Dalhousie is a beautiful hill station in Himachal Pradesh. Established in 1854 by the British Empire in India as a summer retreat for its troops and bureaucrats, the town was named after Lord Dalhousie who was the British viceroy in India at that time. It is built on and around five hills. Located on the western edge of the Dhauladhar mountain range of the Himalayas, it is surrounded by the beautiful scenery of snow-capped peaks. Dalhousie is situated between 6,000 and 9,000 feet above sea level. The best time to visit is in the summer, and the peak tourist season is from May to September. Scottish and Victorian architecture is prevalent in the bungalows and churches in the town.
Dalhousie is a gateway to the ancient Chamba Hill State, now Chamba District of the state of Himachal Pradesh of India. This hill region is a repository of ancient Hindu culture, art, temples, and handicrafts preserved under the longest-running single dynasty since the mid-6th century. Chamba is the hub of this culture. Bharmour, the ancient capital of this kingdom, is home to the Gaddi and Gujjar tribes and has 84 ancient temples dating from the 7th–10th century AD.
PLACES TO VISIT
A stunning valley with a spring in the middle, while being quite beautiful, it gets littered with trash in the peak season of July when a massive number of tourists come. Known as the ‘Switzerland of India’ for the meadowy look.
A gentle, sloping walk near an Air Force base in Dalhousie, leading to a Hindu temple.
Alah Water Tank – The main water tank in the area, holding 100,000 gallons.
The highest area in Dalhousie, it has a number of estates, a residential school, and an Army barracks at the top. The area is circled by a road called Bakrota Walk, on the way to Khajjiar which ends at Alah Water Tank. It was the preferred destination of the landed gentry of Punjab during the Raj, now populated by similar residents from the new India. Some of the houses are worth seeing, but are mostly on private gated estates.
Kala Tope Rest House:
It’s on the way to Khajjiar at the toll barrier for Kala Tope, a road to the left of the barrier leads to the government rest house, a nice quiet spot and a great place for a picnic. The 3-km route through dense pine forests from Lakkadmandi to Kala Tope is simply exhilarating. No cars are allowed on this 3-km route.
Ganji Pahadi Walk:
It is called Ganji Pahadi (ganji means bald, pahadi means hill) because there are no trees on the summit of the hill and it looks like it’s got a bald patch at the top. You can ask a local how to get there. It is a long walk of at least an hour, but quite pleasant.
This is the spot (chowk means intersection) where the road from the bus stand makes a cross road between two roads to G.P.O. and the one coming in from the bus stand. It is also a fairly active market, second to G.P.O.
HOW TO GET HERE
Nearest airports are Pathankot which is about 80 km from Dalhousie and Jammu at a distance of 180 km from Dalhousie. Pathankot is connected to Delhi only, while Jammu has more frequent air services to Delhi and other destinations in North India. Daily Air India and Jet Airways flights are available from Delhi to Jammu and Amritsar and are economical (Rs 3,000-5,000). Taxi fare from Dalhousie-Pathankot is around Rs 1000.
Nearest railhead is Pathankot (80 km) and is well connected by rail to various cities in India, including Delhi, Mumbai and Amritsar. Onward taxi fare from Dalhousie to Pathankot is nearly Rs 1,000.
Bus services by public transport system are available connecting to the towns in and around Dalhousie. Overnight luxury buses are available from Delhi (590 km distance). The bus fare is about Rs 1,500 for AC Volvo.