Indian Geoparks: Kasauli

Tethys Fossil Museum Kasauli Dhangiari

Fossils in Tethys Fossil Museum

Kasauli – IndianGeoparks

is named after Kasauli cantonment established by Britishers in 19th century. who carefully chiselled the sandstones of the Kasauli hills to carve a beautiful township overlooking Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh in the southern footfills. All the buildings and roads are made of Kasauli Sandstone and are an architecture marvel.

To the north are snow clad peaks of Shimla hills. The Ghaghar river an important tributary of the Saraswati river originating from the foothills of Kasauli near Parwanoo and is of great geoarcheological importance. Lots of stone tools have been recovered from Pinjore.

Panaromic view of KASAULI. ( photo Kasauli Hill station)

Monkey point has an airforce station and Hanuman mandir.This peak is believed to resemble the foot of Hanuman ji when he took his maiden flight carrying Sanjeevni.

Kasauli Water Works Mr Edwin Dyer in 19th century explored the Himalayas and found waters of Kasauli hills suitable for developing one of the finest scotch in the world.

Collecting spring water sources: this historic water supply scheme planned in early 19th century still supplies water to Kasauli Town .

Dyer Mekien is today Mohan Mekien. Interestingly the name Dyer was dropped post independence in 1967 as Edwin Dyer was father of General Dyer who was responsible for Jaliawala Massacre in early 20th century.

Kalka Shima Heritage train near Koti

UNESCO World Heritage toy train track (> 100 years old completed in record 5 years on 9 Nov 1903 with approx cost of 18 Lakhs) connects Kalka-Shimla after crossing 103 tunnels and 969 arched bridges through various Geological formations revealing earth history from recent to 1000 million years in span of 4-5 hours covering 100kms on rail track ground.

Starting from the remains of Ghaghar,the main tributary of Saraswati river (famous archeological sites where stone tools are found in Pinjore Kalka) to sandstones sitstone of Shiwaliks crossing Main Boundary Fault near Taksal (place where coins were made in ancient times) thrusting into Paleocence sequence represented by green shales fossiliferous limestone beds gradually passing through red beds showing mottling and finally into grey sandstone with plant fossils. The sequence alternate due to folding couple of times till Kumarhati when train passes through the longest Barog Tunnel 1.4 kms cutting the grey sandstone and enters Karol Formation near Solan .

Train and Tunnel

Engineer Mr Barog incharge of the tunnel committed suicide because in 1st attempt the two ends never met and he felt insulted when he was fined Rs1. The work was further carried under supervision of Mr Bhakalu who was a layman but had sound knowledge of rocks, he guided the engineers to lay the track, built tunnels and bridges with much ease. Railway Museum is named after him in Shimla.

Further ahead after Salogra famous for Solan No 1 the entire section is dominated by metamorphosed black shales and fossiliferous limestone containing Stromatolites /Stromatoliths which are one of the earliest lifeforms on earth thriving in anaerobic environment 1000 million years and is believed to be responsible for liberation of oxygen.

Stromatolite Early LIFE Prokaryotic / anerobic

As we enter Kandaghat, geologically famous as the great water divide interestingly if you fall on eastern side of hill water slopes will drain you into Bay of Bengal and if on the western side into Arabian sea. Simla slates and other metamorphic rocks is the dominant lithology which are highly folded and faulted.

Complex folding and faulting

Crossing 103 tunnels one reaches Shimla the hill queen. Geologically Shimla is upside down older rocks resting on younger rocks.

This World Heritage train can be easily glued as the World Heritage Geological section to explain the geological relationship of KASAULI hills with the surrounding mountain ranges giving an overview of the different environments which will help in better reconstruction of the environment of the past. Basically relating with the closure of Tethys sea and process which led to the evolution and upliftment of Himalayas.

HB Medlicott

H.B.Medlicott 1864 geologist who coined the word Gondwana was the 1st to discover fossils from Kasauli, Dr Ritesh Arya was influenced by him to discover fossils from Kasauli..

