Kasauli, in the quiet hills

Just five and-a-half hours from Delhi, nestled in the lap of the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas, Kasauli is an ideal destination for those looking to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of cities.

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By Journey Man

A quaint town, Kasauli, is an attractive mix of picturesque hiking trails, snow-clad mountains and lush landscape. This colonial era hill station in Himachal Pradesh is a hiker’s paradise and nature lover’s nest that is adorned with the unrivalled charm of its majestic Himalayan vistas. Enveloped with utmost peace, it makes for one of the best holiday destinations in Himachal Pradesh.

Located just 5.5 hours away from Delhi, nestled in the lap of the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas, Kasauli is an ideal destination for those looking to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of cities. Once a favourite summer retreat of the British, Kasauli boasts some of the most exquisitely designed colonial era architectural marvels. Adorned with foggy lanes, cobbled roads, beautifully designed avenues and blooming gardens, Kasauli will delight you at every corner with its old-fashioned ambience.

Being the birthplace of the writer Ruskin Bond – he now lives in Landau, a little above Mussourie – Kasauli is the dream destination for readers and writers who can find tons of inspiration amid its pristine beauty and peaceful ambience.

Considered the resting place of Lord Hanuman during his search for medicines for Lakshmana according to the Indian epic Ramayana, Kasauli is also a place of immense religious significance. Travel to the highest point of Kasauli, the Manki Point or the Monkey Point, as it is popularly called and treat your eyes to the spectacular sights of the entire valley, the snow-capped Himalayan peaks and the pristine Sutlej River flowing below.

Also a pilgrim destination
This town in Himachal is also home to the holy Krishna Bhavan Mandir, a popular pilgrim spot for Hindus built in the year 1926. This popular temple resembles a church and is considered an architectural marvel. Another famous temple and sightseeing spot of Kasauli is the Shri Baba Balak Nath Temple, dedicated to the local deity of this region. The locals believe that a visit to this holy temple will grant them their wishes of having children.

One of the top tourist attractions of Kasauli is the colonial era Christ Church. Built by the British in 1853, this historic monument is famous for its stained glass windows, marvellous neo-gothic architecture and serene environment. Home to the legendary Gurkha Fort, Kasauli is also a delightful destination for history buffs. Established in 1900 CE by a Gurkha chief in their war against the British Army, the Gurkha Fort today serves as a symbol of the courage and valour of the Gurkhas.

Hiking trails
Kasauli is an ideal destination for hiking. The amazing Gilbert trail which originates from this place has rich flora and fauna making it a nature lover’s paradise. If you want to enjoy the old-world charm of this place, then look no further than the Mall Road. Home to a number of cafes, restaurants, bookstores and the famous Kasauli Club, the Mall Road offers tourists a peek into the history and culture of this region. A visit to the Kasauli Brewery to unwind yourself with the delicious beverages of this old and ancient establishment, is recommended.

Situated at the end of the upper mall road, the sunset point is a popular sightseeing spot in Kasauli. A photographer’s delight, the sunset point offers captivating views of the sun setting behind the rolling hills of the Himalayas.

Geographical condition
Kasauli usually has a moderate climate throughout the year. However, being a part of India, the weather of Kasauli varies with different seasons and has different benefits in each season.

Summer season: Kasauli experiences summers from the month of April to June. The temperature ranges from 14° C to 28° C and in the extreme case, can go up to 32°C. The weather remains pleasant enough to wander around and explore the region properly. The summer season in Kasauli is considered the ‘tourist season’ when the wind blows from south-west to north-east.

Monsoon season: Kasauli experiences the monsoon season from the month of June to October. The annual rainfall is around 1020 mm.

Winter: Kasauli experiences winters from the month of November to March. The temperature falls to 2°C and most likely receives snowfall.

Best time to visit
The best time to visit Kasauli is during the monsoon season, i.e., from July to October. The already peaceful and beautiful atmosphere looks more splendid amid cold breeze and rainfall. Do not miss carrying extra jackets and umbrellas as it might get cold after a rainfall.

Those who don’t like rains and wetness can opt to visit during the summer season, i.e., from April to June. The weather remains pleasant, giving you much opportunity to roam around and discover more. The natural vegetation looks extra green, giving you a scenic beauty of all times. The best part about visiting in the summer season is that you don’t have to worry about special kinds of clothing, just wear your normal cotton clothes and you’ll be ready for the day.

Culture
Kasauli has a mix of Indian and British colonial culture. Many colonial-era sculptures give a glimpse of colonial culture. On the other hand, Kasauli is a place that welcomes every religion; you’ll find a number of temples, churches, mosques, and gurudwaras here.

