Top 12 places of Dalhousie & nearby:
Dalhousie, nature’s abode, is situated in Chamba District, amidst colorful flowers, lined up green Cedar and Deodar trees on the Dhauladhar range of Himalayas. Natural beauty, crystalline rivers, snow clad mountains, cool breezes and rich flora, fauna will mesmerize you.
Visit prominent and unique places of colonial structures like Churches and Mall Road area. Enjoy nature’s charm at Subhas Baoli, Satdhara waterfall, Panjpula, life time experience of boating in Chamera Dam Reservoir. Do hiking in Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary, and try an easy trek with family at Dainkund Peak. Experience paragliding, Zorbing, horse riding and picnic at Switzerland of India i.e. Khajjiyar, (pretending it is in winters).
How to reach Dalhousie:
Dalhousie is about 600 Km from New Delhi, 200 KM from Amritsar and 315 Km from Chandigarh. If you want to visit from Shimla it is 325 Km, 120 Km from Dharamshala and 86 Km from Pathankot.
Nearest Airport: Pathankot is the nearest airport at a distance of 85 KM having very limited service from Delhi. The other options are Gaggal Airport near Dharamshala is 140 KM and Amritsar is 200 KM from Dalhousie.
Railway Station is at Pathankot (85 KM). Take taxi from the Railway Station which will drop you at Dalhousie in 2-2.5 hours.
Bus: You can also reach to Dalhousie through overnight Deluxe, Semi-Sleeper, Luxury and Volvo Buses from ISBT, Delhi. Himachal Road Transport Corporation’s buses are also available from Himachal Bhawan, New Delhi.
Road Journey to Dalhousie by own car:
You can also plan your journey by Road either in rented/ hired taxi or through self driving own car. If you love & confident in long drives especially in high mountains or hills, then you love this journey.
I took a road journey with family to Dalhousie, Khajjiyar, Diankund Trek, Chamera Lake, Mcleod Ganj, Triund Trek in May, 2017. It was my 3rd or 4th self driving visit on the Hills of the Himachal Pradesh. Moreover, I love long drives whether it is in plane areas or in hilly region, it doesn’t bother me.
Day 1: From Home (Vaishali, Ghaziabad) to Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh:
We started our journey at 06.00 in the morning from Vaishali, Ghaziabad via Delhi because at that time Eastern Peripheral Expressway was not there. I packed a lot of eatables for our first 500 plus Km road journey by car. We crossed Ambala around 11.00 AM where the roads for Chandigarh, Shimla, Manali goes in different directions.
Break in journey:
I top up my Petrol tank in between Ambala and Jalandhar but due to some fuel pump snag we had to visit a Hyundai Service Centre for two hours. We utilized our time in having lunch and moved further. Took a half hour short break before Pathankot and further moved ahead and turned my car on the Dalhousie Road after tall standing Shiv Murti just before the Pathankot.
Climbing on Hills:
As soon as, the climbing on hills starts, the speed of the car gradually slows down to 30-40 KM/hour. Driving on the hills is quiet challenging because you never know who is coming behind from which bend. So, car should be in your control, speed should be in accordance with the upward or downward slops, use clutch only when required, never cross your lane, blow horn at bends, overtake only when the other vehicle permits to do so else keep calm and drive slowly.
The beauty of the hills and landscapes of snow-clad mountains put a halt on my journey for 15 minutes. We reached our Hotel Geetanjali, Dalhousie at around 06.30 PM. This hotel is owned and maintained by HPTDC. Though the building gives feel like Heritage Building, but it was renovated in 2015. Rooms are very big and spacious.
I preferred this Hotel because of two reasons: (1) It has own Parking; and (2) It is very near to Gandhi Chowk and Mall Road, so you can enjoy your evening with great pleasure and shopping etc.
Day 2: Visit to Khajjiyar and Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary:
Khajjiyar is about 22 Km from Dalhousie and took an hour to reach there. It is considered as ‘Switzerland of India’ but in the months of April to June, you will certainly miss the ‘Switzerland’ but even then it is very beautiful place having a very big lush green ground where so many adventure activities are happening throughout the day. Enjoy picnic, Zorbing, Horse riding, Paragliding etc. and took a round of the beautiful green ground.
The Khajjiyar Lake:
The Khajjiyar lake is in the same ground which shrank upto about 30% during my two visits in a span of 10 years. If the Local Authorities or concerned authorities don’t pay attention towards it, it will be vanished forever. You can spend a lot of time in various activities Some restaurants are also available.
Suggestion 1: Double check your gears, if you are going for paragliding even for parachute gliding which is done at corner of the main field.
Suggestion 2: Try to reach the Khajjiyar early else you may stuck-up into traffic jam and you have to park your vehicle far from the ground.
