Not all buildings are adored, some are ignored. One such adobe of god, which was ironically the first structure to stand in the summer capital of Himachal Pradesh, was once declared unstable by the Government. Ask mortals “What does God look like?” You may hear many unusual answers but, have you ever heard….. A resident of darkness? I, the soul of Gurudwara Sahib, was the witness of such misfortune. Not only the stability was questioned, but the prestige was also lost. This loss was not only hard and encompassing but DARK.
Things end. People change. And you know what? Life goes on. Remembering my position as Godfather since 1907, I have observed different inevitable phases evolving this small sleepy mountain village, located 47 Km from Shimla. Presently known as Chail, it has undergone enigmatic transformations beginning of 1893, when Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala decided to create a new summer retreat ‘better’ than Shimla. An area, with religious god fearing Kumaoni people who are talented enough to develop highly skilled craftsmanship for creating stunning pieces of art and home decor, though I didn’t have the privilege to experience one. Various forms of folk dance and music are practiced by the natives of which Jataru Kayang Dance, Kayang dance, Chohara Dance are a few to name. Though I can’t eat the aroma of different flavors crossing my nose every day want me to eat the Chail “pahan” cuisine. I believe it will make you forget the world, not otherwise, but positively through its taste. Talking about unusuality, the ‘world’s highest cricket ground’, at 7500 feet above the sea level also lies in this lazy village. ( Ever witnessed the moment when a six-hit does make a ball roll down the hill? Even I want to.) But in reality, people tend to ignore these great structures and routes. Once, I heard a visitor saying” A Spanish- church like structure which is HOLY & RAW.” I know, it’s a question which puzzles every visitor of mine, Videsi roop par Desi dil, but with ambiguity isn’t it interesting and amazing?
Well, not only my rustic timber structure, but also the route towards me is also worth traversing and experiencing. The spirit of determination and faith is visible on the faces of gay people, peeping in all directions to see a glimpse of my body, to know Am I worth it? But the end of difficulty is not just the climb of the hill, another element of surprise awaits when you reach the end and see almost 100 more steps. Ha-ha… I swear it was not mine but God’s wish to reside at one of the highest points in the city. As you climb up the steps, you come into my vision, my mind of tranquility and serenity, to enjoy the stillness of life and relax in harmony, surrounding you with lush greens and majestic snow-capped Shivalik ranges. My one hand is the 24-hour free accommodation for helpless and restless people trying to find shelter while another is a Lungar hall to celebrate God’s wishes and rituals.
Old is Gold Or Old is IGNORED? If the king has left… Does that mean it’s no longer the house of God? Won’t my wrinkles be visible in the form of cracks and broken dust filled structures? Have all the honor and dignity towards god is lost? Are old structures devoid of souls? The Chail Palace (residence of Ranchordas in 3 idiots (#Filmytouch) and Gurudwara Sahib (residence of holy god Guru Granth Saheb) is handled by the same government, but My Lord, point to be noted here is that the palace is lit with flair and flamboyance whereas my obsolete joints shout out every day to be lit and rewarded by the experience they stand with. Mind you, the palace may have visitors but I have the one who created those visitors.
The Guru Granth Sahib Ji spoke to me and said: “I am the light of direction, he who follows me will not let me remain in shade, but will light me soon.”And so was the Chail Heritage Foundation, an NGO formed by ex-students of the Chail Military School, who took up the challenge and started renovating not only my structure but also reviving my spirit.
Walking in the dark isn’t easy, but as dead volumes, we don’t stand alone. God is within our soul and he has given us the chance to provide shelter and light your way. You, of course, are the best audience with the power to create and destroy. So, be the light of aid and walk as an epitome of light whichever gray whisperings you hear.
If you wish to visit me, go to GEO-tishi and follow the given PATH-ree.
Chail is very close to Shimla (47 km) and taxis and buses are available from Shimla to reach here. The nearest major railway station is at Kalka, which is 77 km away. However, toy train runs from Kalka to Shimla and one can take that to reach Shimla. You can also take a bus or a taxi from Kalka to reach Chail. Also, the nearest airport is in Shimla, which is around 63 km from here.