Chail was the summer capital of the former princely state of Patiala. It came into being in the late nineteenth century when it’s handsome and dashing Maharaja Bhupender Singh was banished from Shimla, the summer capital of British India for a dalliance with the British Commander –in-Chief’s daughter. Smarting at this insult, Bhupender Singh began exploring the neighboring hills with a single guiding force – to find a hill that was within sight of Shimla but higher. The little village of Chail seemed perfect. Shimla lay within direct vision, and most important, Chail was higher than the British controlled Shimla town. Large tracts of the land here already belonged to him.
This had been given to his ancestors for services rendered during the Gurkha wars which had come to an end in 1815-16. A site was selected and the Maharaja began building his summer palace. But an ill omen seemed to hang over the construction area. Local legend has it that the moment anything was built, it would collapse over night. Dozens of snakes would appear from nowhere and attack the laborers. Then Bhupinder Singh had a dream. A sage appeared before him and declared that the site the Maharaja had chosen was where he had meditated till he was taken by the earth, and his peace should not be disturbed. The Maharaja had the sage’s blessing to build on any other spot. Bhupinder Singh moved to another site and at the original spot – which is about a kilometer from the Palace Hotel – he had a temple built to the sage. Here the stone embodiment of the sage may still be seen along with the iron tongs and trident. The shrine is known as the Sidh Baba Ka Mandir and is revered by many who claim that the sage has the power to grant boons. Meanwhile Bhupinder Singh had another site leveled out and a splendid mansion was built and sumptuously furnished. And at 2226 m, a good hundred meters above Shimla’s average height, Bhupinder Singh’s summer capital was prepared to take on the British one at equal terms.
Mohan Shakti Heritage Park
Want to see how ancient villages used to look like? Head down to Mohan Shakti Heritage Park and step right into the past. Just half an hour drive from Solan, the Mohan Shakti Heritage Park is an ultimate place to visit. Mohan Shakti Heritage Park is North India's first ever ancient heritage park. National Heritage Park is located at Shakti Sthal on NH 22 between Kalka and Shimla. The picturesque park is supplemented with many unique structures. The park is still under construction and is believed to be the largest heritage park in Himachal Pradesh. Here, tourist can enjoy exploring a heritage park, pass through grasslands, indulge in bird watching, catch glimpses of archaeological sites, and gorgeous landscapes of peaks, clouds and sunshine.
Within the huge periphery of the park, there is a beautiful shrine, Kali Ka Tibba temple. The shrine seems like an emerald amidst the wilderness. The entire complex of Heritage Park is dotted with multiple statues, sculptures and statuettes. Huge statues of Indian Gods and Goddesses can be seen here. Unique animals made of plaster of Paris (POP) are the main attractions of the park.
Inside the complex of Heritage Park, there are herbal therapy centres, community kitchens, theme parks, residential blocks, temples, study centres, open theatres and ropeway trolleys. This heritage park was built with the purpose to promote Vedic Sciences as a topic of interest for the younger generation and also to preach them about Indian culture. Mohan Shakti Heritage Park is the profound creation of Mr Kapil Mohan, Brigadier General of the Indian army by profession. He (Kapil Mohan) made this heritage site with a vision to nurture the Vedic Sciences as a subject.
Located in the midst of great mountains, Mohan Shakti Heritage Park is an exceptional place. The park is an amazing initiative to revive the Vedic lifestyle.
Jatoli Shiv Temple, Solan
If a tourist wants to see a grand and spectacular temple, perched on a hill top then Jatoli Shiv temple is the place to be. Jatoli gets its name from the long Jata (hair) that Lord Shiva has. Considered as Asia's highest Shiv temple, this shrine is indeed an architectural marvel. Jatoli Shiv Temple is one of the famous holy destinations of Solan which attract a large number of pilgrims and is only 6 Kms from the city.
Multiple fables and stories are associated with the history of Jatoli Shiv Temple. It is one of the oldest temples of Lord Shiv where an ancient linga is the also placed since a long time. It is believed that the temple was once the resting place of Lord Shiva.
The temple is made in typical Southern-Dravidian style architecture and is made of three consecutive pyramids. On the first pyramid, one can see the image of Lord Ganesha while on second pyramid there is a sculpture of Shesh Naag. Jatoli Shiv Temple holds the tag of being the highest temple in Asia; it took 39 years to complete the construction of the temple.
On the northeast corner of the temple, there is a water tank called 'Jal Kund' which is considered as pious as the holy river Ganga. The water of this tank is said to have some medicinal qualities that can treat skin diseases. There is a cave inside the temple where Swami Krishnananda Paramhans Ji resided. This ancient temple is famous for its annual fair, which is conducted during the festival of Mahashivratri. A number of devotees gather in the temple to offer prayers.
The Dagshai Jail Museum, Solan
Dagshai jail museum is a former British prison which is now a museum frequented by tourists. Dhagshai is one of the oldest cantonment towns in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh. Earlier the place was used as a storage yard. After it was cleaned up with the help of the army, a well designed structure emerged. Later, this place was converted into a museum. It is the only museum in India which is the only jail museum in India apart from the Cellular Jail in the Andamans.
