Dagshai is not a typical a touristy village located in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Nor is it devoid of any awe-inducing history. Located 11 km from Solan, seated at more than 5,600 metres from the sea level, Dagshai is a very old cantonment town of India, and a supposedly haunted one at that! In the past, the Mughals would send the criminals in this region for capital punishment, and hence, the town got its name “Daag-e-Shahi” which translates into “a royal stain.” The name got corrupted over time and turned into Dagshahi. Later, the British rulers made it into an army cantonment.
So, coming to the point, how Dagshai came to be known as a haunted town? Given its beautiful surroundings, the greenery, the mountains etc. it would be hard to classify it as a haunted retreat. But, like all haunted places, this one too has an unusual past.
The cemetery at Dagshai
Dagshai is mainly about an army cantonment, some army buildings, a couple of schools, local homes, and a cemetery. Of all the locations in Dagshai, it is the cemetery that has got much press, good, and bad both. It is believed that this cemetery dates back to the British regime in India. It so happened once that a British man named Major George Weston lived in Dagshai with his wife. While, the major was a medicine practitioner, his wife was a nursing assistant. Only after the couple remained childless for some time that they had the god fortune to meet a wandering saint who bestowed blessings on them in the form of an amulet. Soon after, George’s wife Mary conceived their first child. However, the young mother died young on the eighth month of her pregnancy in the year 1909. George built a beautiful grave for his beloved wife and their unborn babe. The marble used for constructing the resting place of the duo was shipped from England.
More misfortune for the dead Mary
As time passed, rumours regarding Mary’s grave capable of bestowing boons started doing the rounds in the region. Some people conceived a misconception that if a pregnant lady cut a piece of marble from Mary’s grave, she would give birth to a baby boy. Apparently, many people started visiting the grave of Mary to cut a piece of the marble from the structure to avoid giving birth to a baby girl. As a result, the beautiful marble structure built in memory of a loving wife was almost destroyed by such ignorant visitors.
Sightings of the ghost of Mary
Many people have claimed seeing Mary’s ghost wandering around her grave in the cemetery. May be, in order to defend her own grave from being destroyed and to keep unwanted visitors at bay, the spirit of Mary chose to intervene at last. Who knows?
The colonial-era haunted jail of Dagshai
It is not just the cemetery that is believed to be haunted in this hill station. The Dagshai Central Jail built in 1849 has also seen unfortunate happenings in the past. Given its gory past, many people have enlisted it among the most haunted places in India. This jail has witnessed a lot of killings and torture, and obviously, those bad vibrations are still lingering in and around the jail. It has been turned into a museum now. As in the case of the cemetery in Dagshai, it is hard to tell whether or not the jail is haunted.
How to reach Dagshai
To reach this beautiful albeit mysterious village, take the Kalka-Shimla highway, and take the route after crossing Dharampur on the uphill pathway.
Alternatively, board a bus from ISBT Delhi /ISBT Shimla/ ISBT Chandigarh to reach Dagshai. Train travellers can get down at Kumarhatti (Dagshai) on Chandigarh-Shimla rail track. The nearest airport is at Chandigarh.
Where to stay in Dagshai
We suggest staying at Villa Mountain Crest, a cool and comfy homestay endowed with all the facilities. Shimla is located at a distance of 62 km the homestay, and Solan is 17 km away.