This is Shimla everyone forgets to explore - Part1

I have spent 3 years in Shimla and I feel bad when someone says ’Shimla is overcrowded and worthless for vacations’. Yes, it has happened multiple times and I have heard such words from folks who I like as responsible travelers. Yesterday I recollected all those words heard about Shimla and tried to think about the reasons. Probably most of the folks get stuck in traffic jams now, they see lot of tourists on mall road or other main places to visit in Shimla and travelers don’d find it clean. There can be other factors as well. At times, people want to differentiate themselves from others so try to criticize more populated tourist places, to highlight that fact that exploring offbeat stuff is ‘the' thing and it’s 'cool' to talk about that. But honestly speaking, there is lot more to explore in Shimla apart from Mall Road, Viceregal lodge, Ridge etc. And this post talks about some of the interesting options to expire the city in better way. Are you up for it?

Shimla has some of the most interesting walks through high deodars and beautiful landscapes surrounded by british architecture. And I can suggest you few walks in main Shimla where you can avoid the crowd and still enjoy urban landscapes of Shimla. Hope it sounds interesting. So here is one walk, I highly recommend.

Walk from Boileauganj to Mall Road after enjoying Milk-Jalebi at Krishna Sweets and taking a break at Viceregal Lodge.

Why ?
  • Restricted vehicle entry(partially) on this road.
  • You would experience Shimla which you see in  bollywood movies – peaceful landscapes, fresh air, high deodars, old houses from British era and lot more.
  • Enjoy delicious Milk-Jalebi at Krishna Sweets
  • Read out further to know more…
So there is a a shop called Krishna Sweets, which is just opposite to Boileuganj police station. This shop is very popular amongst the students of Himachal Pradesh university. University campus is nearby and that’s why lot of students come here to enjoy the speciality. So enjoy your sweets and walk towards Viceregal Lodge. If you are in a car, you can take it till Viceregal Lodge and plan to walk ahead. The road connecting Boileuganj with Viceregal lodge is comparitively less crowded and one can peacefully walk. 

You spend some time around Viceregal Lodge (Indian Institute of Advanced Studies) and enjoy lush green lawns & flora around it. As out walk out from Viceregal lodge, walk straight towards Mall road. After 100 meters from the gate, you would see a narrow road going up on the left. It’s slightly steep, but worth if you are interested in watching colorful birds of Himalayas. There is small bird enclosure where you can also find state bird of Himachal Pradesh - ‘Monal’ .

After coming from this bird enclosure, keep walking up and you would be around beautiful property of Himachal Tourism – Peterhoff hotel. Hotel has beautiful lawns offering brilliant views of hills around. If you are little tired by now, order tea and some snack and enjoy the sunshine.

It’s time to walk down by keeping your eyes open. On the right hand side, you would see a beautiful bungalow surrounded by lush green lawns and colorful flowers around the boundaries. The bungalow is spread over significant area, which reminds you of bollywood movies. 

Keep walking towards the Mall road and beware of monkeys. Usually this part of Shimla has lesser number of monkeys, but it’s always good to take precautions. Avoid carrying polybags or something which may look tempting to monkeys :).

Soon you will be around Chaura maidan, a place with wide ground in the middle of the road with few seating benches on both sides. The famous Oberoi property Cicil is close by. Almost everyone in Shimla wants to visit this hotel once and nowadays some of the families celebrate their special days at this place. There is great history associated with this property. Mohal Lal Oberoi, owner of Oberoi hotel group started at Cicil as clerk for 50 Rs. Read on more at Wikipedia, if it sounds interesting :)

There are few shops near Cicil, so it’s time if you want to buy few munchies or fresh fruits. 

The walk becomes more interesting as you cross Cicil hotel. This is the area, where you see army buildings on both sides of the road. The road is peaceful and you can enjoy the grandness of these buildings. This may take you back in Birtish era. As you proceed further you will see Legislative assembly on right side of the road which is surrounded by MLA flats and beautiful deodars. The surrounding become more beautiful. There are benches around the road, if you want to take rest and enjoy the views. You can see the huge ground on the left, which is anadale, the controversial ground. This is maintained by Indian Army. The place is beautiful and the next post would be about Anadale, Army museum and beautiful walks around the woods.

As you walk ahead, you would start sensing more hustle bustle which indicates that Mall road is not too far now. But still some places on the way will make you take pauses and enjoy the beauty. State Accounting office in right side is a beautiful British building, which looks awesome. Just adjacent to that there are various such buildings from British era. As you walk further, there is huge campus of Indian Army on the right and a beautiful temple on the left. If you are interested, take a little cut on the left and go to Kalibari temple. Which also offers great views of the surrounding hills. If it’s sunset time, don’t miss the temple. Sunset looks awesome from the top.

You would also notice a beautiful building of SBI bank. I am sure that you wouldn’t have imagined such a beautiful office of a bank with sufficient open area outside. Lot of fruit vendors sit outside the bank, so you can buy few exotic and local fruits. Most of them would be fresh. During winters, boiled egg vendors makes this place more happening. 

And as you walk further, you are on Mall road and don’t miss to take a walk of Mall road, Ridge Ground, Lakkar Bazar. If time allows, go inside the Gaiety theatre to see how grand theaters were built in British era. 

I would request you to follow these things when traveling -

- Manage your waste well and don’t litter
- Use dustbins. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
- Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
- Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.

- Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite

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