Weekend getaway to Chail, Himachal Pradesh

12th Sep 2015
Photo of Weekend getaway to Chail, Himachal Pradesh 1/7 by Lily Bilung
Trying to find our way to the reception in the vast premises of the Chail Palace
Photo of Weekend getaway to Chail, Himachal Pradesh 2/7 by Lily Bilung
Photo of Weekend getaway to Chail, Himachal Pradesh 3/7 by Lily Bilung
Photo of Weekend getaway to Chail, Himachal Pradesh 4/7 by Lily Bilung
Ashwani stream
Photo of Weekend getaway to Chail, Himachal Pradesh 5/7 by Lily Bilung
Kali ka Tibba
Photo of Weekend getaway to Chail, Himachal Pradesh 6/7 by Lily Bilung
Photo of Weekend getaway to Chail, Himachal Pradesh 7/7 by Lily Bilung
View from the Tibba

Hmnmn... So where do we go next?  Ever since we landed ourselves a job, I and my friend, spend hours deciding on the road trips that we always wished to take, and the places that we wished to see. I personally have always been fascinated with the hills and it was my mission this year to see as much of Himachal Pradesh as I can. So, in August we had been to Kasauli and only about a month later, we started having these sudden pangs of making a trip again. This month, after much of deliberation and internet surfing we zeroed in on the quiet hills of Chail. And, this being an off season for tourists, we thought it would be a good break from the busy-ness of the city. We usually choose weekends for such trips and since we always find ourselves grappling for time, we feel cabs are convenient for people like us. We booked a cab for the trip, and started our journey late night, so that we reached Chail early morning the next day. The journey was smooth, thanks to our superman of a cab driver, who without any breaks drove relentlessly for the entire night. At about 7 am, we took a detour owing to broken road and that is when we reached Sadhupul- a quite village by a small river stream called "Ashwani". Feeling crammed in the cab due to the night's ride, we decided to take a break by the river side. We were there for some 30 minutes, we clicked some pictures and then we were again back on the road to Chail. By 9, we touched the bus stand which was located near a small not-so-crowded local market. The place has clear directions of the tourist places, so we headed in the direction marked for the Chail palace. I had read a few things about Chail, and the palace is the first thing that the internet shows among the "places to see". This palace was made by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, Maharaja of Patiala, in the year 1891. This palace has been converted into a heritage hotel and is open for visitors to see for an entry fee of Rs.100, and also offers rooms to stay. The Chail palace is also shown as Jawed Jaferi's home in the movie 3 Idiots. It has different blocks with different tariffs, I had my eyes on the log huts, but because of unavailability, we had to settle for a room in "The Himneel block", which has rooms for tourists travelling on a budget. The rooms in these blocks are decent enough with the rooms opening to a nice lawn which overlooks the mountains. So, we checked in and freshened up for some sight seeing. Again, this place hasn't much to offer in terms of places to see, with Google just showing three places namely, the Chail palace, the Kali Ka Tibba, "world's highest cricket ground", and Sidh baba ka mandir. We decided we'd see the Tibba first, which is about 5km from the bus stand. The road that takes us to the Tibba isn't an ideal one, but the ride is worth the discomfort, also make sure you have good driver who can drive on broken and steep roads. The Kali ka Tibba is this white marble structure a top the mountain, which has a fort like boundary wall also made of marble. The temple is very simple and not much ornate and hasn't yet been commercialized (and thank God for it!). The temple provides such exquisite scenery of the mountains of the shivalik range and the choor chandni peak. One can sit there and look at the mountains for hours, and the sound of the chanting and the hymns coming from the temples makes the ambience all the more peaceful and serendipitous, a very good spot to sit alone and spend time introspecting if you ask me.After spending a while, we pushed off to see the world highest cricket ground,  one has to come back to the bus stand area to go to the ground. Quite frankly, you can very conveniently give this one a miss. This cricket ground is just a play ground, which is now being used by the army school kids for practicing football. Dissappointed as we were, we spent a little time anyway strolling up and down the road that went nowher really. We headed back to our room in Chail palace, and it was already 5 in the evening. They don't provide room service to the himneel block as the food gets cold on the way from their kitchen. However, you can get some food at the dining hall in the palace and they do serve the morning bed tea to your room which is also complementary. The next day we got up late and saw the palace and pushed off for Delhi again. No matter the disappointment of seeing the playground, the scenic beauty that we witnessed from the Tibba just made our visit to Chail memorable. The quite hill station is a nice retreat from the city life and one can go there to just take a break from the world outside and relax.