Sabathu Hill Postcard

We return to India for another postcard form one of the hill stations of the country, this time depicting the barracks at Sabathu Hill:

Sabathu is a cantonment town in the Salon sector of Himachal Pradesh and is 4150 feet above sea level. The Station was originally one of those retained by Sir, D. Ochterlony on the termination of Gorkha Campaign of 1815 as a political land Military outpost, and was made the Headquarters of the Nasiri Battalion raised from the fragments of the Gorkha troops, a detachment of which had formally occupied Subathu as a position.  The Subathu hill was retained as a Military fort by the British Govt. at the close of Gorkha War. Sabathu neighbours the hill station of Kasuli, which we have seen depicted on postacards several times before, each hill station being visible form the other.

The hill stations of this region have a rich military history, as related in a 1929 publication:

Prior to their defeat by Sir David Ochterlony’s British force in 1815 and subsequent surrender the Gurkhas had enjoyed a reign of terror and oppression over the Simla Hill district, and by the year 1808 from their capital at Arki (near Simla), had subdued the greater part of the country lying between the Jumma and the Sutlej, including Kasuli and its neighbourhood. The people in their wretchedness applied to the British for protection, but it was not until after the fierce fighting and bloody battles, one of them in the vicinity of Kasauli, that the “little men from Nepal” were finally subdued. The Gurkha rule while it lasted was ruthless and cruel and it is said they spared no one. Sabathu and Kotegarh (beyond Simla) were established by us as frontier posts in 11815 and there is a legend that the British officer in charge of a Gurkha guard, while on the march between these two posts, encamped on the site of where Simla now stands, then a small village, and noted its coolness and suitability as a military station.

The hill tops in the vicinity are still studded with ruined Gurkha forts, and there is one in a better state of preservation than most near the parade ground at Sabathu, a memento of its former rulers.

The hill station of Sabathu is still a military base for the Indian Army, housing the 14th Gurkhas and a small museum celebrating the exploits of the various Gurkha regiments over the last 150 years.

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