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One of the most famous destinations of India, Shimla located in Himachal Pradesh is a beautiful hill station. Shimla has been blessed with all the natural bounties which one can think of. It has got a scenic location; it is surrounded by green hills with snow capped peaks. The spectacular cool hills accompanied by the structures made during the colonial era create an aura which is very different from other hill. Shimla abounds in natural bounty and looks picture perfect. The small hill station amidst the lofty snow-clad Himalayan ranges, surrounded by lakes and lush green pastures look as though an artist has painted them. The unique thing about Shimla is that it still retains its colonial charm and this creates an ambience that is not found anywhere else in India. Shimla is home to a number of colleges and research institutions as well as multiple temples and palaces.
In 1864, Shimla was declared as the summer capital of British India, succeeding Murree, northeast of Rawalpindi. After independence, the city became the capital of Punjab and was later named the capital of Himachal Pradesh. After the reorganization, the Mahasu district and its major portion was merged with Shimla. Its name is derived from the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kali. As of 2011 Shimla comprises 19 hill states; mainly Balson, Bushahr, Bhaji and Koti, Darkoti, Tharoch & Dhadi, Kumharsain, Khaneti & Delath, Dhami, Jubbal, Keothal, Madhan, Rawingarh, Ratesh, and Sangri.
Shimla is home to a number of colleges and research institutions as well as multiple temples and palaces. The city’s buildings are styled in the Tudorbethan and neo-Gothic architectures dating from the colonial era.
Owing to its steep terrain, Shimla hosts the mountain biking race MTB Himalaya, which started in 2005 and is regarded as the biggest event of its kind in South Asia.
Shimla lies in the south-western ranges of the Himalayas at 31.61°N 77.10°E. It has an average altitude of 2,397 metres (7,864 ft) above mean sea level and extends along a ridge with seven spurs. The city stretches nearly 9.2 kilometres (5.7 mi) from east to west. Shimla was built on top of seven hills namely: Inverarm Hill, Observatory Hill, Prospect Hill, Summer Hill, Bantony Hill, Elysium Hill and Jakhoo Hill. The highest point is Jakhoo hill at 2,454 metres (8,051 ft). The city is a Zone IV (High Damage Risk Zone) per the Earthquake hazard zoning of India. Weak construction techniques and an increasing population pose a serious threat to the already earthquake prone region. There are no bodies of water near the main city and the closest river, the Sutlej, is about 21 km (13 mi) away. Other rivers that flow through the Shimla district, although further from the city, are the Giri, and Pabbar (both tributaries of Yamuna). The green belt in the Shimla planning area is spread over 414 hectares (1,020 acres). The main forests in and around the city are of pine, deodar, oak and rhododendron. Environmental degradation due to the increasing number of tourists every year without the infrastructure to support them has resulted in Shimla losing its popular appeal as an ecotourism spot. Another rising concern in the region are the frequent number of landslides that often take place after heavy rains.
Shimla features a subtropical highland climate under the Köppen climate classification. The climate in Shimla is predominantly cool during winters, and moderately warm during summer. Temperatures typically range from −4 °C (25 °F) to 31 °C (88 °F) over the course of a year. The average temperature during summer is between 19 °C (66 °F) and 28 °C (82 °F), and between −1 °C (30 °F) and 10 °C (50 °F) in winter. Monthly precipitation varies between 15 millimetres (0.59 in) in November to 434 millimetres (17.1 in) in August. It is typically around 45 millimetres (1.8 in) per month during winter and spring and around 175 millimetres (6.9 in) in June as the monsoon approaches. The average total annual precipitation is 1,575 millimetres (62 in), which is much less than most other hill stations but still much heavier than on the plains. Snowfall in the region, which historically has taken place in the month of December, has lately (over the last fifteen years) been happening in January or early February every year. The maximum snowfall received in recent times was 38.6 cm on 18 January 2013. On two consecutive days (Jan 17 and 18 2013) the town got 63.6 cm.