Chail, on the Sadh Tiba Hill, is a popular hill station located in the Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. The hill station is perched at an altitude of 2,226 metres. Located at a distance of 45 km from Shimla, it was once the summer capital of the princely state of Patiala.
History of Chail
Lord Kitchener, the then British commander of the summer capital of British India, banished Maharaja Bhupinder Singh due to his closeness to his daughter. As a result, he was banned to enter the summer capital, Shimla. The Maharaja, after this insult, vowed to build a new and better summer capital for himself. He started exploring the hills, with the aim of finding a hill which will not only be within the sight of Shimla, but will also be higher.
He found the little village of Chail as the preferred place, where he already owned large plots of land as a part of ancestral heritage. A site was selected by him and he started building the summer capital. According to folklore, ill omen lingered over the construction area, whenever anything was built, it would collapse over night. Dozens of snakes used to appear from nowhere and attack the workers.
It was then when Bhupinder Singh had a dream, where he saw a sage. The sage declared that the site the Maharaja had chosen was where he had meditated and was buried underneath, so his peace should not be disturbed. He then blessed the Maharaja to build his capital in some other place.
The Maharaja built a temple to honour the sage and moved to some other place. This temple is known as the Sidh Baba ka Mandir and is worshipped by many as they believe that the sage has the power to fulfil wishes.
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh searched another site and built a splendid mansion at an altitude of 2,226 metres in the Rajgarh Hill. In 1972, the property of 75 acres of land including peripheral cottages, woods as well as sports and recreation facilities, along with an orchard, came under Himachal Tourism. This Palace Hotel is now a full fledged destination resort.
Things to do in Chail
The world's highest cricket pitch and polo ground was constructed in Chail in 1893, after levelling the top of the hill. Satluj Valley, Shimla and Kasauli are visible from the hill top even at night. The other side of the town has massive Himalayan ranges covered with snow.
Hiking, fishing and horse riding are the major activities here. Chail Sanctuary, Cricket ground, Maharaja Palace and Sidh Baba ka Mandir are some of the important tourist attractions of this place.
Chail can be visited throughout the year, except winters, when the entire place is covered with snow. May through July and September through November are the flowering seasons, which are suitable for indulging in all kinds of tourist activities.
Travelling to Chail
Jubbar Hati Airport serves as the closest airport to Chail at a distance of 65 km. Taxis are available from Airport to Chail which costs about Rs 1500. Airport is well connected to Delhi and Chandigarh. Delhi Airport is connected to all major cities in India and most of the foreign cities.
Kalka serves as the closest railway station at a distance of 86 km from Chail. Chandigarh railway station at a distance of 95 km and is well connected to all major cities in India. Deluxe buses ply regularly from Shimla to Chail.