Do you want to do something different this summer? What about a road trip instead of taking a flight to your holiday destination? Consider taking a weekend off this summer preferably between March and June and enjoy mesmerising Shimla. It is the ideal holiday spot to cool off and relax, especially if you live in and around Delhi.
Shimla is a very popular hill station known worldwide for its tourist attractions and scenic valleys. The mountains and hills are perfect for romantic getaways. Shimla presents the ideal climatic conditions to get a pleasurable break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The summer season is the best time to visit Shimla and get some fresh mountain air to rejuvenate the mind and body. It is also a busy time in hills as it is the beginning of the tourist season since the weather is pleasant and perfect for outdoor activities. The temperature varies between 15°C and 30°C offering an ideal summer joint. Those who love adventure sports, this is the perfect time to try paragliding, trekking, camping and rafting.
Delhi to Shimla Highways has amazing dhabas along the way. The north Indian cuisines served are truly mouthwatering and sumptuous. There are several Café Coffee Days, McDonald’s, and Pizza Huts along the route that offer fast food alternatives to local delicacies. However, try the local cuisines at the dhaba and eateries as these are a treat for the long journey ahead of you.
All of these dhabas are clean and have an affordable menu. Some of the popular haunts are:
It is one of the oldest dhabas on this route and is owned by a refugee who moved to India after the partition and since then has been serving people the best Keema Kaleji, Chicken Masala, Mutton Masala and Home-made Mango Pickle.
It serves authentic Punjabi cuisine. Their Paneer paranthas, Gobi Paranthas and Lacchha Paranthas are famous with Makkhan (which is locally made butter called desi ghee). Along with wholesome paranthas they serve a pitcher of Lassi or Butter Milk.
It is located in Sector 28 which is a short detour from the highway. They are known for their Butter Chicken, Paneer Butter Masala, Sarson ka saag and Dal Fry or better known as tadka. All these are typical Punjabi homemade dishes served piping hot. Their prices are affordable, and the restaurant is clean.
You have the option of taking 3 different routes from Delhi to Shimla. Each route has scenic views and excellent places to visit along the way.
Delhi – Sonipat – Panipat – Karnal – Ambala – Pinjore – Kasauli – Shimla
It is an 8 hour journey and is approximately 486 kilometres. It is possibly the shortest route to Shimla. The highway corridor is rife with activity and there are multiple locations that you can choose as a pit stop to enjoy the cool breeze and sights. The journey takes you on NH44 to NH152 and then NH5. Stick to using GPS so that you reach within the estimated time.
Delhi – Sonipat – Panipat – Karnal – Yamunanagar – Solan – Chail – Shimla
It takes roughly 11 hours and 24 minutes, and the distance is approximately 452 kilometres to drive to reach Shimla via this route. It is the most thrilling roads for nature lovers and wildlife connoisseurs. It takes you through highways NH44 and NH5. Enthusiasts can visit two wildlife sanctuaries en route.
Delhi – Ghaziabad – Modinagar – Meerut – Muzzafarnagar – Dehradun – Kolar – Barog – Shimla
This route is a roughly 12-hour journey, and - is 482 kilometres in distance. The trip is longer than the other options outlined. However, it takes you through mountains and hilly winding roads and exciting places to explore en route. This route will take you through NH344 and NH 7.
There are tons of places to eat at along the Delhi - Shimla Highway. The food scene is – exciting. As you drive along, you can visit sanctuaries, temples and a number of places that are interesting as well as fun.
It is a famous dhaba for lunch pit stops. The owner used to be a hawker serving fish and kebab chops and graduated to a dhaba owner in due course of time. While the restaurant still serves fish and kebab chops, the must have at this eatery are Haryali Kebab, Kadhai Paneer, Tangri Kebab and Kalmi Kebab.
They serve a traditional Indian Breakfast here. For those who like to eat a wholesome meal in the morning, try the tandoori paranthas, stuffed kulchas, and their thalis.
