Maharaja's Palace Chail, Himachal Pradesh
Around 43 km away from Shimla and at an elevation of 2250 m is
Chail, a small idyllic hill town. Chail shot into prominence when
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala was denied an entry into Shimla by
the British. At that point of time Shimla was the summer capital of
the British and a hot favourite with the Maharajas as well. However,
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh was not the one to accept defeat easily. He
found a new summer capital for himself amidst scented forests of chir
pine and gigantic deodars in the village of Chail.
Today Chail retains much of its pristine beauty and attracts nature and adventure lovers in equal measures. The fresh air of Chail infuses new vigour in you
Chail Wildlife Sanctuary
The Deodar and Oak forests that surround the hill town of Chail was declared a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1976. The denizens of this 10,854.36 hectares sanctuary are Sambar, Goral, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Deer, Barking Deer, Indian Hare Common Langur and Leopard. Also to be found are Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan Yellow Throated Marten, Indian Porcupine, Common Giant and Kashmiri Flying Squirrel. You can trek from Chail to either Gaura or Jhajja and can expect to see a number of animals.
Sidh Baba Ka Mandir
Bhupinder Singh's palace was originally planned for this place, however a vision of the majaraja changed everything. In his vision, the maharaja saw a sidh saint who told him that the place was meant for his meditation. This vision made Bhupinder Singh shift his palace to other place and this place became a spot for a temple of Sidh Baba.
Chail covers three hills. Out of this one hill, the Rajgarh Hill, houses the palace of the maharaja that he built as a place for his summer retreat. The palace spreads over an area of 75 acres and offers some fantastic views of the surroundings. In the year 1972, the palace was bought over by the Himachal tourism and converted into a heritage hotel. You can stay in the cottages or huts of the palace during your stay at Chail and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere.
The Cricket Ground at Chail is the highest one in the entire world. It was built in the year 1893 and is located at an altitude of 2144 m. With beautiful and tall deodar trees surrounding it, the ground also allows you to play a game of cricket if you want. The ground is also used for playing polo.
A small but beautiful village, Sadhupul is a favourite destination for picnickers.
Kandaghat is around 20 km away from Chail and has the Chail View Palace, Shiva Temples, Baba Thadda Mulla and the Karol Ranges as its prime attractions. The palace today, houses the Government Polytechnic College for Women, though the personal chambers of the Maharaja are still maintained as they were in the bygone era. The Karol Ranges have a historical Krishna Temple and a cave. The cave, it is believed, was dug by the Pandavas and run deep into the ground to finally emerge at Pinjore near the historical Mughal Gardens.
Adventure sports is a good option at Chail. Trekkers have the option of choosing between different trek routes - Kandaghat to Chail, Chail to Rajgarh and Chur-Chandni, and Chail to Shimla via Junga. For those interested in fishing and angling, Gaura river is just perfect. Its waters is full of masheer. In winters skiing at Narkanda is an additional adventure option.
The nearest airport from Chail is Jubbar Hati Airport which is 45 km from Shimla and 63 km from Chail itself. Flights from here connect to Delhi as well as Chandigarh.
Kalka happens to be the nearest railhead to reach Chail. It is at a distance of 86 km. Chandigarh railway station is also an option for you to reach Chail. From there you can hire a cab or catch a bus to reach Chail.
Since there is no direct roadway to reach Chail from Delhi, you need to catch a local bus at Kandaghat. Kandaghat is itself 29 km away from the Chail town. Deluxe and semi deluxe buses as well as cabs are available to transfer you to Chail from Shimla.