Sabattu: An Untouched Hillstation. By: Dr.Harleen Kaur

Sabattu: An Untouched Hillstation  

By Dr.Harleen Kaur

sabattu hillstation near shimla
 View of Sabattu from  14  GTC Army Guest Room   

The Cacophony of urban life can be overwhelming. What better way to break away from it than by being surrounded by hills, lush greenery and fascinating wildlife? A short drive from Panchkula, to this haven are ideal weekend gateways to army as well as non army people to relax and rejuve.

We are stationed at chandimandir cantt, so on one weekend in May, when  it was too hot, my husband being on leave suddenly made plan along with his friends for a hill station named Sabathu. Sabathu (also known as sabattu) is a  cantonment town in the heart of shimla hills in the solan district of Himachal Pradesh at the height of 4000ft above the sea level. It is Only  22  kilometers from the main shimla highway. It is a category 3 cantonment which comprises of 14 gorkha training centres.

We planned our journey by roads ,but for people coming by train  from far can get down at the nearest railway station  Dharampur, from where they can hire a cab to reach sabathu. There are few hotels in and around sabathu for staying. But having the privilege of being in army we stayed in their 14 GTC  Ultra Luxurious Guest Rooms which is suppose to be 200 years old.

While driving to Sabattu, you can always step down from your car to admire the picturesque station nestled in Himalayas and click few  pictures.
dr harleen kaur
Clicking few pictures on the way to Sabattu (With my Daughter Parinaaz)
 As we reached the sabattu, we entered the  Army cantonment through the Veer Vodha Dwar . We were so ecstatic to enter the massive area after the tight security check. The  cant. was extremely beautiful  with the horticulture tastefully done up. I could definitely get  the charm of an old British era.

In the British era, Sabathu was a hill cantonment in Shimla district which  held its significance in being one of the preferred hill stations for the British families to escape in the summers along with Kasauli and Dagshai.  But even before the British forayed into the hills in 1814-15 and established it as an cantonment, the  region established chain of forts by the Gurkha rulers headed by Amar Singh Thapa.

 As we entered the cant area, we headed towards the Kenedy House where on the reception the buddy (The Army sahayak)  took us to our guest room facing the valley.

dr harleen kaur
 Facade of Kennedy House

The Kenedy House : Lieutenant Ross stationed at sabathu in 1818, was appointed the first political  overseer of the area, three years later Captain Charles Praft Kennedy, succeeded to built the Durbar hall which came to be called  Keneddy house.

Sabattu:The Kennedy house
Guest Rooms in Premises of Kennedy House

dr harleen kaur
Beautiful deck outside the Dinning room of Kennedy House(Valley View at the back)

 Kennedy house is where all the formal meetings were held. Now presently there is one regular dining area for daily dining and another dining hall for formal occasions, meetings and events.Today the Keneddy house also houses the army mess.There is a separate mess for the officers and another one for the other ranks which is true to the army tradition.
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The Deck outside Kennedy House (Valley View at the back) 

 The Kennedy house also has a club for the enjoyment and recreation of its officers.

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The Amazing Glass Dinning Room In Kennedy House with Perfect Army Decor

The dining hall and officers mess have plush interiors and an impressive look that is befitting of the army discipline and the manners.The decor has the colonial influence it once entertained with European styled architecture and animal heads that were memoirs of the hunting adventures that was a popular sport of the European officers.

 sabattu The Kenneddy House
The Guest rooms in Kennedy house with  the valley at the back
As I stepped in the guest room of my room, I found it to be so cozy and comfortable which had two rooms and a large balcony facing the valley.It was indeed pleasant to my eyes to have a valley view from the  guest room balcony.Apart from seeing the majestic mountains, Sabattu is also blessed with a diversity of flora and fauna. Within few minutes of standing in the balcony, I could spot lot of  different variety of birds. And yes how can I forget the monkeys who create a havoc always . It is a normal sight to see the Army Guy with a stick to make them run  or a tammed langur brought in to push them out of the premises.

