Kasauli is a dream destination for vacationers. Cool weather, crisp air and slow pace of life in the lap of divine nature. Gorgeous Himalayan ranges with snowcapped peaks and green pine valleys. Anywhere you look you are gifted with such panoramic views. The small town is still not very commercialized and is much less touristy.
One of the main attractions near Kasauli is Jang Bahadur Gurkha Fort. Some say the Gurkha Army Chief Amar Singh built it to fight the British army nearly 200 years ago. Some others claim that Gurkhas captured this fort from the then King of Patiala. Apparently, this fort was built in a day.
The fort is in Pawanaroo in Kasauli, in the cantonment area of Subathu. It is a neat and clean place with small buildings belonging to the British era. This small town is a major training center for the army and the discipline is exhibited even in the planning of this small town. It takes you back in the yesteryear. The narrow road on NH22 is a zig-zag section and the tar road ends on a dirt road. It was drizzling and the dirt road was muddy and slippery and vision poor. It not really a joy ride but was, fortunately, a short drive. Also, the divine scenery around more than compensated for the discomfort. Even the dirt road ended and it was trekking time along with a narrow dirt path.
The pathways were not too wide and were surrounded by thick forest. We were glad we were well equipped with walking sticks and sturdy shoes. The climb was steep at places and a part of it was hurdle race. We found ourselves climbing rocks and crossing hurdles of fallen tree barks and negotiating thick bush at times. There has been no attempt made to make it visitor friendly, but it’s so natural that it is an adventure. Our woolen clothes kept getting stuck in the sticks and foliage. But it was an exhilarating climb. Every now and then empty space would open up and we would rest for a few minutes on the rocks before continuing our march. This rest time also gave us splendid views of the terrain around and took our breath away. Fortunately, we had carried enough water and munchies to get us through. In the cool weather, the exercise made us really hungry. In the whole trek, we did not come across a single stall selling water or chai or any kind of refreshments.
Finally, we reached the top, at 1400 meters above sea level. The panoramic view left us spellbound. The layers of mountains till the horizon faded till the last faint range of mountains merged into the soft blue sky. Below us were hundreds of magical green-blue shades of the pine and cedar forests. We could see tiny settlements with slate roofs from a distance dotting the slopes of the valleys. It was a mind-blowing scenario. Almost perfect – like a dream scene.
The fort itself is not too big, and it could have been built in a day! The ruins are magnificent. The stone arches – many of them are still intact. However, nature is slowly reclaiming it with wild grass and other weed growing through the crevices. As expected the stone structure has some hidden treasures, Hideouts and peep windows. You can see the enemy coming but the enemy cannot spot you even if you are in direct line of vision.
After a couple of hours of exploration, we climbed down. We were starving and found a nice Sherpa resort to have a sumptuous meal. I could not help thinking that this place needs more attention and better development.
Featured Photo by travelling slacker