Kasauli Barracks Postcard

This week’s postcard is a lovely colourised view of the barracks and square at Kasauli:SKM_C284e18092511330Kasauli is a hill station in India, about 50 miles from Simla. It was founded in 1842 by the British and soon developed into a small military outpost and cantonment. The station was built as part of a series of hill stations when war with the Sikhs looked likely in the 1840s. Later it was decided that the region was too pretty to remain purely military and a small hill resort sprang up for the British to escape the heat of the plains to. In 1856 a military hospital was built at the cantonment and the site remained in use by the Raj until independence. This view seems to have been taken in the early years of the twentieth century. The parade square is clearly visible in the centre of the postcard:SKM_C284e18092511330 - Copy (2)Around this are barrack blocks:SKM_C284e18092511330 - Copy (3)And officer’s bungalows:SKM_C284e18092511330 - Copy (4)The hills in the background hint at the mountainous terrain of the region, that made it so appealing to the British:SKM_C284e18092511330 - Copy (5)A 1934 article describes Kasauli as:

Kausali is a lot of rocks blasted out of the mountainside, chipped about with chisels, shuffled around into places in which people live and the whole lot dumped on top of a small hill 6,500 feet above sea level. Being this much nearer the sky it is much cooler than Ambala.

Michael Foss wistfully describes the barracks of Kasauli in his book “Out of India”:

Those decent four-square bungalows set in little fenced-in gardens; those tall brick chimneys steepling out of tiled roofs; those paths of beaten earth, so neatly swept, protected from the ravine beyond by stout posts and a linked chain. At the top of the town stands the church, with the long high nave and a square Norman tower at the west end. The barrack-blocks around the parade ground are like large roomy barns with elegant, round windows in the gable-ends. In the square a game of cricket goes on. The players are in regulation whites with white floppy hats, and the umpires are correctly dressed in long white coats. The batsman leans forward easily in an accustomed stance, the keeper crouches close to the wicket, the bowler has begun his run. The hands of the church clock are poised to move. In the big bungalow of the Officers’ Mess set amid overpowering bougainvillaea, the mess servants in tight buttoned jackets and white turbans await. There will be beer and pints of shandy for the first imperious thirst of the evening, and then sherry or chota pegs of whisky before dinner.

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