One of the most pristine hill stations in the country, Dalhousie is a high altitude town spread across 5 hills in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Since its establishment by the British in 1854, it has been a popular summer retreat. Situated at an elevation of 1970 m, Dalhousie is a combination of colonial-era architecture and neatly planned streets. Set amidst the lush green surroundings and snow-capped Himalayan peaks, Dalhousie is a great escape for tourists fleeing the heat of the plains.
Summers are the best time to be at Dalhousie. Starting from early March, the pleasant weather lasts till the end of May. Dalhousie receives heavy rainfall during monsoon, owing to its altitude and sub-tropical climate. Although winter months are severely cold, visitors flock to experience snowfall during the months of December and January.
How to reach:
By air: Gaggal Airport, Kangra is the nearest airport to Dalhousie at a distance of 108 km. Regular flights from New Delhi are available to the airport. Amritsar International Airport is the other major airport nearby (205 km).
By rail: Pathankot Railway station is the nearest train station, which is 70 km from Dalhousie.
By road: Dalhousie is well connected by highways with the major cities and towns in the state. Regular government and private buses ply along the route.
Nicknamed as ‘Mini Switzerland of India’, Khajjiar is a tiny hamlet about 24 km from Dalhousie. Situated at an elevation of 2000 m, the beauty of Khajjiar lies in its rolling meadows, tall standing deodar trees, cascading rivers, and limitless brooks. Amidst grassy landscape and looming cedar trees, the serene Khajjiar Lake is a popular spot for picnics and hordes of adventurous activities like paragliding, zorbing and horse riding. On clearer days, visitors get a glimpse of Mount Kailash. Located near the lake, the 12th-century Khajji Nag Temple is considered one of the holiest shrine in Himachal Pradesh, attracting a lot of Hindu devotees. The terrain of Khajjiar is quite conducive for a great hike, making it a perfect place for adventure buffs.
Kalatop Wildlife Reserve
Once a gaming reserve for the rulers of Chamba, Kalatop Wildlife Reserve is situated on the slopes between Dalhousie and Khajjiar. Kalatop meaning ‘black cap’, derives its name from the thick black forest cover on the highest hilltop in the sanctuary. Deep deodar foliage, snowcapped mountains, carpets of verdant grasslands, a plethora of wildlife, and streams of fresh water briefly describes the enchanting vistas of the sanctuary.
Home to a variety of deer, bears, Himalayan black marten, leopards, barking goral, jackals, langur, and several bird species, it is a haven for wildlife fanatics. With abundant of trekking and hiking trails, it offers a pristine and mesmerizing experience walking through the woods. The serene landscape will leave visitors with a sense of astonishment and wonder.
At an elevation of 2755 m, Dainkund is the highest peak in the region. It offers a spectacular sweeping view of the surrounding tranquil mountains and the old-styled mud houses of neighboring villages. The sound of cool breeze gushing past the trees produces a musical hum, giving it the name ‘singing hills’. Receiving heavy snowfall during winter, Dainkund gets painted in all white. The sight of Khajjiar Lake from the peak is a delight to the eyes.
The tall and beautiful Deodar trees, colorful flowers, green valleys, and calm forests make it a popular destination for visitors seeking tranquility and solitude. Although the peak is accessible by a motorable road, adventurers choose to trek up the hills enjoying the astonishing views of the snow-capped Dhauladhar mountains. Phaloni Devi temple is another major attraction in the area. An Indian Air Force base is also located at a little distance from the temple.
Formed by the confluence of seven sparkling springs, Satdhara Falls cascades amidst tall Deodar and Pine trees. Gushing through the mountain cliffs, it is believed to have medicinal properties as it assimilates mica on the way down. Mica, locally called ‘Gandhak’, has therapeutic properties and helps in healing several ailments and diseases. The crystal-clear water allures visitors to take a dip, which is quite refreshing and rejuvenating. During monsoon, Satdhara Falls exposes its total beauty. Panch Pula, a popular picnic spot, is nearby the falls. Visitors often combine a trip to both places at one go.
Camping in Dalhousie
Camping in Dalhousie is one of the best ways to experience adventure in the lap of nature. Amidst the thick deodar woods and surrounded by the mighty Dhauladhar mountain range, camping in Dalhousie gives a sense of utter joy as the night sets in and gets enchanting. After a daylong tour of the town, or returning from a long trek to the peak, visitors indulge in hill camping, riverside camping, nature camping or mountain camping.