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Why Kasauli is a great choice for slow solo travel

Scenic pathways, stunning views, and old-world charm make this cantonment town in Himachal Pradesh an easy choice for those seeking peace and solitude. And if it gets too quiet, the bustling marketplace and the vibrant cafés will liven things up with their sights and sounds.

Why Kasauli is a great choice for slow solo travel

Friday April 19, 2024 , 5 min Read

The idea of travelling solo had been brewing in my mind for long. So, when an opportunity presented itself during a long weekend, I quickly put the plan into action.

Given that I had limited time on hand, I had to ensure that my destination did not involve spending long hours on the road. After browsing through some options, I zeroed in on Kasauli, a small hill town in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh–just two hours by road from Chandigarh. 

The Kasauli cantonment was established by the British way back in 1850 and served as a summer retreat for weary officers. The hill station—which is reminiscent of its colonial past—is about 77 km from Shimla and 65 km from Chandigarh. 


A panoramic view of Kasauli I Image credit: Shutterstock

Nestled in the Himalayan foothills, about 6,000 feet above sea level, the cantonment falls under the army’s Western Command. In fact, the army’s presence can be felt almost everywhere in the town. The Cantonment Board regulates the water supply in the hill station, and army personnel are stationed at various points. 

In hindsight, Kasauli proved to be a great decision, not just for its strategic location, but for other reasons as well. 

First things first. If you are a woman travelling alone, safety is of utmost importance, and this cantonment scores high on this count. It’s peaceful, fairly secure, and not known for acts of pickpocketing or bag snatching. However, in the general interest of safety, women travellers are advised to be aware and alert at all times. 

Ellis Ville, a century-old cottage, is a charming homestay that promises a pleasant and safe stay, while Southgate Kasauli is a well-known boutique villa. The Mansion Kasauli and The Chateau are other accommodations that one could try out. 

Walker’s haven

Although Kasauli is a popular destination for tourists and travel bloggers, it isn’t as crowded as neighbouring Shimla. One can still experience plenty of peace and solitude, exploring the winding lanes and cobbled pathways of the hill town, which seem to whisper tales from a bygone era. 

Kasauli is a walker’s paradise. So, if one’s idea of a solo trip involves long walks in tranquil settings, breathing in cool and clean air, then this is the place to be. 

As I ambled along Upper Mall—a scenic 2.5-km road on the upper reaches—I stopped every few minutes or so, taking in the stunning vistas of the surrounding mountains, home to pine, oak and fir trees.  

Dotted with old heritage buildings and delightful cottages, this stretch is ideal for both aimless strolling and mindful reflections. One can trudge all the way to Sunset Point for more breathtaking views and serene moments. 

Though the climb uphill is not very steep, the benches along the way offer some respite to catch one’s breath, read a few pages, or simply watch the world go by. 

Watch out for monkeys gently swinging from tree to tree, but they largely stay out of your way. 

If one is in the mood for some adventure, Gilbert Trail is worth checking out—it’s a unique nature and trekking trail with refreshing, lush-green sights. But I skipped the trail after spotting a large troop of langurs atop the trees right at the entrance—they didn’t seem as lethargic as the ones elsewhere.

Other places of interest

Christ Church

The historic Christ Church dating back to the British period, built in Gothic style, with beautiful stained-glass windows and a clock tower I Image credit: Shutterstock

Along the Upper Mall are the Central Research Institute—a premier medical research centre; Doordarshan’s TV tower; and the prestigious Kasauli Club run by the army primarily, known for good food and drinks and its elite patrons. The club was originally set up as the Kasauli Reading and Assembly Rooms in 1880. 

Hanuman Temple on Manki Point and Christ Church are some of the regular spots that tourists throng. Manki Point is the highest peak in Kasauli, offering panoramic views of Chandigarh and Shimla. 

Here’s some trivia! Celebrated writer, the late Khushwant Singh, owned a bungalow in Kasauli from where he did a lot of his writing. Actor Rahul Bose is also said to have a house here. 

Sights, smells, and sounds

When hunger pangs strike, one can head to the Heritage Market at the lower end. This is the unofficial hub of Kasauli, housing shops selling colourful shawls, souvenirs, and kitschy trinkets, and small eateries dishing out local snacks and fast food. This bustling marketplace is where I hung out whenever things got too quiet. 

Heritage market

The Heritage Market houses shops selling colourful shawls, souvenirs, and trinkets, and small eateries dishing out local savouries and fast food I Image credit: Shutterstock

While here, don’t forget to try the bun-samosa at the famous Narinder Sweets. Do observe the fascinating manner in which it’s made—quickly and efficiently: crispy samosas are crushed, topped with green chutney, and stuffed into buns toasted on a giant tawa. 

Also do not miss Rudra Café, a hole-in-the-wall joint that serves amazing momos and thukpa. Those in luck (and I was!) may catch some live music here as aspiring musicians strum the guitar and croon soulful melodies. 

There are a few other cutesy cafés in and around the town where one can devour wood-fired pizzas and down mugs of coffee and hot chocolate. Dochi is particularly known for its pizzas, while Café Shubhmita offers a range of cuisine along with vintage vibes. Café Mitti is another popular joint serving pastas, sizzlers and cheesy Maggi. 

As for pahadi (mountain) fare, kaddu ka khatta–a sweet-and-sour pumpkin curry–is a must-try. 

There’s not much else to do in this languid town, and that is what I Ioved about Kasauli—where time comes to a standstill, allowing you to seek solace in the cosy embrace of nature. 

So, pack your bags and head to these pristine hills for a much-needed reset. Take it slow, connect with yourself, and let Kasauli take over!

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti