Travelling from Delhi to Shimla is a long process but the beauty really starts when you reach Kalka and pick up 'The Toy Train' to Shimla. Not exactly top class luxury but the views are a delight although with 103 tunnels and over 700 non-girder bridges in a distance of only 96-km you would think that there would not be many much chance for views - but there certainly is !!!
The longest tunnel is 3,760 feet long and commonly referred to as the 'Kissing Tunnel' as it took quite a while to get through the tunnel and the train, used to be, plunged into darkness. In days gone by many young courting couples are rumoured to have used this opportunity to steal a quick kiss with their loved one (Scandelous - oooh!)
In the medical shop right opposite to the Club Mahindra property in Mashobra called Whispering pines, they arrange cars and tours.The owner of the medical shop Mr.Sharma is very helpful and has useful information.He rents cars with drivers and can also arrange for home cooked food!
The train station in Shimla was built in 1903 when the Kalka-Shimla mountain railway was built. The station is located at a height of 2076m (6810ft) above sea level and is the final stop on the 96km single track line. I arrived here from Kalka on the Himalayn Queen at about 6pm when it was already dark. I don't like arriving at unknown places in the dark and no sooner had I got off the train, then I was surrounded by porters and hotel touts. I just carried on walking out of the station and started to climb a hill bound for my first choice hotel, the Hotel Classic on The Mall which is quite a climb up the hill from the station. More pictures can be found in one of my travelogues.
I took a bus from here to Dharamsala and it was rather an ordeal for more reasons than one. Firstly, the 7am bus I wanted to take broke down with an "Indian problem" and so I had to wait around this clapped out and hectic bus station till the next bus left at 9.40am. This bus was classed as a "super fast" one that took all of 9 hours. Not my idea of fun. I sat upstairs in the canteen away from the chaos downstairs and wrote my diary of the mornings escapade and watched the sunrise over the hills and the canteen guys making chapatis. When the time came to board the bus, I had to go back upstairs and get my ticket stamped, signed and dated by the station master as it was only valid for the 7am bus. I then got to my seat and we left on time but seemed to stop for local people every 5 minutes and I eventually arrived in Dharamsala at 7pm. The journey cost Rs201.
To help with climbing up the hill from Cart Road, (where the bus station is located), to The Mall, there's this two stage lift which is quite fun to use even if you're not carrying heavy bags up and down.
Open: 8am-9pm. Ticket costs Rs7 for one way.
Heading to the Mall Road, you can use a lift nearby parking lot of Shimla. It's about Rs5 per person. Take a walk from bus station or parking lot to this building and going up about 2 minutes and voila! You're already at Mall Road.
Shimla or Simla has an airport about 23 km off Shimla, named Jubbarhati Airport. But for me, using a night bus from Delhi to Shimla was nice and more economic.
So, take a deluxe bus from bus station nearby Majnu-ka-Tilla at Old Delhi to direction Shimla. Reservation for advance booking is available.
The cars are not allowed at Mall Road. So, if you find lazy enough to walk along the beautiful buildings, alleys and hills, you can rent a horse. Also to direction to Jakhoo Temple, Kalibari Temple and Baleuganj.
It really is the ONLY way to get to Shimla! This gorgeous little mountain railway was built by the British during the height of the Raj and connects the town of Kalka in the Punjab to Shimla via 103 tunnels in a little over 100 kms of track. The train runs four times a day with uphill services departing at 4am, 5.30am, 6.30am and 11.55am. You can check out the most up-to-date service information at Indian Railways We came from Chandigarh in the morning and caught a bus to Kalka which connected with very little time to spare, leave yourself plenty of time if you have to make connections (rule number 1 in India!)
There are 2 classes of travel 1st and 2nd with quite a price difference between them. We travelled 2nd class at Rs.36 for the 5 hour trip (about AUS$1) I think forst class was about Rs. 300 and the only difference was reserved seating and padded vinyl seats in 1st class. Since we arrived late there were no seats left so we sat on our bags in the aisle and then variously sat in the open doorway to watch the world move by the train. It really was a fantastic way to travel and the carriage was abuzz with happy Indian holidaymakers all getting ready for their fun at Shimla! Once we saw the first snow by the tracks there was a stampede of people over to the windows and howls of delight from young and old alike!!
The train will take you to the main railway station which is then about 1.5 kms to the main part of town near the Christ Church. There will however be plenty of porters more than willing to carry your luggage at the station but do remember to fix a price beforehand and bargain hard.
It's also a major attraction for tourists >> train which runs on 96.54 km long Kalka - Shimla and passes through 102 tunnels.
Old buses but nice to Shimla and around >> such as Kufri, Dhalli, Sanjauli, Mashobra, Fagu and Chail.