Mountains are the only respite when it comes to beating the chaotic city life and summers. And in India, when it comes to mountains, most families tend to spend their vacations to Manali, Mussoorie and Shimla. These hilly destinations top the charts as to be the most touristy places almost across all seasons. People nowadays are deliberately looking forward to holiday at the less explored places to experience peace in abundance. Apparently, I planned to travel to a touristy hill station and a less explored hilly place together for a weekend. And so I had already zeroed in on my thoughts to travel to Himachal Pradesh. Shimla strikes first in our minds when I say Himachal Pradesh as it is one of the major hill stations of India that are visited approximately by over a million of tourists in a year.
On the other hand, Kufri is Shimla’s neighbouring hill station that are less crowded as compared to Shimla. It is known as the resort hill station where people mostly visit to relax and unwind Himalayan beauty with a peaceful stay in Kufri. Kufri is also the skiing destination where adventure-seeking travellers throng during winters to enjoy skiing at Himalayan snow-caped slopes. Apart from adventure and peaceful stays, Kufri also offers a wide range of hiking and nature trails for trekkers. The reason why Kufri should be your next getaway is because of its wonderful Himalayan vistas, serene nature and quietness. So, I explored Shimla on the first day and ended up having a beautiful and peaceful stay at Kufri on the other day.
Here is a two-day Shimla and Kufri travel guide which will help you in planning your vacation likewise.
The capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is located at an average altitude of 7,250 ft (approximately over 2100 m). Once the summer capital of British Raj, Shimla is now favourite amongst all tourists all year round. Famous for its British style architecture, it has retained its colonial era through historic monuments like Christ Church, Indian Institute Of Advanced Study, etc. It is well connected by road and can be reached via cities like Kalka, New Delhi and Chandigarh. Shimla is 113 km from Chandigarh and 345 km from New Delhi. Also, Kalka-Shimla railway is the longest narrow railway gauge still operating in India that connects Shimla to the city of Kalka.
Kufri is located at a distance of 13 km from Shimla at an altitude of 2,510 meters above sea level. Kufri gets its importance from the colonial days just like Shimla. However, the pleasant weather, the promise of snow, the spectacular natural beauty and all the adventure activities make Kufri the perfect choice for a short getaway. It gets its name from ‘kufr’ which means lake in the local language.
Shimla and Kufri experiences a similar kind of climate and are mostly cool throughout the year. All the months are good time to visit Shimla and Kufri basis per your travel plans and objectives. The summer months from April to June are slightly humid with mild summer and temperatures hardly exceeding 30 degrees. The months from July to September are of monsoon and Shimla and Kufri experiences maximum rainfall during these months. Sometimes, it causes landslides making the trip little risky. However, monsoon has its own charm and turn the hills more scenic and foggy. Between late December to early February, Shimla and Kufri recieves plenty of snow and turn into a winter wonderland.
How To Reach
Shimla is well-connected by all the major surrounding cities like Chandigarh and New Delhi and hill stations. The best and convenient option to reach Shimla and Kufri is by your own vehicle. You can travel at your own pace, enjoy scenery while en-route Shimla.
The nearest airport is Chandigarh and from there, Shimla can be reached by road or rail. One can also opt to fly to New Delhi and reach Shimla via road or rail.
Shimla and Kufri can be reached easily by road as the condition of the road to Shimla is good with astounding landscape. The best option is travelling through own vehicle other than this Shimla and Kufri can be reached by bus or hired cabs. There are multiple state-owned and private buses that run from ISBT New Delhi and Chandigarh to Shimla on regular basis. To reach Kufri from Shimla, travellers can hire taxis or take buses starting from ISBT Shimla bus stand or Lakkar bazaar bus stand.
The most fun way to reach Shimla is to get here by toy train that runs from Kalka to Shimla. Kalka-Shimla railway runs on the longest narrow railway gauge covering a distance of 96 km in about 7 hours. You can reach Kalka by train from Chandigarh or Delhi and then board the Toy Train. Please be aware that boarding a toy train requires a prior booking in advance. If you missed on booking a reservation in a toy train, you can also take bus or taxi from Kalka to reach Shimla just like I did (watch the full video linked below for more information).
Suggested Itinerary for Shimla and Kufri
Start from New Delhi to reach Kalka by train via overnight train- Netaji Exp Spl (02311)
Reach Kalka in the morning just before dawn and board your pre-booked Toy Train to Shimla. If you missed out on toy train’s booking, you can take a cab to Shimla which is at 3 hours drive from Kalka railway station. The cab will cost around Rs 2000, also do not hesitate to negotiate with the cab driver.
Reach Shimla by 9 AM and Check-in at your hotel. Have breakfast and freshen up to start your day in Shimla.
Spend the day exploring Mall road, The Ridge, Jakhu temple, Lakkar Bazaar and Christ Church. There are numerous cafes and restaurants, souvenir shops located at Mall Road and Lakkar bazaar that you’ll end exploring all these for a day.
Return to hotel post dinner at Mall road and call it a day.
Start your day early morning by visiting Kali Bari Temple (Shyamala Devi) located near Mall Road.
Prepare to check-out from Shimla post breakfast at Mall Road.
Start for Kufri by boarding a bus from Lakkar Bazaar Bus Stand in Shimla. The fare of which will cost next to nothing at Rs 35.
Reach Woodays Resort in Kufri by afternoon. Spend your day at leisure enjoying the scenic Himalayan ranges beauty and cooler temperature with a peaceful stay at Woodays Resort in Kufri.
Spend the evening with a beautiful bonfire alongside by watching the sun go down and the hills glow up in the dark.
Call it a day post a delicious dinner at Woodays Resort.
