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iXiGOers Aug 28 2013

What is the story of the Pleasure Palace in Chail?

Vaishali Singh Aug 28 2013
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When the Maharaja of Patiala acquired Chail from the Gurkhas in 1891, he wanted to build his palace atop the highest hill so he could look down on Shimla and Kasauli. But he had not accounted for an ascetic who refused to budge from that location. When all attempts to remove him came to naught, the ruler fell back on the second highest hill, Rajgarh, to build his house of pleasure.



As one drives in, two pink stone sentry boxes greet the visitor at the entrance. Completely at odds with the square, tall and serene palace on the top of the hill, the boxes reflect the humour of the snubbed raja. Spread over 75 acres, the palace is where Maharaja Bhupinder Singh spent six months in a year together with his wives, mistresses and a retinue of 1,000, including his secretariat and stables. There are log huts on the left as one drives in, set amidst tall cedar trees on a narrow road called Lovers’ Lane.



In the 19th century, the palace is said to have reverberated with the merrymaking of couples drinking and smoking... listening to tunes on the grand piano... Today, sitting at a white wrought-iron table on the lawns, looking at the two white cherubs with jet-black hair and the narcissus-filled flowerbeds, you can feel like a king.

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