be an experience in itself. Most of the tourists prefer to use the Kalka-Shimla toy train which chugs up into the Shivalik foothills, meandering its way through numerous bridges and forests to reach Shimla, covering the 96 kilometres journey in around 4-5 hours.
Some of the places worth visiting are:
Some of the nearby excursions that can be undertaken are:
|Avg Max||8.6 °C||9.7 °C||13.9 °C||18.9 °C||22.7 °C||23.7 °C||20.9 °C||19.8 °C||19.6 °C||17.9 °C||14.1 °C||11.1 °C|
|Avg Min||2 °C||2.7 °C||6.5 °C||10.9 °C||14.4 °C||15.8 °C||15.3 °C||14.9 °C||13.5 °C||10.7 °C||7 °C||4.1 °C|
|Rainfall||57.3 mm||65.3 mm||62.1 mm||46.1 mm||62.8 mm||161.1 mm||419 mm||385.9 mm||206.5 mm||38.5 mm||12 mm||23.2 mm|
The nearest airport is at Jubbarhati (Airport code: SLV), 23 kilometres from Shimla. Regular flights are available from Delhi, Chandigarh and Kullu and the major airlines operating on this route are Kingfisher Airlines, and Jagson Airlines.
It is linked by a narrow gauge line to Kalka which is connected to Delhi, Kolkata and Amritsar by broad gauge. Kalka-Shimla is 96 kilometres and takes about 4-5 hours by train. Train timings, fare and availability of berths can be checked at the official Indian Railways website.
Shimla is well connected by road to most towns within the state and to all major towns in North India. Indicative distances to some of the major cities are:
Shimla - Delhi= 370 kilometres
Shimla - Chandigarh = 117 kilometres
Shimla - Kalka= 90 kilometres
Shimla - Ambala= 166 kilometres
Shimla can be easily done on foot, while for visiting the nearby attractions taxis/autos can be hired. It is better to fix the rate before boarding any vehicle as most of the meters in auto are not working.
|Hotel Quality Inn Himdev||Suite 307, D-wing, Crystal Plaza, New Link Road, Andheri [West]||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Surya||Circular Road,||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Woodpark||woodrina estate Dhalli Shimla-12||Hotel||59|
|Shimla Youth Hostel||nr police post, lakkar bazar The Mall,||Hostel||-|
|Hotel Deepwoods||Woodrina Estate Dhalli Shimla -12||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Sansar||Near High Court Shimla||Hotel||-|
|Aapo Aap Home Stay||Aapo Aap Building, Sargheen-Panthaghati Kasumpti, Shimla (Himachal Pradesh)||Guesthouse||94|
|Hotel Satyam Paradise||Kachi-Ghatti||Hostel||-|
|Hotel Hot spring Therme & Spa||Shimla hills, H.P. (India)||Hotel||-|
|New Spring View Guest House||Tattapani, Shimla Hills 171302||Guesthouse||-|
|Cedar Hill Lodge||Chharabra Village - Near Kufri||GUESTHOUSE||-|
There's good coverage over most of India for Internet cafes. However, following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and some other cities, all internet cafes have been instructed by the authorities to maintain a register and note down the identification details of all persons using internet. Sify iWay is a reliable and cheap cafe with over 1,600 cafes over India. iWay also allows you to open a pre-paid account that you can use all over India. Whenever you have Internet access probably the best and cheapest way to call family and friends at home is software that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet such as Skype.
Wifi hotspots in India are, for most part, limited. The major airports and stations do offer paid wifi at around RS.60-100 an hour. Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai are the only cities with decent wifi coverage. At Mumbai airport, you get to use WiFi internet free, for an hour or so.
See also International Telephone Calls
The country code for India is 91. To dial outside the country from India, prefix the country code with 00.
The general emergency number is 100 (emergency response police & fire), while for ambulance you should dial 102 or 112, though some regions have 108 for this emergency. 108 is used in in the Indian states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha,Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 108 can be called for medical, crime, fire, or any other emergency from any phone.
Local phone numbers can be anywhere from 5-8 digits long. But when the area code is included, all landline phone numbers in India are 10 digits long. Cellphone numbers usually start with '9', '8', or '7'. Toll-free numbers start with 1-800.
If staying longterm it is probably wise to think about investing in a mobile phone. You'll possibly need to provide a photocopy of your passport and itinerary, so come prepared. Make sure you arrange it upon arrival in a big city, as it can sometimes be difficult to organise with language barriers and such in more regional areas. You can buy a cheap nokia for about RS.1,200 with a pre-paid plan. Airtel is a good carrier to think about as they have great coverage, and constant offers for cheaper calling. To recharge, most shop vendors with phone carrier signs can do it via their own phone. You give them your mobile number, they put it in their phone and you'll both get messages as to whether or not the recharge has been successful. Also, if possible, buy the phone in the state where you do the most travelling as the charges are higher in the states where you did not originally buy the phone.
Over the entire country there are plenty of public phones, even in the middle of the countryside. Although most of the time these phones are not very well maintained and have horrible connections. Therefore remember when using one of these public phones one must be extremely patient.
For international calls from payphones, you'll have to visit a reputable internet cafe with a phone-booth. Mobile phones are usually a better and cheaper option.
India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost RS.50 to 200. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.
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