Start your day a little early to explore the vicinity of the property on a bicycle available at reception of the Woodays Resort.
Spend the morning at leisure and nature walk at Kufri.
Have breakfast at Woodays and prepare to check-out.
Take a bus to Shimla from Kufri post breakfast at Woodays.
Start for New Delhi from ISBT Shimla Bus Stand and reach New Delhi by night. So, this is an end to 2-days trip to Shimla and Kufri together where on one day you are busy exploring Shimla outside and on the other day at Kufri, you are relaxing with a peaceful stay at resort and adoring the natural Himalayan beauty.
Places To Visit In Shimla
For a brief summary, below are some of the best places that you can visit in Shimla during your one-day trip:
In Shimla, the Mall Road lies at the heart of all the action and activity. Buzzing with shops, cafes, theatres, restaurants, and a whole bunch of merriment, it lies close to all places of interest. The Mall spreads from Oberoi Clarks Hotel to the Scandal point and can be precisely termed as Shimla’s hub of social life.
This is known as the Scandal Point because it is the point from where Maharaja Of Patiala eloped with the daughter of British viceroy. It had been the most scandalised affair back then. The point separates the Ridge from the Mall road.
The Ridge is the most happening place of Shimla where all fairs, festivals, and functions are held. Christ Church lies here, whereas Jakhu Hill, and observatory are located near the Ridge.
Lakkar Bazaar is one of the main shopping centre of Shimla located on the small road adjoining The Ridge. It is a great marketplace to pick up some beautiful souvenirs for the trip.
Kali Bari Temple:
Built in 1845, Kali Bari Temple is one of the sacred temple dedicated to Goddess Kali, known as Shyamala after which Shimla is named. It lies alongside Mall Road on Bantony Hill and is a popular tourist attraction of Shimla.
Jakhu Hill is the highest peak of Shimla, located at a height of 2,455 meters. It is known for Jakhu Temple where the 108 ft tall statue of Lord Hanuman stands which can be seen from the Ridge. There is a ropeway to reach to the top of Jakhu Hill otherwise it is best to hike through thrilling views of Shimla and hills around to reach to the top.
It is the second most oldest church of Northern India dating back to British era in 1857. It is a prominent landmark situated on the Ridge and is known for its Neo-Gothic style architecture.
Where To Eat In Shimla
Being the most popular tourist destination of Northern India, Shimla houses endless number of restaurants, cafes and local outlets serving all kinds of cuisines. You can try local Himachali food, Chinese, Continental, Indian, etc and pretty much everything in Shimla. I suggest that you go to Mall Road and try out any of the restaurants located there.
My personal recommendation basis my trip to Shimla is that you can visit ‘Himachali Rasoi’ located in the Middle Bazaar, Mall Road. They serve traditional Himachali thali, if you are looking for that then this place is for you.
While shopping at Lakkar bazaar, you can eat delicious burgers and sandwiches at Sharma’s Burger and Tikki Corner.
And if you are on the Ridge, you’ll find small, centrally located outlets selling Momos and softy cones. These are must try if you are halting and chilling at the Ridge.
Places To Stay In Kufri
Kufri is a small town located in the proximity of Shimla that makes it an important place to visit. Kufri is a place that offers peace in abundance. It is a beautiful resort town for peaceful stays, an ideal destination for hiking and nature trails all throughout the season and skiing destination for adventure seekers during winters. While Kufri provides multiple options to stay in peace, I decided to stay at Woodays Resort in Kufri.
About Woodays Resort, Kufri
Woodays is a picturesque ‘Boutique Huts Resort’ spread over an area of 24,700 sq ft at a height of approximately 8,136 ft in the lap of Himalayas in Kufri. The property is situated 17 km from Mall Road, Shimla and in itself is a retreat amidst nature. Among the facilities of this property are a multi-cuisine restaurant, 24 hour front desk and free WIFI. The best part about staying at Woodays Resort is that it offers comfort, serenity, adventure and a touch of luxury away from the hustle and bustle of Shimla. The resort comes with 16 luxurious rooms and you can enjoy rejuvenating around bonfire at night.
The rooms at the Woodays Resort provides a perfect comfort to relax, rejuvenate and unwind from everyday life. The rooms at Woodays are Scandinavian styled huts that are aesthetic in looks with plush interiors and with all amenities and comforts. Staying at these huts provides royal feel and make us feel peace and close to nature.
During my stay at Woodays Resort, I totally loved the warmth and hospitality of the staff. They will happily guide you about places to see around Kufri and anything. I fell in love with the beautiful hut style cottages and the kind of view that the property and its rooms offer. The weather, the hospitality, the amenities, and the view were all complimenting each other at Woodays Resort. I imagine how this resort would turn in winters as it would surely be turning into a dreamy winter wonderland with snow all around. So all I’m saying is that I completely loved the experience of staying at the Woodays Resort in Kufri. Here are a quick deets about the property-
WOODAYS RESORT, KUFRI
Address: NH-22, near AMUSEMENT PARK Dochi, Lambidhar, Kufri, Himachal Pradesh 171012
Phone No.: 085809 00494
Cost of Rooms: Rs 7,200 onwards
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So this was my short yet serene trip to Shimla and Kufri where I experienced joys of travel from best of both worlds. Shimla is an enchanting hill station with beautiful views but always crowded and thus, I explored Shimla like every other tourist. On the other hand, Kufri is a silent and picturesque hamlet where I relaxed at ease and peace while staying in the Woodays Resort. All in all, I’m saying that a mix of Shimla and Kufri can be your perfect weekend getaway completely.
Check out this Shimla-Kufri video on YouTube linked below–