Visit to Shimla-Manali - Out-of-the-world Experience

November 10, 2008

It had been my dream to visit Himachal Pradesh, especially Shimla, Kulu and Manali since I had heard so much of its natural beauty and varied topography, flora and fauna. This dream was fulfilled when I made a week’s trip to these places along with my wife, Gloria during the last week of October, 2008.

We reached Delhi by the Rajdhani Express and proceeded to Shimla.  Being located in north-west Himalayas, Shimla was the summer capital of the British Raj since 1864 and was known as the ‘Queen of Hills’. Presently, it is the capital of Himachal Pradesh. The city is named after the goddess Shyamala Devi, another name of goddess Kali. Chandigarh is the nearest major city which is well-connected by road to Shimla. The Kalka-Shimla narrow-gauge railway line constructed in 1906 by the British connects the two cities. With more than 806 bridges and 103 tunnels, this railway line has been considered as the ‘British Jewel of the Orient’ and is still in operation.

A number of buildings with aesthetic architecture remind the tourist about the legacy of the British Raj. These buildings include the Vice-regal Lodge, Auckland House, Gorton Castle, Peterhoff House, etc.  The Mall is the chief shopping center in Shimla. Christ Church situated on the ridge is the second oldest church in North India. Other places of interest include Jakhu hills, Shimla State Museum, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Temple of Tara Devi, Hanuman Temple at Sankat Mochan and Mashobra with excellent picnic spots.

The visit to Shimla would be incomplete if one does not make a trip to Kufri, a tiny hill station, 16 kilometers from Shimla. It is famous for a number of picnic spots, hiking and trekking trails and the panoramic view of the surrounding deep valleys and snow-capped Himalayan peaks. The interesting places to be visited in Kufri include the Himalayan Nature Park and the Indira Tourist Park.  It was at Kufri that the famous Shimla Pact was signed between Indira Gandhi and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1972 following the end of the Indo-Pak War of 1971.

After two days stay at Shimla we proceeded to Kulu-Manali. The road to Manali winding through the valley of the Beas River presents beautiful scenery that is just out of the world. One has to witness the nature at its best rather than describing it.

Manali is a small town which was the base of an ancient trade route to Ladakh and beyond to the Karakoram Pass and to Yarkand and Khotan. The town ‘Manali’, meaning ‘The Abode of Manu’ gets its name from the ancient Hindu law-giver, Manu. In the old Manali village, there is a temple dedicated to Manu. Manali is also known as the ‘Valley of Gods’.

Manali is the popular tourist destination in the Himachal Pradesh. It is famous for adventure sports such as hiking, trekking, mountaineering, para-gliding, rafting, kayaking and above all skiing. Other than the valleys and mountains, hot springs, Hindu temples and Buddhist Gompas (monasteries) are other attractions of Manali.

The places of tourist interest in Manali include the Naggar Fort to the south of Manali belonging to the 1500-year-old Pal Dynasty and the Hidimba Temple, dedicated to the Pandav Prince, Bhim’s wife. It was built in Pagoda style with four storeys and has exquisite wooden carvings.

One of the most adventurous tourist journeys from Manali is to the Rohtang Pass with an altitude of 13,050 feet above sea level. It is the highest point on the Manali-Keylong road. It provides the most beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayas and the deep valleys below.

Across the Beas River, around 3 kilometers from Manali is the Vashist village with natural sulphur springs. There are two old stone temples opposite to each other-one dedicated to Guru Vashist and the other to Lord Shiva. Elaborate wood carvings line the interior of these temples.

The return journey from Manali to Chandigarh was equally pleasant and memorable. As we left Himachal Pradesh we could visualize why the visit to Shimla-Kulu-Manali is worth the amount of money and days that we had spent. The experience of visiting these places has been just out of the world.

by Deepak D'Souza - Mumbai
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Comment on this article

  • Jaspal Kanwar, Garhshankar(punjab)

    Fri, Nov 21 2008

    Pics are so beutiful and erotic, after looking all ths i wish i could go threre.

  • Noor Ahmed, Bangalore

    Fri, Nov 21 2008

    Manali is really a beautiful place to visit especially during the Dasara (October). I was there during the recent Dasara vacation and the climat too was very beautiful. Enjoyed the snow covered peaks, Rohtang Pass, the hot waters of Manikaran and Vashisht, river rafting and adventure games at Manali and visited Simla too. Boarding and lodging was highly comfortable. For further information on the trip you can write to,

  • adarsh, udupi

    Sat, Nov 15 2008

    Wow its really wonderful. could u pls mail me d tour package details to..

  • Murali, Mangalore

    Sat, Nov 15 2008

    Breathtaking photography. Keep it up.

  • Chandrakanth.Suvarna, Mangalore,dubai

    Sat, Nov 15 2008

    Deepak thank u 4 showing these scenic beauty of shimla.pls can u give some details abt these places it wl help m to travel easily.can u gv ur mob number.

  • Solomon Sequeira, Matpady/Dubai,

    Sat, Nov 15 2008

    Great work Deepak could u pls mail me the tour operators details. mail


    Sat, Nov 15 2008

    Dear Deepak, Give us the tour operators name & telephone nos so that we can contact them and arrange for the tours.Thanks

  • Johnson Crasta, Jubail / Bantwala, Karnataka

    Fri, Nov 14 2008

    Wav, Beauty of the naure. Nice Photos. Thanks to daijiworld and team for sharing the information about tourist place.

  • Deepak D'Souza, Mumbai

    Wed, Nov 12 2008

    It is heartening to know about the keen interest shown by the readers of the Daijiworld in knowing about the tourist destinations of Shimla and Manali and even queries about the tour packages to these lovely destinations. In this respect, I would like to point out that there are other places of tourist interest as well in Himachal Pradesh.

