One must be lunatic or possess tremendous craze to explore hills to take such attempt which I took few weeks back. Exploring Chail had nothing new but feeling it all alone away from hustle of busy life had a completely new and amazing experience.
Chail, situated at the height of 2250meters from sea level, at the midst of Shivalik ranges, offering fabulous view of Himalayan ranges. Chail is one of the finest hill stations of Himachal Pradesh for ghumakkars like us. Cool breezy summer and chilling snowing winters. Chail is the habitat for wide range of wild life and it still holds the natural beauty of mountain and little less commercialized like Shimla.
No plan was the plan for exploring this place, which still holds the pride of having the world’s highest cricket pitch.
Since morning, four of us ghumakkars were making plans to spend this weekend in some hill station, Narkanda (70Km from Shimla) was one of the options we were discussing. Unfortunately, by the end of evening of that Friday, three of them declined, and that was the moment and calls from mountain which made me to take this lunatic attempt. At 12 midnight I started from Delhi, driving all alone, singing and listening to music of mountain, with a thrill and joy of being alone with my thoughts and with my Car. The route had plenty of dhabas and restaurants, followed NH1 and then NH-22 with halts for tea, view and breakfast I continued driving. It was amazing feeling to see the night dying slowly slowly with the red rising sun, with that the view of
Chandigarh from the place Parwanoo, just after entering Himachal Pradesh at its foothill.
Continuing driving on NH-22, I decided to take right from Kandaghat and drive 29km more to reach Chail and dropped the idea of driving 30km and reaching Shimla.
The narrow serpentine road from Kandaghat to Chail, through the deep pine forest and the cacophony of cricket was the thrill. Driving down to the river at Sadhupul to get a bath for my car, being alone I could do it this time.It was 9.30 in the morning when I reached Chail, this was the tough time to get a hotel for me. Although, there are wide ranges of hotels in Chail but being alone I was looking for some cheap and lonely kind of hotel. It was mid of June, the Central mall of Chail or the Bus station was undergoing some preparatory work for Folk festival starting next day and thus it was peak season for tourist. Most of the decent hotels did have prior booking or displaying availability of deluxe rooms. For me, it was not much of worry because Chail had a Gurudwara where I could get a shelter for night. Fortunately, I got, Hotel Pine wood, exactly the kind of place I was looking for, at central Chail, just on the mall road.Soon after check-in, I was fresh and ready to experience Chail, and story begins.
The Chail Palace, had reduced its entry fee for visit as it was undergoing renovation. Chail palace, now converted to Hotel, once upon a time was the residence of Maharaja of Patiala in summers. It still has the ambience and furniture of that time. Checking in to that hotel with your family would definitely give you a royal feel. Spending some time in the adjacent garden, with the view of silent pine surround and sipping coffee, it would feel that you are contended by your life.
After lunch, I went to see the highest Cricket pitch of the world. It is situated at a hill top surrounded by pine trees, and an army camp. This is now converted to school play ground. Very lonely place at times, and amazing silence.
Chail, has plenty of temple around, one of them was Sidhdhi baba temple, the next visit was to offer deity there. My visit to Chail, was getting more matured by meeting people and sharing experiences.
Reading variety of personality and getting entirely opposite kind of opinion towards life. People were amazed by my being alone there, and mind it, I was enjoying the trip by now. Few more people I met, and listened to their opinion and experience of life, their feel of tourism to Chail, at the sunset point. I was almost grabbed by the serenity of the sunset point, its at the top of a hill, and the top had a huge kaali temple, completely made of marble and amazing view and cold breeze. You feel, top of the world at this place, 360 degree you have 100kms of view open for you, the world is below your feet. These are the few places where you reach and sometimes say that “This is heaven, and I am god.”. Although Driving to the Sunset point was not that easy, the approach was through bumpy jungle road and last 2 km was rising steep serpentine, narrow single car and dusty muddy road. But once you reach the top you forget the thrill driving there.
After the sunset I drove back to my hotel. Rest of the evening I spent, walking down the street and feeling the cold temperature, gazing stars, listening to wild life and tied up with my poetic thought. Next morning, by 9.30am, the folk market work was on full swing and I was saying adieu to Chail. Hold on, experience did not end here; I just started driving my car, the first turn left and a person standing there with thumbs up. Lift? Seems decent, he accompanied me till Panipat, and we shared lot of thought, and that was also an amazing experience to share the values of life with him.
Over all, I had a different and beautiful experience and I returned home carrying new values towards life. Meeting new and nice people, talking to them was by itself a good feeling.
I do not know where they are, I am not in touch with them, as I did not wanted to carry any new friend ship back home, but I thank all them who cracked some of my lonely moments and filled the gaps. I must say, that all of us should have such experience once in life, it’s different.