YOL camp and the night before Mcleodganj…

In travel, weekend trips on April 24, 2008 by rajeev kumar Tagged:

next day we started for YOL camp which is nearby dharamshala. YOL stands for Young Officers Leave camp and is mainly a army cantt. It has a interesting history. It started around world war II as a POW(Prisionor of war) camp and mainly Italian prisionars were stationed here. But unlike other camps here prisionars were allowed to move anywhere , even to outside villages. The prisoners enjoyed their stay here. Later on it was used for many purposes and recently it houses one of the youngest battalians of Indian Army named Rising Star. This is a interesting write up about YOL.

almost all the structure at YOL was made of wood and is still standing. Our stay was arranged at hospitality cell there which was barrack kind of structure converted to very comfortable guest rooms. The amenities there matched any 5 star hotel and the cost of stay for 2 rooms came there to be less than one time meal at a decent hotel.

the mighty dhualadhars which is part of Himalayan ranges form backdrop for this place. In the night there was snowfall on the mountains and on getting up everything was covered with snow. Till now I saw the himalayas only in photographs which looked very monotonous to me due to single color but it is the scale which makes the impression if you are seeing it for the first time. That sight is the single most thing which remains in memory about this place for long time.

in the night we took drive upto Mcleodganj so that we can plan for next day. We came to know that Dalai Lama is there in Mcleodganj and he preaches daily for monks and external audience. For next day we decided against normal sightseeing and set out only 2 places to visit and just roam around and soak in the place. We visited some Tibetan artifact shops , Thangka paintings were the only things which were unique to that place.We enquired about the prices and tried to understand the paintings so that we can pick up the right one. For dinner we went to Hotel Mclo which is a cosy and nice place and just at the main crossing. Momos are speciality in Mcleodganj. This was the only place where I found a Israely food section in the menu which I wanted to try but nothing was available.


19 Responses to “YOL camp and the night before Mcleodganj…”

  1. Hi, I could tell you more and more about YOL, because my father was a POW housed there since 1941 to 1946. It wasn’t a 5 stars hotel and the Italian Prisoners suffered very much being prisoners of English. They suffered for the climate as well…too many rains!!…
    On the contrary they were very friendly with the Indian People and the Indians with them. They loved greatly the nature of this place as well.
    Even after many years the Italian POWs used to grreet one another with Hindi words like: “Amara dost” and “Ram Ram”!
    I love Indian culture and phylosophy, and I believe India is a great Nation.
    I wish you a wonderful time!! Peace…..Shanti!

  2. Hi Syn,
    I am writing a history of YOL. I would be greatful for any information, photos or anecdotes that you may have about the place.


  3. Hi everyone! I do not know where to begin but hope this site will be useful for me.
    In first steps it’s really nice if someone supports you, so hope to meet friendly and helpful people here. Let me know if I can help you.
    Thanks and good luck everyone! 😉

  4. Way back in 1982 my father an army officer was posted there. We were their till 1985. No my elder brother an army office too, is stationed there. Its good place. But today the place have come up with the Concrete jungle, but in 1982 it was not what is is now.

  5. i am a resident of yol and would share some information about yol,some plants found here have their origin in britain,snails that eat up all vegetation are only found here,and if we dig 7-8 feet below we can see old rusted cans used 60 yrs back by italian prisoners.Weather is uncertain but 1 thing is certain that u can’t hold urself to enjoy n appreciatethe nature here.

  6. was just browzing through the net to find out anything about the life of Italian prisoners of Second World War at YoL Camp. My father was in the Army and posted at the Camp during that time. He used to tell us many stories about the Italians, his friendship with them, he learnt Italian, was gifted an Italian dog, Paleeto, by one of the prisoners and so on and so forth. I was actually looking for any memoirs recorded by former prisoners which I don’t find any. shall be thankful if someone could give me an inkling.

