Thursday, March 12, 2009


A walk in Eden

Carpeted on the crest of five hills on the western edge of the Dhauladhar Range is gift from the once Governor General Lord Dalhousie to the State of Himachal Pradesh. And what a gift at 6678 ft! Unlike the Shimlas and Darjeelings, Dalhousie still maintains to give her visitors that cloistered and cut-off-from-the-world impression, for that complete weekend rejuvenation. Very British in look and feel, Dalhousie is as small as your legs can encompass and as vast as your eyes can sweep. Trek the forests, pray in its churches, dance under its waterfalls, discover little villages, snooze under the blue sky, write a poem or propose marriage to your beloved, this piece of Eden is just perfect to unwind the bohemian in all of us. The greatest activity in Dalhousie is on and around the three level Malls which were laid in the early 1860s for promenades, carriages, horses, dandies, etc. these roads and the steeper by-lanes which connect them to the bus-stand are still the arteries of the town.


Walk as far as legs can take : The five quaint towns, etched at an elevation of 5,000 feet to 7,800 feet, are as interesting as their tongue twisting names (Kathloang, Tehra, Bakrota, Potreyn and Balun). The five stately churches (the main being Catholic Church Of St. Francis at Mall road end), the Thandi and Garam sadaks (roads), the Mall road, Gandhi Chowks and Subhash Chowks are best explored on foot.

Woodlands beckon : Drive or trek up the winding 10-km, cedar forested route to the hilltop Kala-Tope from where you can have that hallucinating view of Pir Panjal mountains. On the way, set amidst thick forest is the small temple of Bhulwani Mata, in the village of Ahla. A fair is celebrated in July to venerate the goddess.

Little Tibet : Just 3 km off Gandhi Chowk is Himachal’s oldest Tibetan settlement, mostly visited for its handicrafts center from where you can pick varied Tibetan bric-a-brac as souvenirs.

Jandhri Ghat : Nearby Subhash Baoli is the elegant Chamba palace fringed by tall pine trees, with tiny streamlets gushing by. Go there if you have a whole day to spend picnicking.

Satdhara : As you head to Panjpulla, at an altitude of 2,036m. (6,678 ft), the sound of gurgling streams amidst that beatific locale will freeze you on your tracks. The waters of the seven tiny streams here is lored to have great therapeutic value. And you are done early, you can try the 2.5 km trek by the stream to Alah Water Reservoir on Bakrota Hill and then walk back to town.

Chamera Dam : At Banikhet is the once British race-course and some 8-km away is the Chamera Dam, locally nicknamed Bhadrakali Lake, with its rock-littered slope called Devi Dehra. Picnic here and head for Chamba.

Dainkund (at 2745m): About 10 km from the town, this tall peak affords a sweeping view of the hills, valleys and the river Beas, Ravi and the Chenab threading their silvery way down to the plains.


Dalhousie shopping will consist of Tibetan curios, unless you explore and discover something totally out-of-place and unique. The town has so many undiscovered corners that chances are your hunt will be successful. For Buddhist paintings, woolens, trinkets, variety of copper and silver diyas, try the Tibetan Market at Gandhi Chowk. The Himachal Handloom Crafts Center on Potreyn Road has wonderful Chamba and Kullu shawls. For antiques, look for DC Khanna store on the Potreyn Loop. Tibetan Handicraft Center has excellent carpets that can be bought at reasonable rates.


For elaborate meals, your Hotel restaurants are the best bet. For quick bites, you can try the roadside dhabas that you will find in plenty at Dalhousie, especially about Gandhi Chowk or the Bus Stand. Amritsari, Sharma’s Dhaba, Sher-e-Punjab and the Royal Dhaba (on Court Road) are definitely worth checking out. Restaurant Preet Palace on Subhash Chowk offers Mughlai, Kashmiri and Chinese cuisine at reasonable prices. Moti Mahal, New Metro and Lovely are some of the other restaurants you could try. Kwality Restaurant on Gandhi Chowk is very popular too while Snow Lion near the bus stand does good Tibetan food.

Though seemingly tucked away from the tourist humdrum, Dalhousie has been an old-time tourist favorite. Some of the distinguished personalities like Ravinder Nath Tagore, Subhash chander Bose and Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru visited Dalhousie in their formative period to immerse themselves in the leisurely quiet of this hill station and came back rejuvenated.

Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru (former Indian PM) on Dalhousie: “One of the finest hill station...It is not flashy...and there are few amusements… for my part, I would rather go to Dalhousie than almost any hill station in India, Kashmir apart…”.

As Shimla finds its focus in the mall, in Dalhousie action gravitates in the evening to the G.P.O. which presents a riot of colors and activity.


Khajjiar (27 km): At 6,430 ft is this once saucer-shaped British golf-course, whose golden-domed temple dedicated to Khajinag, attracts neighboring believers. Go there for horse-rides, day-treks to Dharamshala, and overnight at the HPTDC cottages.

Location :
In Himachal Pradesh, between Dhauladhar & Pirpanjal range

Go there for :
Languid strolls, Nature at its best

Altitude :
6678 ft

Climate :
Upto 30°C (Sum); upto 0°C (Win)

When to Go:
Best all round the year


STD Code :
+91 - 1899

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