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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
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Things to do in India

Pens and brushes: an artistic tour of Shimla

This cultural tour of Shimla takes you from Rudyard Kipling’s childhood home to a famous Indian art gallery…

By Sumit Raj Vashisht
Director of Shimla Walks

Learn about Shimla’s literary and artistic heritage on this cultural walking tour. We begin at the house where Rudyard Kipling spent some of his youth. He took Shimla out of India through his books Kim and Plain Tales from the Hills, which comment on Shimla society – what’s amazing is that he wrote these stories at such a young age. Next, we descend to the house of Mr Nirmal Varma, a famous Hindu writer whose books are studied in our schools.

The trail takes us through beautiful hillsides, surrounded by brooks and meadows, grasslands and forests. You’ll see people working in the fields and hear birds singing in the trees. At Gol Pahari, known as Haunted Hill, you’ll hear the story of the soldiers who mysteriously disappeared here – their ghosts are said to march through the forest at night.

The tour finishes at an art gallery founded by the late, legendary Indian artist Sanath Chatterjee. His work centered around mythology and cosmic power and he was known for creating the world’s longest paintings – which spanned up to 100ft – and were registered by the Guinness Book of World Records. Sanath’s son, who is also an artist, now owns the gallery and will give you a tour, explaining the different pieces on display.


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Alfred & Sumit Raj Vashisht

Sumit Raj Vashisht is a writer, poet and hiker born in the mountain town of Shimla. His father’s job as a railway engineer took him all over India, but he always dreamed of returning. After studying tourism at Delhi University and cutting his teeth in the capital as a guide, Sumit eventually founded Shimla Walks, which specialises in trekking and heritage  tours of his home town.
Sumit Raj, founder of Shimla Walks

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