A beautiful hill station in Himachal Pradesh, Dalhousie was established in 1854 by the British government in India. Named after Lord Dalhousie, who was the British Viceroy in India in 19th century, it was a summer retreat for its troops and bureaucrats. Spread over 13 kms, Dalhousie is at an elevation of 2039 meters above sea level. The retreat has a fresh and peaceful atmosphere and healthy. Surrounded by thick forests of pine and deodar trees, Dalhousie is situated on the western edge of the Dhauladhar mountain range. There are many picnic spots here that enthrall people. The place is known for its beautiful scenery of snow-capped peaks.
Considered to be the gateway to the ancient Chamba Hill State, Dalhousie is situated in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradhesh. The longest running single dynasty ruled over this hill region since the middle of the 6th century, promoted and preserved the ancient Hindu culture, art, handicrafts and temples. The ancient capital of this kingdom is Bharmour, which is a home to Gujjar and Gaddi tribes. There are 84 ancient temples that were built from 7th - 10 th century AD.
You can reach Dalhousie using a combination of air, rail and road. The nearest airports are Jammu and Amritsar. Dalhousie is at a distance of 188 kms from these places. Pathankot is the nearest railway station. Dalhousie is well connected by road to many cities since it is on NH 33-35. Jammu & Kashmir State Transport buses are run from Pathankot, Jammu, Dharmasala and Shimla. Private buses are also operated by tourist operators.
Located between the Pir Panjal and the Great Himalayan ranges, is the Pangi Valley, which is very remote and difficult to access most of the year. Pangwal and Bhot tribes have made this valley their home. This mountain range serves as the origin of Ravi and Chenab ( Chandrabhaga) rivers and these rivers are nourished by the glaciers of these mountains.
While several hydroelectric projects and dams are being developed here, there are many national forest and wildlife sanctuaries like Kalatop-Kajiar. Mani Mahesh Temple and Lake are some pilgrimage centers that invite trekkers for its annual trekking event. There are many trekking routes over Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges, which are a challenge to professional trekkers.
Tourist season begins here from May and extends up to September. Summer is the right time to visit Dalhousie. The approaching road to Dalhousie may get damaged due to rains from the beginning of July to mid September. The panoramic view of the plains presented by the location of Dalhousie is enchanting.
You can see some beautiful Scottish and Victorian architecture in the bungalows and churches that were built by the British government. From this beautiful town, you can also view the spectacular snow-covered Dhauladhar range. The river Ravi flows with its twists and turns below Dalhousie like a long silver line.
Punjpula: Punj in Hindi means five and pul denotes a bridge. Streams flow under these five small bridges and the name Punjpula is derived from that. There is a monument built in the memory of Sardar Ajit Singh here.
Jandri Ghat: You can see the palace of the former ruler of Chamba here. A popular picnic spot, this place is surrounded by deodar and pine trees.
Dayan Kund: At a distance of 10 kms from Dalhousie, the three rivers, Vyas, Ravi, and Chenab meet at this place at a height of 2745 meters. From this peak, you can take a good view of all the three rivers.
Kalatop: A peaceful spot away from the busy city, this place is 8.5 kms from Dalhousie. There is a forest rest house here for accomodation. You can travel by bus to this place from Dalhousie.
Khajiar: Do not miss the vast green meadow 15 kms long and 1 km, 22 kms from Dalhousie. A golf course, Khajiar Lake, and the temple are other attractions. In this temple of a local deity, the upper part of the temple is molded in gold. There is a state run hotel for tourists. Khajiar is a place where you can spend two days, amidst serene and calm surroundings.
Satdhara: Seven streams, believed to have curative properties flow. Located on the Punjpula route, Satdhara is at 2036 meters above the sea level.
- Lakshminarayan Temple, Bhuri Singh Museum- a curator's pride and the vast Chamba Chaugan are some of the places of tourist attraction around Dalhousie. Famous for its size and greenery, Chamba Chugan offers itself as the venue for fairs and festivals in Dalhousie.
- St. Andrew's Church and St. Patrick's Church at Balun, St. Francis' Church at Subash Chowk and St. John's Church at Gandhi Chowk are the four beautiful churches in Dalhousie that one should not miss.
- Subhash Baoli is an enchanting spot surrounded by tall trees, where freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose spent quite a good time in contemplating and meditation in 1937.
- Kalatop: A wild life sanctuary here houses many wild animals like the Himalayan black bear.
- For people who love trekking, there are many trek routes like the Khajiar-Chamba triangle.
Tourist season at Dalhousie is from April to November. The temperature during summer ranges from 15 degrees C to 23 degrees C. Durin winter, the temperature can drop below freezing point. You may need light woolen and cotton clothing in summer and heavy woolen clothing during winter.
Shopping at Dalhousie is interesting. You can pick up Tibetan handicrafts like shawls, scarves, blankets and carpets from the market. Himachal Handicraft Emporium and The Craft Center at Gandhi Chowk are some places from where you can buy these mementos. Slippers, dry fruits and woodwork are also available here.
Thandi Sarak is a place where the Himachal Handloom Industry sells woolen shawls. One can procure Tibetan carpets made to order from The Tibetan Handicrafts Center. This showroom also sells bags, purses and many other art and craft items available only at this region.
There are many resorts and hotels in Dalhousie that offer excellent accommodation to the tourists. From standard rooms to super deluxe rooms and suites, there are many options available here. They provide you with enchanting scenario of the mountains and peaks.
Known as the pride of Himachal Pradesh, Dalhousie is much sought after hill station in India and honeymooners prefer this destination because of its enchanting snow-clad mountains. The charm of Dalhousie lies in its suave sophistication and the Old World elegance of the British era. It is worth to experience the hallowed past of the British era in this stately hill station called-Dalhousie.