For a change from the Shimla routine, try a couple of nights at this cosy hill-country home 25km northwest of Shimla. It's a peaceful retreat with three comfortable rooms, lovely valley, hill and forest views, and good home-made, locally sourced meals. The birdwatching is good and the owner is an experienced naturalist and wildlife guide.
The owners come from the royal lineages of former princely states and their house is decked with antiques and heirlooms. You can book direct or through Shimla Walks. A taxi from Shimla costs ₹1000 to ₹1500.