Known as the commercial and social lifeline of the town of Shimla, thumb The Mall Road still looks exactly like a small town English market. No vehicles are allowed on this stretch, ask making it a paradise for pedestrians. Shopping, look eating and recreation, you do it all by walking through one of the cleanest open public stretches in the entire country.
Tourists coming here, can park their vehicles at public parkings along the cart road, and take a passenger lift run by the HPTDC to reach The Mall in the shortest time span. As soon as one gets off the lift, you’re greeted by a long stretch of market area that extends almost a km and a half long. Within this distance, there are shops, showrooms, restaurants, and cultural centres.
The Mall in particular is famous for branded clothes. During the British Era, it was regarded to be as fashionable as the finest streets of London and Paris, and somehow the youth of the town still carry this legacy. You’ll be amazed to see how fashion savvy they are. From the latest hairstyles, to wearing the most ravishing and funky clothes, one can’t escape noticing them.
Strategically placed, The Mall is south facing and affords to give spectacular views of the valley below and beyond. Lying between the rows of buildings are pockets of open spaces, where one can hunch back on the many public benches, rest for a while and enjoy the scenery.
The temperature here never exceeds 25 degrees centigrade, and is almost always accompanied by a cool breeze. This is the reason why walking never becomes exhaustive. In fact the most common phenomenon here is to take about 3-4 rounds of the Mall Road before retiring to some eating joint or rest point. The locals fondly call it “mall ki gediyan marna.”
Apart from this, the Mall Road also takes us back to the British Era, with many Tudor structures that line the given stretch. The famous Gaiety Theatre, the office of the Municipal Corporation housed in an impressive stone building, a British time General Post Office, Fire Station and Police Head Quarters are buildings that were built over a 100 years ago by the British.
Adjoining The Mall is the famous Ridge, crowned with the Christ Church, and running parallel to it on the side below is Lower Bazaar, the market for the common man. In close proximity lie two major temples, The Jakhoo Mandir and the Kali Badi.
Billionaires and paupers, The Mall Road belongs equally to all of us. The only other companions that will sometimes walk with you are stray dogs and monkeys.
Summers here are graced with sparkling sunshine and winters sees the stretch white with the snow.