It was 3:30 am...Irk in my Mother's voice told me that it might have been her 10th attempt at waking me up. There was unusual chaos in the house. It looked like those lets-leave-for-the-airport-drama scene from the movie, Home Alone. Just that there was no chance in hell that I would have missed this trip! We reached the station at around 5:00 am. And the journey began with the rhythmic clinking sound of the metal wheels.
We were travelling in a non-ac /second seating (2S) for the first time. And it was an experience in itself. Getting down at every stop just to stretch ourselves and get a cup of kadak chai...talking to our co-travellers, making a mental note of what all they have been upto in their life...commenting on both the landscape and the lifestyle that we could see outside of our windows...the sound of the vendor shouting 'tea-coffee-chips-thanda' reverberated the train coaches... It took us around 4 and a half hours to reach Kalka station. Another 3 hours from there in a cab and we reached Chail. From a 42 degree set-up, we were now in a 10 degree set-up...experiencing rain lashes and strong winds!
Located 63 km from Shimla in the Shivalik region of Himachal Pradesh, Chail was the former summer capital of the princely state of Patiala. Legend says that the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh was banished from entering Shimla for eloping with the daughter of Lord Kitchner and the Maharaja resolved to build himself a new summer capital better than Shimla. He ensured that the new capital entices one and all.
We were staying at Vue Magique Resorts and the place is a sheer embodiment of peace and sublime. With the ever-smiling and warm staff, scrumptious meal and to-die-for and lust-after view of the majestic mountains, this place is everything perfect! They have tents, super deluxe rooms, spacious cottage styled rooms with individual balcony to simply sit and chill, sunbath and bask in the magisterial view of the mountains. At night one can see thousands of flickering lights...painting an angelic picture of Shimla.
You can visit Chail Palace, Chail Cricket ground (the highest cricket ground in the world), Chail Military School, Kali ka Tibba and the local market. You can do all of this in a day. And spend the remaining part of the weekend listening to the therapeutic sound of nature at Vue Magique.
There is magic in the night...a sweet smell in the air...and the eyes rest on pleasant sights. Chail is indeed a place that inspires awe and reverence and invites you to be enveloped by the power of nature. We were happy to spend a blissful time amid warmth and hospitality.