ONGC in its pursuit to explore oil in Himalayas pinned Kasauli Hills to be the most promising site and drilled an unsuccessful +5000m exploratory well to find oil in Dochi, Kasauli hills.

Kasauli IndianGeopark

Aims to highlight the preponderance and importance of abundant fossils of the Kasauli and surrounding areas, fascinating geological history signifying gradual shallowing of the Tethys ocean characterised by rich fossil assemblage of whale, shark, fish, mollusc, foraminifera and oyster.

Culminating with strata showing the death of ocean and evolution of terrestrial ecosystem (represented by well preserved diverse fossil assemblage of leaves, flowers, roots, stems, fruits, seeds wood gastropods bivalves mammals and charophytes, timing the birth of nascent Himalayas.

Map of Sections and route

These sections are very well exposed from Parwanoo to Kasauli via Jangenshu, Parwanoo to Solan, Kasauli to Subathu, Kumarhati to Nahan.

7. Sections showing geological evidences of closer of the Tethys sea and evolution of the Himalayas.

1. Marine

2. Coastal

3. Beach

4. Paleosol

5. Terrestrial

6. Preservation

7. Destruction

Section 1: Marine On ground Splintery Green Fossiliferous shales and limestone represent marine.

Marine fossils in Green shales Limestone

Green and Red shales alternate and represents transgressive and regressive phase signifying passage beds to non marine environment.

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Closure of Tethys Sea

Fossils of whales, sharks, foraminifera, gastropods bivalves have been discovered.

Ripple marks

These are small-scale symmetrical ripples with bifurcated Crest. The crests are straight and sinuous. These form as a result of wave action. The possible depositional environments may be tidal flat. ( Dr BP Singh)

Section 2: Coastal

Multiple oyster beds are found, presence of fossils oysters and wood (organic matter preserved) in the same rock signifies near coastal environment at the time of deposition around 40 million years old.

Section 3: Beach

White Quartzose sandstone and well preserved slicken sides in Red beds

Signify beach environment at the time of deposition Fossil wood specimens are preserved in the these beds shows flooding at the time of deposition.

Section 4 Paleosol


Exposure and weathering hearld the Pedogenetic process and actually start leading to formation of paleosols, mottling and soil formation. This helps you n forming conducive environment for origin of terrestrial life.

The red beds are prone to landslides

Section 5: Proliferation of Angiosperms and Mammals.

The diverse fossil assemblage of plants leaves flowers gastropods molluscan and mammalian remains found in the rocks of Kasauli help in better understanding of paleolatitudinal position, paleoenvironmental conditions, and paleogeographic reconstructions aiding in timing the India Asia collision which led to the evolution of nascent Himalaya.

Fossil of plant and gastropod 20 million years old sandstone

Fossil tree in which organic remains have been preserved in fine grained sandstone. This is 1st report of organic matter preserved in the Kasauli sandstone till now all the fossils found till now were mainly silicified. Signifying fast burial in fine sediments near the banks /pond environment at the time of deposition around 20 million years old

Fossil wood organic matter preserved

Section 6: Preservation

Fossil tree was saved from extinction on National Highway road construction

Then and Now

Fossil tree 1989-90 (PhD thesis Ritesh Arya) Jagjitnagar (then)
Fossil tree (Preserved) Jagjitnagar (now)

Represents uprooting of forests due to flooding caused by global warming 20 million years ago. Tree is aligned parallel to the bedding plane and is deposited in overbank facies.

Section 7: Destruction /concealment of Fossil sites lost due to Road construction, retaining walls, buildings and mining.

Video of one such site concealed due to construction of retaining wall at National Highway under construction. The other vedio is of fossil destruction due to unscientific mining.

IndianGeoparks will

1. Take steps to inform the local population of the importance of the area where they live in terms of Geological history, educate the interested tourist of the important localities in the area. Help in promoting and extending geotourism to rural areas.

