Shimla in the hills of India is a city of decorum and those who play with it, have to go through tough times. The strict rules of this nearly two-hundred-year-old British Himalayan Town keep this town graceful and elegant. Also due to the rules and regulations, it can maintain its ambiance, its history, and the glory of its past. The Gora Sahibs and the Mem Sahibs who lived here and spent a long time of their lives here held it like a baby and brought it up like a child. They left several marks of their presence in this British town and taught us to keep it as they kept it. Thanks to the locals and the Government who have been successful in maintaining it and keeping its Royal appearance till now through maintaining the rules and also educating people to protect its grace.

We request our Guests

To maintain this decorum and its ambiance we request the visitors not to do the following things in Shimla. Please remember, the police here are very polite but in case you offend the rules then the local Police can be strict as well. Do not try to bribe them as you do it in other parts of India. Our police officers in Shimla are our heroes and do not misbehave with the tourists. They will be a help to you in case you have lost your way or if you need some other help from them but at the same time, they can be hard for you in case you offend the rules. Kindly note the following NOT TO DO things in Shimla.

Do Not Overtake on the Roads

THE RULE OF KEEPING LEFT applies everywhere in India, but still, in the plains, people have the habit of overtaking. Here in the hills, you have to be in a single line because of the narrow roads. Many times we notice that tourist cars coming from the northern plains of India try to overtake the roads and cause traffic jams. When locals tell them, politely, they start fighting. Kindly have patience and be in one line. Please avoid this while in Shimla as a tourist. You may mishap into other cars or roll down the valley. Remember when you fall down the valley the chance of survival are very low. And if you survive you may have lost some part of your body forever and become disabled for the rest of your life. 

Do Not Litter Around

MOUNTAINS ARE THE NATURAL GARDENS OF GOD. Let us not spoil them. If you ever want to feel the fresh air of the mountains then open the window of your moving car and put your hand out. But never put your hand out through the garbage. We do not accept it in the hills. Locals may not have the guts to say anything about your such nasty things but actually, they do not like it at all. Kindly avoid this while in Shimla as a tourist. Remember where you are throwing garbage it could be someone’s home. Kindly keep all the empty wrappers of your snacks, plastic bottles, and any other non-degradable garbage, with you, put it in some bag, and either take it back with you or keep it with you till you find a garbage bin.

Do Not Drink or Smoke in Public Places

FOR TOURISTS OR VISITORS, THIS COULD BE YOUR picnic place but for us, these are our homes. Many times we notice that people coming from Haryana and Punjab stop their cars on the roadside, switch on their loudspeakers at full volume, and start drinking and dancing. This is absolutely against social behavior. We request you to avoid this while in Shimla as a tourist. The sound travel far distance in the hills and the loud music played by you can be a great disturbance for the locals. The law also does not allow you to do so publicly. On 2nd October 2010, Shimla became a Smoking Free City. If found, police can fine you heavily. Remember, in the hills life goes with rules and you must know how to respect the rules.

Do Not enter the sealed and restricted roads

SHIMLA IS A WALKER’S PARADISE and those who are fit for walking are welcome. There are several roads in the town that are open only to pedestrians and no vehicles can go on these roads. Only vehicles with special permits can enter the restricted roads. And that is what is holding the beauty of this Little England. But Google Maps misguide the vehicles coming from outside and they enter the sealed roads without looking at the sign. Although they do not see any vehicles plying on those roads and all people are walking still, they make the offense and then end up paying heavy fines. So please be careful and do not enter the sealed or restricted roads.

Do not park your car in the wrong place

THERE WAS A TIME IN SHIMLA WHEN PARKING was a big problem. But with time the government has been able to solve this issue up to a large extent. In the last couple of years, we have built many new car parks for tourist vehicles. Also, they have told all the hotels to have parking spaces for their guests. Otherwise, also, there are several parking places in Shimla. The first one is just near the bypass, nearly two kilometres before the town. Here you meet the first traffic policeman. Just below, to the right side of the police booth, they have built a huge parking space. You may decide to park your vehicle there and then take a taxi for your local use. There are several other parking areas near the lift. We suggest you avoid this while in Shimla as a tourist. 

No Eve Teasing, please

SHIMLA IS ONE OF THE SAFEST PLACES FOR WOMEN, in the world. People in the hills are very innocent and docile. They may go out of their way to help you. That does not mean that they are scared of you. Rather this way they show their respect towards the guests. There have been cases of eve-teasing in and around Shimla by young Indian tourists. They carry a very bad picture in mind about the hills and that is about the prostitution. They try to convince locals to organize the same for them. Through this article, I want to convey a message to such people to keep their minds open and not expect such facilities from the hill people. In case you need something then bring it from your home with you, use it, and take it back home.

Respect the privacy of the locals

IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS several homestays have sprung up in the rural areas of the hills. Shimla too has got a lot of them. Some of the roads which never expected cars from outside also have a lot of tourist cars entering those areas. It is noticed many times that the tourists coming from the northern states of India create big trouble for the residents of the vicinity. Their way of talking loudly, boozing around in public, and late-night parties are big trouble for the people. No one complains only because of their humbleness. It becomes the responsibility of the host to ask his guests to behave themselves. Some of them understand but most do not, only because they are the guests. You, as a tourist, must follow the rules of the house and respect the privacy of the locality.

At Last

Please remember that you are a Guest here. We welcome you with folded hands. You come here to enjoy your holiday and will be spending a good amount of your hard-earned money on this enjoyment. Also, you bring a major part of the economy to the area, so people respect you a lot. But please do not think that people from the hills are poor and survive only because of your arrival. This is not true. People in the hills are extremely rich at heart and are known for their hospitality and humble behavior. Kindly respect them and respect the area. Remember, in case you fall into some trouble during your holiday trip in the hills, the locals will help you by going out of the way. But if you behave idiotically then be ready to have the same in return. Welcome to the hills. Have a happy trip and enjoy your time here.

. . . . . . . .by : Sumit Raj


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