Shimla also known as Simla, is the capital and largest city of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Shimla is also a district which is bounded by Mandi and Kullu in the north, Kinnaur in the east, the state of Uttarakhand in the south-east, and Solan and Sirmaur. 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. It is the principal commercial, cultural and educational centre of the hilly regions of the state. As of 2011, the city had 171,817 permanent residents, and was one of the least populous capital cities in India. Shimla was a part of the Sikh Empire.
The people of Shimla are informally called Shimlaites. With largely cosmopolitan crowds, a variety of festivals are celebrated here. The Shimla Summer Festival, held every year during peak tourist season, and lasting 3–4 days, is celebrated on the Ridge. The highlights of this event include performances by popular singers from all over the country. Shimla has a number of places to visit. Local hangouts like the Mall and the Ridge are in the heart of the city. Most of the heritage buildings in the city are preserved in their original 'Tudorbethan' architecture. The former Viceregal Lodge, which now houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and Wildflower Hall, now a luxury hotel, are some of the famous ones. A collection of paintings, jewellery and textiles of the region can be found at the State Museum (built in 1974). Lakkar Bazaar, a market extending off the Ridge, is famous for souvenirs and crafts made of wood. Tatta Pani, 55 kilometres (34.2 mi) from the main city, is the name of hot sulphur springs that are believed to have medicinal value located on the banks of the River Satluj. Shimla is also home to South Asia's only natural ice skating rink. State and national level competitions are often held at this venue. Shimla Ice Skating Club, which manages the rink, hosts a carnival every year in January, which includes a fancy dress competition and figure skating events. Due to effects of global warming and increasing urban development in and around Shimla, the number of sessions on ice every winter have been decreasing in the past few years.
Shimla has many temples and is often visited by devotees from nearby towns and cities. The Kali Bari temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali is near the mall. Jakhoo Temple, for the Hindu god Hanuman is located at the highest point in Shimla. Sankat Mochan, another Hanuman temple, is famous for the numerous monkeys that are always found in its vicinity. It is located on Shimla-Kalka Highway about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the city. The nearby temple of Tara Devi is a place for performing rituals and festivals. Other prominent places of worship include a Gurudwara near the bus terminus and a Church on The Ridge. Shimla arts and crafts are highly in demand by the tourists. They range from excellent pieces of jewellery, embroidered shawls and garments to leather made articles and sculptures. Shimla is full of pine and deodar trees. The wood has been extensively used in all major buildings of Shimla. The various kinds crafts of Shimla made out of wood includes small boxes, utensils, image carvings and souvenirs. The paintings in Shimla bear the deep artistic insight of the people there. Shimla art bears the testimony of the rich culture and tradition of Shimla. The art of carpet making of Shimla is a great attraction for the tourists. Different floral and other motifs make these carpets look really very beautiful. The wool from the sheep is used to make blankets and rugs. The embroidered stuffs includes handkerchiefs, hand fans, gloves, caps, etc. The arts and crafts of Shimla have that traditional touch in it. Among others, the shawls of Shimla are very well known for their fine quality. The leather craft of Shimla comprises shoes, slippers and belts. The other arts and crafts of Shimla includes a huge collection of beaded and metal jewelleries. These intricately designed jewelleries bear the hallmark of the artistic craftsmanship of the Shimla designers. The temples of Shimla shows the stonework of the architects there. The sculptors have proved their mettle in upholding the art of Shimla. Further out from the city is the Naldehra nine-hole golf course, the oldest of its kind in India. Kufri is a ski resort (winter only) located 19 kilometres (11.8 mi) from the main city.