SOLAN – Mushroom City of India

Location: Solan District of Himachal Pradesh

Climate: Pleasant all round the year

Places to See: Shoolini Devi Temple, Arki Fort, Solan Brewery & more.

Best Time to Visit: All round the year

At an elevation of 1600 meters, Solan is a modest hill-station located on the lower range of the Himalayas in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is found between Chandigarh and Shimla, on the Kalka-Shimla National Highway-22. Solan is basically a forested land surrounded by the Matiul Peak on its east, and the Karol Peak on its north; it serves as a gateway to other popular hill stations like Kasauli, Shimla and Chail. Solan gets its name from the patron deity of the region, Goddess Shoolini Devi.

Solan is called the “Mushroom City of India” owing to its vast production of mushrooms and housing the Directorate of Mushroom Research (DMR) at Chambaghat. Apart from mushrooms, Solan is famous for its brewery which is counted among the oldest breweries of the country. It is also called “City of Red Gold” considering the fact that Solan produces huge quantities of tomatoes. The Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge heritage railway line, which is recognized as a World Heritage Site, passes through Solan.

Climate in Solan

Solan experiences a temperate weather, neither too hot in summers nor too cold in winters. Here, summers extend from the months of March till May, with temperature ranging between 15°C to 32°C. Moderate rainfall is observed during the months of June to September. Irregular showers are dominated by strong winds in monsoons. The winter season starts from the month of December and lasts till February, and the weather remains pleasantly cool with temperature ranging from 0°C to 20°C. More or less, Solan observes pleasant weather throughout the year.

Tourist Attractions in Solan

Solan is a great weekend destination for people of nearby towns and cities. It has a few forts, temples and monasteries that attract tourists and devotees. It also offers great trekking opportunities due to its proximity with hills. To start with places of interest in Solan, Shoolini Mata Temple (about 4 kms from Solan) rules the chart with its recognition among the people. It is one of the oldest temples in the region that also hosts an annual fair in the month of June every year. Other is Jatoli Shiv Temple, which is about 6 kms from Solan. It attracts large number of devotees, and also hosts an annual fair on the occasion of Mahashivratri.

The Solan Brewery, dates back to 1855, is still operational though now converted into a distillery. Located on the highway to Shimla, it is one of the oldest breweries of India. Kuthar Fort is another interesting historical monument located about 14 kms from Solan. Believed to be around 800 years old, this fort is spread over a large area and has a few fresh water rivulets. The Nauni Fort is another small fort located in the village of Nauni about 15 kms from Solan. It offers awe-inspiring views of the region. Though it is not a big fort, it must have served its function as a watch-tower.

The Menri Monastery, also called Yungdrung Tibetan Monastery or Yung Drung Ling, is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in India, situated at a distance of 8 kms from Solan. It has a large statue of Lord Shenrab Mibo, and becomes a center of much festivity, color and vibrancy on the New Year’s Eve, when Cham and Bon Dances are performed here.

Excursions from Solan

Due to its closeness to hills, Solan is gateway for hill-resorts like Kasauli, Parwanoo, Shimla, Chail, Kufri and many more. However, there are many small places near Solan that deserve tourists’ consideration. And one of them is, Majathal Sanctuary. Spread over an area of 55,670 sq km, this wildlife sanctuary is a wooded area that has a wide range of flora and fauna, including the rare species of Cheer Pheasant. Darlaghat is another wildlife sanctuary located on the Shimla-Bilaspur Road. HPTDC conducts a number of eco treks here at regular intervals. It has a huge variety of flora and fauna, making an apt destination for nature lovers and photographers.

Arki is a small historic village located at a distance of about 60 kms from Solan. Once had been the erstwhile hill state of Baghal, Arki is identified with the Arki Fort which was built during 1695-1700 by Rana Prithvi Singh. The Fort as well as Arki Palace is specimen of Rajput and Mughlai styles of architecture, influenced by Rajasthani aesthetics. The area has a number of temples, dedicated to Hindu Gods and Goddesses, dating back to the 18th century.

Located in Sabathu, Gorkha Fort is a famous small fort that houses the popular Gorkha Training Center. It is situated on a low hill which is easy to climb and has cemented stairs leading to the temple. The Nalagarh Fort, located in Nalagarh, is a beautiful palace that has been converted into a heritage resort. Nalagarh had been the capital of the state of Hindur, and witness to the fierce ‘Gurkha Wars’. Spread over a large area, Nalagarh Fort and Palace is an architectural marvel and is a must-visit place.

Accommodation – Hotels/Resorts in Solan

Considering the fact that Solan is a well-developed town of Himachal Pradesh, it has a number of hotels and resorts in its periphery. However, Solan – the city itself – has more of budget hotels; there are a number of luxurious resorts in the suburban areas. Some of the popular hotels are Club Mahindra Kandaghat, Baba Resorts Dharampur, Nalagarh Fort, etc. The Mall area of Solan has a number of eateries and restaurants to have scrumptious meals. Apart from them, most of the hotels have their in-house restaurants that serve lip-smacking dishes to their guests.

How to Reach Solan

By Air

Chandigarh International Airport is the major airport close to Solan, at a distance of 70 kms approx. It is connected to major cities via regular flights. Else, the other nearest airport is Shimla Airport, about 53 kms from Solan. From both the airports, you can board buses or hire cabs to reach Solan.

By Train

Solan has its own narrow gauge station which is connected via Kalka Heritage Railway. The next nearest railhead is at Kalka (42 kms), which is connected to major cities and towns of northern India through a number of trains. Buses and taxis are easily available to arrive at Solan.

By Road

Solan is easily accessible by road through a wide range of road network. There are a number of regular buses that run from cities like Shimla, Chandigarh and Delhi to Solan. Apart from buses, you can hire a cab to reach the desired destination as per your comfort.

Pic By – Feroz

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