I have always wanted to experience snowfall once in my lifetime. Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh is a winter wonderland. The last time I traveled to Himachal Pradesh was in the summers back in 2019. On my way back from the trip in 2019, I had promised myself that I will be back to Himachal to witness snowfall. There are many beautiful places to visit in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
So, I planned out an itinerary for 5 days trip to Shimla. Considering the weather forecasts for the annual snowfall, I planned to travel in January. The months of January and February are considered the best time to experience snowfall in Shimla. I was a bit concerned as well because I don’t handle cold temperatures very well. The month of January is considered to be the coldest month of the winter in Himachal Pradesh. Sigh!
As much as I have seen images of Shimla city covered with snow looking absolutely breathtaking, I wanted to see it with my own eyes. Packed with my extra layers of winter clothing and off I started my journey to Shimla. All throughout my trip I had this one song that I could not get out of my head. Its lyrics were stuck in my head. It was a traditional Himachal song. Its lyrics go as “ Maaye Ni Meriye, Shimle Di Raahe, Chamba Kitni Ku Door. Ho Shimle Ni Vasna, Kasauli Ni Vasna, Chambe Jana Zaroor…”. I loved this part of the song.
At the start of January, there was heavy snowfall in the northern region of Himachal Pradesh. It was expected to continue throughout the week including my travel days. I had planned to stay in Shimla and travel to Kufri and Narkanda in my spare days. This was because if I was unlucky to experience snow in Shimla, I would get it either at Kufri if not definitely at Narkanda.
So to sum up the 3 days of my trip
I reached Delhi from Mumbai early morning, and it was pouring with heavy rainfall. Further lies an 8-10 hour road trip to Shimla which I would not recommend to any traveler (please consider traveling from Chandigarh to Himachal). It is just not worth the time to save some money.
The heavy rainfall continued until I reached my place to stay in Shimla. By midnight, I wandered around the hotel lobby asking for the heater & peaked out of the hotel window, I was thrilled to experience my first snowfall. Ecstatic! On the second day, I was notified that I will not be able to visit Kufri or Narkanda due to heavy snowfall. So I opted to take to a toy train ride on the second day. On the final day, I had all day to explore Shimla mall road, Jakhoo hill and temple, christ church, and more.
Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Shimla
As per my itinerary, I had planned many places to visit in Shimla. Although I had just 3 days to explore the city, it was difficult for me to get anywhere due to the heavy snowfall in the higher regions. As the snow cleared on the next day, I managed to visit the mall road. There was time to munch and did little shopping on here. To cut things short, here is my list of must-visit places to visit in Shimla.
1 – Mall Road, Shimla
As far as shopping for couples goes, the Mall road in Shimla will not disappoint. The mall road is full of joyful vibes. People with smiles taking pictures, munching around cafes and street food, and more. I enjoyed my visit to the mall road. The place is vibrant for shopping with a wide range of things to buy. Some of these would be trinkets, exclusive handicraft works, wooden crafted items, books, jewelry, and others. You can also explore the other top attractions in Shimla such as the ridge, Kali Bari Temple, town hall, Gaiety Theatre, Scandal Point, and others.
2 – Jakhoo Hill & Temple
The Jakhoo hill and temple was my favorite place to visit in Shimla. The place is surrounded by alpine trees. Jakhoo Hill is the highest point in Shimla. It is approx 8000 ft. above sea level. You can also see the snow-capped Shivali ranges if the skies are clear atop. There is a Hanuman Temple and a huge statue that claims to be being world’s tallest statue (108 ft) of Hindu deity. The hill covered with snow was absolutely magical. I would 100% recommend you take the ropeway up to Jakhoo temple. It offers an amazing experience and offers some great views too. The cost for the ropeway is 550/- INR per person for both ways.
3 – Shimla- Kalka Toy Train Ride
I had this train ride on my bucket list for a very long time and I wanted to do it during the winters in the snow. The train ride is the highlight of my journey to Shimla. It is also the highlight of Himachal Pradesh tourism. The rail route was built in and around 1898 and has been recently added as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The route will give you some of the best and extremely scenic vibes. The cost of the Shimla to Kalka train ride is around 500 INR for the AC coach and 300 INR for the regular coach.
4 – Kufri & Narkanda
I had included this in my tour because I was sure if I did not see any snow in Shimla, I would definitely see it in Kufri and Narkanda. As it turned out, I was not able to travel to both of these places because of the heavy snowfall. It was 4 feet deep snow in Kufri and around 6 feet deep snow in Narkanda. No commercial vehicle or tour agency was going to these places.
But from what I have known, Kufri and Narkanda are the 2 most amazing hill stations you could visit from Shimla. Kufri is not only a hill station but also an adventure hub. During the winter you can go ice skating and skiing, etc. Kufri ranks among the top places to visit in Shimla because it snows in early December.
5 – Christ Church
The Christ Church is the most prominent landmark you can visit in Shimla. It’s an architectural beauty. The church is also the second oldest church in north India. This historic church was built around the year 1857 and is located on the Ridge. The church looks majestic during the day, but it’s beautiful at night as it’s illuminated with lights. Even if you are planning a 2-day trip to Shimla, you should not miss visiting the Christ church.
Places to Stay in Shimla
There are many beautiful places you can stay in Shimla. There are hotels, dorms, hostels, Airbnb options, heritage stays, and more. You can choose for a budget stay that will cost you around 200 INR per night or a luxurious stay costing moreover 5000 and above.
I chose to stay at the royal vista hotel, which is away from mall road and is cheaper depending on your room choice. You get free breakfast and dinner here.