Visit Kalatop wildlife Sanctuary after that which is very near to Khajjiyar. Hiking in Kalatop forest takes almost 2-3 hours with a tourist guide. Enjoy the nature at its best and take a close look of snow clad mountains from there.
Day-3: Visit to Satdhara Waterfall, Panjpula and Chamera Lake.
Visit to Satdhara Waterfall and Panjpulla. When I visited in the month of May, the waterfall almost dried up and only just few water strings were running. Here, you can take some snaps on the boulders of the waterfall trail or Panjpula which will be nice one. The other attraction is kids play area which is good for them. You can see a bust of Late Shri Ajit Singh, the uncle of Saheed Bhagat Singh.
Chamera Dam Reservoir:
After that move towards Chamera Lake which is about 36 Km from Panjpula. Chamera lake is basically a Chamera Dam Reservoir where boating is permissible. You can also take ride on speed boats. Some eating points are also there, so you can enjoy a lot.
The same roads leads to Sach Pass which is almost 114 Km from the Chamera Lake. If you don’t want to waste your time at Satdhara waterfall and Panjpulla, then you can include Sach Pass in your itinerary for the day apart from the boating at Chamera Dam Reservoir.
Day-4: Dalhousie to Mcleodganj (Dharamshala) via Dainkund Peak Trek:
Check out early and move directly to Diankund Peak Trek which is about 12 Km from the Dalhousie. Park your vehicle near the protected area because no civilians are allowed to go further.
Start an easy trek, if it’s your first trek they you love it or if you have trekked before this then it may not much fascinate you but you will definitely like it. Be ready for clouds, which will come at any time and engulfed you within it. You will like the narrow paths where you can see deep valleys on both sides. Trek to a local deity Pohlani Mata Temple can be completed in 2-3 hours, both ways, while spending a lot of time in photography.
From Dainkund Peak Trek to Mcleodganj:
After trekking start your journey to the Mcleodganj but you have to face traffic problems/ traffic jam at the Khajjiyar. I was stuck up for two hours then again stuck for half an hour due to repairing of a road which was damaged by landslides. Somehow, I reached the Mcleodganj around 09.30 pm. So, manage your time properly having insight of my above experience.
My HPTDC hotel was just in the main Market with plenty of Parking space (parking was one of my main concern). The main attractions i.e. Bhagsunag Temple, Bhagsunag Waterfall and the main temple of Dalai Lama were on walking distance from the Hotel.
Day 5: Bhagsunag Temple, Waterfall and the main temple of Dalai Lama and visit to Palampur or Bir Billing.
Pay a visit to the main temple of the Dalai Lama which is one of the main attractions of the Mcleod Ganj.
Visit nearby Bhagsunag Temple and Bhagsunag Waterfall, which is about one and half KM from the Temple.
You can take a short Trip to Bir Billing, Himachal Pradesh which is 70 km from Mcleodganj. These villages are known for the Paragliding. It is done with an experienced pilot who controls the glider from take off point i.e. Billing (Altitude 2430 m from sea level) to landing point Bir (Altitude 1350 m), the tourist experience and enjoys the flight of 20 to 30 minutes. Or you can visit 42 Km away Palampur which is known for its beauty, ecological parks and Tea gardens etc.
Day 6: Triund Peak Trek
Enjoy a beautiful full day trek to Triund peak. You have following options:
(i) Come back on the same day?
(ii) Stay in camps at the top of the triund peak?
(iii) Explore places like Kareri Lake, Lhasa Caves and Indrahar Pass etc.
The trek is for all age groups as it is considered as easy to moderate and quite popular among first-time trekkers. The total trek is 9 Km from main square of Mcleodganj which will be covered in 5+ hours, one side. It is for those who want to stay there in camps or go beyond the Triund Peak. So, if you want to do so, kindly book the entire trek package in advance.
If you want to come back on the same day then start early. First, you go to the Dharamkot Village or Gallu Devi Temple by taxi or your car. Park your car because plenty of parking is available there.
Trek from Gallu Devi Temple to Triund Peak Top:
From here, the trek takes a 6.5 km walk in 4 hours to reach the top of Triund hill passing through the rhododendron forests with clear views of the lush Kangra valley and Dhauladhar range. The views from the top are breathtaking and hence, some trekkers prefer to stay overnight in Triund top.
Even though the trek is considered as easy to moderate but the fact is that the trail is not smooth to walk properly all the way, you have to climb on boulders too at some places. Some points are normal and some are very narrow. So keep in mind and enjoy the trek. I had completed this trek, on the same day, with my family while my daughter was just 9 years.
Tea Shop in the middle of the TREK:
There is a tea shop in the middle of the Trek where you can take tea, biscuits, bread, egg and Maggie etc. There are some shops at the top of the Triund Peak where you can take tea, Bread, Maggie and Rajma Chawal etc. The cost of the food items is more than the normal which is logical. Always carry water but you can also carry some packed food etc.