    It would be better to have a package tour for multiple tourist destinations that include Dalhousie, Kajihara, Dharmashala, Manikaran and of course Shimla, Kufri, Kulu and Manali. You can contact any nearest tour operator in your city or explore the web-sites on travel and tour which would provide you the necessary information. The tour package varies depending on the number of destinations to be visited, the size of the group, the quality of hotels and the mode of transport.

  • Simon Francis, Sullia/Bangalores

    Wed, Nov 12 2008

    Good pictures..But you should go to Himachal Pradesh not in October but between December to March which is right time to visit Simla/Kufri,Manali,Kulu and Rohtang Pass.During this period you can see snow fall heavily.I had this experience 2 yrs back when 4 families went together to enjoy the snow falling.

    We had the right WHITE CHRISTMAS in Kufri on 25th Dec 2005.Another place everybody should visit is HOT WATER SPRING near Raavi river.It is really worth seeng. A sikh temple is built on this Hot Water spring. Really fantastic.

  • Rosy, U.K

    Wed, Nov 12 2008

    This is strange that Rohtang is open for tourist-as I see you images ..lot of people on Rohtang in late October ? I do not think it is safe to be there. Anyway- you shot some very good images and wrote very well. keep this good work going on.... If you ask me ...I do not like SHIMLA and MANALI as both cities are ruined by hotels and hotels, concrete jungle...nothing else. You should prefer trekking and camping in remote if you are going there. Try googling TREKKING HIMALAYAS and you will find some good info


    Wed, Nov 12 2008

    Excellent photographs mindblowing pls let me know the detail of ur tour & the travel agency so that i can spend some time with my wife after a long and a tired chirstmas catering season

  • Nelson Gonsalves, goa

    Tue, Nov 11 2008

    CooL pIctures!!!! please let me know the package tour for 4 from goa

  • Chetan , Udupi

    Tue, Nov 11 2008

    Cool pictures..Could you please mail me your tour itineary and hotel related detials

  • Loveena, Mangalore/Abudhabi

    Tue, Nov 11 2008

    Very nice coverage of the beautiful places....., please let me know the package tour from Bombay or Mangalore send me the details. my email ID is

  • Mohammed Salih, Dubai

    Tue, Nov 11 2008

    Hi, I am planning my vacation in January 09, I am very eager to visit to Shimla alongiwth my wife and 2 kids. Please let me know if have any tour operator from Bangalore to Shimla, Regards, Salih

  • vera, dubai

    Tue, Nov 11 2008

    Impressive!!! and excellent photography too... thanks Deepak for the info and pix.

  • Rajesh Shetty, Mangalore

    Tue, Nov 11 2008

    Superb Coverage. After seeing these pictures i have decided to visit this place. Thanks daiji for the nice photos.

  • Dolphy, Mumbai ? Kuwait

    Tue, Nov 11 2008

    Mr. Deepak Do You have any idea of Any Package tour and Tour operaters from mumbai to Simla. Please let me know

  • Sahil , mangalore SAUDI ARABIA

    Tue, Nov 11 2008

    Amrazin place Manali.  Thanks for shareing photos

  • Marcel M. D'Souza, Mangalore

    Tue, Nov 11 2008

    As said by Praveen James it's a heaven on earth... I experienced this when I was there in May 2006. You feel you are on top of the world and nearer to heaven. You will be altogether in a different world.

  • Celine Nandkumar, Madanthtyar/Muscat

    Mon, Nov 10 2008

    Hi Deepak/Gloria, beautiful pictures !! Send more ......... Enjoyed seeing them.... Thanks for sharing these pictures. Lovely places. Worth seeing them.

  • Praveen James D'Souza, Nanthur / Dubai

    Mon, Nov 10 2008

    I was in Shimla & Manali this April refreshes my's really heaven on earth.

  • A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.

    Mon, Nov 10 2008

    Himachal Pradesh is the most cleanest State of India, density of population is the least because they won't allow out of State buyers to own land. That State has such a panoramic beauty and looks like a paradise on earth. In the cold winter, when the roads are soggy with ice, there is a great chance for accidents, and that has to be watched. I had the pleasure of visiting that beautiful State in February 2005. The Snow covered mountains, brooks of crystal clear water, lush green, polution free air, less traffic etc will create a mental attachment with that State by the first visit.

  • sarfaraz, MANGLRE/DXB

    Mon, Nov 10 2008

    Superb beauty ,very good pics .Still to match intl standard & develop tourism places to be kept more clean and make them organised .Its treasure in our hands and our govt should think........

  • balakrishna, Qatar-Mangalore

    Mon, Nov 10 2008

    Beautiful pictures....Thanks for sharing your experience with us.....really nice to see

  • Sandy Pereira, Udupi/Kuwait

    Mon, Nov 10 2008

    Vow! The description makes you feel that you are right there! Great job! I was hoping to be there this Sept, but it didn't work out! Hopefully sometime in the near future! Why go to other nations, when you have the best in India itself!

  • Sayad Imran, Shirva Kuwait

    Mon, Nov 10 2008

    Nice .. Pictures.. Shimla is the Heaven.. for Us who ever is in Kuwait

  • Jaison D'Souza, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Mon, Nov 10 2008

    Truly Amazing!  Nice pictures. The need of the hour is govt should take Tourism seriously. The govt needs to promote such places.

  • Sharmila Fernandes, Mangalore

    Mon, Nov 10 2008

    Waaaav!!! Wat a nice Place.Thanks a lot.Nice Photos.....................

  • Neeta, Karkala/Dubai

    Mon, Nov 10 2008

    Beautiful nature!!! Thanks for sharing the pictures. We have so much to see in India itself, the beauty with the nature...

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