Dalhousie is a quaint little town perched on the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, India. The name Dalhousie comes from Lord Dalhousie, who was a high ranking British officer during the British rule of India.
It was used as a summer retreat for the British troops and officials after the annexation of the Sikh Empire (modern-day Punjab).
Located on the western edge of the Dhauladhar mountain range of the Himalayas, Dalhousie is surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Most tourists come here to get away from the hustle and bustle of National Capital Region (Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad) of India.
Things To Do In Dalhousie
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Khajjiar and Chamba are beautiful places nestled in the mountains. In the middle of a huge green field, there is a eutrophicated lake, which will soon be a dead lake, so, visit soon.
On the field, you can see people doing zorbing, as well as paragliding.
Photo: Zorbing / The Art of Travel Partners
Zorbing here costs up to 300 INR, and a paragliding ride around 700 INR.
Those interested in paragliding can go to the hawkers near the field and ask them the rates of paragliding. (It is not as high as Bir-Billing, but it is a higher altitude and cheaper in the range of Rs. 1500-2000 INR.)
Speaking of Paragliding, Bir is located 70 km from Dharamshala. Billing is situated 14 km north of Bir on the way to the Thamsar Pass trek, which is leading to Bada Bhangal, a tribal region of Himachal Pradesh.
Photo: Paragliding / The Art of Travel Partners
Note: There are tour operators at each of the above spots who will do the necessary paperwork and take you to the top of the mountain, from where you can paraglide.
Just like the rest of the area, Kalatop is a lush green forest land. It is a sanctuary where many wildlife species can be seen.
Pheasants, serow and black bear are some of the common animals found here. The sanctuary lies in the path of the Ravi River and is surrounded by coniferous and oak forests.
Photo: The Art of Travel Partners
St. Francis Church
Dalhousie is a town well explored on foot. You can walk around anywhere in this place. But for the flat-landers walking on the mountains is taxing.
Still, you can walk slowly rather than hiring taxis which charge 200 INR for a mere 1.5 km ride. St. Francis church is a beautiful Catholic church located on the chowk near the market. It is open till the evening.
You can go for a stroll here, offer your prayer, absorb the scenery and come back. Dalhousie is full of such churches which remind of the British influence on Indian architecture.
How To Get Here
There are no direct trains to Dalhousie. The rough terrain makes it difficult to get there. But the Himachal Pradesh road transport has buses, which run throughout the state, even on these hilly roads.
If you are traveling alone it is better to book a bus ticket online, it is cost effective. But if you are traveling with a group you can hire a taxi and split the bill.
Going everywhere on foot is a good option if you plan to travel over a small distance. But if you want to cover longer distance there are cabs on the chowks (i.e. town center) which take you wherever you want. They are expensive but they take you wherever you want to go.
Photo: The Art of Travel Partners
Roads are very narrow. There are many places where a four-wheeler struggles to go like the Kalatop Sanctuary. That is why it is better to leave the driving to the locals.
Best Time To Visit
Dalhousie is pleasant all throughout the year. It is like a place that never looks bad. During winters it gets laden with snow and the scenic beauty accentuates. And during winters the temperature is still cold enough for you to wear thin jackets.
Winters are best because there is not much tourism going on at that point in time.
What to wear
Weather in Dalhousie tends to be on the colder side of the scale. Even in the summers, you have some kind of wintry wind, and nights are cool. And winters see snowfall. You should pack warm no matter the season in which you go.
People here speak the native tongue of Himachal or the Pahari language. There are many people who migrate from Haryana the neighboring state due to job opportunities, hence there are Haryanvi speakers as well.
But do not worry everyone perfectly understands Hindi here and most people can handle basic English as well.
People here tend to be friendly compared to the rest of Himachal. They help you when you are in need, and even strangers guide you. It is a laid-back town of the mountains where you can just sit back have fun.
Photo: Momo (Dumplings) / The Art of Travel Partners
It is difficult to find many non-vegetarian places around here. But when you find one you should surely give it a try. There are momos (dumplings) stand spread across the marketplace, which serve hot steamy right out the stove momos with hot chutney.
And in the cold, if you can have some chicken soup with it, that would be cherry on the top.
Dalhousie has a very busy market just 2km below the St Francis church. You can find a lot of tourists there. ATMs are in abundance in that part of the town.
Each hotel provides an internet connection. But sometimes in the morning when the power goes out, there is no connection.
Phone networks can go on and off. It is best to carry a local map if you are venturing out of the beaten path.
Neither The hotel rooms are not expensive, nor is the food. The only thing going to cost you much is the transport unless you have hired a driver ahead of time.
If you include the costs of activities you do, then 6000 INR is more than enough to cover your two-day outing here.
How many days to travel
Dalhousie is a place where you would want to settle. If you know someone local, stay as long as you want. But if you just want to look at it from a tourist perspective then 2-3 days is enough.
How safe is Dalhousie
Other from the narrow roads, and risky drivers Dalhousie is safe. It is a well maintained and well-protected town. You will have not much trouble regarding your safety here.
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December 5, 2018 8:37 pm