Location: Kangra valley in Himachal Pradesh
Weather: Pleasant all round the year.
Places to See: Tea gardens, Baijnath Temple, Tashi Jong Monastery, etc.
Best Time to Visit: February to June
Palampur is an enchanting hill station that boasts of lush green tea gardens, pine forests, gurgling streams with the majestic Dhauladhar Range in the backdrop, in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India. The word Palampur is derived from a local word ‘palum’ which means abundance of water; a number of streams originating from the mountains can be found here. And the proximity of greenery, water and the mountains renders this place a charismatic aura which is worth experiencing.
Also known as the ‘Tea Capital of North India’, Palampur was once a part of the Jalandhar kingdom. This beautiful hill station came into being when Dr. Jameson, Superintendent of Botanical Gardens, cultivated the tea bush from Almora in 1849. And since then, the Kangra tea of Palampur is known worldwide. Apart from its mesmerizing surroundings and tea estates, Palampur is also famous for its ancient temples and Victorian-style buildings.
Climate in Palampur
At an altitude of 1,470 meters above sea level, Palampur has a humid subtropical climate with influence of monsoons. Summers here extend from April till June, where the temperature hovers between 8°C and 30°C. During daytime, the sun is quite bright making it quite hot. Otherwise, early mornings and evenings are pleasantly cold. Late summers receive a hefty amount of rainfall. Though the official monsoon season starts from July and prevails till October. Winters here are considered between the months of November and February, where temperature ranges from 10°C to sub-zero levels. Palampur can be visited all round the year, but the best time to visit is in the months of February and March when it’s all colorful and vibrant.
Tourist Attractions in Palampur
Palampur is, undoubtedly, a beautiful place that is apt to calm down away from the commotion of cities. About 2 kms from the main town, Neugal stream is a thin stream running over stony ground far below the cliff. On its banks, there is a popular café called Neugal Café. From here, one can have a panoramic view of the Dhauladhar Mountains. You can also visit Mata Bandla Devi temple which is just 1.5 kms from Neugal Café. Tashi Jong Monastery is another attraction that is not just a religious centre for Buddhists, but also home to many Tibetan refugees.
Saurabh Van Vihar is a nice recreational park to spend some relaxing time amidst lush greens and water bodies while enjoying the spectacular view of the mountains. Located at the top of Chandpur village, Devi Latti Jakhnis Temple is a place to feel the divinity and beauty of the Dhauladhars. From here, you can trek to Birni Devi Temple trailing through thick oak and rhododendron forests. At an elevation of 2,170 meters, Birni Mata Temple is located at the highest point – very close to the Dhauladhar Range.
Excursions from Palampur
Palampur serves as a base for many treks, mainly over the Dhauladhar Mountains towards the districts of Chamba and Kullu. Some major treks are over the Sanghar pass to Bharmaur via Holi, the Thamsar Pass from Billing to Manali via Bara Bhangal, over the Jalsu pass from Baijnath to Bharmaur, and the forest trek from Mcleodganj to Triund.
Bir and Billing, the renowned paragliding site in the country, is just 32kms from Palampur. Baijnath, built in the 12th century, is considered among the oldest temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is situated between Kangra and Mandi districts of Himachal Pradesh, and is an excellent example of craftsmanship. McLedodganj and Dharamshala are other well-known tourist places near Palampur.
Accommodation – Hotels/Resorts in Palampur
Though not much frequented by tourists, Palampur has a number of hotels and resorts that cater to almost all segments of travelers. You can also find many restaurants and eateries apart from the hotels that serve pretty good food. Palampur has a few shopping malls as well where you can find popular food joints, branded retail outlets and engage in some recreational activities.
How to Reach Palampur
Kangra Airport at Gaggal is the nearest airport, situated at a distance of 25 kms from Palampur. This airport is connected to Delhi via flights. The second nearest and major airport is Chandigarh International Airport, which is about 162kms from Palampur. You can board buses or hire taxis to reach Palampur.
Pathankot Railway Station is the nearest broad gauge railhead, about 120 kms from Palampur. It is well-connected to major towns and cities via regular trains. One can either board buses or hire taxis to reach Palampur.
Palampur is connected to all the major cities and towns of Himachal Pradesh. In fact, direct bus services are available from Dharamshala, Manali, Kangra, Chandigarh and Shimla for Palampur. Or else, private taxis matching your taste can be hired to reach the destination comfortably.