77 Kms South of Shimla is the hill station of Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh. Various guide books offer little to no mention of this small town that makes for a nice break between the long days in the car.
Kasauli was built during the peak of the British rule of India. You’ll find cobbled pathways leading you to what’s left of the old wooden buildings complete with their gabled roofs and balconies. Building restrictions in place (Kasauli is an army cantonement) have prevented the more notorious concrete structures overbuilt in most other towns and cities in the area.
The town is divided by two main streets, the Upper and Lower Malls wrapped in a mixed forest of chir-pine, Himalayan oak and horse chestnut trees. Travelers can easily take in the best of what’s here by foot all easily within a few hours. A stay overnight would be for those looking to enjoy some of the outdoor activities in the area. With few tourist’s traps to irritate, and only local vehicle traffic along the narrow roads, Kasauli makes for a relaxing day trip from Chandigarh or surrounding Himachali cities.
At the heart of Kasauli you’ll find Christ Church. Similarly built to other British churches found in surrounding hill stations, the cornerstone was laid somewhere between 1844 and 1850. This gothic structure of grey stone and brick is still used today.
The highest spot in town about 4 km from the Kasauli’s town square. There you will find a temple devoted to Lord Hanuman with views of the surrounding cities in the distance as well as the Satluj River. Legend says Lord Hanuman touched the hill with his foot and as such the hill is in the shape of a foot. Visitors should mind the fact this temple is within the confines of an Air Force radar station/base which keeps strict tourist hours. Cameras are not allowed for security reasons.
Lower Mall and Upper Mall
Tourists with an itch to shop will feel as if they have hit the jackpot. The market within the main square where the Lower and Upper Malls meet is filled with everything from clothing to fresh produce. Follow the scenic Lower Mall road for 3 kms past the original colonial buildings canvased with pines and crumbling old moss covered rock walls. The Upper Mall is a vertically challenging walk continuing for 2.5 kms which leads to the Flag Staff House.
Tourists and non-member locals are refused entry into the famous club founded in 1880. Search your contact list for any active military personnel serving in Kasauli for access.
Sunrise Point/Sunset Point/Scandel Point
Views of the sunrise are spectacular just past the Lower Mall at Sunrise Point. Conversely on the Upper Mall, 100 meters past Kasauli Club, you can find the ideal position to watch the sun disappear for yet another day. Continue a bit further to reach Scandel Point, a well advertised place for couples to retreat toward dusk.
Central Research Institute
The institute was founded in 1905, the oldest in India. The Pasteur Institute also located here was merged with the CRI in the late 1930′s. Both locations produce vaccines for typhoid, small-pox, cholera, rabies and snake-bite. This may not be high on the average tourist’s Must-See list, however it is a fascinating look into a topic which affects millions of people.
Find this nature trail another 700 meters beyond Scandel Point. An easy walk of about 1 1/2 kilometers is best done anytime but during monsoon season.