Chail is one of the best-kept secrets of the Himalayas. Located right next to Shimla, it has all of Shimla’s plus points that are no traffic, no congestion and no pollution problems.
While Shimla was made the summer capital of India by the British, Chail was declared the summer capital of Patiala by the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh in 1891 and developed as per his requirements but roughly modelled after the British development of Shimla.
In contrast to Shimla, Chail is relatively untouched and pristine, giving it a more natural feel. In Chail, wildlife and bio-diversity are richer because they were protected from early on, while in Shimla, heavy construction and tourism have scared away wild animals that used to roam freely.
Chail is smaller but has all the facilities needed for a quiet and comfortable vacation in the hills. Its roads and infrastructure are top notch and there are several great places to see in Chail. But when is the best time to travel to Chail?
Chail is open throughout the year and can be visited anytime. Depending on when you visit, Chail offers different attractions, opportunities and challenges:
Chail in Summers (April- June)
For many people, hill stations are made for the summer. It’s one of the ways to escape the oppressive heat in the plains of North India during the summer months and a respite from city life. Therefore, the summers are the busiest time for this hill station as there are a lot of travellers here and many activities are going on.
Chail really comes alive in the summers. Its green field and lush mountains glisten in the sun while the weather is just perfect for outdoor activities and games. In fact, one may need a jacket in the evenings in Chail, even during peak summer time.
In the summer months, one can visit surrounding areas easily and go hiking in the forests, climb mountains or go exploring. One can also engage in other adventurous sports such as fishing, boating, paragliding, camping, wildlife safari etc.
Chail in Winter (October- March)
Despite the summer months being more popular, Chail offers a wide range of activities during the winter. In fact, a loyal following of fans that come here during the winters has already formed and appears to be growing every year.
During the winters, Chail gets quite cold but that only adds to the fun. Generally in winter, there is heavy snowfall in Chail that covers it in a blanket of snow and makes the surrounding areas look like pictures from a fairy tale.
The snow brings with it a host of different activities like snowboarding, sleighing, skiing, ice fishing and bonfires. For many, snowfall is an uncommon sight and they love to observe this phenomenon, no matter how cold it is.
While there is more observable fauna and flora in Chail in the summers, the winter brings forth different species of animals such as migratory birds, foxes, sloths etc. The Wildlife Sanctuary, Bird Sanctuary and most other places are open throughout the winter and can be visited anytime.
Chail in Monsoon (July-September)
One of the best times to visit Chail is during the monsoon season. During most monsoons, Chail receives a fair bit of rain and everything in and around this quaint hamlet looks washed and renewed. The rain also leads to new and strange creatures that can be observed in the surrounding forests.
The rain in the hills swells up the rivers and streams and there are more chances of discovering new lakes, ponds and other water bodies for swimming and fishing. For some, this is a good time to engage in sports such as river rafting and kayaking.
During the monsoon months, there is the added danger of mudslides, landslides and falling rocks. While one has to be careful, this is not a big danger and usually just leads to a little bit of delay as the authorities clear the road.
Where to stay in Chail?
While there are many resorts in Chail, Tarika Resort and Spa is highly recommended. The resort has great accommodations, great service and divine cuisine. The property is covered over 7 acres of land and is strategically located to provide guests with beautiful views of the valleys below Chail.
It is just 1.5 Km from the famous Kali Ka Tibba Temple and 5 Km from the Chail Palace, another must-see site in the area. Best of all, the resort offers all kinds of interesting rooms such as Domed Cottages, Luxury Tents and Special Suites that will make your trip to Chail even more rewarding and memorable.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1. Which month is best to visit Chail?
Ans. Although Chail can be visited any time of the year, the summer months between April and June are the busiest and most popular.
Q2. Is there snowfall in winter in Chail?
Ans. Yes. It snows in Chail during most winters which leaves Chail covered by a thick blanket of snow.
Q3. How many days are enough for Chail?
Ans. To fully explore Chail, 5-6 days are sufficient.
Q4. Is December a good time to visit Chail?
Ans. Yes. December is the best time to visit Chail as it is usually covered in snow and offers beautiful views and a host of winter activities.