Solan is a very small hill town, amidst the heights of Himachal Pradesh and is situated in Karol Mountain, which is on the Shimla-Kalka Highway. When visiting Shimla, Kulu, Manali, one can pay a visit to this place too. Solan is known for its beautiful valleys, its yearly shows called Shulini and also its artistic warfare ‘Thoda’. Solan is just 52 km from Shimla.
The location of Solan is such that it falls quite close to a number of other popular hill stations of India. At the height of 1350 m, the undulating hills, enchanting valleys, delightful gorges and captivating greenery that surrounds the place lend it a charm that is impossible to shake off, even long after you have come back from your holidays.
Home to the famous Meakin Brewery, set up in the year 1835, Solan is also the bifurcation point for Rajgarh. The high point of Solan is that it has still not been explored by tourists in large numbers. This makes it the perfect haven, where you can relax as much as you can, without being bothered about the milling crowd. Set amidst agricultural surroundings, Solan is the place to mingle with nature and enjoy its bounty.
Geographical location of Solan:
Solan is located at 30°55′N 77°07′E / 30.92, 77.12. It has an average elevation of 1467 metres (4812 feet).
The highest point is atop Mt. Karol from where the transmission tower at Kasauli is visible. Solan gets light snowfall in the winters. Solan is also known as the industrial hub of Himachal Pradesh.
One of the tehsil of Solan known by the name of Nalagarh is also known as the Pharma Hub as after the introduction of Special Subsidies by the then Prime Minister of India in the year 1999 almost all major Companies came and established their units out over here.
Best Time to Visit: April to June and October to November
History of Solan:
The district in its present form comprises the erstwhile princely states of Bhagal, Bhagat, Kunihar, Kuthar, Mangal, Beja, Mahlog, Nalagarh and parts of Keonthal and Kothi and hilly areas of composite Punjab State which were merged in Himachal Pradesh on the Ist November, 1966 on the reorganisation of composite Punjab on the linguistic basis.
Most of these princely state as per history were subjected to the onslaught of Gorkha invasion from the year 1803 to 1805. it was in the year 1815 that after th gorkhas lost to the Britishers, these states were freed and restored tot he respective rulers.
Most of the states were small in area and population and were under the control of the superintendent of Shimla Hill States before Independence. Himachal Pradesh appreared on the administrative map of the country on the 15th April, 1948 and the states of Bhagat, Baghal, Kunihar, Kuthar, Mangal, Beja, Keonthal and Koti formed a part of the then Mahasu District.
Nalagarh state which was merged after Independence in Patiala and East Punjab State Union later on formed a part of Punjab when the reorganisation of the states took place in 1956 and remained a tehsil of Ambala District, Kandaghat and Shimla tehsils of Shimla district like othe rhilly areas of Kullu, Lahul and Spiti and Kangra districts become part of Himachal Pradesh on the Ist November, 1972 and Solan District sprang up on the administrative map of the state.
Solan District derives its name from Solan town which came into existence after the construction of the Cantonment at that palce around the last quarter of the 19th century.
Places around Solan:
Kasauli: About 25 km from Solan, Kasauli is a beautiful tourist spot. In summer one sees endless greenery of deodar and pine trees and in winter, snow covered earth. The Mall Road and Monkey Point are well known here. One can find a number of good hotels to stay here.
Sanavar: About 21 km from Solan, this attractive tourist spot is famous for its 150-year old public school and a church.
Parks and Mini Zoo: Close to the town of Solan are the Children’s park, Jawahar park and Mohan Park. In the Children’s park is a mini zoo, where one can find deer, wild cats and some rare birds.
Yashwant Nagar: This picnic spot is 20 kms from Solan. The river Giri flows along its sides.
Karol Caves: 5 km from the town, this cave is located at an altitude of 7000 ft . Karol Mountain is clearly visible from Solan. This is known as Himalaya’s most ancient and longest cave. It reaches Pinjor Gardens.
Dagshahi: This is famous for its jail. A number of freedom fighters, German and Irish revolutionaries have spent time here. 15km from Solan are two English schools.
Badog: It is most famous for its pine trees and the longest tunnel on the Shimla-Kalka railway line. It is 5 kms from Solan.
Fort of the Gurkha: Situated on the 7000 ft high Dhar Mountain, this 300-year old fort was built by the attacking Gurkhas of Nepal. The view from here of Shimla, Kasauli, Chail, and Karol is breathtaking.
Nauni: Parmar University which teaches floriculture, is situated here. It is 12 km from Solan. Flower and plants are inexpensive. This University is one of its kind in Asia.
Young Drum Monastery: This Monastery teaches “Ban”, the oldest religion of Tibet. People from all over the world visit this spot which is 15km from Solan on the Bagthan Road. Time and again, dances, are organised here.
Sabathu: There is an old Gurkha fort built in the early years of the 19th century.
Barog: It is a beautiful place, just 5 km. from Solan. It was an important stop on the railway line in the early part of the century. The hill train halted for an hour here, while the travelers indulged in a lavish lunch. Today, this little town with refreshing air and fine views, is a little holiday destination in itself. It is well surrounded by Pine forests.
Chail: An ideal resort surrounded by scented Pine and Deodar forests. It was once the summer resort of the Maharaja of Patiala. It is located on a wooded spur and it overlooks the Satluj Valley. Shimla and Kasauli are also visible and at night the scene of twinkling lights of Shimla looks charming and seems like the part of the starlit sky.
How to reach Solan:
By air: The nearest airport is Shimla (48 km) and Chandigarh (68 km).
By rail: Shimla Railway Station is the nearest railway station from Solan. It is in the midway on Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge train.
By road: Solan is well connected by roadway buses, coaches, and taxis, which are easily available from Chandigarh and Delhi. Delhi is 315 km, Kalka is 42 km, Chandigarh is 68 km and Shimla is 48 km.
(Please note: The information has been compiled from what we could lay our hands on while preparing for the trip)