It is one the oldest dhabas on the Shimla-Kalka Highway, known best- for its mouthwatering paranthas and non-vegetarian delicacies. They also serve special paranthas called the mirchi parantha that is stuffed with green chillies.
This multi-cuisine joint is a favourite for families that serves delectable Punjabi cuisine like Chhole Bhature, Pav Bhaji, Dal Makhani, and Shahi Paneer. Try these authentically cooked dishes that will immediately transport you to one to the Pinds or villages in Punjab.
There are 3 routes that can take you Shimla. The highways from Delhi to Shimla are vivid with undulating landscape with plenty of opportunities to explore around.
The first route is via NH44 and NH5. This route is via Ambala which has the Army Cantt as well, and it is a gorgeous drive to mountains.
Popular pit stops and places to explore on Route 1 are:
It is located in Panipat. It is a historical monument and a mosque that is known to people across the globe. It houses a Library and a Park. So, it is a great place to soak in Indian history and relax in the park.
It is located after crossing the city of Karnal. Have a quick stopover to enjoy the peaceful lake and its surrounding area.
It is a beautiful mausoleum of a renowned Sufi Saint in Kurukshetra which falls en route to Shimla.
It is a popular tourist spot. Travellers come here to enjoy the serenity and peaceful setting of the lake.
This is one the most popular stopovers on this route which is also known locally as the Rajwadi Gardens. It is one of the most beautiful Mahal’s en route with manicured lawns and magnificent gardens and ornate fountains. The hum of flowing water is relaxing to tourists who visit the Mahal.
It is a holy place and an exciting spot to capture the beautiful views of Kasauli, which is a few kilometres away from Shimla.
Popular places on Route 2 are:
Chail is a few kilometres away from Shimla, and it is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts where one can spot the Himalayan black bears, Golden eagles, European red deer, leopards and rich diversity of wildlife species.
This national park is located near Yamunanagar, and it is a dense forest which is ideal for treks and wildlife photography. The national park is nestled within these dense forests and offers jungle safaris. It is worth the visit as it is teeming with wildlife such as the beautiful leopards, sambar, python, deer, majestic king cobra and a variety of birds.
Route 3 is the longest and the most exciting one which takes you through winding mountainous and hilly roads
This is one of the most soulful monasteries- that one must visit in Dehradun for its beautiful ambience.
It is located in Guchupani in Dehradun, and it is one of the highly recommended attractions for adventurous cave river walks to enjoy the serenity of the place.
It is on the Chakrata Road in Dehradun. The place is one which must be on your bucket list. Visit it for its museums, the parks and the era of colonial architecture.
It is a natural spring which is a sulphur pond and houses a quaint temple. It is quite attractive and unique.
It is a hidden gem in hills of Chakrata. These waterfalls are delightful and gorgeous.
Shimla is a town that is popularly known as the Queen of Hill Stations, and the areas around never cease to stun with their charming exquisiteness. With such a variety of exciting places, Shimla is definitely one of the most visited tourist destinations in India. Places to visit in Shimla are:
The best places to visit in summer or winters in Shimla is the Summer hill – a picturesque town which is located 5 km from the famous ridge of Shimla. It is carpeted by abundant greenery that has out of this world views from the top. It is also a part of the 7 hills which make this an escape from the bustling places. The visiting time is during Sunrise to sunset, and the sunrise is beautiful during summers. It has treks and nature walks too.
It was built by the British, IIAS and is mostly a summer retreat for the Indian President. It was then given to the nation by the then President Dr. Radhakrishnan, as a foundation which promotes advances studies in humanities and arts. The architecture is a classical structural design with an adept fireproofing system. A visit to the institute is a walk through of contemporary Indian history. Their strict visiting hours are from 8 am to 6 pm.
It is a historical place which has to be on the list of places to visit in Shimla. This place was home to several adventure sports during the British rule and has horse racing as well. Moreover, the sight is perfect for golf lovers as the racecourse has been converted into a mini-golf course. It also serves as a helipad and has incredibly beautiful sceneries of the meadows. Their visiting hours are between 9 am to 5 pm.