 I loved my  tea mornings  sitting in the balcony and feasting my eyes on the endless pines trees and meandering roads with often dark clouds early morning with a few minutes of rain shower.

The view of Sabattu from the Balcony of my guest room

Adjacent to the Keneddy house was the Gorkha house which is the place of the residence of the head of the cantonment board Sabathu. As the residence of the leader of gorkhas this house stands as a symbol of respect for the Valour of the Gorkhas.

dr harleen kaur
With my daughter Parinaaz on the Deck out side Dinning Room (Valley View at the back)

dr harleen kaur
Well manicured Lawns of Kennedy House

Adjacent to the Gorkha House, There is a Regimental Museum  which was set up in 1991.It houses many medallions and seizes from the various battles fought by the gorkha regiments.It has records of all the regimental history and proves to be monument of pride of the courageous and valiant gorkhas. The entrance of the museum is adorned by the guns of Maulaun on the either side of the front gate.These guns were used by the British army during the capture and siege of the fort of Maulaun in April 1815. They were brought to Sabattu in 1995 under the guidance of brigadier SJB Sharma commandant 14GTC.

 Salaria stadium  which is opposite to the regimental museum and gorkha house is again a huge area with a raised sitting for the audience .The stadium hosts the various parades on the days of national importance such as republic day independence day.It also hosts various programs hosted by the board such as yoga day, mini marathon etc. Salaria stadium is made in the memory of  Captain Salaria of the 31 Gorkha rifles who  had been posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the highest military honour in the country. Captain Salaria died in an action in Congo.

Inside the Salaria stadium is a boxing ring arena and gymnasium by the name Sagarmatha which is the Nepali name for Mount Everest. The Gorkhas who are mainly Nepalis revere the Mount Everest and it is in honor of this that it is named so.
 the temple in sabattu 14GTU
The Temple in Sabattu Cantonment Run by 14 GTU
One more thing which fascinated me was the The Beautiful  Temple maintained by the 14Gorkha Units which was extremely well maintained. The Parshad was offered to us in disposable bowls like the perfect Army Tradition.

Trekking  in Sabattu Cantonment

Sabattu has an extremely healthy climate so it is best place for trekking. Whether you are a first timer or a seasoned hiker, trekking in Sabathu is an exhilarating experience.As we all,  my daughter, husband and his friends  all love trekking, so we use to get early morning to explore the region.Little rivulets run down alongside the trails that we trudged on slowly .Mountain streams mere trickles during summer and the occasional shower slowed our progress as we use to scramble to take the shelter in the shades of trees. Trekking in Sabattu is fun and more over you are  guaranteed with the view which takes your breath away. Mountains and meadows in a riot of green forests and plains punctuated with showers- Oh! Nature was truly at her best.

Sabattu, is surely beautiful summer resort. The mountain slopes are covered with tall, green pine trees which present a caring sight at sunset and look very grand. The morning and evening hours are very pleasant. A cool breeze sets up and refreshes the mind. It makes one forget the oppressive heat of the plains. 
dr harleen kaur
 Stop while trekking at Gazibo  on the hilltop (with  my daughter and a Friend)

I felt happy in the company of nature. The bright flowers, the clouds sailing across the sky and the peaks of the high mountains in the distance filled my heart with joy. 

dr harleen kaur
Picture taken by my husband While trekking  in Sabattu
If all the wandering around Sabattu have kindled the appetite, stop at the Sabattu bazar. where you can get street food catering mommos, noodles, burgers etc. at the very start. Next, if you have sweet tooth you can also get into  the famous Kalidas and sons  sweet shop, in the core of the bazaar. My husband loved the Jalebis in the evening there.

As you go through the bazaar you will find many Nepalis selling colorful stone or crystal strings which is quite a good buy after some bargain.  While you are  going through the bazaar you can surely experience the old world charm. You can even experience very tasty mutton or chicken momos in the food court run by 14GTU which every one can access.

This was all which I could Share with you of this astonishing  hill station which gives a perfect feel of British Era.Not to forget its the best spot for trekking with family and friends specially when small kids are also the part of your trekking gang.


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