2. Establish an international level museum highlighting local and other Indian fossils rocks.

3. Integrate geological, anthropological, archeological, biological, sites/ museum,ecology and ancient monuments and history to achieve geoparks in India

4. Create awareness about conserving and protecting geoheritage sites

5. Make small videos / documentary films on geoheritage and related issues

6. Conduct webinars, conferences, geotours, to create awareness about rich heritage

7. Impart training to students about smart phone apps and Open GIS like QGIS mapillary and Epicollect

Kasauli- 1st Geopark
Our broader aim is to integrate Geoheritage, Historical, Cultural sites and make them as part of KASAULI With its vast history dating to Sararwati civilization ( Ghaggar river was main tributary of Saraswati in those time. Originated from foothills of Kasauli) , Ramayan ( Hanuman ji took his maiden flight from Monkey point which today houses Air Force Station, Spring souce near Bhojnagar is the place where Kaushalaya river named after Ram originates and is also the place where Dhasraths arrow killed Shravan who was carrying his blind parents) Mahabharata the caves of Krol speak volumes about the presence of Pandavas during exile and the link of Karol with Pinjore, Gorkhas (Gorkhas of Nepal on top of the hills all have thier history to tell. Dr Arya rediscovered the science of exploration of groundwater in Himalayas by studying the exploration technique adopted by our ancestors to explore and locate groundwater at shallow depths on the peaks)

Mughals, Jail museum in Dagsahi ( Dagai shiai place where ink was stamped on the foreheads of revolutionaries in Mughal rule and practise continued and became worse during Britishers time) is a beautiful monument and historical building where MDK Gandhi and Nathu Ram Godse spent jail term though for different reasons.
Britishers built World Heritage toy train track with help from Balku ji from Kalka to Shimla crossing 103 tunnels and 969 bridges showing geological history from recent to 1billion years in 4-5 hours, whereas road section shows very good fossil sites and geological structure showing closuer of Tethys sea,
and lastly a beautifully Kasauli township carved from 20 million year old Kasauli sandstone hills.

Some famous geologist HB Medlicott who coined the word Gondwana and Birbal Sahni after whom BSIP Lucknow is named were pioneers to discover fossils from Kasauli club and Water Tank locality in 1864 and 1952 almost a century later. 1st Institute of virology later named Louis Pasteur Institute now Central Research Institute famous for Rabies Vaccine now Drug testing Covid vaccine were all tested here.
Kasauli waters were found suitable to make best Scotch whisky outside Scotland by Mr Dyer. After independence name was changed to Mohan Meikin as Dyer was father of General Dyer who ordered massacre of Jallianwala Bagh. Legendary Khuswant Singh derived all his energy by staying in Kasauli for 1month now Kasauli Literacy Festival is organised every year.

Roads and Buildings of Kasauli are made from Kasauli Sandstone, the church in Kasauli has one of the oldest running watch.

KASAULI has all the ingredients to be listed as 1st Geopark of India

Tethys Fossil Museum Kasauli . Dhangiari

Architect: Ar. Manmohan Khanna Creative designer : Ms. Osheen Gupta

-Opening Shortly-

Concept – Dr. Ritesh Arya

Team (contributed fossils for museum) Prof Ashok Sahni FNA

Prof Ashok Sahni

Dr ON Bhargav GSI Geological Survey of India

Dr Jagmohan Singh ONGC Oil and Natural Gas Commision

Dr Vandhana Pathak. BSIP Birbal Sahni Institute of PaleoSciences Lucknow

Dr Kishore Kumar Tertiary WIHG Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology

Dr Rajeev Patnaik Shiwaliks Geology Panjab University Chandigarh

Prof Parth Archeology and Anthropology ISCER Mohali

Prof BP Singh PU Early life Geology Panjab University Chandigarh

Mr Makki Pune. Minerals and crystals

Dr. Milan Kumar Tertiary Central University Bhatinda, Punjab

Media Mrs Priya Yadav, Dr Asit Jolly Dr. Shashi Bhushan ,Mr Y.S.Rana Mr Narvijay Yadav

Paper on Timing collision of India and Tibet based on fossils from Kasauli and Ladakh starts at 2:36:31 presented in Platinum jubilee celebrations of Birbal Sahni Institute of PaleoSciences Lucknow

Kasauli as a Geopark, geoheritage destination to promote geotourism in the hill state.