Shimla is the capital of the northern mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh and India's largest and best hill station. The town also gives visitors a great taste of the Himalayas, which tower in the state's north. It is also famed for being the former summer capital of the British Raj. The town retains the feel of an English village where gents stroll The Mall sporting tweeds and smoking pipes, however the shabby, atmospheric bazaars help maintain a distinctly Indian flavour.
The best way to reach Shimla is aboard the historic ‘toy train' which winds its way along a precipitous and beautifully scenic narrow-gauge line from Kalka, north of Delhi.
Completed in 1903 the Viceroy's Kalka-Shimla Railway passes 103 tunnels, 24 bridges and 18 stations on its 96-km journey.
The glass-windowed first class carriages offer stunning views throughout the six to seven-hour journey; you may even see guards exchanging the leather bound brass discs which are inserted into special machines to alert the signals of their approach - a failsafe means of preventing trains meeting on the single-track sections of the railway.
The fairytale Oberoi Wildflower Hall luxury resort is a tranquil mountain sanctuary.
A former residence of Lord Kitchener, it has been rebuilt in grand colonial style and is ranked as one of the top hotels in Asia.