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Shimla

Getting there & away

Contents

Land

Bus

The HPTDC and private travel agencies offer private overnight deluxe buses (two-by-two seating) to Manali (from Rs 415, 10 hours) and Delhi (from Rs 440, 10 hours) leaving at around 8pm from near the Victory Tunnel. Buses to Chail (Rs 35, 2½ hours) and Tattapani (Rs 38, three hours) leave from the small Rivoli (Lakkar Bazar) bus stand, north of the Ridge.

Other government buses leave from the large and chaotic Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT; 2656326; Cart Rd). The computerised booking counter takes reservations up to a month in advance.

Train

Shimla is served by a narrow-gauge toy train from Kalka, just north of Chandigarh. Although the steam trains are long gone, it’s a scenic trip, passing through 103 tunnels as it creeps up through the hills. Tiny Shimla train station is 1.5km west of Scandal Point on Cart Rd. The left-luggage office is open 9am to 5pm daily.

Ordinary trains (Rs 36/228 in 2nd/1st class) run downhill to Kalka at 2.25pm and 6.15pm, returning at 6am and 8.30am. To travel in style, catch the posh Shivalik Express at 5.40pm (returning at 5.30am; Rs 280, 1st class only) or the Himalayan Queen at 12.10pm (returning at 10.30am; Rs 167, chair car only). All 1st-class prices include food.

The Himalayan Queen service connects with the Himalayan Queen trains to and from Delhi (Rs 329/97 in chair car/2nd class). The train from Delhi’s Nizammudin station leaves at 5.30am.

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Air

Jubbarhatti airport, 23km south of Shimla, is served by the tiny aircraft of Jagson Airlines (2625177), with an inconvenient 10kg baggage allowance. Weather permitting, there are flights from Shimla to Kullu (Bhuntar; US$122, 30 minutes) and Delhi (US$137, one hour) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Bookings can be made with Ambassador Travels (2658014; The Mall; 9am-6pm). A taxi to the airport will cost Rs 520.

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