Hello friends ! I am back again after a long hiatus with JITC, which suffered a technical setback. But now we are back again with it and the Jewel that I have for you from the crown called India is Dalhousie ,up north in the lower Himalayas.
With the summer temperatures rising, I thought Dalhousie would be just the right place to cool you down. Shimla, Manali , Nainital and Mussourie will be crowded like bee hives with holiday-ers. But Dalhousie still enjoys some peace and quiet with the advantage of its comparatively greater distance.
A pretty little hill station (just 14 sq km area) which is more a cantonment and one which has a rich history. It still presents vignettes of times bygone with its architecture and buildings which mostly belong to the Raj era. Though it is quite popular destination for the people from Punjab and a few from Delhi, it isn’t crowded like the other hill station like Shimla, Mussourie, Nainital and hence you will feel quite uncluttered over there. It enjoys a slightly higher altitude than the mentioned hill stations and is a slightly to the North, hence the cold there, is a bit more pronounced-just right for a break from the Indian summers.
So lets proceed with some quick brief facts about Dalhousie as an introduction, and some of my personal tidbits( inferred from my own experiences) so that we can concentrate on the slideshow in leisure.
Dalhousie is 485 kms away from Delhi and there are a couple of roads leading to it. You can take the train to Pathankot and drive up to Dalhousie or take the flight to either Pathankot which is just 47 km away or alternately take the flight to Kangra and hit the road on to Dalhousie( but one which is a bit longer) .
- You have three main options to reach Dalhousie by road. The most convenient one is to take the Delhi-Ambala highway and then drive through Ludhiana , Jallandhar to Dalhousie.
- The second option is to drive through Chandigarh, to Una, upto Nurpur and then on To Dalhousie . Slightly longer than the first one, but less travelled one with amazing vistas.
- The third one is for the people who believe that the journey and not the destination, is more important. It takes you from Chandigarh to Bilaspur, Mandi and finally onto Dalhousie, almost travelling half of Himachal. It will take just ahem! Around 24 hrs. Dalhousie named after Lord Dalhousie, is said to be built on five hills but I didn’t count to confirm it. Ok poor Joke! It is the gateway to Chamba district of Himachal which is famous for its religious and historical significance .
But here Dalhousie is what we are speaking of and Dalhousie is more famous for its bountiful natural beauty. The scenery that you will visually experience as you explore the place will soothe you and gladden your heart. It is just the ideal place to have a solitary walk up a hill sit on a meadow, read a book, paint or click , have a picnic lunch and spend some me-moments with yourself but in case you want to go the tourist way and explore, here are some spots that you could try.
Kalatop Sanctuary-which houses the less powerful of the animals , but aren’t that visible. (as is becoming the norm in almost all the wild life reserves) You could trek to base or have a open jeep ride from Lakkar mandi. If you are fit enough then I would advise to go for the trek as you will enjoy the walk down the rocky path among the tall trees ,which after a distance opens to a beautiful view down a valley.
After that invigorating or exhausting walk(depending on your stamina) you can drive onto the highest point in Dalhousie, Dain Kund. Sometimes there is hope of coming across snow there if you visit in the early part of the year(till March, but we did find snow there when we visited in April). If not , just inhale deeply and enjoy the fresh cool air and the beautiful views of the snowy peaks of the Himalayas in the distance. Dain Kund makes a very good spot for a picnic lunch and also photography, but wait, take your own food, for there are no food stalls over there. Good for that place as It keeps the place neat and trash free.
Khajiar- the most famous and beautiful of all the spots in Dalhousie has been recognized for is natural beauty by none other than the Swiss government themselves. It is a circular meadow lined by Alpine trees all around it rendering a magical picture perfect quality to it . A tourist hub, you will find a choice of touristy activities to try out-Para gliding, horse riding, Hot air ballooning, zorbing etc etc. You can also visit the Khajji Nag temple nearby. From Khajjiar you can drive onto Chamba for a hurried tour of the historical town. The drive is a bit steep but beautiful scenery accompanies you through out the drive. While returning from Chamba to Dalhousie take the route that bypasses Khajjiar and instead touches Banikhet, for another beautiful but less precipitous drive.
Other places in and around Dalhousie are the Punjpula which is more like a children’s theme park with some handicraft stores thrown in, but you might enjoy a cup of tea with maggi noodles while your little ones enjoy the rides. You can take a walk in the mall road from the Gandhi Chowk to Subhash Chowk and shop for mementoes while you walk.
While walking by don’t forget to ask a local person where the Subhash Baoli might be. It is said that when Subhash Chandra Bose was diagnosed with tuberculosis, he had come here in Dalhousie to recuperate and he used to come to a baoli or a stream to drink from it, as the stream was supposed to have healing properties and so the Baoli acquired its name. The stream has long back dried up but it still attracts visitors for the association with its famous patron.
Accommodation isn’t a problem with choices galore from high end luxury ones to the budget hotels. Internet booking in HPTDC hotels helps you plan your visit quite early on. In fact you can book your bus tickets from Delhi to Dalhousie online too. Local taxies can be hired there in Dalhousie itself, for sight seeing.If you are a very much nature person with a great sense of adventure, then I will advise you to make Khajjiar your base from where trips to Mani Mahesh lake and temple will prove somewhat easier. You can proceed onto Dharamshala- another beautiful place through the Jot pass-A route complete with adventurous driving and views of snowbound peaks . The route through Jot pass to Dharamshala is known to very few but the road is motorable and it helps you complete the Dalhousie- Dharamshala circuit in a comparatively lesser time. The road to Jot pass goes through Khajjiar so don’t miss the signboard there.
You can visit almost through out the year, but landslides are probable during rains.
Try to take an after dinner walk . Evenings in the mountains acquire an enchanting quality and are not to be missed.
The web is brimming with information on Dalhousie and I have just tried inserting the salient points to go with the slideshow . This is just my sincere attempt to entice you to this Dreamy Hill station with a few snapshots of this beautiful place. I admit the photographs are amateur-ly shot, but God is a total professional when it comes to his creations. Thanks.
[nggallery id=23 template=galleryview images=26]
Jewel In The Crown (Indian Travelogue) series by Mani Padma. While Mani brews her intoxicating chai brew here, some of her flavours are left out in her personal blog which she calls it as her own Trash Bin