Chail is a quiet hill station in Himachal Pradesh, India, close to Himachal Pradesh capital, Shimla. Amid pine and deodar trees, covered with salubrious beauty and virgin forests, Chail in Himachal Pradesh is undoubtedly a hiker’s paradise. Even though the list of Chail places to visit is not long, however, there are plenty of trails where trekking lovers can quench the thirst of trekking.
It has good trekking points from Junga, Kufri, and Ashwani Khad at Solan, a few of them are Chail to Shimla, Chail to Gaura, Chail to Jhaja, Kandaghat-Chail, Chur Chandni, and Chail-Rajgarh. While trekking, you will cross the scenic forest of pine and deodar and Rhododendron, Robinia, Cedar, and Blue Pine when you climb.
You can easily find eco camps as there are many camping sites for campers and hikers.
History of Chail
The story says, Chail was gifted to the Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala by the Britishers for his assistance in the Anglo-Nepalese War. The Maharaja was romancing the daughter of Lord Henry Kitchener, who was then the Commander in Chief of the British army. Then, the Maharaja was restricted to enter the Indian summer capital, Shimla. The Maharaja decided to give the British a befitting reply and went on to create his summer capital in Chail. The Chail Palace was built as a summer retreat by him.
Chail places to visit
Here is a well-curated list of best places to visit in Chail, which is located at an altitude of 2,250 m.
Rashtriya Military School, Chail
It is one of the five Rashtriya Military schools that were established as King George’s Royal Indian Military schools to take care of the education of the sons of defence personnel. The schools were renamed Military Schools in 1966 and its old motto, ‘Play the Game’ was replaced with ‘Sheelem Param Bhushanam’ which means Character is the Highest Virtue. On 25th Jun 2007, the schools got their present name “Rashtriya Military School”. The school has several of its alumni occupying high positions in the Armed Forces and other sectors doing stellar service to the motherland.
Even though entering the school is not allowed to everyone; however, it is one of the famous places to visit in Chail.
A village located between Kandaghat, Solan, and Chail, is a famous adventurous and fun destination for people visiting Chail. A small concrete bridge is constructed over the river Ashwini at this place. There are a lot of camps available for picnics and to spend time on weekends with family.
There are benches placed in the middle of the river for visitors to sit and enjoy their meal either ordered from nearby vendors or the food you brought from home. The water park cafe situated at Sadhupul adds amusement to the travellers travelling to Chail from Shimla or Chandigarh and is a Cherry on the cake.
Cricket Ground - Military School
It is a school playground of Chail Military School, which is situated at a height 7,380 feet above sea level and is the highest cricket ground in the world. The Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala was a cricket lover and established this cricket ground in 1893. He had one of the best Indian Cricket and polo teams.
There is one historic tree on which a treehouse is constructed by Chail Military school.
Owned and maintained by the military school, tourists are not allowed to enter the ground. However, you can walk around the field, take pictures, enjoy the mesmerizing views, and make your trip a memorable moment.
It covers 110 km2. Chail Sanctuary has a large forest cover. In 1976, Chail Wildlife Sanctuary was identified, and it was declared as a protected area under government consideration. The cheer pheasant breeding and rehabilitation programme was launched in 1988. There is a dense cover of oak, pine and grassland.
The sanctuary has mainly mammals. Large mammals include rhesus macaque, leopards, Indian muntjac and crested porcupine. Some of the other species found in the area include Himalayan black bear, wild boar, common langur, sambar and black-naped hare. European red deer were also introduced half a century ago by the former Maharaja of Patiala, but none of them was sighted in 1988 as per the survey conducted.
If you are a wildlife lover, a wildlife photographer, or a trekker, then this place is meant for you. It is located at Sadhupul village and open for all its visitors from 7 AM to 6 PM. There is no entry fee to visit. It takes 3-4 hours to explore the sanctuary, and you need to trek.
Chail Palace Hotel
It was built-in 1891 and was the Maharaja’s Palace, which is established in approximately 75 acres and has a majestic ambience with panoramic scenes. It was later converted to a heritage hotel and topped the list of Chail tourist places. There is a wide variety of cottages, suites, and rooms to accommodate its visitors, who want to relish the beauty of this majestic hill station.
There are other cottages available to stay in and near Chail; however, staying in the Palace gives you the royal feeling. The Palace has a Cafe that provides an area for dining in the open air for you to enjoy the lip-smacking food and the natural beauty of the surroundings.
The Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) maintains it. You can check the availability and make your bookings on their website.
Kali ka Tibba
It is situated at the top of the hill and surrounds nothing except a few trees, making it a picture-perfect location for camera lovers. Kali ka Tibba is a temple of the Hindu goddess, Kali, who is the chief of the Mahavidyas, a group of ten Tantric goddesses. This place holds great religious significance.
Sidh Baba Mandir
It is one of the other Chail places to visit that holds religious significance. The story mentions that the Saint Sidh Baba appeared in the dreams of the Maharaja Bhupinder Singh and stated that this is the place where he meditated. The next morning, Maharaja ordered the construction of a temple to honour the saint’s presence. The locals believe that the shrine is the protector of Chail.
In 1907, the Maharaja Bhupinder Singh constructed this Sikh temple. The government of Himachal Pradesh took over the building after the partition of Punjab. However, it was facing deterioration, and the Chail Heritage Foundation, an NGO formed by ex-students of Chail Military School took up the challenge to renovate the building. This place is one of the most sought attractions in Chail and is famous for its architecture. If you look from outside, you will find it like a church.
It has guest rooms and dormitories to provide free accommodation to Chail visitors and travellers. One can seek blessings and have prasad at the Langar hall situated at the backside of the building.
How to reach Chail
The Jabbar Bhatti airport is the nearest one connecting flights from Delhi airport (at a distance of 372 kilometres). You can easily get a cab for Chail from there. However, the nearest major airport is in Chandigarh which is at a distance of 105 Kilometers from Chail.
The nearest railway station is Kandaghat at a distance of 25 Kilometres from Kufri and from there you need to take a bus or cab to reach Chail.
Chail is accessible by road. You can easily get a bus from Shimla, Narkanda, and Rampur. If you are traveling from Delhi or Chandigarh, then you can take a Volvo Bus to Shimla and deboard at kandaghat, and then take a bus to Chail.
The best way to reach Chail is to hire a cab from any of the local tour operators or drive yourself.