The first time we visited Shimla, we found touts clinging to the outside of our taxi pleading us to come with them to see a hotel room !!!
That's Shimla for the uninitiated. Luckily for us, we were only passing by.
Even after this debacle, in my opinion, Shimla is still beautiful provided its not the peak season: Some people say she is like a nubile damsel raped over the years. I feel such a lady would still be charming. The peak season also has its shades but visiting Shimla from September to December would be the best time. You would give the crowds a miss and get some good off season deals.
The reason for Shimla being so crowded are many: Firstly, it is the capital of the state, which makes it all the more important and activities abound.Then it is steeped in history and a haven for travellers. The weather is excellent all year round with some snowfall in winters. Finally, it has character and above all all said and done, it is beautiful. Also, the roads and traffic are well managed and that gives it a neater and more organised look than other Indian cities.
Finding a stay there though, can be both a pain and a delight. The hotels of the tourism development department of the government are self deprecating even though they hold prime location in the city. Excellent options are available from all the leading hotel chains but then they would burn your pocket (not just a hole!). Thankfully, there are places to stay for all budgets and options in and around Shimla are enough to satiate the ever flowing crowds even in the peak season.
You can drive down to Shimla from Delhi via Chandigarh and take the Kalka-Shimla highway. The journey takes 5-8 hours depending upon the time of the day, season, traffic and your driving speed. The highway drive is itself a pleasure and a journey to reckon.
If you have time to spare, take the toy-train from Kalka. It will take you leisurely up the hills passing through 1000 bridges and 100 tunnels. No wonder it is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. The station of Barog which is approximately half way is worth visiting. All tunnels, stations and routes are brightly painted and well mainted to their old glory.
In Shimla, The Viceregal Lodge, the parks and the temples are a treat. Nearby Naldhera has golf retreats. Otherwise walking The Mall to get a feel of the town and long walks in the hills are the common past time.