Mashobra, at an altitude of 2500 m, is well connected to Shimla via the historic Hindustan-Tibet Road which was constructed by Lord Dalhousie in the year 1850. Boasting of gorgeous views, dream like locales, thick Deodhar forests and lovely weather through the year,it could easily have been the quieter cousin of the more noisy and crowded Shilma, which is why it attracts travellers who come looking for solitude and some time exclusively for themselves and with nature. Mashobra is perfect in any weather. The summer is warm with a little nip in the air early mornings and late evenings. Monsoons turn the area lush green and while travellers may not be able to step out as often as in other seasons, the romance of sipping on steaming coffee, a book in hand, is not lost on many. We have a spate of guests who just come to watch the rain beat down endlessly on the roof and see the skies being set on fire every evening! The winters in Mashobra are white, sparkling and great fun. Clean crisp air fills your lungs as you trudge through snow, mesmerised at the stark contrast of the clear blue sky and the pristine white of the snow.
We’ve listed out a few of the popular traveller destinations in the area.
Christ Church & St. Michael’s Cathedral
One of the most famous landmarks of Shimla, St Michael’s Cathedral was built as the Cathedral of St Michael and St Joseph in 1885. Christ Church is the second oldest church in North India. The imposing structure is situated just off the Mall.
At a distance of 1.5 km from the Mashobra Bus Stand, Craignano is situated on the Shimla-Naldehra Highway and sits at an altitude of 7,700 ft (2149 m) above sea level. It is famous for a beautiful Italian style villa. An architectural marvel, the villa was made by Chevalier Federico Peliti, a baker to the Viceroys, who named it in memory of his hometown, Craignano.The villa is situated on a huge hillock and is surrounded a spate of small meandering streams. The villa is built of wood and is surrounded by a dense forest of oak and pine trees. It has spacious lawns, night lamps and stone benches that represent the architectural style of the colonial period. From the lawns one can see the beautiful valley below and the mountains beyond. Carignano is a lovely picnic place surrounding with many type of flowers, the fruit research station is also nearby has apple orchids and many types of beautiful flowers.
The area is just perfect to spend half a lazy day. The rains turn the meadows and hillsides here a rich lush green, that invite you to take a stroll to the Fruit Research Station, an hour away, where the first apple tree was planted in 1887 by Mr.Coutts, clearly more than just a tailor to the Viceroys! Don’t forget to taste the fresh apple juice manufactured here, and to carry some back with you.
The site is also known for the world’s highest water lift situated at a height of around 7657 ft. The water lift was constructed by the British and is now used to supply water to Shimla and its adjoining areas. The place is popular for activities like rappelling, rock climbing and fishing. This highest water lift serves as the leading attraction of this place among tourists.
Reserve Forest Sanctuary
If you come to Mashobra, you just do not miss one of Asia’s largest watersheds, supplying water to Shimla. The Reserve Forest Sanctuary is a must visit not only for being popular in the continent, but for the lush coniferous cover surrounding it, but also because it is a birdwatcher’s delight.Reserve Forest Sanctuary – 4 Km from Mashobra, Reserve Forest Sanctuary is covered with plantations of oak, cedar and pine, one of the largest watersheds of Asia. It is surrounded by the Indus River, may spot kakkar (barking deer), jackals, Himalayan eagle, and leopards in the sanctuary, besides, birds like Himalayan eagle, pheasant, chikor Trek to Saru Tal – is at a height of 3600mt giving you a clear distal view of Gangotri range and proximal view of Swaragrohini, Kalanag and Banderpunch ranges. The weather is always pleasant, so you can pick up your camping bags and trek to the Sanctuary, camp out with friends or family and don’t forget to carry your binoculars. You might just spot the famed pheasants, partridges and chikors here. Keep an eye out for the monkeys though. However, prior permission is required to visit this reserved area.
Mahasu Peak and Fair
If you’re a big fan of exploring little known traditions and festivals, you might consider visiting the Mahasu Peak in the month of May. The festival, known as Mahasu Jatara, falls on the third Tuesday of May, celebrates the shifting of the idol of the chief deity Lord Mahasu. Witness the native customs of the festival such as goat sacrificing, archery competitions, traditional dances and folk music. A strong cultural display makes for a must watch.
