Trip to Kasauli
Distance : 77km from Shimla
Kasauli is a good detour between Shimla and Kalka, and is often
called lesser Shimla. It is the first hill station you see as you
approach the Shimla hills on the toy train and is easily recognized by
its huge TV tower. This pretty hill resort is a picture of
tranquility, soaked in the charm of chir pines, firs, rhododendrons,
oaks and willows, ideal for a travel trip in Kasauli. Kasauli is
marked by roads and old-fashioned bungalows in secluded gardens which
have been with the same family for years.
Formation of The Town
It is said that Kasauli is a corruption of the word Kasool. The
British, of course, gave it their own spelling Kusowlie.
Kasauli was a village that came under the erstwhile Bejja princely
state but when the British fell in love with it, they paid the local
Rana Rs 5,000 and took it away. It was first set up as a cantonment to
garrison troops for war against the Sikhs (probably for the first
Anglo-Sikh war of 1845). After the Sikh kingdom had been annexed, they
felt that Kusowlie was too pretty to remain a garrison so they happily
developed it as a hill resort.
¤ A Summer Town of Europeans
Although not as big an attraction as Shimla, Kasauli had its
population of British visitors in summer. But some kind of an
unwritten law kept the Indians at an arms length from the gora
sahibs (white Europeans). The Upper Mall where the best bungalows
stood was out of bounds for Indians. The Kasauli Club did not admit
Indians either. The only contact with the while rulers took place in
the bazaar when memsahibs (term used for the English women) went
But things began to change during the World War II. The sahibs went
off to war leaving their memsahibs, babalog (the children), ayahs (the
childrens nurses), khansamas (cooks) and bearers behind. With
the sahibs gone, the Indians mustered enough courage to take evening
walks on the Upper Mall. The pretty memsahibs were by now quite lonely
and thus eager to befriend the Indians. Writer journalist Khushwant
Singh trails off suggestively, "Greetings were exchanged,
followed by invitations to tiffin
Although the British departed decades ago, they left some ghosts
behind. It is believed that a sergeant who was shot dead for insulting
his officer can be seen walking along the Lower Mall in full uniform
on moonlight nights!
A number of Tibetan stalls in the little bazaar offer bargain
woollens of the best quality, do check them out. For gastronomic
pleasure of the Kasauli kind, try chicken salami at Daily Needs and
pies at Hotel Alasia.
¤ Flora & Fauna
is truly a nature lovers delight. Wild blooms spring up
everywhere between April to June. The landscape, then, is a riot of
wild roses, rhododendrons, coral tree, flame of the forest, kachnar
During the monsoon, wild cacti bloom. The two most spectacular cacti
are the Raambaan (Yucca gloriosa) with its ivory bell-shaped flowers
and the Century with its bright golden-yellow blossoms.
Multi-coloured cosmos dot the hillsides in autumn while the
light-pink gorse is forever in bloom.
A cute English saying goes like this: Kissing is not in season
when the gorse is not in bloom. So like the gorse in Kasauli,
kissing is always in season.
Bird lovers will have lot more on their Kasauli trip. Expected to be
woken up by the trill of blackbirds and enjoy the cries of
white-necked bulbuls, mynahs and hill-crows.
Flocks of scarlet minivets flit between tall pines and koels and
Himalayan magpies with long curved tails can easily be spotted on warm
afternoons. After the sun goes over the western hill, a deep shadow
envelops the town and the blackbirds bid you goodnight.
¤ Places of Interest
The Christs Church is an attractive remnant of the Raj. It is
a typical Anglican church with bewitching spires, Gothic arches and
Dedicated to St. Barnabas and St. Francis, the church has some fine
stained glass windows with delicately carved borders, a sundial and
lovely brass memorials. The grey stone church set amongst verdant
green makes a very pretty picture.
The Upper and Lower Malls are the two main roads which run along the
length of Kasauli.
These are bordered by chir pine, horse chestnuts, Himalayan oak and
the odd juniper. The Lower Mall has rows of hotels and restaurants.
While entering the Upper Mall youll see a signboard, No
Thanks to this, the ambience of the place is still intact, and the
generous sprinkling of foliage seems evergreen. The Malls are also not
as crowded as in Shimla, which is where lies the charm of Kasauli.
Point is a 4km walk trip from the town and offers some excellent
views. It is the highest point in Kasauli and chockful with
But thats not the reason why its called Monkey Point. It gets
its name from the steep cliff that only monkeys can negotiate.
Theres a strange rock formation here which the sahibs dubbed
Tapps Nose because it looked like the long Romanesque snout of a
worthy English squire! The area comes under the jurisdiction of the
Indian Airforce, so youll need their permission to get to Monkey
More ghosts here. Two Irish sisters, while descending this peak on
horseback, fell to death. They were buried at the base of the hill and
cypress trees were planted around their grave. Soon it became the towns
favourite picnic spot but few dared to visit it at night when, it is
believed, the girls emerged from their graves to play tennis!
On a clear night, the lights of Chandigarh are visible from Monkey
Point. Incidentally, this proximity to Chandigarh its
only a couple of hours away is also the most serious threat to
the serenity of this town. Kasauli is becoming the favourite weekend
haunt of party animals who litter the hill sides with cartons, smashed
beer bottles, and cigarette butts.
¤ Other Attractions
The surrounding hills of Kasauli are a veritable feast for the eyes.
Some well-known Hindi writers like Mohan Rakesh, Nirmal Verma, Upendra
Natha Ashaq and Gulshan Nanda have penned their best works in Kasauli.
The well-known journalist Khushwant Singh has a house here called Raj
Villa. The new arts centre that has been set up at Ivy College by
Vivan Sundaram, one of Indias leading artists and nephew of the
legendary Amrita Sher-Gil, organizes occasional seminars and
The centre of social life in Kasauli, however, remains the Kasauli
Club; a sprawling English building more than 100 years old.
Even at the peak of summer, Kasauli is never crowded. The only time
to avoid, taking a trip to Kasauli is during the first four days of
October when it is overrun by proud parents attending Founders
Day at the nearby Lawrence School in Sanawar. Sanawar, 4km away,
provides for a lovely walk.
The closest railway station is at Dharampur. Catch a bus or hire a
cab to cover the 15km to Kasauli.
Roscommon (Himachal Tourism)
Anchal Guest House