Dalhousie is a quiet, little hill station that provides a sense of peace and tranquility among its visitors. It is spread over five hills at the western edge of the Dhauladhar range of mountains; namely, Kathlog, Balun, Potreyn, Tehra and Bakrots. Dalhousie, with its beautiful buildings and low roofed stalls presents a wonderful image of the architecture of the colonial era. It provides the visitor some of the most enchanting views, with pine-covered slopes and some short paths which are ideal for walks.
Dalhousie is also known as the gateway to the Chamba Valley of Himachal Pradesh. It was established in the year 1854 by the then British Governor General, Lord Dalhousie. The hill station is spread over 14 sq.kms. and is surrounded by some of the most exquisitely designed British architecture. It provides a panoramic view of the plains down below as well as the snow capped mountains surrounding it. But don't be mistaken that the quiet, little town of Dalhousie is only known for its architectural beauty; it is also known for its natural splendor as well.
Dalhousie has many places that are visited by tourists from all over the country. Some important tourist destinations include the Bakrota Hills, the St. Francis Church, Khajjar, Dainkund, etc. It is an ideal destination to get away from the regular hustle bustle of the city life. Dalhousie is located at 6000- 9000 feet above sea level and has a wonderful and serene atmosphere where one can find total peace of mind, soul and body.
Places to See in Dalhousie
Every hill station seems to have a mall, but the mall of Dalhousie is surely different from all of those. The Mall here connects two of the main points of the town - the Gandhi Chowk which was earlier known as Post Office Square and the Subhash Chowk, which was known as Charing Cross. One thing to note is that the Mall at Dalhousie is not a straight, long stretch like those at Shimla or Kasauli. It is rather two roads, which are twisted together and forms a figure of '8'. These two roads are the Garam Chowk (Hot Road) and the Thanda Sadak (Cold Road).
Now, these names might sound funny at first, but these are named logically. The first one, Garam Chowk is called so because it receives a lot of sunshine while Thanda Sadak does not receive sunshine, and hence is named so. Also, Garam Sadak is the higher of the two and is meant for pedestrians only. There are various signs which tell the motorists that walking, not driving is a fashion in the hills.
As bright as the Garam Sadak might be during the day time, one needs to be cautious during the night because it is poorly illuminated. The visitors visiting the place after sunset must make it a point to carry flashlights with them.
The Shopping Hubs
Most shops located at Dalhousie are situated at the Gandhi Chowk, which is about a 15 minute walk from the main bus stand of the city. There are many Tibetan items that are available here at very good prices. One can find abundant Tibetan items, like handicrafts, jackets, cardigans, rugs, carpets and jewellery in these markets. But, a couple of good places to visit if one is interested in buying handicrafts is the Tibetan Handicrafts Centre, located at Gandhi Chowk, or the Himachal Handicrafts Emporium.
Located at an altitude of 8,000 feet above sea level, Kalatope is a wildlife sanctuary, about 10kms. from Dalhousie. It has many species of animals, which include the ghoral, barking deer and the Himalayan black bear as well. Not only animals, the sanctuary also has many species of flora as well.
Daikund is a tall peak that is situated 10 kms. from the main city of Dalhousie. It offers a bird's eye view of the whole town of Dalhousie, the valleys and even the River Beas and Chenab, as they make their way down to the plains.
Another important place to visit around Dalhousie is Khajjar. It acts as one of the most favorite tourist get-aways. It is a beautiful meadow, and is shaped like a saucer, surrounded by pine trees all around. There is also a 12th century temple of Khajjinag located here. A picturesque place, it also has an emerald, a wonderful golf course, a forest resthouse and some magnificent deodar forests. There is a lake here, which has a floating island in the centre.
Churches and Temples
There are quite a few churches and temples located at Dalhousie. It has places of worship for many religions - Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu. However, the most important attractions of Dalhousie are its two churches: the St. Francis Catholic Church, located at Subhash Chowk and the St. John's Church which is situated at the Gandhi Chowk. Both these churches are beautifully designed structures, located amidst beautiful green surrounding.
One can also find many brightly painted pictures of some Tibetan deities, like Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) and Avalokiteshwara (Chenresig) down the Library road. Another important attraction is the rock painting of the Goddess Tara Devi, located close to Gandhi Chowk. To honor the painting, a small shrine has been constructed at this place.
Satdhara, which is located near Dalhousie, is known for its medicinal properties. Satdhara, literally means seven springs, and these springs are rich in mica and other various minerals. Just beyond Satdhara, is Panjpulla, which is another pretty spot where visitors can spend some quiet moments. Panjpulla means five bridges.
Bakrota Hill is the place which houses 'Snowden' - a house where Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel Prize winning poet is said to have composed a part of his poem, Gitanjali.
Dalhousie is visited by quite a number of tourists every year, and there are a number of hotels in Dalhousie to cater to the needs of the visitors. The heritage hotels in Dalhousie, like the Grand View Hotel and the Silverton Estate makes the stay of the visitors an absolute pleasure. The various 3-star hotels in Dalhousie, like the Alps Resort, Hotel Dalhousie Heights, Hotel Mount View, etc. make your stay a wonderful experience.
Not to forget the budget travelers, hotels like the Hotel Ark, Hotel Kings, Hotel Manimahesh, etc. provide very good options.
How to Reach Dalhousie
Taking a flight to Dalhousie is probably the most convenient and the most comfortable way to travel. The nearest airport is located in the Gaggal area which is in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. It is located at a distance of about 135 kms. from Dalhousie. From Gaggal, tourists can take cabs or buses that ply to Dalhousie at regular intervals.
Traveling to Dalhousie by train is a cost effective way of traveling. Pathankot, which is located in Punjab acts as the main entrance point from where Dalhousie can be reached very easily. Pathankot is located just 80 kms. from Dalhousie, and hence it also is one of the main railway stations.
It also has direct trains to big cities of India, like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, etc. Because of its close proximity to Dalhousie, a train from Pathankot is perhaps the easiest way to reach Dalhousie.
Dalhousie boasts of a very good road infrastructure and is connected to many cities as well. There are several places from where Dalhousie can be reached through the road. There are many important places which have direct road links to Dalhousie; these places include Jalandhar, Dharamshala, Chamba, Amritsar, Katra, Delhi, Shimla, Manali, etc.
From Delhi, Dalhousie is about 560 kms away. One can hire taxi cabs or take the luxury buses to reach Dalhousie.