The British Empire May have ceased to exit, but its echo lingers on in Shimla (2205m). As the Summer Capital of the British in India, Shimla was the country’s focus for the better part of every year and now, is the state capital of Himachal Pradesh. Today, it has well developed facilities, easy accessibility and numerous attractions making it one of India’s most popular hill destinations. Situated in the lower ranges of the Himalayan Mountains, it is surrounded by pine deodar, oak and rhododendron forests. Towards the north lie the snow-covered high-ranges, while the valleys breathe whispering streams and swaying fields. Within the town are host of splendid colonial edifices, quaint cottages and charming walks. Shimla offers a variety of shopping, sport and entertainment activities.
One day, Varvasvata, the seventh incarnation of MANU found a tiny fish in his bathing water. The fish told him to look after it with devotion as one day it would do him a great service. The seventh Manu cared for the fish till the day it grew so huge that he released it into the sea. Before departing, the fish warned Manu of an impending deluge when the entire world would be submerged and bade him to build a sea worthy ark. When the flood came, Varvasvata and seven sages were towed to safety by MATSYA, the fish which is regarded as first avatar of Lord Vishnu. As the water subsided the seventh Manu’s ark came to the rest on a hill side and the place was named MANALI (2050 m) after him. As the flood slowly dried, here arose a place of breath- taking natural beauty which was only appropriate at Manali that life began again. Today this legendary cradle of all human kind is a prime holiday destination. There are high mountains surrounded by snow and deep boulder strewn gorges. There are thick forests full of cool breeze and bird songs. There are fields of wild flowers, small picturesque hamlets and fruit laden orchards.