It is now late February in New Delhi and already, summer is peeking through the clouds of winter. As the first rays of warm summer sunshine beat down on us, many city dwellers have already started looking for summer getaways from Delhi.
As we all know, Delhi’s heat can be very harsh. It is no wonder that the term “Indian Sumer” is used all over the world to describe unbearably hot weather and the British found it necessary to make a winter capital in the hills so that government could continue to function in the summers.
This summer, you too should take a break and hit the hills for the sake of sanity and balance. No doubt some will ask: “What is the point? Sooner or later, you will have to return to the furnace.” But we disagree. Even a little respite can do wonders and give us the courage to carry on.
But where should you go? Even though there are a good number of hill stations around Delhi, most of them are tired and overused with very few new advances or improvements. Even the classic destinations are so badly maintained and so overrun by tourists that going there is more of a hassle than a reward.
Therefore, when you are ready to escape, we recommend the wintery vibes of Chail, near Shimla in Himachal Pradesh. While many of the popular choices have become too busy and too congested for a peaceful summer escape, Chail, on other hand is still off the beaten path and most serene.
The history of Chail is very interesting. When the British made Shimla their summer capital, they did not allow the Maharaja of Patiala and his administrators to use the city. To spite the British, the Maharaja of Patiala decided to make his summer capital in nearby Chail.
The site of Chail was a good choice by the Maharaja because it is even prettier and more densely forested than Shimla. It is at a similar elevation as Shimla (around 8000 feet) and has better views and wildlife.
But what puts Chail above the rest is the peace it affords. Far from the madding crowd, Chail remains a hidden gem where only well-versed and seasoned travellers venture. This makes it the perfect place for weekend getaways from Delhi in the summer.
When to go?
The best time to visit Chail is in early summer. As Delhi begins to heat up, a retreat to Chail is just the relief that one needs. However, one should not wait too long as the monsoon comes early in Chail and the beginning of summer provides some great views and experiences.
April and May are perfect for a getaway as there are some interesting spring festivals here that are worth checking out. Also, there are even fewer tourists there at this time and you will be able to have your pick of resorts and activities.
How to get there?
Travelling to Chail is easy. Simply follow Highway 44 from Delhi to the Ambala Highway and then on to the Kufri road to Chail. The total distance to Chail is only about 350 Km, which can be covered in 7 hours. It is so close that one can go to Chail for a 1-day trip from Delhi in the summer.
The best way to travel to Chail is by car. This provides a gentle change in temperature while allowing travellers to fully experience the beautiful and open plains of north India as well as the foothills of the Himalayas.
On the way to Chail, there are several interesting places to visit and famous food joints to sample. Additionally, if you drive to Chail, you will be mobile during your stay there and can choose to visit nearby places according to your mood.
What to do in Chail?
Chail is so developed that you can do almost everything here that you can do in Delhi. Usually, people like to start their stay with a visit to the shopping district. While it is smaller than the Mall Roads and shopping districts of the major hill stations, some nice shops are hawking unique handicrafts and designs from the region.
One of the best places to visit in Chail is the Chail Palace built by the Maharaja of Patiala in a unique style that incorporates Indian, Persian, British and French Motifs. The palace also has some unique antiques that are worth checking out.
Chail is also known for its ample offering of adventure activities. In the summer, the bio-diversity of the hillside is on full display while activities such as paragliding, camping trekking and mountain climbing are very popular.
There are many other places of interest here but the best activity in Chai is to simply enjoy the natural beauty, clean air and lower temperatures. Overall, it is a great place to visit in the summer near Delhi.
Where to stay?
The resort also sports an impressive Spa with wellness treatments and packages by expert masseuses. Guests can spend the day exploring this charming and quaint hill resort and then return in the evening for a much-needed pampering and unwinding at the spa.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1 Which place is best for summer vacation?
Ans. One of the best places for a summer vacation near Delhi is the quaint hill station of Chail, located near Shimla.
Q2 Which hill station is nearest to Delhi?
Ans. There are several hill stations close to Delhi. One of the closest is Chail in Himachal Pradesh, which is about 7 hours away.
Q3 Which hill station is 350 km from Delhi?
Ans. Chail in Himachal Pradesh is a great hill station that is within 350 Km from Delhi.
Q4 How far is Chail from Delhi?
Ans. Chail is located about 350 Km away from Delhi and takes about 7 hours to reach.
Q5 What is the average cost of Chail from Delhi?
Ans. The cost of travelling to Chail from Delhi ranges between Rs. 2400 to Rs. 3900 for a Train ticket. A bus ticket will cost between Rs. 2500 to Rs. 3500. If you hire a taxi, it will cost around Rs. 5000.