  7. Hi everyone i also visit yol .prisnor jail is damage but heritage wall is safe its on main road

  8. Making a documentary film On YOL Camp POWs. Plz contact with all information on Dinker

  9. I lived in YOL Camp from 1964 to 1965 and went to College in Dharamshala. My father was the Station Commander at YOL Camp. I progressed to becoming a Chief Engineer on big ships. I have travelled to 91 countries and now live in England. I can be contacted on

    Jayan Peter Pillai

  10. i was born in YOL at the military hospital… felt so good reading about it. my desire in life is to visit the place of my birth at some time in life….

    will surely be a comign of age trip for me lol


  11. rispondo a Syn che ha scritto il 16 novembre 2009, ed a tutti quelli che hanno avuto il padre prigioniero in India, e non solo a YOL. Sono passati 70 anni da allora, ma molti figli di quei prigionieri stanno mettendo i ricordi (disegni, scritti, diari,foto) dei loro genitori, in un insieme di
    articoli ed anche qualche libro affinchè la memoria di quegli anni poco conosciuti sia portata a conoscenza di tutti. Se avete notizie collegatevi al sito del giornale on line “loccidentale” e cercate
    la storia dei 10.000 prigionieri italiani a Yol. Vi saluto Franco

  12. I lived in yol camp in 1960 working in army officers` children school. The place was facinating.I really enjoyed living there. Then the army moved and school was closed. I still remember many names but don`t know how to contact them.

  13. Mio padre fu fatto prigioniero in Africa orientale nel 1940 e rimase a Yol fino al 1946. I suoi ricordi non erano troppo male: avevano un orticello ove coltivavano vegetali ed una piccola vigna che consentiva loro di farsi un pò di vino e, credo, distillare anche grappa. Mi parlava spesso dei magnifici tramonti sull’Himalaya, ma purtroppo io non ero molto interessata e non gli facevo ulteriori domande. Adesso ne avrei tante… Ricordo che lamentava che dopo l’armistizio del 43 il vitto peggiorò molto, non solo per i non-collaborazionisti, e che spesso il pane era per lui immangiabile perchè fatto con farina ammuffita.

  14. My father was posted as Garrison Engineer at Yol Camp during 1963 -1965. I went to Govt College Dhramsala for one year. I do have real good memories of Yol Camp. I do remember the Indo / Pak war. The fighter jets from Pakistan would come to Yol Camp at night time, the sirens will go off and we would hide into the bunkers. I came to USA for higher education. Now I am here is California for the past 40 years. I do have plans of visiting Yol Camp during my next trip to India.

  15. I lived in Yol Camp from 1957-1960. It is often confused for Dharamsala as has been done by the original author of the article that started this discussion. The Dalai Lama lives in Dharamsala. Yol was an army base when I lived there. As some others that have posted here. my father was an army Major and we lived near the bridge at the base of Yol Camp. The army school was at a bit higher location about 2 miles from where we lived and an army truck picked up all the kids that went to the army school aluded to by an anonymous write above.
    Yol was a beautiful place and I remember roaming the hilss with my air gun and going fishing in the river nearby.
    If anyone wants to contact me I can be reached at

  16. I would like to contact the person who lived in yol camp in 1960 and worked in army officers children school. I also worked in that school in 1960. I do not know how to contact you. At that time there was a female head teacher a male teacher and two other female teachers. I enjoyed living there

  17. actually I worked in the school of army officers children in 1961 – 62 The school was closed and we had to leave

  18. Hi Darshan.can you mention the name of that river

  19. To the person posting anonymous messages here my email is you can write to me anytime. The male teacher in the army children’s school was Mr. Lal and the two female teachers were Mrs Dhir and Ms khan. I later ran into both of them in Amritsar at St Francis High.
    I met the Dalai Lama wh en he had just come from Tibet and he was being protected by the army. A bunch army families went to see him in a temple. He was very young. Maybe 16 or 17 years old
    Please feel free to contact me. I live in California, USA now.

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