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The beauty of Shimla is best explored on foot. Here is a list of five walks you must take in Shimla!
The first image which Shimla conjures up is hills and ‘Deodar’ trees sprinkled with the fragrance of pine. Beautiful mornings with a slight chill in the air in the summers, empty roads with no one for company but the monkeys and friendly canines, and sunshine which touches you the first thing in the morning are some things to die for, for all of us living in Shimla.
I am about to list some of my most favourite walks, which will make your journey in Shimla beautiful and serene. But trust me when I say this, we are not very fond of tourists who have no regard for the surroundings. Yes, the doors to our homes are always open, but please keep our roads clean!
This is the most famous place to be at, in Shimla. Every Saturday, children and youngsters throng the Mall Road, and we call the day Children’s Day – for obvious reasons. Now, Mall Road has been cluttered with branded showrooms, but this is not what makes mall road special. Stretching from The Scandal point to The Lift, the road will also lead you up to the famous ‘Ridge Maidan’.
Mornings, when the roads are being cleaned, or late at night (when you might have a few ghosts for company), are apt times for a walk. There is an urban legend, according to which, a hatted man will definitely meet you in the wee hours of the morning or late at night. Although scary, it is the most romantic place to be at, even if you are not in love.
How to Reach: Once you enter Shimla, you will be dropped off at New Bus Stand. From here, you need to take a bus to the Old Bus Stand. On reaching the old bus stand, it is an uphill climb – which will also take you to Ram Bazaar and Lower Bazaar just in case you want to take a look at what the Bazaars of Shimla have to offer.
Forest Road in the Snow. Pic Credit: Tanvi Ohri
Shimla is famous for spooky spots – and this is one of those roads. Jakhoo road leads into the ‘Forest Road’, surrounded by beautiful and towering Deodar Trees. As you walk forward, you will reach Five Benches, a spot from where roads diverge in different directions.
It is here that you need to take the road leading to Navbahar. It is one of those areas in Shimla which is protected – as it comes under the Green Zone. Every effort is made by the administration and the people that the area remains so.
How to Reach: Once you reach The Ridge, a road behind the State Library leads to the Jakhoo Temple. As you begin the climb, you will reach ‘Takka Bench’ and see many Gol Gappa carts. These have been standing here for as long as I can remember.
Feel free to treat yourself to some. As you keep up with the strenuous climb, you will reach a Halwai shop, and from here one climb leads to the temple and another straight road leads towards the Forest Road.
Well, this is a generic term I use for a road with many landmarks and heritage buildings to see. This is a long road which ultimately reaches Himachal Pradesh University, the seat of higher education in Himachal. On the way, you will pass by the Passport Office, H.P. Vidhan Sabha, and reach Chaura Maidan. Here, you have a State Museum to visit.
Moving on from Chaura Maidan, you will reach the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, and will also see Bird Park; both are open to tourists. From here, you can move forward amidst the forest, and reach Himachal Pradesh University, Summerhill.
How to Reach: Once you reach Scandal Point, take the downhill road to the CTO and City Point, who are one of the most famous bakers in Shimla. From here, you can take the road towards the Passport Office.
Once you finish your walk on the Mall Road at the Lift, you can start walking towards Chhota Shimla, which is the seat of the bureaucracy of Himachal Pradesh. Of course, the destination is not the point here, it is the walk – during which you will pass by the H.P. High Court as well as the Chief Minister’s Residence (Not open for tourists). Surrounded by trees on both the sides, it is a road which is quiet and inviting at the same time. However, I must give you a heads up for monkeys on the road!
Shimla’s View from Jakhoo Road in winters. Pic credit: Tanvi Ohri
I have just told you about the Forest Road. However, as you move ahead on the road to Navbahar, you will see a small uphill road vanishing into the forests. On the way is a private residence, which is not for people to go in uninvited.
As you move on the road, you are devoured by the forests, and you can keep walking to reach Jakhoo Temple. I find this path shorter and much more enticing.
Shimla is incomplete unless you explore it on foot. It is a way of life for the locals. Too much commercialization has made Shimla overcrowded at all times, but the real beauty of Shimla can only be explored on foot.
Pic credit: Image of Shimla via Shutterstock.
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