himachal pradesh,  thoughts,  Travel

APS Dagshai, A home away from home

Dagshai is a small place located on the hills of Himachal near Kasauli. Back in the British era, Dagshai was a British cantonment. A few buildings of Dagshai also served as prisons in the British era. Now, it is a cantonment area. Beside this cantonment area, stands The Army Public School, Dagshai. It was built in 1986 to provide education facilities for the children of army personnel. The school has come a long way since then. It is now termed as one of the best boarding schools in north India. I have spent 7 years of my life at Army public school Dagshai. You know, there is a very special thing about boarding schools. It becomes a second home for the students and the school fellows become a family.


APS Dagshai Campus in snow     pic courtesy: facebookapsdagshai

On a cold day in December, I was traveling from Chandigarh to Shimla. From the bus, I could see the buildings of the school. I had my earphones plugged in and was streaming radio from Gaana. The RJ played a song which used to be my favorite during the school days when I was in class 12. eventually, memories of the school days started flashing in front of my eyes. I don’t know whether it happens to you too, that certain songs are associated with certain incidents in our lives and whenever we listen to those songs, it takes us back in time. The same thing was happening to me. So, I just penned down some things that came to my mind and today after 2 months I’m publishing it in this blog post.


The school campus is spread across 40 acres. Whatever we needed was made available to us inside the campus and we were strictly told not to go out of the school premises. Whoever was caught doing so, was punished. But the fun lies in doing restricted things, isn’t it? In our quest for good food, and adventure we used to go out of the premises, and sometimes we used to jump out of the hostel windows at night to eat paranthas in kumarhatti (which is at the bottom of dagshai hill). This was just one example. We used to do a lot of silly things as we used to get some thrill out of it.

Life At Army Public School, Dagshai

Jack of all trades

Boarding schools are not just ordinary schools. Each day at Army public school Dagshai was full of activities, which included sports, cultural activities, athletics, hobbies, and of course studies. To ensure the overall development of the students, we were supposed to participate in each of the activity and made most out it. The house wardens, teachers, seniors used to make it sure that we participate in each of the activity. One of the reasons behind doing this was the inter-house competition.

The 3 houses had to compete with each other in sports, athletics, extracurricular activities and academics. The spirit of competition made students work hard in each and every activity. We even had a term called House spirit for that. Which was the measure of how badly you love your house and how much you can do to make your house excel. Now when I look back, I realize that this spirit of competition made us do things where we doubted our capabilities.   

Life At APS, Dagshai

The drama 

The daily routine at Dagshai was really hectic. Starting with PT at 5:30 AM in the morning, followed by classes till 2 PM and sports/cocurricular activities thereafter. Students sometimes tried to skip PT, classes, sports by faking diseases like Viral flu, cough &cold, and what not. We had a small MI room inside the school campus and the doctor there used to send us to MH (Military hospital).

Stuffed inside the school bus we were taken to the MH and the doctors there had only one solution and that was an injection because they always thought that students are always complaining and we actually don’t have any problem and the best thing doctor did was to write a bed rest (we use to call it dorm rest), well that meant we don’t have to go to morning PT, School, sports, etc.

Especially during the athletics time, everybody wanted to be sick or on bed rest because students hated that period due to those march past practice sessions that used to start as early as 5 AM and would go on till 11 PM in the night. Not only march past, but every sport in the athletics meet was also prepared as if going to a battle. 

APS Dagshai On a Rainy day            pic courtesy:- facebook.com/apsdagshai

The Exams time

The athletics meet at the end of October used to put every other activity on hold until the next academic year. winters starts setting in and the focus used to shift to studies. This was the time when morning PT was replaced by morning study sessions, afternoon sports time was replaced by extra classes and preps. Teachers tried to make sure that we only focus on studies and nothing else.

Well, we did study, and everyone had their own way, some used to wake up early in the morning, while some used to study like owls in the night, but one thing common with all was that we didn’t compromise on having fun. We used to play dorm cricket, hide and seek, pillow fight and doing various kinds of things inside the hostel and playing cricket in the slope in front of the house during the free time between the preps (study sessions) in the afternoon.  

Life At Army Public School, Dagshai

The Year of Boards

The children nowadays would never understand the fear behind the statement – “Iss saal boards hain !!!”. Teachers use to repeat this statement in every class right from the beginning of the session, just to make it sure that we are serious about what is being taught, But as I said that boarding schools are not normal schools, we use to do everything other than studies until athletics meeting got over.

I think there is nothing wrong with it because it made us do a lot of things and thereby giving us a chance to discover our passion and helping in personality development. As December approached, we got more serious about our studies, but we did make sure that study is not the only thing we do. We used to play in dormitories, troubling juniors, house wardens/masters, talk shit about people, late-night Maggi parties and the list goes on.

Finally, after the pre boards in December, we used to have 15- 20 days of holidays. School organized winter coaching to board class students in January. Well, January is the peak winter season at dagshai and it used to rain /snow accompanied by cold winds hence the temperature stayed around 4-5 °C. Somehow, we kept our self-going and studied well.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the teachers, who stayed back in such conditions to teach us instead of going on holiday. Thankfully, my boards went well, and I did score well in 10th and 12th class.

Bye Bye Dagshai

I passed out of school in March 2010 and still remember the day when I was leaving school. The memories of the past 7 years that I spent in Dagshai started flowing through my mind. It was a mixed feeling, there was an excitement about the upcoming college life, fear of the board results and on top was the realization that this is probably the most fun time of our life which was coming to an end. The principal used to say that it’s not a school, it’s a home away from home and I really felt the true meaning of this phrase when I was exiting the school gates. It felt like I’m leaving a piece of heart here at Dagshai.

I hope you loved the blog post. I know I’ve missed a lot of things, thanks to time constraints. But I hope I was able to revive your good old memories at Dagshai.


Also Read- History of the Himachali cap

One Comment

  • Rajat Bhasin

    Wow!!! What a wonderful description of what each and every student of Aps Dagshai went thru. I graduated in 1999 and reading this in 2021 still gave me goose bumps. Truly the school was a faimly and a home away from home but in many aspects more so than home. The friendships and the relationships formed are true and solid till date. Thx a lot for bringing a smile with this effort and kudos for the deatils you put in

    Patel patel

    Rajat Bhasin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)