Chail is 45 km from Shimla via Kufri, 86 kms from Kalka via Kandaghat and dwelling in the midst of a lush green setting. This stands at 2444.4 m and is one of the highest cricket pitches and polo grounds in the world, 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. Well kept and well maintained the ground is surrounded by huge trees of deodar and pine. Close by is a National Park, which has limited number of birds and deers. Satluj Valley, Shimla and Kasauli are also visible at night from here. The Chail Palace is well known for its architecture. 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.
The story of Chail as it stands today really begins in neighbouring Shimla. The tale is told of the banishment of the Maharaja Adhiraj Bhupinder Singh of Patiala from the erstwhile 'SUMMER CAPITAL' in the late 19th century. Smarting at this insult, the Maharaja began exploring the hills that bordered Shimla with a single factor to guide him. He planned to find a hill that was within sight of Shimla – but higher. Surrounded by deodar (Himalayan cedar) woods, the little village of chail seemed perfect. Shimla lay in direct vision- and most important. Chail’s altitude was above the British controlled town. And then, large tracts of the land already belonged to him.
Completed in 1891, with a splendid mansion to serve as his place and at 2226m, a good hundred metres above Shimla’s average height, Patiala's 'SUMMER CAPITAL' was prepared to take on the British one at equal terms in 1972, the property set in about 75 acres of land – including peripheral cottages, woods, sport and recreation facilities and even an orchard–passed into the hands of Himachal tourism. This is now the Palace Hotel and this has the distinction of being one the earliest hotel resorts in the country. It retains many elements of its princely past – and large elegant lawn, complete with pavilion and fountain, adjoins the hotel.
The little settlement of Chail is built over three hills the palace Hotel crowns the Rajgarh Hill, the Sidh Baba ka Mandir is atop the Sidh Hill, while the third is Pandhewa hill which holds the former house of the British Resident. Chail’s famous cricket ground was built in 1893 after leveling out the top of a hill. This stands at 2444.4 m and is one of the highest cricket pitches and polo grounds in the world. The
The Chail wildlife sanctuary was once the private hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Patiala. In 1976, this was notified as a sanctuary. With Altitudes ranging between 701m to 2180m, this has an area of approx. 11000 hectares and includes the town of
Adventure and Fishing : Several easy walks can be done in and around Chail. Fishing is possible on the Giri river, at Gaura (29 Km from Chail). There are several trek routes that lead out of the resort–including the one to the 'Choor Chandni' mountain which is visible form Chail.
FAST FACTS :
Climate : 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. In summer the climate is mild and light woolens / cottons are recommended. In winter, temperature can drop below freezing point when heavy woolens are required.
Best Time to Visit : May-July & September - November.
Accommodations : Chail has many offerings for tourists. 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. Some of them are : Chail Palace Hotel (For Luxury Seekers), Maple Resorts (8 km before chail), Hotel Grand Sunset, Hotel Ekant, Hotel Lions, Hotel Chail Inn, Hotel Monaal Chail, Rashi Resorts etc.
HOW TO REACH / ACCESS / GETTING THERE :
Air : You have option of flying upto Shimla (Jubbarhati airport in Shimla).
Rail : Kalka Shimla Railways.
Road : Chail has well connectivity by road. Regular buses for Chail leave from Shimla, Chandigarh and Delhi. Chail is about 86km 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.
PLACES OF INTEREST IN AND AROUND CHAIL :
Cricket Ground in 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. There is a well maintained Basket Ball court and the same cricket ground is used for playing football as the ground also has goal posts. In one corner of the ground there is a historic tree on which the local students have constructed a beautiful tree house.
- Chail Sanctuary : 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 Chail sanctuary has 'ghoral', 'kakkar', 'sambhar', 'red jungle fowl' and 'khalij' and 'cheer' pheasants. Machan like sighting posts have been built at Khuruin.
- Palace Hotel : 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.
- Maharaja's Palace : 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.
- Sadhupul : 14-km from Kandaghat a beautiful tiny village of Sadhupul, and the bridge over the Ashwani stream, a popular picnic-spot.
- Kali Ka Tibba : Just 2km uphill from Chail, perched on a hilltop, a magnificient temple dedicated to Goddess Kali, offers calm and scenic beauty of 360 degrees panoramic view of mountains and snow clad peaks, which cannot be missed.