Himachal State Museum
About 2.5km west of Scandal Point, the Himachal State Museum & Library houses an impressive collection of temple carvings, historical sculptors, weaponry, Mughal and Rajasthani miniature paintings, coins, jewellery and photos relating to the history of the region. The museum remains closed on Mondays and public holidays.
Built as an official residence for the British viceroys, the Viceregal Lodge is a major landmark of Shimla and fine specimen of colonial architecture. After independence it became the retreat of the President of India. Today Viceregal Lodge houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, an educational institute of international repute. Jakhoo Hill
Located at an altitude of 2,445m, Jakhoo Hill, Shimla’s highest point, is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Shimla. From the peak of the hill, one can have a panoramic view of the Shimla town and its surroundings. The landscape all around is a feast to one’s eyes. At the top is an old Hanuman temple.
The Mall, the main promenade in the city retains the ambience that captivated the British who retreated here to escape the heat of the crowded plains. Located on the southern slopes of the Ridge and dotted with old colonial buildings, it is a place where you can enjoy leisurely walks, browsing the shops or stopping for a cup of tea in the restaurants. At the top end of the Mall is Scandal Point, a large open square with a view of the town – a favourite rendezvous for visitors and the local people. Overlooking it is the elegant Christ Church with its fine stained glass windows. The labyrinth of Shimla’s bazaars spill over the edge of the Mall.
Adjoining the Ridge, Lakkar Bazaar is a marketplace where wooden toys can be bought.
7 km away from Shimla, the inviting spot of Chadwick Falls is a premier travel destination. A trip to the Chadwick Falls during the monsoons will be an unforgettable experience. Located in an incredible landscape, the place is home to some old shrines that are sites of immense significance for pilgrims.
It was in the early years of Shimla, that a tradition of amateur theatre was also established – a time-honoured legacy that continues unbroken to the present day. The first authenticated performance was obviously not an easy one. A member of the cast who was to act the woman’s role, refused to cut off his moustache; another decided that the time was ripe to go bear hunting. The cast was replaced and the play took place in what the Governor General, Lord Auckland’s sister Emily Eden described in 1838 as “… a little sort of theatre …small and hot and somewhat dirty.” This would probably have been in the old ‘Assembly Rooms’ in the area of today’s subzi mandi, vegetable market.
The stuffy room of Emily Eden’s time gave way to the considerably grander Gaiety Theatre which opened in the newly constructed Town Hall in 1887 making the Shimla Amateur Dramatic Club one of the oldest in the country. The Gaiety Theatre, the heart of the old town hall is a remarkable piece of Victorian-theatre architecture. It has been called a miniature version of London’s Royal Albert Hall, it has been likened to halls in Vienna – and its diverse elements have been compared with some of best period halls in the world. For all that, the Gaiety Theatre is unique. Inspiration may have come from elsewhere, but today, this has the distinction of being what may be the only authentic Victorian hall and stage to be found in Asia. A must visit!
Doodh-Jalebi in the Lower Bazaar
Nathuram Lachhman Das is easily the best place to get crisp golden jalebis dunked in thick creamy milk. The calorie conscious may please look away, but there are people who visit Lower Bazaar just for this!
Bishop Cotton School
BCS Shimla, is one of the oldest boarding schools for boys in Asia, having been founded on 28 July 1859, by Bishop George Edward Lynch Cotton. Bishop Cotton also founded the Bishop Cotton Boys’ School and Bishop Cotton Girls’ School in Bangalore. The School celebrated 150 years of existence in 2009 and has produced army officers, ambassadors, judges, Ministers and politicians.
Located on the Shimla – Kalka road the famous “Lord Hanuman” temple is visited by a large number of devotees. It commands an excellent view of Shimla town.
Located on the Shimla – Kalka railway line, the quiet and beautiful suburb of Summer Hill has secluded, shady walks and charming views. It was here that Gandhiji stayed on his visits to Shimla, in the elegant Gergorian mansion that belonged to Rajkumari Amrit Kaur.
Prospect Hill and Kamna Devi Temple
A 15 minute climb from Boileauganj, Prospect Hill is another favorite walk and vantage point with breath-taking views. There is little temple to Kamna Devi on the top of the hill.
Tara Devi Temple
Situated on Tara Parvat, the shrine of Tara Devi is about 15 kilometres from Shimla. The temple commands a majestic view of the surroundings comprising of the forested hills around.