Filed under Locations
Kasauli is located in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh. It is a small British cantonment as well as a hill station, established by the colonial rulers in 1842. The hill town is the neighbor of Shimla (77 kilometers away), Chandigarh (65 kilometers away) and Panchkula (50 kilometers away). Kasauli, as is common with hill stations, is situated in an elevated position, with an average elevation of 1,795 meters above mean sea level. Like other hill stations, the town does not have a large population, with only 4,994 people as of the 2001 Indian census. In spite of rapid social development and modernization, Kasauli still retains the old world charms of yesteryear with its gabled houses, quaint shops and cobbled pathways that coupled with the breathtaking and serene view common with hill stations, will make any visitor feel positively calm and refreshed.
There are many theories as to where Kasauli got its name. One states that in the 17th century, when the political scene in India was turbulent, several Rajput families hailing from Rewari (which is now Haryana) fled from their homes. They traveled to the lower Himalayas, where they settled in a village called Kasul, named so because of a spring that kept gushing water throughout the year. Today, this spring serves as the source of the water for modern day Kasauli; the name itself was a gradual metamorphosis from Kasul. Another story also states that Kasauli comes from Kausalya, the name of a mountain spring that flows between Kasauli and Jabli. Still, another states that the name probably comes from Kusmawali or Kusmali, which means flower maiden, referring to the place’s valley that flowers almost all year.
The region was included in the Gurkha expansion in the early 19th century, which was opposed by the British in conjunction with some local tribal leaders. When the Gurkhas finally ceded the fort in Sabathu, the British nationals turned the place into a convalescent home. Later, the Governor-General Lord Amherst decided to turn Shimla Hills into a summer retreat for British officials and Colonel Tapp, an agent at Sabathu, came to survey the Kasauli area. Kasauli was finally developed into a cantonment and British sanatorium shortly thereafter, and most of the houses that were bought by the Punjab princely families and by the Indian generals after India’s independence are still being maintained well even today. In 1841, Henry and Honoria Lawrence built a cottage in Kasauli from where they could see their infant daughter’s grave whom they just buried, and from this beginning, the hill station of Kasauli grew. It still retains its melancholic and subdued air until now, even with a population that’s more than 4,000 strong.
There are notable landmarks and industries in Kasauli. It is the home of the Kasauli Brewery, regarded as the highest brewery and distillery in the world, at an elevation of 1,828 meters above sea level. The Kasauli Club, one of India’s most prestigious social clubs, is also located there. The Club’s membership is so exclusive and sought after that there’s an average waiting time of 15 years. Hikers and trailblazers will also find that Kasauli has many outdoor trails where one can experience the serenity of nature, especially since the town is largely untouched by modernization.