Activities & Excursions

We recommend that you allow the world to pass you by while at Woodsmoke, however there is plenty to distract you should you so wish!

Being situated on a ridge, Woodsmoke is spoilt for choice when it comes to picnic spots in the nooks and hollows that dot the surrounding slopes. Pick any spot on one of your walks and we will bring out a picnic hamper to you. Or ask us for our favourite spot – it has pine needles for a carpet and the Churdhar peaks for a backrest. Balmy evenings are perfect for bonfires and barbecues to ring in the dawn.

Woodsmoke is surrounded by cattle trails - abandoned roads ending in valleys and hilltops and the occasional local temple. Stop along the way to pick a few gooseberries or a rhododendron or two to tuck in the hair. Hillsides carpeted with wildflowers will invite you for a siesta and a pine-scented breeze would be the perfect lullaby.

For those more strenuously inclined, there are umpteen dirt tracks to kick up the adrenaline on a mountain bike. In fact, Woodsmoke is on the route earmarked by the Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association for the MTB Himalaya Shimla, India’s most popular cycling race. Cycle through DuglaNala, Junga, Janedghat over dirt tracks, broken tarmac and springs to reach the picturesque Chail resort by climbing an elevation of 1,500 m and covering 60 km. Or, for those less ambitous, the track is only as far as you want to go.

Most of our guests prefer to just laze around while at Woodsmoke but our Travel Desk would be all too happy to assist you in visiting nearby attractions. Shimla, being the summer capital during the British Raj, has an interesting legacy of churches, cemeteries and other historic buildings. A temple tour is also a must in this land of the Gods, quite appropriately called DevBhoomi. Considering that Woodsmoke nestles under the Tara Devi Temple, we especially recommend a walk or a drive to the hilltop temple.

You can also make day trips to nearby tourist destinations such as Shimla, Kufri, Naldehra, Chail and Mashobra. There are many other scenic spots as well - waterfalls, glens, hilltops - both on and off the beaten track.

Places to visit

Shimla : The town of Shimla rose in the nineteenth century when the Gurkha Wars came to an end in 1815-16 and the victorious British decided to retain certain pockets as military outposts and sanitaria. In 1822 the most rigorous of dandies and the greatest of sticklers for form Captain Charles Pratt Kennedy, Political Agent to the Hill States directed that a house be built for him at the village whose name is variously reported as SheyamalayaShumlah, Shimlu and Shemlah. Kennedy House led the vanguard of the hundred-odd houses that were to scatter themselves by 1841 over every level or gently inclining space. In 1864 the Viceroy, John Lawrence anointed Shimla – then spelt Simla, as the summer capital of British India.

The Viceregal Lodge : Built in 1888 by the British Viceroy Lord Dufferin, the premises also house a museum, and beautifully laid out gardens. Through its grand history, it has also been the RashtrapatiNiwas (The President's residence). Today, it houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies.

Christ Church : The cornerstone of Christ Church, located on the Ridge in Shimla, was placed on 9 September 1844 and the building was opened by licence for divine service on 11 October 1846, but the church was consecrated only on 10 January 1857 by Bishop Wilson of Calcutta. Today, Christ Church still tells the story of a part of the town’s rich history – and its pews still mark the seats of the Viceroy, the Commander-in-Chief and the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab, while the fascinating memorial tablets in brass and marble sound a roll call for some who shaped what was the British Empire.

The Mall : The Mall is Shimla's main promenade, offering one of the longest pedestrian shopping arcades in the worldHere, contemporary commercial enterprises rub shoulders with stately colonial edifices, churches and other landmarks of the town. Handicrafts, shawls and tweeds, fruit juice and jams, honey, quality woollens, silver jewellery, rare books and etchings, contemporary pahari miniature paintings, metalware, rugs and carpets, handmade footwear – everything is available here. At one end of The Mall is the city's colourful local market, called Lakkar Bazaar, primarily dealing in wooden handicrafts.

Jakhoo Hill : This is Shimla's highest point and is the geographical nucleus of the town. It has a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman as well as his statue. Deemed to be world's tallest statue at 108 feet at the highest altitude of over 8100 feet and constructed at a cost of Rs 1.5 crores, it surpasses the current tallest statue of 'Christ the Redeemer', which measures at 98 feet and stands at an altitude of 2296 feet in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

SankatMochan : At present the temple complex facilitates the people to worship and pay their obeisance to different deities as the complex comprises of Lord Rama and Hanuman temple, Lord Shiva Temple , Navgrah Temple ,Baba NeebKaroriJiMaharaj Temple and a beautiful Ganesha Temple portraying the architecture of the south.

Tattapani / Shiv Goofa : The hot sulphur springs spread over one km along the Sutlej river are known for their therapeutic power. The spring water vanishes in the months of June and July but again becomes visible in the months of November and December.The Hindu temples as well as the Shiv Goofa (Shiva Caves) located at Saraur at a distance of four kilometers from there are also places of utmost interest.Tattapani is 51 km from Shimla.

Kufri : An inviting ski destination in Himachal Pradesh, Kufri has lured mountain lovers for decades. The slopes are not for professionals, but the short to advanced runs are tailor-made for the enthusiast. Yak rides for children are an added attraction.

Mashobra : Easily accessible by road, Mashobra is 12 kms from Shimla. This quaint little town is a gateway to numerous walks into the forest where you can experience nature at its best.

Chail : The former capital of the Maharajah of Patiala, Chail is built on three hills. The cricket pitch here is the highest in the world. The old palace and the polo grounds are worth a visit. It is an attractive tourist spot and an ideal place for picnics.

Naldehra Golf Course : It is about an hour's drive from Shimla. Viceroy Lord Curzon was so enchanted by this spot that he named his youngest daughter as Alexandra Naldehra. He also created India's first nine-hole golf course at this site. The 'Naldehra' name is supposed to have come from the temple of 'Nag Devta' serpent deity whose temple is situated inside the historic golf course.Himachal Tourism maintains the links and it is possible to pay green fees for the day or take temporary, annual and life membership. The course is open through the year; the monsoon months between July and September are particularly good for golfing since the highly watered turf becomes springy and the yardage increases.

Taradevi : Walk or drive up the ‘TaaravParvat’ to the over 250-year old temple of Goddess Tara, the family deity of Bengal’s Sen Dynasty. The ashtadhatu idol of Tara Devi was installed by King BalbirSen in 1825. One of his earlier ancestors, King BhupendraSen had installed a wooden idol and donated 10 acres of land on which the current temple stands.

Do check out the Himachal Tourism website (www.himachaltourism.gov.in) for a ready referral.

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