THE IN­SID­ERS SHIMLA, IN­DIA

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - HARSHIL KAM­BOJ

EX­PLORE: Si­t­u­ated in the shadow of the great Hi­malayas in the north In­dian state of Hi­machal Pradesh, the town of Shimla ex­udes old-world charm and is an au­then­tic look-back to the days of the Bri­tish Raj. As you ex­plore you’ll no­tice the higher part of the hill sta­tion re­flects this Bri­tish con­nec­tion, com­pris­ing mostly Vic­to­rian-style build­ings, while the lower slopes are oc­cu­pied with a maze of bazaars and restau­rants. Fur­ther out of the cen­tre is Jakhoo Hill, the town’s high­est point, of­fer­ing panoramic views of Shimla and its sur­round­ings. The Jakhoo Tem­ple at the top of the hill also of­fers spec­tac­u­lar out­looks and, ac­cord­ing to the epic Ra­mayana, the mon­key god Hanu­man rested here dur­ing his jour­ney to the Hi­malayas; hp­shimla.nic.in.

RE­FLECT: Built about 250 years ago, the Tara Devi Tem­ple is named af­ter one of the many forms of the god­dess Kali. This well-main­tained place of wor­ship in lo­cated in lush green sur­round­ings at the top of a steep hill about 11km from the town cen­tre; hp­shimla.nic.in/sm­l_tem­ples.htm.

BUY: The Mall is a prime shop­ping lo­ca­tion – a 7km thor­ough­fare fa­mous for its Vic­to­rian ar­chi­tec­ture and re­tain­ing the town’s charm­ing her­itage. To get there, take the lifts from Cart Road, an in­ge­nious sys­tem de­signed to save pedes­tri­ans from walk­ing up many flights of steps. Lined with show­rooms and shops, The Mall is the per­fect spot to pick up Hi­machali caps, qual­ity pash­mina shawls, jew­ellery and other lo­cal hand­i­crafts.

LEARN: Shimla is a won­der­ful place to learn about the cul­ture and nat­u­ral beauty of Hi­machal Pradesh. The Photo Art Gallery on Pot­ters Hill is def­i­nitely worth a visit, dis­play­ing more than 20,000 pho­to­graphs of the state; shim­laon­line.in.

RE­LAX: The lux­u­ri­ous Oberoi-run Wild­flower Hall and Spa is the per­fect place to un­wind; it’s in the quiet area of Mashobra, a 30-minute drive from Shimla’s town cen­tre. Sis­ter ho­tel The Ce­cil is a her­itage prop­erty at the less busy end of The Mall. A great spot to en­joy na­ture is Chad­wick Falls; sur­rounded by dense for­est, it’s about 7km from Shimla proper; oberoi­ho­tels.com; in­cred­i­blein­dia.org.

Harshil Kam­boj is a se­nior ex­ec­u­tive of oper­a­tions at In­sight Va­ca­tions, In­dia. In­sight Va­ca­tions of­fers a five­day Shimla the Queen of the Hills es­corted tour, with de­par­tures from Au­gust to next April. More: in­sight­va­ca­tions.com.

Graham Er­bacher Graham.Er­bacher@news.com.au

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