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Tour Destinations - India - Shimla - Manali

Shimla:
Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, is one of the top tourist destinations in India. The picturesque city is situated in the northwestern part of the Himalayan Mountain Range and the mean elevation of the city is 7,234 feet (2,205 metres). A Shimla location map shows the different highways, rail lines, railway stations, hospitals, hotels, educational institutions, religious places, water bodies, and other important places of interest in the city. A location map of Shimla also highlights the Jakhoo Hill, the tallest point in the city.
     
Christ Church:
Christ Church in Shimla is the second oldest Church in India. Christ Church is one of the prominent landmarks of Shimla. The silhouette of Christ Church is visible for miles around the vicinity of Shimla city. Christ Church remains one of the enduring legacies of the British Raj. Christ Church was designed by Colonel JT Boileau in 1844; but the Church was consecrated only after 1857. The clock which adorns Christ Church was donated by Colonel Dumbleton in the year 1860. The porch was added in the year 1873. Christ Church has survived partition and the subsequent political upheavals of the Indian subcontinent. Christ Church continues to be very well maintained and remains in good condition. However the mechanical appendages of the Church like the clock does not function-a natural progression of entropy through time.
     
Jakhu Temple:
Popular as the ‘Hanuman Mandir’ among the localities of Shimla, the Jakhoo (or Jakhu) Temple has been on the ‘must visit list’ of most travellers. It is frequented by the devotees of the ‘Pawan Putra’ – Hanuman. One would get to hear about different versions of legend behind this temple that is mainly related to the phase of the Ramayana where Lord Hanuman rested on his way to fetch Sanjeevani Booti (a therapeutic herb) to heal Lord Ram’s brother, Lakshman. The Jakhu Temple is located 2.5 km from the Christ Church at the Ridge and there is a lovely trail that connects to the temple from near the church. The temple is situated on the Jakhoo Hill which is also Shimla’s highest peak (at an altitude of about 8,050 feet). While trekking up to the temple, one can see the magnificent, 108 feet tall Hanuman statue behind the deodar trees. It will take around 20-30 minutes to reach the temple by the trail. Alternatively, you can hire a taxi to the temple that will just take 5 minutes. The main temple complex has Lord Hanuman’s foot prints engraved on a marble (as believed by the devotees), paintings and statues of Lord Hanuman and Lord Ram. The fun part of the entire journey to the Jakhu Temple is the sight of monkeys in and around the temple. Some of them seem to welcome the visitors as Lord Hanuman’s ‘vanar sena’ (Army of Monkeys that helped Lord Ram defeat Ravana) while others are notorious for snatch the stuff you are carrying. Avoid carrying wallets, cameras, especially any eatables to the temple as these ‘temple guards’ will snatch anything and everything they find attractive in your hands. It is always good to keep a stick handy to scare these monkeys away before they scare you!
     

The Ridge of Shimla:
The Ridge of Shimla is a large open spacious platform from where you can have a panoramic view of the mountain peaks of Shimla. The snow capped mountain ranges engulfed in the beauty of the nature is a phenomenal view that the Ridge of Shimla offers to the crowd.

The Ridge at Shimla also provides the tourists a view of the age old Christ Church built in the Neo-Gothic style of architecture as well as the new Tudor library. These two are the milestones of the town of Shimla. The movement of vehicles is strictly prohibited here. As such the Ridge in Shimla always remains crowded with hundreds of people. Tourists from all over the country visit this awesome hill resort and paying a visit to the Ridge is a must for them for the view of the sunset at the dusk is something that one will never forget in his lifetime. The Shimla Ridge is also flocked by the pedestrians for just pleasant walking in the cool breezy weather of Shimla. The Ridge of Shimla exhibits an awesome view of the Mall that is located below it. The water supply of Shimla comes from the water reservoir that is present at the Ridge of Shimla.

     

Shimla State Museum:
The Shimla State Museum houses a huge collection of magnificent paintings, sculptures, coins, handicrafts, photos, etc of not only the state of Himachal Pradesh but outside too. The state museum is a major attraction of the Mall area of Shimla built in the style of colonial edifice with sprawling lawns all around. This museum was inaugurated in 1974.

The museum is open from ten in the morning to five in the evening. It is open on all days except Monday and the national holidays. The state museum of Shimla also comprises a library that is loaded with historical books and manuscripts. The Shimla State Museum was erected solely with the purpose of preserving the rich cultural heritage of the state and to spread the message of cultural legacy over generations. The paintings depict the life and culture of the hilly people. The museum holds the sculptural merit of the 8th century stone works of Masrur and Bajaura. Also a wide layout of Himachali dolls is displayed here. The Shimla State Museum is visited by the researchers from both domestic as well as foreign lands.

     
George Castle:
Also known as the Shimla of Madhya Pradesh, Shivpuri is an ancient town in Gwalior, whose dense forests were used as the hunting grounds for the Mughal Emperors. The royalty of this small place lies in the exquisite hunting lodges and palaces that were built by the Scindia Rulers. Madhav National Park, the hunting preserve of the rulers of Gwalior, houses the most beautiful creation by them-The George Castle Located on the highest point in the depth of the National Park, George Castle was built in 1911 by Jivaji Rao Scindia. It is a two-storey structure that was erected for an overnight halt for the King of the United Kingdom, George V. On his trip to India, George V was supposed to stay here for a tiger hunt. Imported English tiles and attractive windows were used in the construction of this exclusive castle. But, having killed a tiger on his way, the king did not stop here and the palace was abandoned. Being situated at the highest point, the George Castle offers a magnificent view of the national park. Standing at the castle one can see Nilgai, Blackbucks, Sloth Bear, Wild Pigs, Jackals and several other wild animals. The point where the three lakes, Jadhav Sagar, Sakhya Sagar and Madhav Sagar, interlink with each other is located right next to the castle. Even though George Castle remains as a desolate building now, it is still the best place to enjoy the whole forest at a glance.
     
