Located at a distance of 19km from Kasauli, Dagshai is one of the oldest cantonment towns of Himachal Pradesh, which was developed during the British period. Perched atop the Dagshai Hill, this sleepy town is situated at an altitude of more than 6000 feet, and is known for its picturesque beauty.
Surrounded by pine trees, Dagshai is an ideal place for nature and history lovers, and more or less every house and building in this town belongs to the British period and exudes a certain charm. The area had five small villages namely, Dabbi, Bughtiala, Dagshai, Chunawag and Jawug and the place began to be called ‘Dagshai’ after one of the villages. The name Dagshai was derived from ‘Dagh-e-Shahi’, meaning ‘mark of the ruler’, which was a permanent mark put with hot iron, on the forehead of prisoners during the Mughal era. It is said that the prisoners, after being marked with this sign, were sent off to Dagshai village.
Under British rule, Dagshai developed to hold an extensive army and a large prison. Dagshai Central Jail is still present within this town. A Roman Catholic Church was built soon after Dagshai became a cantonment under British rule, and still stands. There is also the old cemetery overlooking a valley, where several British soldiers were buried. This beautiful town of Dagshai is now a tourist attraction of Himachal Pradesh, and is visited by many for its historical significance and exquisiteness.
Best time to visit
Though open throughout the year yet it is best to visit Dagshai during summer when the weather is pleasantly warm. However, Dagshai is looks stunning when covered in snow, during winter. In Dagshai, snow usually falls for a brief period in January.
The vast playground fields of Dagshai were once the proud host of the famous Durand Football cup.
Interestingly, there is a peculiar local belief attached to one of the graves at the cemetery in Dagshai. It is believed that a childless woman in the area will conceive if she eats a scrap of the tombstone!
Dagshai is a town that remains open to all throughout the year.
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