At an altitude of 7200 feet, the small cantonment town of Chakrata is beautifully ensconced in the Himalayan surroundings of lush green and woody smelling Devdar (Cedrus Deodara) trees. The cantonment was set up by British army officers in 1860s. The area was inaccessible in those times and was a good 100 km away from Dehradun, the present state capital of Uttarakhand. A little away from the town and up in the hills, in 1888 a beautiful house was built almost entirely of devdar wood for the Divisional Forest Officer of Chakrata. The house was used by successive English DFOs who found the climate and surroundings of Chakrata in line with British weather. The house is really beautiful and is still standing smart after almost 130 years. In the compound, there is a huge tree too planted in 1887, a year before the bungalow was built.
This two story house is still the official bungalow of DFO Chakrata and now native officers from Indian Forest Service occupy this. However this Bungalow has been less occupied of late. The reason being, many interesting stories around this otherwise beautiful bungalow, which have mostly led to a sorry abandonment of this building for residence. The stories have been weaved around an hardworking British IFS officer who served here for long time and in this house. It is believed that the spirit of that officer still roams around this house. There have been too many stories of the spirit or ghost of Gora Saheb, moving around the house at night. Few have even claimed that they have seen the spirit of the officer working at night at his wooden desk besides a kerosene lamps.
I have been to this place twice, once in 2003 or 2004 and once most recently in this month (April 15) itself. I have been inside it too and moved from floor to floor, though always during the day time. It had a feel of an abandoned place with everything like old beds, chairs , desks etc being more than a century old. I did not however come across any ghost. I may be lucky perhaps, as I have myself heard the story of a Gora Saheb offering the matchstick to the wife of a dashing officer to light a candle, who had earlier rubbished all stories of it being an haunted house and was living with his beautiful wife. Once when the light was not there and the lady called out the staff to give her a matchbox to light a candle, someone from behind offered her a matchbox. The lady lighted the candle with that matchstick under darkness and she realized that only after the light was lit and that actually there was nobody around her. She was shocked beyond belief and the officer shifted his family next day and completed the rest of his tenure from the forest rest house built nearby.
There have been stories of someone walking over the wooden roof also. Since the bungalow is located away from the staff quarters etc, the stories have continued to grow. Few bold and scientific temper officers have tried though to demystify the story of this haunted house, but even they have sometimes felt the occurrence of unusual happenings like their own foot getting glued to wooden staircase once or twice!
It is not unusual though to see all sorts of this stories woven around old hill stations. Though not regarding Chakrata, there have been many interesting bhoot stories written by eminent author Shivani also. While there may be no place of these stories in the minds of people with scientific temper, there are many things which science may take some more time to explain fully.