MAHARAJA'S PALACE

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» North India
» Himachal Pradesh
Location: Chail, Himachal Pradesh
Altitude: 2,250m
Built In: 1891
Significance: One of the smallest Himalayan Hill Resorts

One of the smallest Himalayan Hill resorts, Chail lies at a height of 2,250m. When Bhupinder Singh, Maharaja of Patiala, was expelled from Shimla, he decided to create his own summer capital, which was Chail. His choice of Chail was perfect - a thick cover of majestic, soaring deodars surrounded it. Shimla was just 45-kms away, and most significantly, the hill of Chail was decidedly higher than the then British - controlled Shimla.

About 1.5 km away -- at 8, 000 ft, the highest point in the area from the downtown Chail -- is the famous Sidh Baba ka Mandir. Legend has it that this place located within dense, deodhar forests, was the original site for the Maharaja's palace. But a sidh (a saintly man) appeared in the Maharaja's dream and deemed the spot sacred because it was spot where he had meditated. The next day, the Maharaja relocated his palace and built a temple in honour of the sidh.

The magnificent Rajgarh palace, with elaborate furnishings, built in 1891. With comfortable log huts and cottages, dense forests and serene walks, sprawling lawns, a childrens park, a `lovers hill', and sports facilities, Chail is a resort in the real sense of the term.

One can opt for a room in any of the surrounding log huts or cottages, which are cheaper. The Rajgarh Cottage has four rooms available on individual basis. It is possible to hire the entire cottage with living-dining room and kitchen. The Wood Rose Cottage, the Monal Cottage and the log huts have double rooms with kitchen. Honeymooners can opt for the Honeymoon Den.

The Hill resort also offers ample opportunity for fishing and trekking, and boasts of the world's highest cricket pitch and polo ground.



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