Barely 5 hours from the maddening crowd of Delhi is the hilly paradise of Kasauli in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh.
Kasauli which is named after the flower “Kasool” is 5960 feet above sea level and has its fair share of snowfall in winters.
We visited this place in the month of February.
Though the roads to Kasauli were in an excellent condition we had our own share of hurdles before reaching this place! The story goes (somewhat 😉 ) like this:-
One month before a long weekend
Me: “there's a long weekend coming” Hubby: “Let's go somewhere!!” Me(all excited): where? Hubby: “there's time we will see”
One week before the long weekend
Me: “Coming weekend is a long weekend” Hubby: “Let's go somewhere!!” Me(all excited): Exactly, where? Hubby: “there's time we will see”
A Day before the long weekend
Me: “It's a long weekend ” Hubby: “Let's go somewhere!!” Me(Controlling my emotions): where? Hubby: “there's time we will see”
Me: No, You are not going to see. I am packing the bag, taking the kids and driving to whichever place I want tomorrow morning 5 am and if you want to “see” you can come with us.
Sheepishly, Hubby dear agreed to call friends and ask for recommendations! Kasauli received favorable mention from many and so we decided to discover this colonial town.
Once a quaint little time-warp hill station, Kasauli has now become a jam-packed tourist destination. Of the three days that we were here, we found solace on a less touristy Friday.
Places to Stay
We prefer to stay in homestays, however, it being a long weekend all the recommended homestays were pre-booked.
We checked two budget hotels Anchal and Gian at the end of Lower Mall. Though the rooms were basic and clean we were looking for bigger rooms and so we decided to check HPTDC’s Hotel Ros Common. It is a lovely 6 room bungalow converted into a hotel.
However, we couldn’t find rooms here and so we headed for Hotel Alasia. Hotel Alasia has an old and rustic feel to it. We chose this place as the rooms at the lower level have lawn right at the entrance. This made it a great place for kids to be outside the hotel room and play in the vicinity!
With the Dhauladhar Range as our backdrop, we took to our books for soaking in some warmth in the Sun. The wind whistled in the pines and couple of Common hoopoe sang somewhere at a distance.
I heard some rustling of leaves as my kids huddled close to me. I felt as if some unspoken words and warmth had passed between us.
“Isn’t it lovely,” I sighed.
“NO, there’s a monkey there!!” screamed the two of them.
Monkeys and langurs are your constant companion and it’s best not to eat while walking lest you want to share your goody with the simian.
10 Interesting things which make Kasauli a perfect weekend getaway
Here are our recommendations for this beautiful hill station!
1. Visit Protestant Christ Church
This cantonment town has many buildings with colonial style architecture dating back to the 19th century, some preserved while others are restfully withering away. As we walked down from our Hotel towards the market street we were enthralled by the imposing grey stone structure of the Protestant Christ Church which was constructed in 1840.
2. Visit Mankey Point
Legend has it that Lord Hanuman while carrying the death-defying sanjivani herb for Lakshaman, had placed his foot atop a hill giving it a foot shape. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman at the top of the hill and is known as Mankey Point (named after the local who built it).
3. Hike across the Gilbert Trail
We decided to give the touristy Mon-key point a miss and instead walked up the pine-fringed Gilbert trail. The weather was marvelous which made the walk on this walkway amidst lofty hills very soulful. Kids enjoyed climbing up and down the hill hunting for pine cones.
4. Discover the truth about the dog statute
You can’t miss the statue of a black cocker spaniel or is it a retriever (?) outside the “English Wine Shop”. None of the locals knew the origin of the dog statue and thanks to “google” I came across a minutia about this dog. Turns out this dog had enjoyed a hero status after nabbing the robbers who tried to steal booty belonging to Kali Charan and Sons, who owned a fancy store which stocked imported goods, Scotch whiskeys and French wines.
5. India’s first Single Malt Whiskey
It is at this “English Wine Shop” that we bought Mohan Meakin Limited, made “Solan Number 1 Malt Whisky” which happens to be one of the first single malt whiskeys of India. This company also brews Golden Eagle Beer which is also available at the same shop.
6. Statue of Major Dhyanchand
At the Y-Junction of Mall road and the Heritage Market is a statue commemorating Major Dhyanchand‘s contribution in the field of Hockey.
7. Eat Chhola Kulcha
Just across this statue is a Chhola Kulcha vendor. It is a treat to eat the butter-rich chhola-kulchas that he makes.
8. Visit the Heritage Market
The Heritage Market with its cobbled street has the charm of a small town! Three days in town and the shopkeepers had started giving us friendly nods!
9. Try ‘Bun Gulab Jamun’
We were hooked onto Narender Singh’s shop which daunted us to try “bun-gulab jamun”: Gulab Jamun sandwiched between Buns. Their bun-sums (a hot samosa stuffed in a bun) are a must try.
10. Treat for Non-vegetarians
If you are a Ham lover like my husband then don’t miss peppery ham, hamburgers and perfectly toasted caraway-strewn bun at Daily Needs. Jai Kishan Thakur and his son Akhilesh are the third and fourth generation to run this popular shop.
Best time to travel April to November
How to reach Kasauli Private Vehicle: The drive is generally good with many eating options on the way. By Bus: Nearest Bus Stop is at Parwanoo, located 7 km from Kasauli By Train: Nearest Railway Station is Sonwara (SWO), located 4 km from Kasauli By Air: Nearest Airport is Chandigarh Airport (IXC), located 25 km from Kasauli
Have you tried any non-traditional take on an Indian dish like bun-gulab-jamun? Don’t’ forget to write about your experience in the comments!