A hill station of Himachal Pradesh, Chail is located at a height of 2,250 m above sea level. The town is a very famous destination in Himachal Pradesh for polo and cricket lovers as it is home to the world’s highest cricket ground which is used for playing polo as well. Located at such a height, amidst the greenery, Chail is also known as a hiker’s paradise. It was once the capital of the Patiala kings. The palace, now converted into an hotel, attracts a large number of tourists because of its beautiful architecture. Chail is the perfect place for someone who wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life for a while. Listed below are some of the places you might not want to miss if visiting Chail.
1. Cricket Ground
Located at an altitude of 2444 m above sea level, this cricket ground is the highest ground in the world. It was built by Maharaja Bhupender Singh in 1893, who, they say, was a great cricket enthusiast. Presently, this ground is taken care of by the Army as it lies in the Cantonment Area. The same ground is used to play polo once in a while. Sadly, civilians are not allowed within the premises of this ground. One can, however, walk around the area and look at it from outside.
2. Chail Palace Hotel
The Chail Palace was built by the Maharaja when he was banished from Shimla, in a new capital built by himself that lied at a higher elevation than Shimla. The architecture of this place will leave you mesmerized. The classic artworks add to the Victorian ambiance of the palace. This palace would definitely make you feel like you are living in the Victorian era. This palace was later converted into a heritage hotel. Surprisingly, the prices aren’t very high and it also gives one the opportunity to experience the royal lifestyle. The rooms also have antique furniture to add to the “royalty feel”. This palace attracts a large number of tourists.
3. Chail Wildlife Sanctuary
Chail Wildlife Sanctuary was once the hunting ground for the royalty that lived here. It was only in 1976 that it was inaugurated as a wildlife sanctuary. This sanctuary is home to a number of rare species of animals and birds. Himalayan black bear, European red deer, common langur, sambar and black-napped hare are some of the animals seen here. The sanctuary has sighting posts to make it convenient for the tourists to observe the animals and birds. It is a perfect place for bird watchers as well as the animal lovers.
4. Sidh Baba Ka Mandir
Sidh Baba Ka Mandir has a very intriguing history behind it. Legend has it that Maharaja Bhupender Singh wanted to build his palace right at the spot where the temple stands now. Even the construction had begun but due to some reason or the other, it had to be stopped. While the attempts were going on, a saint appeared in the King’s dreams and informed him that he should stop the establishment of the palace because it is the same spot where he meditated for years and was then buried beneath it. He told the King to build a temple there instead. The king followed the advice and had a temple built here dedicated to that saint.
5. Maa Kali Temple
Maa Kali Temple is one of the most popular religious places of Chail. The locals usually come here for praying to the diety. Though the architecture of the temple is not that immaculate, the beauty around it is breath taking. Being located at such a height, it is also a great trekking spot.
Chail is a place that can be visited throughout the year. The summers here are pleasant and mild. However, if you cannot tolerate too much cold, we would recommend you to stay away from this place during the winters when the temperature drops down to 1 or 2 degrees C. Apart from visiting these places, you can also go to Kufri on horseback. It is a very exciting yet safe journey. Chail is not much of a place where you can go for elaborate shopping trips; but some local special items of the region are found here.