For those moping over the cold that is steadily making way for the summer, Kasauli offers a chance to enjoy the chill in a pristine mountain setting. The town of Kasauli was established as a hill station by the British in the year in 1842. Located in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh, the town is at a distance of 77 km from Shimla and 65 km from Chandigarh.
It is a small hill station around 2.30 hr drive from Chandigarh.
A hill-station straight out of fairytales about knights in shining armour, at an altitude of 1,927 m, this silent little quasi-hamlet in the hills, just short of Shimla (a two-hour drive from Chandigarh), is a place that is forever springing new discoveries at you. It could be that naughty monkey snatching that packet of oranges you may have just purchased at the bazaar, or the guard of the famed Kasauli Club enlightening you with the knowledge that former Pakistan President Ayub Khan served his first appointment, after passing out from Sandhurst Military Academy in the United Kingdom, with 1st Battalion, Royal Fusiliers at Kasauli. Did you know where your favourite Old Monk came from? Well, it could be the Kasauli Brewery! It has the pride of being Asia’s oldest brewery where the distilling equipment was imported from England and Scotland.
The first thing that you notice about Kasauli, even if it is your umpteenth visit, is the tranquillity. Kasauli is one of the cleanest, quietest and quaintest hill towns of India – owing largely due to the discipline of the air force base and army cantonment located there.
As soon as you get into Kasauli, find a place to just dump your bags or grab a bite. This can be done at the hotel or lodge itself or, head to the mall to sink your teeth into a sumptuous ‘bun-samosa’ – a local marriage between a crispy samosa and a sweet bun.
Tall trees, cobbled roads and fresh mountain air seem to goad you to get up and move. Kasauli is a web of beautiful walkways – some well-known and others waiting to be discovered. Gilbert Trail or Lover’s Path, part of which was once used for horse riding by the British, offers beautiful views. It is always a better idea to get off the beaten path, literally and discover walking trails covered with pine needles and echoing of birdsong. Do carry binoculars to spot the Ravens, drongos, blue magpies, flycatchers and other interesting mountain birds.
You can’t not see the imposing 160-year-old Christ Church – even if it is for the umpteenth time. Set amidst chestnut and fir groves, the church has a massive grey façade and colourfully stained glass windows. Regular Sunday morning services are held here till date.
Another must-visit spot is Monkey point – where, according to Ramayana, Hanuman’s foot touched this point while he was flying to get the sanjeevani booti. This highest point in Kasauli is situated within the air force station. While cameras and photography are not allowed here, the views are just indescribable.
Do yourself a favour, pencil in Kasauli into your travel weekend agenda!
Text and images by Aarti Kapur Singh