 
The Mall Of Shimla:
The Mall of Shimla is the prime attraction for the tourists as it is the center to a large number of shops, restaurants, a heritage theater and above all a hub of merriment. Adjacent to the Mall of Shimla are the Tibetian and the Lakkad bazaar. The Mall has a number of restaurants that offers a wide range of cuisines from Punjabi and South Indian to Chinese and Continental dishes. The Mall of Shimla holds the age old amateur theater- The Gaiety Theater. This building has a great appeal to the tourists and is a focal point of cultural activities. The Shimla Mall also owns a number of emporiums and showrooms which is the storehouse of shawls, caps, pullovers, jewelery, potteries, books and other handicrafts and toys of Himachal Pradesh. The place looks wonderful during the evening hours as the entire place glitters with lights and crowds of people. The Mall in Shimla is referred to as the 'heart of Shimla'. The Mall extends from Barnes court in the eastern side to Vice Regal lodge in the western side. Movement of vehicles is prohibited in the Mall of Shimla.
     
Manali:
A popular tourist destination, beautiful Manali has a lot to offer tourists. Here are a few places of interest in Manali.
 
     
Hadimba Temple:
One of the primary Manali tourist attractions is the Hadimba Temple that was constructed in the 16th century. The temple is situated at a distance of 2.5 kilometers from the tourists' office in Manali. Surrounded by the wooded deodar forests, the temple attracts a large number of tourists who frequently visit the pilgrim spot in Manali. The presiding deity of the Hadimba Temple or the Dhoongri Temple is the Goddess Hadimba who is the wife of the strongest of the Pandava brothers, Bhim. According to Hindu mythology, the giantess Hadimba meditated in this region and indulged in penitence. As a result of her penance, she was raised to the position of Durga, the Goddess of power. The rock in which the giantess meditated is placed within the confinements of the temple. The rock is known as the Dhoonger in the local language from which the temple derives its name. A 10 centimeter footprint of the goddess Durga is also preserved by the entrance of the temple. A stone idol of the Goddess Hadimba that rises to a height of 60 centimeters is placed in the sanctum sanctorum. A rock worshiped inside the temple is believed to be the representative of Durga. The unique architecture of the temple incorporates the styling of the Pagoda or the Buddhist place of worship with wood carvings. The Hadimba Temple was constructed in the year 1553 by Raja Bahadur Singh. Placed amidst the wooded trees, the temple is one of the most frequented pilgrim spots in Manali.
     
Buddhist Monasteries:
Since a lot of Tibetans live in Manali there are many beautiful Buddhist monasteries here. A few of the popular ones are the Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa Monastery, which is famous for medium size statue of Lord Buddha and multi coloured wall paintings. The other popular monastery is the Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa, which is popular for a large statue of Buddha with a golden face.
 
     
Rohtang Pass:
There are various fascinating tourist attractions in and around the Manali town. The great height of the snow capped peaks and the surrounding greenery promises to enchant every visitor to this small hill station. For the more adventurous souls there are options to climb higher to those places where the azure sky caresses the silvery peaks. The Rohtang Pass is one such destination, loved by the visitors mainly for the beauty its altitude promises. The Rohtang Pass is the highest point on the Manali- Keylong Road. It is also one of the most beautiful spots in the vicinity. Located at an altitude of 4112 meters above sea level, the spot promises an exquisite view of the surrounding mountain ranges. The regions beyond the Rohtang Pass are remote and cut away from the reach of the tourists. These predominantly Buddhist areas promise you an ascetic and haunting view. Being a bit inaccessible to the modern civilization has helped the place to retain its pure and untouched beauty. There are great trekking opportunities around the Rohtang Pass near Manali, though the skiing scopes are limited. The best time to visit this tourist attraction in Himachal Pradesh is between the months of June and September, when the way to the pass is easily accessible. There are trekkers available from the Manali town for going to the Rohtang Pass. You can also opt to trek this distance. The trekkers' route to the Rohtang Pass of Manali is will provide one some of the most beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and the greenery all around.
     

Solang Valley:
One needs to travel about 10 kilometers from the picturesque hill station of Manali to reach the fascinating Solang Valley. At an altitude of about 8500 feet above the sea level one can enjoy the bliss of nature on the banks of the river Beas.

The Solang valley in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is a place where one can celebrate peace amidst the snow capped peaks and the lush greenery of the dense forests. The serene atmosphere created by the vastness of the azure sky, the ravishing beauty of the green valleys and the snow lining on the distant peaks can make one feel the pleasure of being in a heaven abode.
The Solang Valley is also the place where the Ski school of Manali is located. There are wonderful ski slopes and picnic spots in this beautiful place. There are various ski packages arranged by the HPTDC during the winter months. Solang valley of Manali is well connected to other important cities of North India as well. There are regular buses plying to this place from cities like Delhi and Chandigarh. The hill resort of Solang valley is situated on the National Highway no. 21. The best time to visit the Solang valley is during the months of January and February, when this calm place becomes busy with activities.

 
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