Before the toy-train appeared on the scene, the journey from Kalka to Shimla was always a challenge for the British. Although the road to Shimla had been built in 1856 that immediately earned popularity among the travelers but the old road still remained in use till the early decades of twentieth century. Gradually the walking trail had begun to disappear and took the shape of a dirt road. The horse drawn carriages and the bullock carts were the main mode of transport for everyone. The dawk garuee or “Dak Gari” – The Mail Wagon moved on it too.

Cloverly – Once the only Hotel Between Kalka and Shimla

The old trail began from Kalka (684 meters) and the steep climb pushed one up to Kasauli (1700 meters). From here it turned to Dharampur and carried on to Subathu – the cantonment and then via Kakarhatti, Haripore, Sayri, Jubbarhatti and Tutu, it turned towards Shimla. Finding a suitable shelter was always a challenge for the travelers. So in case of a vehicle broke down or a blockage of the road due to the bad weather they had to spend a night on the roadside or in the mail wagon.

Oldest Hotel on Kalka Shimla Road

The hotel at Kakarhatti became the first hotel on Kalka Shimla road and remained so till the end of First World War. The hotel provided accommodation and food to the travelers. A large piece of land around the hotel was marked as a common area. A well was dug to obtain water, a stable was built for the horses, a garden was prepared to grow vegetable and an orchard was developed to obtain fruits. That brought a big relief to the travelers.

Henry lived in Eden Cottage in Shimla, just below Fingask Estate. In 1885 when Rudyard Kipling came to Shimla and occupied a house called North Bank, just next to Eden Cottage, both Henry and Rudyard became good friends. Many times while travelling from Shimla to Kalka Rudyard stayed with Henry at Kakarhutti.

Once when he took the new road and missed the old one then on his next visit to the hotel he penned his famous poem “As the Bell Chinks”. The rhythm of the poem goes with the clip-clop sounds of tonga – a horse carriage. The following lines from the poem show his attachment to Kakkarhatti.


Heart of man – O heart of Putty, Had I gone by Kakkarhutti,
On the old Hill – road and rutty, I had scaped that fatal car.


Oldest Hotel on Shimla Kalka Raod

Cloverly – A Glimpse into History

There are no records what the name of the hotel was but when Henry retired, the hotel was inherited by his son George Gilbert, an engineer with PWD. George named it Cloverly after his daughter. After the construction of Kalka Shimla Railway this route to approach Shimla suffered complete ignorance and George had to close down the hotel.

The property was then purchased by one Ms. Foyer who lived here till the independence. After that it was sold to some local family who resold it to Kirpa Ram Chauhan, a local civil contactor. Presently the building and the land is owned and shared by his three sons and their families.

Shimla Walks

George’s Granddaughter Ms. Sandra Cameron recently paid a visit to Kakarhatti with Shimla Walks and was surprised look at the building that was once built and owned by her ancestors. The owner’s family was both surprised and glad to see us and gave us a warm welcome with a glass of soft drink and snacks. Dikshant, a young boy from the family took us around and narrated the whole history of the place. The well dug by Sandra’s Great Grand Father, still provides water to the occupants.

We are blessed and very lucky to have this lovely house with a great history attached to it, said the ladies from the family.


A few Jamun trees originally planted by Sandra’s ancestor still bear fruit and an old handcart that was used to carry luggage lies unattended near a tree. ‘I have been seeing it since I was born. We never used it as one of its wheel is missing’. Dikshant told us. The room once a stable is now used as a store. The structure is in well maintained condition. They had to demolish one small room, outside the house that was originally used by the Mail Wagons, as it had become unsafe.

If you find this old Story of Cloverly interesting – stay tuned with Shimla Walks , we have many more such stories.

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