A trip through the jail blocks is as chilling now as it was in the British era. Construction of the jail began in 1849 and included 54 maximum cellular cells. These cells have two doors that are three feet apart. There is one cell for those who were to be meted out exceptionally harsh punishment. There is no source of ventilation and light in the cells of the Dagshai Jail. There is only one VIP cell in the jail — with luxuries such as a fireplace and washroom. Not even a single prison was able escape from the jail.
The jail came into the limelight after the Irish mutiny. To provide moral support to the Irish people, Mahatma Gandhi even stayed in this jail for one year. The Gorkha rebels of the Nasiri Regiment, who had rebelled during the 1857 revolt, were also brought here.
On November 2, 1920, the leader James Daly of the mutiny- a 21-year-old private - was shot by a firing squad in the prison courtyard. He was buried at the Dagshai Cemetery until 1970 when his remains were repatriated to Ireland and given a funeral with full military honors. The Dagshai Cellular Jail is a historical place that time has forgotten. Later the museum was established here with the help of Brigade Commander of the area and Himachal Tourism Department. The museum exhibited about the 160-year-old history of the museum.
Krishna Bhavan Mandir, Solan
Krishna Bhavan Mandir temple is a classy shrine located in the middle of Solan. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and is highly revered by the Hindus. Unique yet magnificent, the temple was built in the year 1926. The architecture of the shrine is a unique blend of Indian and European style. The most interesting part of building is that its structure is quite familiar to a church.
This legendary temple is built as per the disciplines of Vastu Shastra. It is undoubtedly the finest example of the amazing concreted work of different rulers, the boffine and the local craftsmen.
Bon Monastery, Solan
Bon monastery in Solan is the second oldest Bon monastery in the world. The monastery is highly revered by the people of the Bon community. The Bon community is even older than the Buddhist community though the principles are the same. Perched on a hill top, the Bon monastery offers picturesque views of the town and snow-capped mountains.
The monastery is a grand spectacle, boasting manicured gardens and an impressive statue of Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche. The monastery was founded in 1969 by the Abbopt Lungtog Tenpai Nyima. The chief of the monastery is Menri Trizin. People participate in religious ceremonies and it is also a ritual to walk in a clockwise direction around the monastery.
Kuthar Fort, Solan
Experience the magnificence of one of the oldest forts of the region, built over centuries. Hardly a few hours ride from Shimla lies the Kuthar Fort which is as old as 800 years. The fort once served as the royal residence for the family of Kuthar. It is a picturesque place and a part of it is privatized and converted into a resort. Within the fort, sprawling over an expanse of 52.8 sq km, one can see a beautiful garden, freshwater springs and an ancient temple.
It's a fine example of Rajasthan architecture and is a true manifestation of Rajputana artistry. Its seeds, pillars, arches and gateways are beautifully carved. The resort, which is built within the fort premises, offers luxury amenities. From the fort, one can see the real beauty of nature and breathtaking view of the hills around.
Shoolini Mata Temple, Solan
The Shoolini Mata Temple is dedicated to Shoolini Mata-an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The shrine is one of the prime attractions of Solan. It is also believed that the town of Solon was named after Shoolini Mata, who is the presiding deity of the temple. As per legends, the temple was once the abode of Shoolini Mata.
The shrine attracts huge crowd during festival days, especially during the Shoolini fair. The temple looks beautiful in the night when it is completely illuminated and is crowded on holidays and festivals. Other highlights of the fair are activities like dancing, singing and wrestling .The fair attracts traders, sweet sellers, general merchants and shopkeepers from the neighbouring town.
Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir, Solan
The temple was built in 1989 and is highly commended by the people of Solan and nearby hamlets. Within the temple there is a huge sculpture of Sai Baba which was bought from Jaipur. Burning flame inside this temple signifies the divine power of Sai Baba of Shirdi.
Once the capital of the princely state of Baghal, Arki has witnessed a good measure of turbulence in this area. Arki became the stronghold of an invading force of Gurkhas during the 'Gurkha Wars' that came to an end in 1815-16. About 1850, Raja Kishen Chand had the fort decorated with fine murals executed in the Pahari style. Here is a place packed with history and adored with fine art.
Strategically placed at the foothills of the Himalayas, Nalagarh was the capital of the state of Hindur. This area witnessed some fierce fighting during the 'Gurkha Wars' in the first quarter of the 19th century. Spread over considerable acreage, the fort and the palace of Nalagarh have a series of structures that are mostly built in the Mughal style of architecture. These have been exhaustively renovated and are now a quality heritage resort.
Chail is a hill station visited by many tourists. The Deodar Barking Deer and Oak forests with grasslands around the township are the abode of wildlife. One can see Sambar, Goral and Cheer Pheasants at Blossom and Jhaja. Visitors are welcome to the Cheer pheasant breeding centre at both these places. Barking deer and Kalijin in the forests are sure to meet and greet the visitors at dusk and dawn. Trekking from Chail to Gaura and Chail to Jhaja is common and rewarding as one is sure to see wildlife and beautiful snowy peaks. Range Officer Wildlife Chail and his staff welcome the visitors and assist the wildlife lovers to see wildlife in the sanctuary area.
This fast spreading town welcomes the traveler to Himachal as one enters the state from Kalka.
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