Most tourists visiting Shimla limit their visit to the few popular destinations such as Mall, Jakhoo, Kufri, Chail, Taradevi and Naldehra. These places are definitely worth visiting but there is so much more to Shimla that a lot of tourists miss out on
There are a lot of hidden gems in Shimla that very few people visit, such as Chadwick Falls, Potters Hill, Shimla Forest Reserve and Catchment Area etc. There are also a lot of pleasant walks and hikes on serene forest trails that provide great opportunities for nature photography.
For those looking for a little more excitement, there are moderate to hard treks available all around Shimla that will get the heart pumping and relieve the stress of the city life.
Here are 5 exciting treks, in no particular order, which you can enjoy within a 60 mile radius of Shimla.
1. Shali Tibba
Shali Tibba is a perfect location to get a 360 degree view of vast valley from the height of 9420 feet. On a clear day, from the top, you can see mountain ranges of Kullu and Kinnaur and even some peaks of Uttrakhand. The trek is not too hard and can be completed in just one day.
You need to travel 48 km from Shimla to Khatnol village via Dhali and Mashobra. Just before reaching Khatnol a dirt track heads upwards with a lonely sign pointing out the way to the Bhima Kali Temple on top of Shali Tibba. The track continues for 2 km before ending abruptly. You can either start your trek from here or if you are more adventurous you can do it from the main road. A trail snakes up the hill from the end of the dirt track to the top about 5 km away. The incline is gradual with some steep parts as you make your way through the pine forest.
The temple has rest houses for pilgrims if you want to stay the night. Remember to bring plenty of water along with you as there are no sources of water on the way.
2. Hatu Peak
Hatu Peak at 11,000 feet is a good trek near Shimla. The temple of Hatu Mata is situated on the top and contains some intricate wood work. You can view the snow covered Himalayan Peaks in all directions and see valleys and apple orchards on the slopes below. Walking through the pine and spruce forest will give you great opportunities to observe and photograph nature.
To get there you need to travel to Narkanda which is about 65 km from Shimla. There is a tarred road of about 8 km from Narkanda all the way up to the peak. You can also abandon the road and climb straight up which would make it a 4 km trek. This trek can be done in a day with ease even though there are steep sections in between. Remember to carry water and food and of course your camera.
The Mashobra Hike is another wonderful day long trip to enjoy the real beauty of Shimla. Mashobra is just 10 km from Shimla and you start this circular trip from a village called Charabara. At first you descend down to the Mashobra Bazaar and then down to Seepur where you’ll be welcomed by bubbling fresh water streams. From Seepur to Shali the road is a gradual decline. You can see the Shali Tibba peak facing the Shali village.
From Shali you start climbing to Deothi village where you can visit the temple of Seep, a local deity, which has a unique mushroom like architecture. From Deothi you climb to Kanda and then to Kaneer. From Kaneer you can climb up for another hour to reach the century old Dak Bungalow. Charabara is another hour and a half climb from there.
The total circuit can be done in a single day and by the end you’d have seen all types of flora and fauna that is found in this region of the world. It is best to carry food and water and start early in the morning to get back in time.
Churdhar at 12,000 feet is the highest peak in the outer Himalayas. There is an impressive Shiva statue on the top of the peak that lies in the Sirmor district. This area of Sirmor comes under a sanctuary so the wildlife is untainted by the human touch. You’ll get to see nomadic Gaddi herders along the way and you can also see Kedarnath and Badrinath peaks from here.
The ascent can be made either from Chaupal which is 82 km from Shimla or from Nohradhar which is a little more than 110 km from Shimla but would be closer to people coming from Delhi or Chandigarh.
The climb from Chaupal is 7 km of a moderate terrain. The trek can take anywhere from 5 to 6 hours. There is a temple complex of Chureshwar Mahadev about 300 meters below the summit. There is a dharamshala for pilgrims to spend the night or you can choose to camp out. You can also return to Chaupal on the same day if you begin early in the morning. There is a lonely dhaba at the top if you run out of food.
5. Giri Ganga
Giri Ganga is a 6 km hike from the village Khara Pathar which is about 75 km from Shimla. There are different stories about the origin of the name. One story talks about a Sadhu who dropped his bowl full of Ganga Jal that he had brought from Haridwar. More probably the name refers to the river Giri that reemerges at this point and later goes on to join Yamuna.
At Giri Ganga there is a temple complex that contains temples of Goddess Durga, Lord Ram and Shiva. The Durga Temple is built in the middle of a small pond. This trek too can easily be completed in one day if you set off early in the morning from Shimla. The actual trek from Khara Pathar only takes about 2 hours on a moderate incline. There is an option of driving all the way as well but the road is in very poor condition so don’t try it unless you have a 4×4 vehicle with good ground clearance.
The Final Word
If you think Kufri, Chail and Naldehra is all there is to Shimla then think again. Shimla is full of surprises that will excite any explorer who has an adventurous soul. These 5 one day treks around Shimla town will provide you with 5 great weekend experiences.