Kasauli’s cuisine is North Indian dishes and some places also serve non-vegetarian food. The most favourite traditional snacks of Kasauli are band samosa, band tikki, and jalebi.

The people of Kasauli celebrate festivals in unity. Some of the traditional festivals and fairs include Lohri, Basant Panchami, Sari Fair, Solan Fair, and Renuka Fair. Lohri and Basant Panchami are observed to celebrate the harvest season and the spring season respectively.

History
As far as the name of Kasauli is concerned, it is believed that in the 17th century, some Rajput families from Rewari fled their homes because of political tortures and took shelter in a small village named as Kasul which later on flourished as Kasauli. Apart from it, it is also believed that the name comes from Kausalya which is a running stream flushing from mountains and flows between Kasauli and Jabli. One more belief says that as this beautiful valley is blessed with the sweet fragrance of Kusmali flowers, the town is given the name Kasauli.

In the 18th century, this entire region of Kasauli was confiscated by the British and was developed as a major part of their territory. In the 19th century, it became a part of the expansion of Gurkha and later on it flourished as a military cantonment. And still today, it is a cantonment town of the Indian Army and is restricted for the entry of foreigners without having passports.

Apart from it, a mythological legend is also associated with this small hill town. According to it, at the time of Ramayana war, Lakshmana got injured and Hanuman was asked to get Sanjeevani from the Himalayas. On his way to the Sanjeevani Hill, he stepped at Kasauli and to mark the Lord’s presence at the place, there is a Hanuman Temple in Kasauli which is renowned as the Monkey Point.

How to reach
By Air:The nearest airport to Kasauli is located in Chandigarh, which is approximately 60 km away from Kasauli.

By Road: You can take state transport buses that connect Kasauli to major neighbouring cities and towns of Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. You can arrive by booking a taxi or cab from Chandigarh.

By Train: You can arrive at Kalka railway station, which is about 30 km away and the nearest airport to Kasauli, and take a taxi to Kasauli.

FAMOUS TOURIST PLACES TO SEE
Trekking, Temple, Scenic, Rock Climbing
It is the most famous tourist attraction in Kasauli and is at a distance of just 4 km from the city bus stand. Situated at the highest peak of Kasauli, this spot offers you a breathtaking view of surrounding gushing valleys and cascading rivers flowing through it. From here, you can also enjoy the scenic view of the city of Chandigarh which looks immensely stunning at the night time. A temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman is also located at this point. The hill top is foot shaped and marks the entrance of Hanuman at the place. Being a restricted area, cameras are not allowed here.

Monkey Point: The Highest Point of Kasauli
The exact location of Monkey Point Kasauli is near the Air Force Station at the highest point in Kasauli town. It is a renowned tourist spot due to religious beliefs and the magnificent view from the top point of Kasauli. It has an interesting fact about the historical mythology of Hinduism.

Monkey Point History
There is a strong belief that Lord Hanuman was returning from the Himalayas to Lanka carrying the Sanjivani Booty via this place. During this journey through the Himalayas, one of his feet touched the peak and according to legends, the top of the hill is in the shape of Lord Hanuman’s foot. This place is very busy with tourists as well as monkeys. The mesmerizing view from the peak point surrounded by your ancestors will give you a happy feeling.

A complete view of the lush green meadows and cityscape of Chandigarh and the clean stream of the Sutlej river flowing through the valleys can be witnessed from the Monkey Point Kasauli. The topmost point also gives a picturesque view of the snow-capped peak of Choor Chandni which is the highest peak of the Lower Himalayan belt.

Coupled with the reverberating sounds of temple bells, the new mountain breeze is a rare experience with serenity and should not be missed. Thus, Monkey point is a great spot for nature lovers who love to get lost in what can be described as a wonderful mix of panoramic views, hopping monkeys and peaceful vibes. Tourists can get a complete view of the Chandigarh region’s plains from the top of the hill, and the Sutlej river flowing through the valleys. Visitors may also see a snow covered top of Choor Chandni, the Lower Himalayan belt’s highest elevation.

The difficulty of the trekking route is moderate and it is only a two hours journey. Last but not least, there are many places to visit in Kasauli. And this spot is one of them for sure. Hence, nobody should miss it.

How To Reach
Taxis are easily available up to the Air Force base from where you need to walk up to the Monkey Point. Since the monkey point is situated at a distance of 4 km from the bus stop, you can easily travel via a bus. The remaining 4 km can be covered by trekking, or you can go up 3 km and then climb the rest of the remaining 1 km. For those who are adventurous, this trek is going to be unforgettable.

