Friday, May 21, 2010

Chail: Is the Maharaja monkeying around still?

Monkeying around Chail at The Palace Hotel is more of an entertainment than walking around the hotel and its lawns lost in the reverie of a passionate maharaja – the then Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh (1900 – 1938), whose taste for English women, lead him to some trouble with the then Commander-in-Chief, Lord Kitchener.

The Maharaja’s appetite for beautiful women caused him to fall in love with the with Lord Kitchener’s daughter, an act that was not easily digested by the Commander-in-Chief. He barred the Maharajah from entering Shimla, where his daughter lived with him, only to see that the Maharajah was far more ardent a lover than he a protective father. The Maharaja was not used to accepting no.

Chail and the Palace there were created in his pursuance of this love, which he then of course won!

I had been fascinated with this story for a long time: what romance must it had been!

The Palace which has now been taken over by Himachal Pradesh Tourism Corporation, is maintained well and lends the visitor with the sight and feel of old time grandeur, but the plush lawns are what takes the breath away in more ways than one – could the Maharaja of Patiala, still be monkeying around?

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