The former ‘summer capital’ of Patiala, Chail is 43-km from Shimla and dwelling in the midst of a lush green setting. At 2,250m, it has the world’s highest cricket pitch and a polo ground, the old palace, now a hotel and the possibility of some angling are added attractions.
Chail is hiker’s paradise. The area is very peaceful away from the hustle and bustle of Shimla. 3-kms from the hotel is the worlds highest Cricket ground. Close by is a National Park, which has limited number of birds and deers.
In 1891, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala incurred the wrath of Lord Kitchener, the then Commander-in-Chief. As a result, he was banned entry into the summer capital of the Raj, Shimla. This enraged the Maharaja and he vowed to build a new and better summer capital for himself. He looked around and after quite some time realized it had all the while been in his possession. Chail, a little village close to Shimla, was a ‘slice of heaven’ surrounded by lush forests with a commanding view of the snow-capped Himalayas. He rebuilt the city according to his requirements and built himself a wonderful palace.
The picturesque resort located amidst scented forests of chir pine and gigantic deodars. Chail is built on three hills, the palace is on Rajgarh Hill, the Residency Snow View once occupied by British resident is on Pandhewa Hill and on the third hill Sadh Tiba where Chail is situated. Overlooking Satluj Valley, Shimla and Kasauli are also visible at night from here. Chail has also the highest cricket ground in the world. Well kept and well maintained the ground is surrounded by huge trees of deodar and pine. On the other side of the town are situated the massive Himalayan ranges spectacularly gleaming in the sun and snow-covered every thing under it.
Climate – Chail
Chail and its surrounding areas are a delight for tourists in every season. It is charming in summer, fascinating in autumn when the fields and the forests are covered with a cloak of russet and gold and, of course, in winter it is nothing less than a paradise, when the snow casts its mantle and remains till the beginning of spring in April.
How To Get Chail
By Air : The closest airports are at Chandigarh ( 120 km) and Shimla(63 km).
By Rail The ideal way of covering the Kalka-Shimla track is by the toy train. It takes five hours from Kalka to get to Kandaghat. The toy train with a maximum of half a dozen bogies chugs through the most thickly forested tracks, breathtaking bends, deep ravines and never-ending tunnels.
By Road :Chail is about 86-km from Kalka via Kandaghat. The approach of Chail is along the Kalka-Shimla route. One has to take a detour from Kandaghat. From Kandaghat, it is an hour and a half journey by road to Chail.
Major Attractions of Chail
Declared as wildlife sanctuary in the year 1976, Chail Wildlife Sanctuary is an idyllic retreat for the nature lover and wildlife buff. The sanctuary is located in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. Sprawling in sub-Himalayan range of mountains, the sanctuary is full of Deodar and Oak trees. The sanctuary with its deep and dense woodlands, away from the crowded metros, attracts a huge number of tourists every year.
Chail Wildlife Sanctuary houses a large number of wildlife animals, such as Sambar, Goral, and Cheer Pheasants and many others. Two wildlife animals, Deer and Kalijin to name, are amongst the most visible creature in the sanctuary. The sanctuary staff kept for caretaking of wildlife, flora and fauna is quite cooperative and essentially helps tourists and wildlife lovers explore more inside the sanctuary.
While visiting Chail Wildlife Sanctuary, one can also explore the snowcapped peaks of sub-Himalayan range of mountain, through trekking. Interested people can trek their way, from Chail to Gaura and Chail to Jhaja. The trekking offers twin benefits, first that the tourist involves himself in adventurous activity and second that he can enjoy the versatile flora and fauna available in by sanctuary. In short, the sanctuary is a must visit for those going to Chail.
Surrounded by gigantic deodar and well maintained Chail Cricket ground is the highest cricket ground in the world. Built in 1893, this cricket pitch located at the height of 2,144m is also used as polo ground.
The magnificent Rajgarh palace, with elaborate furnishings, built in 1891. With comfortable log huts and cottages, dense forests and serene walks, sprawling lawns, a childrens park, a `lovers hill’, and sports facilities, Chail is a resort in the real sense of the term.
Sidh Baba Ka Mandir
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh had originally intended this to be the site of his palace, and had even started building it, but as is believed, a ‘sidh’, saintly person appeared in the Maharaja’s dream, and declared that this was the place where he had meditated. Consequently, Bhupinder Singh shifted his venue and built a temple on the spot.
Kufri : An enjoyable drive through forests and small villages leads to this small but popular station. The Nature Park here is a great attraction. A short trek leads upto the Mahasu peak-with breathtaking view.
Sadhupul : Halfway between Kandaghat and Chail is this village and bridge astride the Ashwani stream. A good picnic spot.
Adventure and fishing : A dozen or so trek routes lead out of Chail. Trails Iead upto the Choor Peak and to Shimla. Skiing can be done at Narkanda during winters. There is fishing on the Giri river at Gaura , 29km away.
Places To Stay – Chail
Accommodation options vary in Chail from luxurious hotels such as HPTDC’s Palace Hotel to budget hotels, cottages and tourist lodges, which are available at reasonable prices.