Kalka Shimla Toy Train
The Kalka to Shimla route is best travelled by way of the toy train that runs on a narrow-gauge track and is known for its dramatic views of the hills and surrounding villages. The historic Kalka Shimla Toy train is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and takes individuals on a ride amongst vast green hills and deodar and pine forests.

The journey was carved through the abundance of nature in Himachal Pradesh during British rule due to which the Kalka Shimla Toy train is bound to take you back to a completely different era in history and through one of the most scenic railway journeys in India. The 5 and-a-half-hour toy train journey provide special services and is must-do when visiting the mountainside of the north.

Timber Trail
Wrapped in the quiet charms of Himachal Pradesh, Timber Trail in the city of Kasauli is a quiet little hill station. The destination is an emerald beauty with its many pine and coniferous trees. Perhaps the most sought-after destination around Kasauli’s Parwanoo, Timber Trail is a favourite among the backpacker community and students alike.

This place is popular for its ropeway rides, which are a thrilling experience. Sliding through the mountain ways while surrounded by the incredible natural beauty is a refreshing experience. The deep gorges right below the ropeway will give you an incredible adrenaline rush without even moving your feet! There are also a few hotels which provide the perfect accommodation.

How To Reach
Timber Trail is located at a distance of 35 km from Chandigarh, so you can easily avail buses or private taxis to reach your destination. Alternatively, you can drive your way there as well.

Gorkha Fort
This place is for people who are fascinated by the past and history. Gorkha Fort situated on a small hill Subathu is 16 km away from Parwanoo. Believed to be founded by the Gurkha Army Chief Amar Singh Thapa to fight against the British, the fort today exhibits strength even through its ruins.

With a spectacular view of dense forest all around, travellers can also visit the Gurkha Museum to witness the past of the area with exhibits dating back to the year 1815.

Christ (Anglican) Church
One of the Oldest Churches in Himachal, Located in the centre of the city with a vibrant Mall road around it, this church is a popular tourist spot. It was constructed in the year 1853 and was built with the grandeur of the Gothic style of architecture.

This church has beautiful Italian and Spanish stained glass windows depicting Christ, Mary, Saint Barnabas and Saint Francis and is a beautiful structure to look at. A very calm and peaceful place to be, this is a must-visit for all tourists coming here.

Sunset Point Kasauli
Sunset Point in Kasauli is a popular yet a very quiet spot to enjoy the sunset, pine-laid landscapes, valleys and sceneries. Nearby to the Sunset point, is a trail or a path known as the Lover’s Lane which is an only more quiet walk through the valleys and some of Kasauli’s most calm and breath-taking sceneries.

However, it is preferable to leave the area before it gets dark or late in the evening since it tends to be a rather off-beat place with not too many facilities.

Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanakji
This is a historically significant religious spot for the Sikhs located at the Gharkhal bazaar on the main road to Kasauli. It also provides accommodation to visitors. This is a gurdwara, i.e. the place of worship for the Sikhs. Daily prayers are held here in addition to a special program that is held every Sunday morning. There is one more gurudwara located at the other side of the Kasauli ridge on the Tibet Road close to the Air Force Radar Station.

WHERE TO STAY
Fortune Select Forest Hill: Starting price Rs 9,499
Owned by the eminent chain of ITC hotels, this 5-star business resort is perched atop a serene hill station amidst landscaped mountains and pine forests. Beautifully planned, this resort is an amalgam of colonial architecture with a contemporary flair. Their grand suites have magnificent décor, Elysian furnishing and airy balconies. They have an outdoor pool with a lounge area. Other amenities include a restaurant, bar and concierge services.

Jungle Lodge Resort: Starting price Rs 7,501
This sleek resort is cradled between ravishing pinewood forests and mountains, close to the town’s popular tourist attractions. They offer laid back cottages with spacious bedrooms, indulgent amenities and porches with views of the valleys. Local food is prepared best by their restaurant. Guests can enjoy barbecue along with live music. The staff also arrange thrilling outdoor treks.

7 Pines: With its Colonial ambience, is the perfect weekend getaway or even a relaxed retreat in the hills. It works on the convention of providing guests with an ultimate English Retreat. 7 Pines in the Kasauli hills offers cozy and comfortable double bedrooms with their own verandahs overlooking the Shimla Hills and pristine pine forests. Choose from their populous range of luxurious rooms like Cedar Family Rooms and Cedar Executive Rooms. The home has a beautiful living room and an elegant study with all the comforts of a luxury property.