It a great viewing point that is ideal for photographers. It is an expansive area that is a treat for mountain lovers with mesmerising valley views, and snow-capped mountains surrounding Shimla. It houses the renowned Tudor library. The platform offers marvellous spectre of sunset and sunrise and it is one of the most endearing places to visit in Shimla if you only have -a day in hand. The visiting hours are between sunrise to sunset.
The highway from Delhi to Chandigarh is a smooth drive. However, try to leave early to avoid traffic congestions. The road conditions up to Dehradun are average, hence drive carefully. The winding hilly terrain towards Shimla is located just off the main highway. Here the roads become narrow and slightly tricky to navigate. Therefore, drive with care from Pinjore onwards.
Also, keep in mind to dress comfortably and wear sensible shoes since you will be trekking, hiking, and walking a lot. Ensure that whichever vehicle you choose to use for your road trip has been adequately serviced before you take off. It is recommended that you keep following the GPS and download a route app on the phone before commencing on your journey. Also, do not hesitate to ask the locals for help if you are lost on the way. These routes have many tricky diversions and bypass that you may miss. Also, watch out for directional signboards.
It is a heavily travelled route, hence, there is nothing worry about in terms of accessing fuel stations. There are several points you can refuel -your vehicle.
Long road journeys must have an overnight halt planned, and some the hotels along the way are affordable and great places to stay and eat at:
Located in Ambala, it is a city hotel that is small but clean and friendly for budget travellers. The hotel serves breakfast and has wifi for ease of internet connectivity.
This hotel is located in the Ambala Cantt, and is a star category hotel. It is comfortably situated in a quiet area and has some great restaurants within easy distance of the hotel.
The hotel is in Meerut and it is popular for its hospitality and guests services. The food is also excellent. It is ideal for an overnight halt.
This is a 4-star hotel in Meerut and has all possible amenities available. It serves breakfast for their guests that is included in the room tariff. It is one of the best hotel’s to get a good nights sleep before hitting the road again.
Located in Yamunanagar, the hotel offers reasonable tariffs. It is an excellent choice for an overnight halt. Their food quality is outstanding, and they have all the amenities that a star property should offer.
There are occurrences of natural disasters which may happen along the way. Hence, beware of landslides. Also, quickly check the internet ahead of your trip plans. It will give you an idea about road and weather conditions. Avoid travelling during the night. Try to give the journey with a break and stay overnight in any of these cities – Chandigarh, Ambala, Dehradun or Yamunanagar.
Mobile connectivity can be tricky in hilly regions. There are specific places where you may face a general issue in the connection. Following the GPS routes is the best option when traversing mountainous terrain.
All major banks have ATMs on the way Shimla as it a well travelled route. But having cash on you during the road trip is also recommended just to try out the local delicacies where you may not be able to use credit or debit cards.
There are mechanics in the diesel/petrol pumps and along the highway between Delhi and Shimla. However, carrying the car-jack, wrenches and spare tyre is a must for a long journey. Ensure that your vehicle is serviced before the trip.
The routes between Shimla and Delhi have hospitals in the cities and towns along the way. Locals are helpful and will assist travellers in need of medical help.
Electricity in the mountains and hills may not always be very consistent. There may be power cuts. Hence, carry flashlights and torchlights for your own comfort. However, all the hotels have power back up.
The most essential things to carry on your road trips is a travel kit. Include screwdrivers, a swiss knife, a crescent wrench, a first aid kit, pliers – two sets, duct tapes, scissors, air pressure gauge for tyres (these are small and handy). The spare tyre should be ready to use in case of a puncture. There are mechanics along the highway who also have all the equipment needed for a repair, but carry the tool kit anyway.
It is also advisable to renew your car insurance if the renewal date is around the corner. Bharti AXA GI offer comprehensive car insurance policies and Two Wheeler insurance policy with a variety of add on covers.
Read more about: Delhi To Agra Road Trip
Article Author: Meenakshi Sircar
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