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Shimla is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas and used to be the summer destination for Britons during the height of British rule. Here, you'll find an Indian town that hearkens to old colonial times. Ice skating, mountain climbing and bird watching can make it seem like a European country. But once you taste the food, visit the temples and commiserate with stray monkeys, you'll feel right back in India.
A narrow railway route from Kalka to Shimla, the real delight of this journey is the classical old English-style train compartments and the stunning views of the mountains and surrounding towns.
On Mall Road, the Lakkar Bazaar is the place to head when you're looking for local wares. Vendors sell everything from wooden crafts and furniture to Tibetan woven rugs, Kashmiri shawls and local jams and squashes.
Rent a Royal Enfield and tour the city on the open roads and surrounding hilly areas in style. Rates start at ₹800.
Your reward for the hour-long trek to the temple is the stunning views of the town below and the mountains all around.
In Northern India, winter involves snow. One of the largest "natural" ice skating rinks in India is in Shimla. You can rent skates and knee pads right on the spot.
March to June is the best time to visit Shimla, as the weather is pleasant and only gets better. Temperatures hover between 59°F and 86°F.
Domestic flights land at Shimla airport in Jubbarbhatti, 13.67 miles away, after a transfer from bigger hubs like Chandigarh or Delhi. Use a pre-paid taxi starting at ₹650.
Train services from neighboring cities are the Himalayan Queen Express and the Shivalik Deluxe Express. Tickets start at ₹900 to Kalka and then ₹500 to Shimla.
The journey from Delhi to Shima is about 7 hours without stops. Get on the NH9 and then merge on to the NH44. Then, get on to the NH152 and the NH5 closer to Shimla.
There are government-run buses as well as private bus operators you can book from many other cities to Shimla. Getting from Delhi to Shimla via bus, for example, would start at ₹949.
Relax in luxury at the Oberoi Cecil or check into the moderately-priced yet comfy Hotel Ashiana Regency. Budget-travelers will appreciate a stay at Hotel White.
The Mall - This district in Shimla has lots of local shopping opportunities, open air bazaars and youth hostels that make it come alive.
The Ridge - This is an affluent locale in Shimla, with high-end, boutique hotels, and the views of the mountains are stunning and worthwhile.
Chaura Maidan - This neighborhood is home to the shining star of British colonial architecture, The Cecil (now part of the Oberoi chain of hotels). There are many in-house amenities, so it's worth a venture.
Local buses run from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fares vary based on destination and can be bought once boarded.
Fares start at a flat rate of ₹65 and it is ₹28 per mile thereafter.
Hire a taxi to get you around or rent a self-drive car. Cabs start at ₹12/hr for an 8 hour rental or ₹1,500 for self-drive car rental.
On Mall Road, shoppers flock to visit Lakkar Bazaar and Lower Bazaar. Also, check out the area between Combermere Bridge and the Telegraph Office for smaller shops.
Roughly, a quart of milk costs ₹43.50 and a dozen eggs cost ₹57.50.
When you're hungry, stop by for some chow at the famous Baljees, where Indian mains are ₹100-150.