It’s an all time favorite tourist destination… the Queen of the hills, an ideal refuge for the sun fatigue travelers. A place for adventure sports seekers, as it is known for its activities such as rock climbing, angling for trout trekking and river rafting, but making it come alive during the summers is it’s special summer festival.

Held every year, this year the festival organised by district administration is being celebrated from the 2nd to the 7th June 2011. One of the most awaited festivals of Shimla, it is celebrated with great enthusiasm and grandeur depicting the rich culture of Himachal Pradesh.

Organized each year by the Shimla Administration Officials since 1960 at the Ridge of Shimla, cultural activities are the major attractions of this festival to lure not only local tourists but also those from across borders.

Showcasing cultural performances, local handicrafts exhibitions, fashion shows, exotic Himachali cuisines, star concerts, flower shows, dog shows, and various other different competitions etc, the Shimla Summer festival is mesmerizing in every way with splendid cultural performances from the local youth along with folk singers and dancers of Himachal Pradesh. Adding to the magic is the presence of esteemed dignitaries from the entertainment world who also perform fabulously during the gala period of the festival.

An enchanting time for its visitors, this is the best time to visit Shimla and soak in the affluent cultural diversity of India. Not only does one observe various local folk dance performances by local dance groups, and by school goers, but even from other states with many famous personalities like singers and celebrities being brought in from all over India during this gala period in Shimla.

A splash of colors and imagination, the Shimla Summer Festival is celebrated on a grand scale and is an amalgamation of various talented people of India with even magicians and other performers providing entertainments to the crowds gathered.

If you’re been wanting to pick up handicrafts unique to the state this is the perfect time to do so with locals putting up stalls with handicrafts/ souvenirs. For foodies it’s time to indulge in some mouth watering Himachali cuisine! Overall the festival is a good time to experience the local culture and feel of the place.

And it’s not just the locals eager to colour and decorate the streets giving the place a festive look, joining in is Mother Nature with flowers in full bloom, with Shilma looking greener and fresher in the summers!

While enjoying the magic of the festival make sure you’re given yourself enough time to soak in its other amazing attractions! Some major attractions here being… the Jakhu Hill, situated 2 km from Shimla, it is the highest peak here offering a beautiful view of the town and the snow-covered Himalayas. This hill is also home to an old temple of Lord Hanuman, where one can find many playful monkeys waiting to be fed here.

Summer Hill is another must visit, at a distance of 5 km from the Ridge, Mahatma Gandhi lived in these quiet surroundings during his visits to Shimla, one can also find the Himachal Pradesh University situated here.

One of the main shopping areas, it is the main meeting place for everyone, The Ridge and Scandal point being meeting points. Besides shops here, the Mall is dotted with many eating joints and cafes.

Situated on the Ridge, Christ Church is the second oldest church in Northern India, and a beautiful church known for its stained glass windows representing faith, hope, charity, fortitude, patience and humility.

Besides the Hanuman temple on the Shimla-Kalka road, one can also visit the Tara Devi temple. Situated on top of a hill that faces Shimla, this temple offers panoramic views of Shimla town and surrounding hills, and beautiful views of the thick forest of oak and rhododendron that surrounds it.

Dedicated to Shyamala Devi, the Goddess after which Shimla is named, another temple situated near to The Mall that is a must visit is the Kali Bali Temple.

The Shimla State Museum is an interesting visit for its collection of miniature Pahari paintings, bronzes wood-carvings, sculptures, costumes, even jewellery of the region.

Just a pleasant 2 km walk west of the museum, is the Viceregal Lodge, now known as the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, the former residence of the British viceroy’s, it is a must visit for its fascinating Scottish baronial style of architecture, whilst there don’t forget to explore the lawns and botanical gardens. Opposite the lodge, one can find a small aviary that is home to a variety bird species’, including the Monal pheasants, the sate bird of Himachal Pradesh.

Looking for a place to picnic? Then just 4 km from the Ridge through dense forests, a sprightly stream flows through the Glen forests, making it a perfect picnic spot. Beyond the Glen is Annandale, wonderful picnic spot, this was once the playgrounds of Shimla, where racing, polo and cricket entertained the Britishers.

Other attractions here include Mashobra, 13 km from Shimla, the site of the annual Sipi fair in June, Kufri 16 km away is the local winter sports centre and also known for its small zoo. Tattapani at 65 km from Shimla, is another great place famous for hot water springs and Hindu temples while Naldehra at about 23 Km from Shimla is known for its nine hole golf course since the British period and ancient Nag temple.

Summer times should be Fun times, and that’s just what the Summer Festival here ensures! A gay time for one and all visiting Shimla this time of the year!

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