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Ascending 2,169 m (7,116 ft) over five hours, it’s one of the steepest railway climbs in the world.These figures are impressive, but the views, right across the lower Himalayas, are the highlight of the journey.The comforts of a traditional British town were quickly built, including schools, churches, lodges and a post office.Most of the remaining buildings are now repurposed, but the mock-Tudor and baronial-style architecture has been affectionately preserved.This 1,800 km (1,118 mile) route was no holiday, taking five days by road and track.
The Gaiety Theatre, now an art gallery, once welcomed Rudyard Kipling and Lord Robert Baden-Powell to the stage.Pilgrims travel from across the world to bathe in its sacred waters, said to have healing powers.The city is close to the border with Pakistan, where you can witness the daily border-closing ceremony, performed with military pomp and flamboyant marching.From Dharamshala, a six hour drive takes you to Amritsar and its lustrous Golden Temple.
The holiest of Sikh shrines, the temple is surrounded by a marble water tank.
While it’s possible to travel to Shimla by car, this isn’t a train journey that we’d recommend you miss.