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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What is the history of Chail?

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Chail's heritage is the stuff of Bollywood movies and great romance novels. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh's allegedliaison with the daughter of Lord Kitchener, the then Governor General of British India, resulted in his being banned from Shimla. Furious at this slight to his dignity, he swore, as expected from any Maharaja worth his salt, that he would build his own summer capital and it would be better than Shimla! Having taken this oath, he set out in search of the perfect place and came across a small mountain town that had the splendour and elegance to be converted into a princely preserve and mountain resort. And this is precisely what he did.

Retribution at its best: Planning to exact his ultimate revenge, he tried building his Castle on top of the highest hill in Chail so that he could literally look down upon Shimla and Kasauli living there. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. A saintly figure, a Sidh, came in the dreams of the Maharaja and told him that the site is where he used to meditate and was eventually buried under. He asked the Maharaja to reconsider the site for a temple instead, which is what Maharaja Bhupinder Singh did. He built a temple to honour the Saint, which came to be called Sidh Baba ka Mandir.The Castle you see now is built on Rajgarh, the second highest hill of Chail. To the romantic the alternate explanation might be more appealing; it is equally possible that he might have wanted to be able to look out and immediately be able to see his beloved home where his heart resided.

Built out of a King's defiance, you will find that the town still carries the echoes of its regal past and gives the experience of being in a wooded royal retreat.

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