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World Highest Cricket Stadium “Chail Cricket Ground”

Surrounded by gigantic deodar trees, the Chail Cricket Ground stands as the loftiest cricket ground globally. Established in 1893, this ground doubles as a polo field and is located at an altitude of approximately 2,144m. It sits at an elevation of 7500 feet above sea level and is recognized as one of India's renowned cricket stadiums. Positioned in the state of Himachal Pradesh in India, this cricket ground is situated in the picturesque hill station of Chail. 

Tourists can savour a magnificent view of Sutlej Valley, Shimla, and Kasauli at night from this locale. The Chail Military School utilises this ground as their school playground, and it also features a well-maintained basketball court. Additionally, the same cricket ground has goalposts that are utilised for playing football.  

What is Chail Cricket Stadium? 

The summer capital of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh was Chail, where he constructed a cricket ground at the hilltop as he was an ardent cricket lover. This made Chail the proud owner of the world's highest cricket ground. The cricket pitch was created by flattening a vast hilltop. The cricket ground, situated at an altitude of 2,444 metres above sea level, is also used as a polo ground. Since it is located in the Cantonment area, the Army now maintains this field. Although the civilians are not permitted to enter the ground, they can look and stroll around the area.

Established in 1893, the Chail Cricket Ground is located in the picturesque Himachal Pradesh and was developed by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. The ground's location is incredibly beautiful, surrounded by lush green forests. It is currently used as the playground of Chail Military School and during school vacations, it is often used as a polo ground. The ground is well-equipped for other sports besides cricket, such as basketball and football. 

The cricket ground is situated among the vast deodar vegetation and is one of India's most renowned cricket stadiums. It is located at an elevation of approximately 7,500 feet above sea level in the lap of the beautiful hill station of Chail. The ground also has an ancient tree house in one of its corners, which was supposedly built by the Maharaja himself. Travellers visiting the Chail Cricket Ground can also catch a glimpse of some nearby attractions such as Sutlej Valley, Shimla, and Kasauli. Chail Palace is also highly popular among the masses because of its marvellous architecture. Chail is also known as a paradise for hikers. 

History of Chail Cricket Stadium 

Away from the bustling, almost city-like life of Shimla, Chail is located at around 44 km away from the state capital. This ground was made by the Maharaja of Patiala, because of his passion for the sport of cricket. The Chail Palace was the summer home of the Maharaja of Patiala. He was allotted this land during and by the British Raj for assistance in the Anglo Nepalese War.

It is interesting to note that in 1891, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala incurred the wrath of Lord Kitchener which led to the restriction of his entry in the Indian summer capital, Shimla. This incensed the Maharaja, and he swore to build a new summer site for himself. So, he rebuilt Chail as per his royal needs. Later, he discovered a hilltop and made a cricket ground on it after levelling it. It is covered by enormous deodar and pine trees.

During the yesteryears, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh used to play cricket with the British here, but now it is under the control of the Indian Army. One can spot the vast Himalayan ranges in the vicinity, snow-clad glittering in the sun. After acquisition by the Indian Union, the Maharaja donated most of his procession to the Government of India and Chail Military School. 

Who Was Maharaja Bhupinder Singh? 

In 1891, Bhupinder Singh was born and ascended to the throne of Patiala State in 1901 following his father's death. Patiala State was a Sikh Princely State located in the Punjab region. Singh received his education at Aitchison Chief's College in Lahore and was a proficient player of polo and cricket. In 1911, he led the India XI cricket team on their tour of England. Singh participated in various teams in India and was a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club during the 1926/7 season. He generously contributed to the Indian Gymkhana Club in London, which catered to Indian students and relocated to Osterley Park with his donation. He also established the Sikh Dharamsala in Putney in 1911, which later relocated to Shepherd's Bush.

The renowned 'Patiala Necklace,' one of the most costly pieces of jewellery ever made, was created for him by the Cartier house in 1928. In addition to his fondness for beautiful women (he married ten times and had eighty-eight children) and sparkling gems, the Maharaja's fascination with the prestigious Rolls-Royce Motor car practically kept the company afloat. At Moti Bagh, Patiala, the Maharaja had a garage with forty-four Rolls-Royces, all specifically constructed for him.

Bhupinder Singh was exceedingly devoted to the British empire. In October 1914, he departed from Patiala with his Imperial Service Troops to command them for the British at the Western Front. However, he became ill during the journey and had to return to India. Nevertheless, he donated his troops to the First World War and spearheaded a large recruitment drive for volunteers. Patiala State sent over 28,000 men to fight in the war, and their participation encouraged other Sikhs in the Punjab to enlist; almost 89,000 Sikhs participated in the war. 

Conclusion And Best Time To Visit 

The climate ,in Chail is agreeable all year round. Even though summers are comfortable and rejuvenating, winters are moderately cold and peaceful. The rainy season brings occasional showers to Chail. Therefore, this destination is accessible all year long. However, the most popular time for tourists to visit is from April to July and from September to November.  

Chail is excellently linked to the main city through various modes of transportation. The bus facilities are also highly noticeable. The closest airport is situated in Shimla. The Kalka-Shimla railways are also a viable choice for visiting Chail. 


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