Chail hill station once arrived here, it is not easy to forget alleged love story between the Maharaja of Patiyala or the green signboard informing about the highest cricket ground of the world at 7500 ft or stay in honeymoon suite of crystal shape perched on a hill and numerous different. These are just few of the many images tourists come across here.
Celebrated for its virgin beauty, Chail in Himachal Pradesh is located near Satluj Valley and surrounded by the high peaks. This natural haven became a summer haunt for people from royal families a long time back. And it still serves as a great place to escape tropical heat without having to spend big bucks. Speck of pollution and urbanization nowhere disturbs the harmony of humanity and Nature; this feeling never fails to dawn during Chail tourism.
The location of this village which is spread in 72 acre was escape-perfect with three adjacent hills- Rajgarh Hills, Pandava Hill and Sabba Tibba. Raja Bhupinder Singh decided to make Chail his summer capital in riposte to the exile imposed on him for courting his daughter by Lord Kitchener to not to enter in Shimla, Summer Capital of British Raj. When Chail finally merged with the Indian Union after dependence, most of the royal buildings were donated to the Government. Tourists can enjoy year round, spending their holidays in Chail.
The place becomes a living memory in the mind; tinkling and clanging bells of temples, shining centre canopy where Guru Granth Sahib is kept, rendezvous with wild side of Chail- everything will keep coming back. Here are some of the prime tourism magnets of Chail.
Places of Worship
Siddha Baba ka Mandir - A pious place that came on the map of Chail with the inspiration of a saint in dream of Maharaja of Patiyala, it is popular for picnic and enjoying Nature, side by side.
Kali ka Tibba - Dedicated to the fierce Goddess Kali, the temple is visited by thousands of tourists and devotees, also providing views of Choor Chandani Peak and Shivalik Range.
Gurudwara Sahib - On Pandhawa Hillock, the shrine dedicated to the Sikh faith is a peaceful place to be, in the lap of Nature, standing as it is since 1907.
Tête-à-tête with Nature's
Chail Sanctuary - One can easily imagine the wild population in the undisturbed landscape, of plants and animals alike. The sanctuary gives a glimpse of that life. The animal and birds to be confronted in here are sambhar, kakkar, pheasants, fowl and some others among the pine and deodar forests.
Cricket Ground - Being an avid cricketer himself, Maharaja of Patiala left no stone unturned to come up with the cricketing ground that is situated at more than 2000 m height. The ground is also used for Polo matches and also for Football matches occasionally.
Maharaja's Palace - This was the residence of the Maharaja and is till date maintained like that. The site happens to be a major attraction with its antique architectural look coupled with log huts, children's park, lawns, etc. for the visitors on Chail tour.
Chail Military School - As the name suggests, it was training ground for the forces for the protection of King and his estate.
Places around Chail
Sadhupul - This small village, some 18 Km from Chail before reaching Kangdaghat, is a nice place for nature walk as well as picnic with near and dear ones.
Kufri - One of the most popular hill stations of Himachal Pradesh, Kufri is usually visited separately and tourists to Kufri often seem to be hanging around in Chail as extension to their trip. However, a vice-versa is a good option as well. Mahasu Peak and Nature Park are must-see here.
Shimla - The capital of Himachal Pradesh is also under 50 Km mark from this hill station. Reasons to extend the trip to this former summer capital of British are pretty obvious.
Things to do
Travelling to Chail and not participating in many adventure activities is just not possible. Tourists find it irresistible to try their confidence on themselves where 'adrenaline rush' is concerned. Some of the activities that buzz the nerves are Flying Fox, trekking, rope walk, rappelling, bamboo bridge and tyre bridge adventure, and few more. It is good to feel sweat in cool ambience and get even more goose bumps. If not that spending a healthy time is always preferred than being couch potato in place as ravishing as Chail.
Fresh mountain air gives a chance to be cozy, more when the accommodation is cozier with fire mantle, library and a comfortable bed to which couples and family retire after the day. Chail is a nice small place flush with numerous lodging options for those who want to stay like Maharaja of Patiala did, years back. The Maharaja Palace is now a luxury hotel to experience bygone royal era, even if meant for only few days. Others on the list are Hotel Grand Sunset, Rashi resorts, Zurich Resort, Hotel Chail Inn, Fernhill Resort, Chail Vilas, etc. Most of these Chail hotels are within 15 Km range with Chail as the centre.
Chail is known as a summer retreat not without a reason. Summer season is quite pleasant with temperature between 15 to 25 degrees when golden hues of sunrise and sunset spread in Chail sky are clear, viewed sometimes with clouds and mist. Rainy season adds to the magic, more than snow can as many people might tell. The greenery takes immersion in the rain and takes the beauty of water-nymph. And winters are chilled with temperature dipping to as low as 2 degrees, with the anticipation of snowfall on every day and night; a romantic thought in an intimate place.
Best time to visit
As per individual likings of the tourists and the time of year one is most comfortable with, Chail can transform the meaning of vacationing from good to best. October to March and April to September are considered best. Snowing season is generally avoided due to the hindrance in normal life in the village and around. Taking Chail holiday packages can prove convenient in the peak time of tourism in the village.
How to reach there
Air : Nearest airport is Jabbar Hati in Shimla from where one can take taxi or bus to come down to this hidden Himalayan gem 63 Km away.
Rail : Kalka is the nearest railway station, from where Chail is only 86 Km. With regular trains, Toy Train is also an option to come to this village, more to the likings of children but even adults are found to be enjoying the experience.
Road : Kalka, Chandigarh, Shimla, Delhi, etc are some of the places from where reaching Chail is like cherishing Nature's blessing in the form of great scenic views.