Recently, Shimla has fallen somewhat out of fashion, as the cool kids all decided to go to Landour for their dose of small town English charm. That's precisely why you should be visiting right now, especially if you want a dose of quiet and maybe the company of some flying monkeys.
Three Oberoi properties we heard recommended over and over again: Cecil, Wildflower Hall and Clarkes. We stayed at Clarkes ourselves, a small heritage hotel with delicious hot chocolate, well heated rooms and a location right on the Mall so you can walk to wherever you want to go. We negotiated for the off season price, but even during season time, it seems like a bang for your buck. Woodville Palace is a bit off the beaten track, but it’s gorgeous. Going through the guest book, however, we notice quite a few complaints regarding leaky bathrooms and whatnot, so maybe just do what we did and have some tea and pakodas on the lawn.
Call 0177-2651010 or visit www.clarkesshimla.com, approximately Rs 7,000 for double room during off season.
We stumbled across perhaps the best momo chutney we’ve ever had in a tiny stall run by a Tibetan lady down the road from the sign leading to the ice skating rink, sandwiched by a number of jacket shops.
Wake and Bake café stands out for its terrace views (beware of flying monkeys!) and good coffee. Also tasty is their pizza by the slice—we ordered bacon. The place is full of Shimla’s young hipsters so you might be in the right company.
View the Facebook page here, Rs 80 for a coffee.
We stumbled across perhaps the best momo chutney we’ve ever had in a tiny stall run by a Tibetan lady down the road from the sign leading to the ice skating rink, sandwiched by a number of jacket shops. Ask someone for the momo aunty, and get her plate of the vegetarian momos, with three different kinds of dipping sauces—hot, mild and white, delicious when mixed together.
Near ice skating rink, Circular Road, Rs 30 for veg momos.
Go for a walk and get gloriously lost. If you need us to point you in a direction, try heading towards Chotta Shimla from Mall Road. It’s a main road, but hardly anyone goes down it, and there are all these old houses you can look at and take pictures of, wonderful examples of the time that was.
Have a cheesy photograph taken in traditional pahari costumes. Hey, it’s Shimla and all the cool kids are gone, so who’s going to recognise you? Touts will come up to you on the Mall Road, just pick one!
Check out Gaiety Theatre which has tours running all day. You’ll get to admire the lovely architecture and learn a bit about the history of the place. The Mall, call 0177-2650173.
Go ice skating. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t hold for us and they had closed the rink, but we hear good things about this “all natural” ice rink. The best time to go is in the morning, but they’re also open for a few hours between 6 pm and 9 pm. Circular Road, Shimla.
PS: All of Shimla is now a no-smoking city, and big threatening signs remind you of that fact every few feet. We spotted very few people smoking and even fewer cigarette shops, which means you might have to bring your own supply and smoke in your room.
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