Chail is a hill station visited by many tourists. The Deodar and Oak forests with
grasslands around the township are the abode of wildlife. Chail sanctuary was
notified on 21st March 1976 near Chail Town in District Shimla and covers an
area of 10,854.36 hectares.
The little 'hill station' of Chail came into being when Bhupinder Singh, Maharaja of
Patiala was banished from Shimla, the 'summer capital' of British India, after a
dalliance with the Commander-in-Chief's daughter in the late 19th century.
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.
Places Nearby Chail :
A long and enjoyable drive through lush forests and quaint villages takes one to the small but
thoroughly popular hill station of Kufri. Its main attractions are the Nature Park, and the
exciting trek that leads to the divine Mahasu peak.
Halfway between Kandaghat and Chail is the tiny village of Sadhupul, and the bridge over
the Ashwani stream, a popular picnic - spot.
Travel Information :
There is always the option of flying to Shimla.
This flight operates only when the weather is favorable, but that will be like fast
forwarding a wonderful beginning and landing yourself in the middle of a story.
The ideal way of covering the Kalka-Shimla track is by the toy train.
It takes five hours from Kalka to get to Kandaghat. These five hours mark the beginning of this sojourn into the
world of make-belief. 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.
Chail is about 86 km from Kalka via Kandaghat (roughly 380 km from Delhi).
The approach of Chail is along the Kalka-Shimla route. One has to take a detour from Kandaghat. From Kandaghat,
it is an hour's journey by road to Chail.
Where to Stay :
Chail is a very small town on the hills with barely five to six hotels.
Chail's Mall is worth walking down on. It has precisely twelve shops and half a dozen hotels
on one single stretch and that is the end of it. Commercialization seems to be still knocking at Chail.
There are, however, various categories of accommodation to suit every kind of pocket ranging from
Rs 600 to Rs 6,000 per day during the tourist season (which is primarily the summer months).
Each type of accommodation has a specific name. There are Maharaja suites, Maharani suites, Rajgarh cottages,
Woodrose cottages, Monal cottages, Himneel cottages and log huts.
The log huts can be a fascinating experience for those who love to live amidst nature.
They are situated about a kilometer away from the main building and overlook a valley.
From within these huts one can watch the clouds settle down on the valley, the lights shimmering
at night and the cold seeping right into your bones. One can also experience total silence and quietude.
The Chail Palace Hotel is spread over 75 acres of land. It appears endless with vast stretches of
land neatly manicured along cobbled pathways. The whole garden is yours and if you go when there are
not too many tourists, it is more therapeutic than any medicine on earth.
The gourmet need not fear. Amidst nature, the hotel authorities offer a wide variety of food and a
satisfied burp is not out of place. A curio shop panders to your other desires. For still other desires,
Chail offers its best-from dewdrop at dawn break to thick lush deodar forests and many a dreams woven within.
The British Government annexed Chail from the Gurkha General Amar Singh in 1814, along with Shimla Hills.
The British Resident stayed at another beautiful building called ‘Snow View’, this is with the Indian Army these days.
Later, the British Government gifted Chail, a quiet hamlet, part of the erstwhile Keonthal estate, to Maharaja Bhupinder Singh.
Maharaja of Chail was avid cricketer who also captained the Indian team in test matches played in India and England.
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh’s gallantry during the First World War and popularity as a cricketer earned him the status of
an ADC to His Majesty, King George Five. Dashing and handsome, he struck instant rapport with the Sporting Society of Shimla.
His courtship with the Commander-in-Chief’s daughter led to his expulsion from Shimla. The Maharaja then vowed never to enter
Shimla and started exploring the adjoining area for developing into a resort, surpassing Shimla in all respects.