Chail- The unexplored paradise of Himachal Pradesh

The view from Chail Palace.

Chail is one of the scenic and peaceful travel destinations in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Located in the higher regions of the Himalayas the iconic small city has a historical significance and is one of the most breathtaking hill stations in India. The small town of Himachal is another unexplored paradise of India.

History of Chail;

In 1891, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala incurred the wrath of Lord Kitchener on an argument regarding the territorial dispute, the then Commander-in-Chief of the British. As a result, his entry was banned into Shimla, the summer capital of colonial India. This enraged the Maharaja, and he vowed to build a new and better summer capital for himself that would rival and out class Shimla. He selected the little village of Chail. The village of was a gift to the Maharaja of Patiala by the British to the later after the Anglo-Nepalese war. The gift was in return for his military assistance to the British Royal Army during the war.
The small village of Chail was surrounded by magnificent deodar forests, and Shimla was in direct vision of the village, and this made the Maharaja set up his capital here. The other major factor which got the Maharaja interested in Chail was its altitude. The village of Chail is at an altitude of around 2300 meter which was somewhat higher than the British Shimla which at 2250 meters. The upper altitude capital gigantic as a matter of pride and reputation.
According to the sayings, a site was selected to build the Maharaja’s summer palace but the construction on that place could not be successful because it was a burial site of a famous sage. The sage appeared on the king’s dreams and warned him not to disturb his peace by constructing a palace on the particular site. Bhupinder Singh shifted his palace site and to show his respect he built a temple now known as Sidh Baba Ka Mandir. The royal palace built in Chail was in possession of the Maharaja of Patiala and his successors till the independence of India which led t the decline of kingdoms and the Maharaja of Patiala and his family handed over the Palace to the government.

Sadhupul monsoon river
Sadhupul monsoon river

Major tourist attractions;

1. The Chail Palace– The most lavish and beautiful attraction of the town is The Chail Palace. The regal property built in an area of around 80 acres is surrounded by pine and deodar trees and is the prime attraction. The summer palace of the Maharaja of Patiala is now a heritage hotel owned by the HPTDC (Himachal Pradesh Tourism department corporation). The compound of the palace hotel has several gardens, cottages and nature trails that give a perfect blend of regal living amidst the scenic and quiet deodar and pine forest.

The view from Chail Palace.
The view from Chail Palace.
The Chail Palace & heritage hotel
The Chail Palace

2. The RMA and its Cricket and Polo Ground– The Rashtriya Indian Military Academy (RMA) and its cricket ground are a major tourist hub. The world’s highest cricket ground (Guinness book of world records) and the Academy are e situated on a hilltop and have a fantastic scenic view.

3. The Kali ka Tibba Temple– The temple three on a hill around 13kms from the town. An amazing and serene ambiance makes it a must visit and is one of the most iconic temples in the state.

Kaali ka Tibba Temple
Kaali ka Tibba Temple

4. Kufri– The fantastic tourist spot and snow point of Kufri is just 30kms away. The road journey towards Kufri is filled with amazing scenery and breathtaking landscapes. The small town of Kufri is also the snow point in summers and winters and is thronged by tourist annually in huge numbers.

5. Shimla– The capital city of Shimla is just 45kms away. The summer capital of British India is one of the most iconic towns of the state and is densely populated with many unusual places to visit. Shimla is the most important town of Himachal Pradesh.

6. Tarika Resort– The exotic five-star resort is an on route of the Kali ka Tibba and is one of the most premium places to stay for a weekend getaway. Situated in the deodar forest the property of the resort is a major attraction and is quite similar to the Chail Palace regarding the ambiance and natural essence fitted perfectly with all the modern amenities.

These are some of the most important places to visit in Chail, apart from that the place is a small quiet town and is suitable for trekking. A unique feature is that it is not far away from the capital city of Delhi and can be explored in a day or two.

Nature Trail- The Chail Palace.
Nature Trail- The Chail Palace.

Geography of Chail;

The town of Chail is situated at an extraordinary height of about 2300 meters and is situated in the district of Solan in Himachal Pradesh. It is situated in the upper regions of the Himalayas and experiences a harsh winter with a moderate amount of snowfall. In summers the temperature may touch up to 40 because of high altitude and harsh sun. The best time to visit any hill station is during the monsoon season as you can explore and experience the real beauty of mountains, but is not advisable because of risk of landslides and the other natural calamities. So the best time to visit is any time in the year, but the advice is to go in winters to get a fantastic landscape view without the sun bothering.

Connectivity of Chail from from other major cities;

The town is situated around 340kms from the national capital Delhi and is well connected with national and state highways. The state capital of Shimla is just at a touching distance of 40kms. The capital of Punjab and Haryana, the city of Chandigarh, is around 108kms from the town. The town is well connected with bus service from all the major cities in North India.

The nearest railway station is Shimla but that is of toy train from Kalka to Shimla. The main Indian railway station near Chail is Kalka railway station at a distance of 80kms.

The connectivity by air to Chail is also viable with the Chandigarh Airport being the closest. The Chandigarh airport is domestically and internationally very well connected with regular flights from; Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Ottawa, Singapore, etc.

Astonishing facts;

1. The town of Chail came into existence because of ego of British and Maharaja of Patiala.
2. The Maharaja of Patiala ordered some Rolls Royce from England, he brought it to India and used them as “garbage collection vans” in Chail, Patiala and other parts of his kingdom. This move was seen as an insult to the British after they barred him from Shimla.
3. The highest cricket ground in the world is at Chail.
4. The movie 3 idiots had Chail and Chail palace as its shooting location. The movie scene where the house of Javed Jaffery ( real Ranchoddas Chanchad) was shown is the Chail Palace.

The Deodar tress covering Chail.
The Deodar tress covering Chail.

Apart from all of these places, the main attraction which differentiates Chail from other hill stations is the calm and quiet nature of the hill station. The calm nature and unique flora and fauna makes it the perfect getaway for people who want to be on their own in peace far away from the hustle bustle of the city.

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