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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

Which are the popular places for sightseeing in Chail?

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Chail, with its secluded green slopes and avenues of tall pines and deodars, is a continuous vista of sights to take in. Some of the more popular sightseeing spots in Chail are:

  • Chail Palace

Of course, it will be ideal for you to book a room here and come to experience the life of a royalty. But if for some reason you are unable to, then a visit and a lunch or dinner at the Palace hotel is a must. Surrounded by towering Deodars, the Palace has a truly regal setting with spectacular breathtaking vistas all around it. Built by our daring Maharaja of Patiala with the primary goal of outshining the Britishers, you can expect grandeur and you will not to be disappointed by what you see. With its beautifully sculpted marble water fountains, oak interiors and lavishly furnished rooms and suites with ancient furniture, it reflects the royal era of the yesteryears. Here you will see a blend of western and Indian architectural styles. Do not forget to visit the Maharaja and Maharani suites, where our esteemed Maharaja had resided and played the piano, which is still there in working condition.

Frombeing the private hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Patiala to being a protected habitat, the Sanctuary is home to a number of endangered and vulnerable mountain species. Do not forget to carry your binoculars when you come here; you might just catch a sight of the Himalayan Black Bear, Leopard, Wild Boar and Barking Deer. You will be walking through a canopy of Oaks, Deodars, and Blue Pines, which is the northern portion of the Sanctuary and where most of the mature forest is confined. If you come across a bird perched on the vegetation, looking like a brown miniature cross between a peacock and a hen, with gray plumage and crests, do take a picture. This is the famed and vulnerable Cheer Pheasant! When the trees begin to thin and you come across a landscape of mostly shrubs and grassland, it means you have reached the southern part of the Sanctuary. Here, don't be surprised if you suddenly see an entire village settlement. Local people have land rights in the Sanctuary and most of the southern part of the Sanctuary is cultivated. Whether you are a naturalist, wildlife buff, trekker or simply in the mood for a walk through the woods, Chail Sanctuary is an ideal retreat for all.

8,000 feet above the sea level, the Cricket ground in Chail is the highest in the world. With such credentials, it's worth the drive through dense covering of pines and deodars. Built by the Maharaja of Patiala, the ground was used by him to play cricket matches. Currently, it is the school playground of the Chail Military School and you may come across school matches being played out here. Nowadays, in addition to Cricket, Football, Basketball and Polo are also played out here, by the school children as well as the Army stationed out here. There's an ancient tree in one corner of the ground, its bark gray with age and gives the look of someone who has witnessed centuries of generation pass it by. The Military School had at some point built a treehouse on its thick branches and it looks more like an outpost. There's a possibility that the grounds may be closed to visitors if there's a match going on or during monsoons.

Exploring through Chail's lovely walks and trails that meander you through dense pine forests, who knows you just might come back with your own list of sights to see.

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