Himalayan towns and hamlets make some amazing places for vacations in India. Dalhousie, in Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh, is one of those popular destinations which can be visited during any time of the year, the freezing winter converting the place into a lovely snow resort. With the snow-covered Dhauladhar range at the backdrop and the five hills of Dalhousie – Bakrota, Terah, Bhangora, Kathalagh, and Potreyn, there are several scenic places to visit in Dalhousie.
In 1854, Dalhousie, situated 6463 feet above sea level, received its name after Lord Dalhousie, the Viceroy of India, and became a popular summer retreat for the British troops. As we get to know about the places to visit in Dalhousie we will see that the old world imperial charm still coexists with the culture and heritage of the place.
Gandhi Chowk, the heart of the town is a square with Mahatma Gandhi’s statue. It offers a beautiful view of the Dhauladhar range. The age-old tranquil St. John’s Church stands at the busy Chowk, bustling with tourists roaming about, clicking photographs with fluffy angora rabbits, eating street side local delicacies and bargaining at the Tibetan market. Besides street food, there are numerous cafes and fine dining here. The food at ‘Kwality Restaurant’ and ‘Hotel Mongas’ is finger-licking good. ‘Café Dalhousie’, a very eye-catching pretty restaurant, is an old and popular restaurant here, however, the service and the quality of food is not up to the mark.
From Gandhi Chowk one can climb a bit to Moti Tibba, a cliff surrounded by pines, firs, deodars, and oaks, providing amazing views of the snow-capped Himalayan ranges. Soaking into the beauty of this place is a perfect way to rejuvenate the tired urban soul.
Rang Mahal is a red iconic palace, an amalgam of British and Mughal architecture, adorned with Kangra and Punjab hill style paintings narrating stories of Lord Krishna. The monument is converted into an emporium with workshops and handicraft shops. It is closed on Sundays.
Subhash Baoli, is another popular spot among the places to visit in Dalhousie. This is a picturesque tranquil spot meant to pay homage to the great freedom fighter, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who visited and stayed at Dalhousie for few months in 1937. The chirping sounds of the birds and the sounds of the mountain streams flowing are amazingly heartwarming.
Garam Sadak is the picturesque road, lined with deodars, leading to Subhash Chowk from Gandhi Chowk. It is meant only for pedestrians. ‘A walk to remember’, is what you can do here. Subhash Chowk has a statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and offers a good view. ‘Himachali Kitchen’ is popular fine dining at Subhash Chowk.
Panchpula and Satdhara falls
Panchpula and Satdhara falls are amongst the most popular places to see in Dalhousie. Panchpula has little bridges across the flowing waterfall and stream. It’s a picnic spot where tourists enjoy zip lines and walking over hanging rope bridges.
Ganji Pahari, a treeless hilltop, provides an excellent day trek option. There are mud houses on top and the trek ensures breathtaking views.
Khajjiar, India’s Mini Switzerland, 25kms from Dalhousie, tops the chart of places to visit in Dalhousie. Khajjiar’s lush green rolling meadows, the lake, and the age-old Khajjinag temple are the most visited tourist spots. The vast fields enable horse riding, zorbing, and paragliding. Staying overnight is definitely suggested. The drive to Khajjiar from Dalhousie is one of the most picturesque drives with mesmerizing views of the glistening Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges. The Dalhousie Public School by the side of the road is a monument to behold.
Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary
Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary, 15kms away from Dalhousie town, is the sanctuary with a few old imperial bungalows as forest rest houses, inside the forest of deodars, oaks, blue pines, and firs. On the way to Kalatop, stop at Bara Pather, dedicated to the temple of Bhulwani Mata, set amidst the pristine surroundings of Chamba Valley, set against the snow-clad Himalayan peaks. This is the foothill of Dainkund. Dainkund Peak is a popular trek destination.
Chamera Lake is one of the most picturesque places to visit in Dalhousie. The bird’s eye view from the top, before driving down to the lake, is an extremely pleasant sight. The pristine blue waters of the lake surrounded by hills appear heavenly. Boating, kayaking, and fishing are popular activities at the lake. The lake is the reservoir of the Chamera dam on the Ravi River. Near the lake stands the Bhalei Mata Temple on a hilltop. The panoramic view of the lake from the temple is beyond comparison.
Chamba town is a busy town with numerous palaces and temples. The Bhuri Singh Museum and the 10th century Lakshmi Narayan Temple complex with many temples with iconic statues of Garuda and Nandi are the most popular spots. Some other spots in Chamba are the Chamba Palace, Akhand Chandi Palace, Hariraya Temple and the Church of Scotland. Chamba is famous for honey, walnuts, pomegranates and Chamba rumals (colorful stories hand-embroidered on handkerchiefs).