Just 14 km before Shimla, the Kalka-Shimla Train chugs into the station of a peaceful hill town. It is Shoghi. If you are travelling by road, you just need to take a short detour about 14 km before Shimla to reach this hidden hill retreat. Shoghi is meant for those jaded souls whose patronage for Shimla has weathered. Here nature is how it should be. Take a look from any of the slopes and all you see are pristine hills. And after monsoon these hills turn livelier. All you can do in this town is walk around or set out on short treks. There are a few resorts in Shoghi which offer activities like rappelling, net climbing etc. Fret not if you are on budget, there are a few budget hotels and guesthouses here. Despite some development, Shoghi is still amongst the unexplored hill stations in Himachal Pradesh.
Attractions and Places to Visit in Shoghi
Trek to Tara Devi Temple
Tara Devi Temple, situated at 6,073 ft, is one of the most revered temples in the area. The trekking path is steep and it takes about 2-3 hours to reach the temple. Entire path is shaded with rhododendrons and tall oaks and pines. On the climb you are entertained by the bird-songs and caressed by the mountain breeze. If you love trekking, don’t miss this, and if you aren’t into trekking this is the best opportunity to begin. The temple is considered to be about 300 years old and was built by the Raja of Junga. The area around temple offers commanding views of Shimla
Note: You can also drive up to the shrine. If you are driving up, be ready for a kind of an adventurous ascent as you are going to cross twelve loops on a narrow road. The plus side is you’d be rewarded with the scenic views.
Anji is a village situated in a valley, 6 km south-west of Shoghi. Walking to this village is a wonderful experience. You negotiate gradual to steep slopes draped with forests. On the way you also run into the cattle grazing on the meadows. On the edge of the Anji Village is an old temple of Lord Hanuman. Do not miss to check out the mythological scenes painted on its walls.
Kali Bari Temple
This is an old temple of goddess Kali. It is about 3 km from Anji village and is set amidst a patch of grassy land. The temple and its surroundings are well-maintained by the locals.
In most of the hill towns, the walking trails are in abundance and Shoghi isn’t an exception. The wooded slopes around Shoghi are very inviting for walking enthusiasts. And if you are bird-spotter, you would cherish these trails more.
The hill town of Chail is 49 km southeast of Shoghi. Chail was once the summer retreat of the Maharaja of Patiala. He had built this after being barred from entering Shimla by the British. It was his strong urge to build a town from which he can look down on Shimla. So, Chail was born. This town hasn’t suffered the onslaught of mass tourism like Shimla did. Forest trails abound here. Its wildlife sanctuary, called Chail Sanctuary, is spread over 109 sq kms and is dotted by many hamlets.
Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh and the most urban hill town of the state, is just a short drive from Shoghi. It is possible that after enjoying the serenity of Shoghi, you might want to get a slice of the Shimla life. You can do a one-day outing to Shimla in which you can cover major attractions like The Ridge, The Mall, Gaiety Theatre, and Viceregal Lodge. However, if you want to enjoy the famous walks of Shimla, you’ll need to put up here for a day or two.
When to Visit Shoghi?
The best time to visit Shoghi is from October to March. The months of December to February would be pretty cold, so you need to go prepared. During summer (April and May), temperatures can reach up to 30 degrees celcius and it is also considered to be the peak tourist season. The months of July to September are generally wet.
How to Reach Shoghi?
Road: Shoghi is situated off Kalka-Shimla Road. You need to take a detour from the main road about 14 km before Shimla. The connecting road is sometimes in bad shape especially during monsoon.
Rail: The popular ‘Kalka-Shimla Toy Train’ stops at the railway station of Shoghi. The nearest broad-gauge station is at Kalka, 75 km south-west of Shoghi.
Air: While the nearest airport is at Jubbarhatti near Shimla, it is seldom operational for passenger flights. Chandigarh, 112 km southwest, has good connections with major cities of India.