Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is a historical city founded by the British in the latter half of the 19th century and used to be the summer capital of the British government before India gained independence in 1947.
Shimla is a popular city with tourists. The best months of the year to visit are March-June (spring) September-October (autumn) and December-January (to experience the winter snow fall). Travel by road is the fastest and the most cost effective option although railway and airport is also available. It is 365 km (9 hours bus journey) from Delhi (the route lies mostly in Haryana) and 115 km from Chandigarh (4 hours bus journey), the nearby prominent cities. The railroad from Shimla to Kalka (a place near Chandigarh) is a narrow gauge and there are 103 beautiful tunnels on the way. The train is meant for tourist purposes because although rail travel is very cheap it takes painful 6 hours for the same journey which takes 2 and a half hours by road.
The place is a natural beauty as it is situated in the hills (height from mean sea level is 2,195 meters and latitude is approx 32 degrees north). The snow clad Himalayas are visible from here. The town is surrounded by an ever green cover of pine/fir (Devdaar) trees. Summers are cool to warmish and winters are cold. Snowfall occurs in winter months of December-February.
Hindi and Punjabi are the major languages. Inhabitants of this city are mostly from different districts of Himachal Pradesh. The people living in the heart of the city, lower bazaar and Jakhoo areas are mostly business families (shop keepers) and people who had come over to India from what is now Pakistan during the partition in 1947. Most of the people are quite good natured and helping. The city has a slow life and people have ample time to leisure.
Schools in Shimla are Bishop Cotton School (boys only), St Edwards (boys only), Convent of Jesus and Mary (girls only), Loreto Convent popular as Tara Hall (girls only) but now Sacred Heart Convent Tara Hall, Auckland House School (girls only), DAV Public School New Shimla, Dyanand School, SD School, St Thomas et al. Shimla has a Medical College IGMC, St Bedes Girls college, RKMV a girl's college, Govt College Sanjauli, Govt College Chaura Maidan, Himachal Pradesh University for getting Master's and Doctor's qualifications.
Economy is mostly based on Government offices and Tourism. It lacks many of the facilities of a larger metro cities but you can nevertheless buy souvenirs and small gift items. Telephone connectivity to the rest of the world is excellent from city and nearby village places. Internet is available but not high speed. Accessories for normal cameras are available but at painfully high prices.
The places of worship are Kali Bari Mandir, Ram Mandir, Krishan Mandir (Gunj), Jakhoo Mandir (located at a height - good for a small trek), Taradevi mandir (visible from the city but a bit far, located isolated in an uninhabited forest, very good for 4-5 hour weekend trekking), Sankat Mochan Mandir, Gurudwara near bus stand, Gurudwara in Chotta Shimla and Sanjauli, mosque in Lower Bazaar and Krishan Nagar.
Famous sweets shop (halwai) is Meru halwai in Lower Bazaar known for sweet vegetarian snacks. Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, located near the Television Tower (chaura maidan), previously Viceroy's Palace, is a must see place.