Subathu

An off-beat travel stopover, the small town of Subathu, a stone's throw from Solan, is one of the most picturesque spots in the state. Exuding colonial-era charm, it boasts several British architecture buildings that were constructed in 1829, when Lord William Bentick, former governor-general of India, built a viceregal lodge and 20 other buildings here. The British established Subathu as a cantonment area and it is a relatively unexplored and unspoilt spot. A regimental centre for the Gurkha Rifles, Subathu boasts a museum, which displays souvenirs that were brought back by the regiments after the war. Among the most popular is the Boxer Rebellion in China, which was crushed by Subahtu Gurkha regiment after marching through Peking in 1900 and bringing home a couple of stones from the Great Wall of China as trophies.

Subahtu was also a major centre of trade between India and Tibet with Kinnauri and Tibetan wool and Pashmina being in great demand.

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Subathu

Kuthar

A quaint and picturesque town, Kuthar is most well known for the magnificent Kuthar Fort, one of the oldest fortified structures in the state. A fine example of Rajasthani architecture and Rajputana artistry, it once served as the residence of the royal family of Kuthar. Spread over an area of 52.8 sq km, it houses a beautiful garden, an ancient temple and freshwater springs. One can get a picturesque view of the Subathu Fort and the snow-capped Himalayan peaks from the fort.

It is said that the fort was originally built by Gurkha rulers around 800 years ago on a hilltop, around 1,300 m above sea level. A section of the fort has been converted into a resort but one can pay an entry fee and visit the fort between 8 am and 6 pm.

Kuthar

Dagshai

A picturesque hill town off the tourist map, Dagshai, lying at a height of 1,734 m invites tourists for its old-world charm. One of the oldest cantonment towns in Solan, it provides sweeping and breathtaking views of Chandigarh and Punchkula at night. During the day, visitors can see the Parwanoo Timber Trail from here.

Dagshai was founded by the East India Company in 1847 by taking five villages free from Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. The town was primarily built to house tuberculosis patients and has a British graveyard that overlooks the valley.

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Dagshai

Kasauli Distillery

One of the oldest distilleries in Asia to make scotch whiskey, the Kasauli Distillery was set up in the late 1820s by the British. The distilling and brewing equipment was brought to India from England and Scotland on ship in the early part of the 19th century. From there, it was loaded on ox-drawn carts and brought here through Shimla. Interestingly, copper pot stills (a type of distillation apparatus or still used to distill alcoholic spirits like cognac and whiskey) from that period are in use at the distillery till today.

It is said that the brewery launched Asia’s first beer, Lion, back then. It was majorly in demand as the British army was stationed in Kasauli in those days. The first product that rolled out from Kasauli Brewery was Indian pale ale and malt whiskey. As time passed, more and more people started settling down in Kasauli, which resulted in them using the spring water more and more. Therefore, the brewery was shifted to Solan where it exists even today. However, the distillery still works at Kasauli and that is the reason it is said to be the oldest operating distillery in continuous operation in the world. Kasauli Distillery rolled out single malt whiskey brand, Solan No. 1, as its main whiskey brand which kept its numero uno status for over a century as the country’s bestseller. Today, the company is known for Old Monk Rum, Colonel’s Special, Diplomat Deluxe, Summer Hall and Black Knight. If you want to have a look around the brewery to watch how it all worked, visit the Kasauli Distillery between 7 am and 7 pm. And don’t miss the old steam engine near the entrance of the brewery.

Kasauli Distillery