Dalhousie is a small and sleepy hill town in the Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh in North India. Till a few years back it wasn’t as much popular with the tourists, but now it is amongst the well-known travel destinations in Himachal Pradesh. Situated at a height of 1970 m (6460 ft), it is spread across the outer slopes of Dhauladhar Range. The central part of the town peacefully gazes at the Pir Panjal Range, whose peaks are often blanketed with snow. In Dalhousie, you can just relax and breathe in the crisp mountain air. And if you are the active type, you can enjoy walking on the paths crisscrossing the shaded slopes of the town. There are many opportunities for short and long treks in the surrounding area. Also, there are several places worth exploring in the vicinity.
Attractions in and around Dalhousie:
Khajjiar, 23 km from Dalhousie, is a beautiful meadow ringed by the dense forests and backdropped by the majestic mountains. It was developed as a golf course by the British; today it is a favourite picnic spot for domestic tourists to Dalhousie. This makes it crowded and touristy. But walking away from the meadow would take you into the verdant forests where silence is only interrupted by the birdsongs. There is a shrinking lake right in the centre of the meadow which is called ‘Khajjiar Lake’. Khajjiar has received its name from the 12th century Khajjinag temple situated at the top of the meadow.
Travel Tip: If you have a plan to visit Chamba from Dalhousie, Khajjiar can be visited by stopping en route.
Click here to see the pictures of Khajjiar
Of all the attractions in Dalhousie, the short trek to Dainkund is the most beautiful. It is a short trek to the summit of a hill where there is a temple dedicated to a Goddess. Reaching to the top from the drop-off point hardly takes 30 minutes. There are only a few places where climbing on stone steps is required; rest of the trek is on a flat mud-path. The views you get of the surrounding slopes are as invigorating as the trek itself. Once you reach the summit, don’t miss to go to the backyard of the temple to catch a glimpse of the valley. There are a few shacks below the temple where you can get water, snacks and tea. Dainkund is situated at 9,038 feet and is the highest point in Dalhousie.
Click here to see the pictures of Dainkund Trek
Another picnic spot near Dalhousie, Kalatop is the peak of a hill. It is a part of the Kalatop-Khajjiar Wildlife Sanctuary. The darkness created by the surrounding thick woods have earned this name for the place. You can either drive up (INR 250 per car) or do a hike. The climb is not very steep and is pretty enjoyable. Traversing through the path overlooked by the tall trees, while listening to the chirping of birds, is a cherishable experience. Up at the summit, there is a rest house, a sprawling lawn, and walkways. There are also some stalls selling snacks and tea. Kalatop is flooded with locals as well as tourists in the weekends.
Click here to see the pictures of Kalatop
Satdhara is a place right in the town, where seven tiny streams converge. It is believed that these streams have medicinal properties. You can easily reach there by walking 1 km downhill from Gandhi Chowk.
This place is 1 km downhill from Satdhara. ‘Panchpulla’ means five bridges and that’s what the place has. There are five tiny bridges constructed over the streams. A memorial of Sardar Ajit Singh, who was a freedom fighter and uncle of Bhagat Singh, has been built here. There are two waterfalls near Panchpulla.
It is said that Subhash Chandra Bose had meditated here. This is a peaceful spot with a beautiful view of the mountains. The path from Gandhi Chowk to Subhash Baoli, 1.5 km, is one of the finest walks in Dalhousie. The path goes further to Jandri Ghat which has the palace of the former rulers. It is a private property and is out of bounds.
St. John’s Church
This is the oldest of all the five churches in Dalhousie. Located near GPO at Gandhi Chowk, this church was built in 1863. The 19th-century stained glass painting of Jesus in the church is flanked by the painting of St. John and St. Peter.
This dam is about 35 km away from Dalhousie. The lake created by this dam is gradually becoming a favourite amongst tourists. The location of the lake is scenic and boating facility is available. It is also known as Bhadra Kali Lake.
This small town was once a powerful Himalayan kingdom. Founded by Raja Sahil Varman in 920 CE, Chamba is one of those places which was never ever taken over by the Mughals. It remained independent until British took it over and made it a part of the Punjab Territory. This slow-paced town has some remains of the past which can be explored. Apart from the heritage, Chamba also offers a quiet holiday and a base to explore the surrounding places like Sahoo and Bharmour.
Kalatop Khajjiar Wildlife Sanctuary
Spread across 30.69 square km, this small sanctuary is home to black bear, leopard, barking deer, goral, langur and several avian species. A major part of the sanctuary is occupied by the deodar and fir forest. There are many trekking opportunities in the sanctuary.
The road to Sach Pass is considered to be one of the most dangerous roads in India. The entire path is unmetalled and is nothing more than a dirt track. To accomplish this drive you need somebody who is experienced in negotiating tough Himalayan Roads. It is about 175 km from Dalhousie, but given the poor condition of the path, lots of water crossings, and steep ascents, it can easily take 6-7 hours to reach there. So, plan to leave as early as possible from Dalhousie. While you’ll enjoy the drive, the destination is spellbinding with the land covered with sheets of snow.