Shimla has a population of around 145,000. Most of the residents are from the Pahadi community the natives of Himachal Pradesh, but there is also a sizable minority from Punjab and Sindh, who moved to Shimla during the partition. As a result, the languages spoken in Shimla include Hindi, Punjabi, Pahadi and English which serves as a lingua-franca.
Shimla's cool climate is the precise reason why it is such a popular summer retreat. Located at an altitude of approximately 2200m above sea level, the region has a hilly terrain and is covered by dense evergreen forests. A few visitors choose to visit Shimla during spring or autumn, when the place is less crowded and the views are too spectacular for words.
|Spring||March-April||10°C to 20°C||Clear skies. Occasional rain and thunderstorms.|
|Summer||May- June||16°C to 28°C||Generally clear skies. Air might become smoky due to forest fires.|
|Monsoon||July-September||13°C to 20°C||Cool and humid. Continuous rain.|
|Autumn||October-November||10°C to 23°C||Skies are clear, chilly evenings.|
|Winter||December-February||-7°C to 10°C||Generally dull weather. Frequent snowfall.|
Sitting majestically above the searing plains, the British designated the town as the summer capital of India. The higher levels of the town reflect this British connection, comprising mostly buildings in the Victorian style, while the lower slopes are occupied with Indian bazaars and restaurants. Traffic is banned from the historic central area, known as the Mall which means that the atmosphere is calm and the air pristine.
Cart Road runs south of the Mall and is connected to it via the lifts. The Ridge, north of the Mall, is a good place to view the the seven majestic hills of Shimla. Further along the same road is Lakkar Bazaar, which is a good place to buy some handicrafts and other souvenirs.