Location: Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh
Weather: Pleasant during summers and chilly during winters.
Places to See: Moti Tibba, Bakrota Hills, Kalatop and many more.
Best Time to Visit: All round the year; peak season from April to September.
At an elevation of 1,970 metres above sea level, Dalhousie is a picturesque hill station in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh, India. Dalhousie is located on the western edge of the Dhauladhar range. It is actually sited on and around five hills, namely Kathalagh, Potreyn, Terah, Bakrota and Bhangora. With the river Ravi flowing at the base of the town, this quaint hill retreat is a lovely place to rewind, where you can enjoy the views of mountains dotted with fragrant pines, oaks, rhododendron and oaks. It also offers the panoramic view of the majestic Pir Panjal mountain range located in Jammu and Kashmir, Sach Pass, and Chamba’s Pangi Valley.
Dalhousie is named after its founder Lord Dalhousie, the then British Governor-General in India. Encircled by snow-clad peaks, this beautiful hill station was established in 1854 by the British Empire’s government in India as a summer retreat for its officials. The British influence can be seen here in the churches and mansions that boast of Victorian and Scottish architecture.
As far as climatic conditions are concerned, Dalhousie has a humid sub-tropical climate marked by torrential showers. Summers are quite pleasant and mild where the minimum temperature reaches 13°C while the maximum temperature rises up to 37°C. Winters, here, are cold with the temperature dropping to freezing point. The ideal time to visit Dalhousie is during the summer season which extends from April till September.
The beauty of Dalhousie has attracted people from far and near ever since its establishment. Dalhousie has got three malls (circular roads with most of the activities) on three hills, Moti Tibba, Potreyn and Bakrota. Laid in early 1860s, these are narrow roads are still the lifeline of the town. The major tourist places are Catholic Church of St. Frances, Subhash Chowk, Gandhi Chowk, the Sacred Heart School, and St. John’s Church. The G.P.O is a well-known place among tourists, who come here to shop and eat street food. There is a Tibetan market too where you can shop for goodies. Subhash Baoli is another famous attraction, named after the great freedom fighter – Subhash Chandra Bose. It’s a natural spring having medicinal properties.
Established in the 18th century, Rang Mahal is an interesting place to visit in Dalhousie. This magnificent palace was built by Raja Umed Singh in Surara Mohalla, and used to be the residence for the royal family. Its architecture is inspired by both Mughal and British styles. As of now, it is controlled by the State Government’s Handicraft Department.
Dalhousie also offers some great places to see around. Lohali village, Kalatop, Dainkund Peak, Bakrota hills, Panch Pula, and obviously, Khajjiar, make great places to explore near Dalhousie. Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is a major attraction set amidst thick Deodar forests. It is home to around 15 villages and includes the famous places like Lakarmandi, Dain Kund, Kalatop, Bara Pathar and Khajjiar. With amazing flora and fauna, this sanctuary is the favorite destination for travelers seeking respite in the nature.
Dainkund, at an altitude of 2755 meters, is one of the highest peaks and offers amazing view of the valley and the Dhauladhar mountain range. Here, you can also pay a visit to the famous temple dedicated to Pholani Devi. Another major attraction is Khajjiar, which is also known as Mini Switzerland of India. It’s a beautiful place marked by a small lake. Moti Tibba is a beautiful hilltop which is apt for nature lovers and photographers. Panch Pula is another popular spot known for its gushing streams and waterfalls, located about 3kms from Dalhousie. This place is best visited during monsoons as its pools get full of water. It also serves as a base camp for several treks to nearby places.
While going to Panch Pula, on the way, you will find a natural spring called Satdhara. Its water is said to have healing properties that help in curing skin problems. Bakrota Hills, situated just 5 km away from Dalhousie, is another beautiful place known for its beauty and the famous mall road. Situated in Ahla village, Bara Pathar is another popular attraction known for a temple dedicated to Bhulwani Mata. It is a great place for hikers and trekkers.
Accommodation – Hotels/Resorts in Dalhousie
Since tourism is the major economic factor, Dalhousie has a number of hotels and resorts to serve the tourists. From the budget ones to high-end properties, here you will find one to match your taste and pocket. In fact, Dalhousie also has a lot of good restaurants where you can savor all sorts of delicacies. Most of them are located at Subhash Chowk and Gandhi Chowk.
How to Reach Dalhousie
Pathankot Airport is the nearest airport located about 75kms from Dalhousie. However, this airport has hardly any regular flights to and from Delhi. The other closest airport is Gaggal Airport at Kangra, 140 kms away from Dalhousie. One can easily get taxis from both the airports to reach Dalhousie.
Pathankot Railway Station (80 kms) is the closest railhead which is well-connected via regular trains from many cities and towns of the adjoining states. One can take buses which ply regularly between Pathankot and Dalhousie. For people who seek comfort and privacy, opt to hire taxis which are easily available.
Pathankot Bus Terminal is the nearest major bus terminal about 80kms from Dalhousie. Regular bus services are available from major cities and towns of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. Or else, taxis can always be hired to reach here.