British Cantonments in Himachal Pradesh - Himachal Pradesh General Studies

Cantonment Board Dagshai

Dagshai cantonment:

Dagshai is one of the oldest cantonment towns in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is situated on top of a 5689 feet (1734 mtr) high hillock that stands sphinx-like astride the Kalka-Shimla Highway at a point about 11 km from Solan. It was founded in 1847 by the East India Company by securing free of cost five villages from Maharaja of Patiala aka Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. The name of these villages were Dabbi, Badhtiala, Chunawad, Jawag and Dagshai.

The new cantonment was named after the last named village, as it was the largest and most strategically located.

The name Dagshai, according to a popular local legend was derived from Daag-e-Shahi. During the Mughal times a Daag-e-Shahi (royal mark) was put on the forehead of the criminals and sent packing to the then Dagshai village.

Dalhousie cantonment:

Dalhousie cantonment is a town in Chamba district in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India.

In the wake of the 1857 War, the Military Department of the Government of India, expanded its survey of lower Himalayas, to identify suitable locations for building ‘sanitaria and cantonments’ for ‘quartering’ British soldiers and military units. The move to locate cantonments in ‘cool and healthy hill stations’ was justified on strategic, and health grounds. In the following decade several cantonments, including in Balun(Dalhousie), Bakloh, Chakrata, Ranikhet, in the western lower Himalayas, were established. In 1863 it was decided that one third of the British troops in India should be located in the hill station cantonments. By the 1890s almost twenty five percent of the British troops in India were located in hill stations.

The Cantonment area in Dalhousie is called Baloon, also spelt as Balun. Dalhousie was first surveyed in 1853, and was acquired as a convalescent depot for European troops, in 1866, the same year as Bakloh was acquired as a Goorkha Cantonment, from the Raja of Chamba. In 1868, British troops moved into barracks in Baloon. By 1878 an 18 foot road connected the new cantonment to the plains.

In August 1954, during the Dalhousie centenary celebrations, Jawahar Lal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, visited Baloon, Dalhousie Cantonment. He was accompanied by Lt General Kalwant Singh, General Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Command.

Kasauli cantonment:

Kasauli is a cantonment and town, located in Solan district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The cantonment was established by the British Raj in 1842 as a Colonial hill station, 77 km from Shimla, 65 km from Chandigarh, and 94 km from Ambala Cantt (Haryana), an important Railway Junction of North India and lies at a height of 1,927 metres (6,322 ft). The town is a health resort, having an elevation of 1,900 metres above sea level.

Yol cantonment:

Yol is a cantonment town in Kangra district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.The town gets its name from YOL (Young Officers Leave camp), a small town established by British Indian Army around 1849. The Yol Cantt (cantonment) was built in 1942. Formerly it was known as "majhaitha" village. Yol is the headquarters of the 9 Corps of Indian Army. The cantonment area is very beautiful and has a picturesque view. 

Yol was the location of a Prisoner-of-war camp which hosted German soldiers in the First World War and Italian soldiers in the Second World War.

Frogman Elios Toschi, a member of the pre-Armistice Decima Flottiglia MAS and inventor of the "maiale", was one of the very few to escape from the camp. After the war, the former POW facility hosted ethnic Tibetan refugees from China.

Source: Wikipedia
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Author: Karun Bharmoria

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