A while back for a family extended weekend outing, we were searching for a relatively quaint place in the hills. We didn’t want to go to cliched places like Shimla, Manali etc.
So while we were browsing the internet, Dalhousie, came up as a suggestion. It was once a highly ranked hill stations but not any more Dalhousie tourism has seen a downfall from last few years, even many of my popular blogging friends haven’t cruised the road leading to Dalhousie.
Personally, I too wanted to explore Spiti Valley but owing to the family majority, I agreed to go ahead with Dalhousie.
We booked our abode for three nights in Chamba away from the hustle-bustle of Dalhousie. Chamba is the district city but from the tourism point of view, it is still underdeveloped. Thankfully our hotel ‘Ashiana Residency’ was very good with an excellent in-house restaurant. See this hotel in the video made by me:
The best way of traveling ex-Delhi is boarding an overnight train till Pathankot and then one can take a bus or hire a private cab/taxi to reach Dalhousie. It takes approximately 2.5hrs to reach Dalhousie and then further 45 minutes to 1 hr. to reach Chamba.
In Chamba town,there are only a few places worth seeing namely Chamunda Devi Temple for its scenic beauty, on the same way above it Jhumaar Valley where Taal film songs were shot and Chamera Dam (where boating is little expensive but enjoyable).
We couldn’t locate Chamba Palace. As per locals, it has now been converted into an educational institution. Chaugan also is like a main central park of Chamba town but it’s just for a leisurely picnic. I wouldn’t recommend it. Around Chaugan there is the main market of Chamba with one or two good bakeries cum restaurant. As we were short of time we couldn’t visit Manimahesh Lake area which is said to be beautiful.
The next day we went to Dalhousie and see the popular tourist destinations of the place according to the locals. There two or three churches which are very old and beautiful namely St. John’s Church, St. Francis Church & St. Andrews Church. The one located in Gandhi Chowk and one at Subhash Chowk are outstanding and worth visiting.
Apart from this, Kalatop sanctuary can be a little disappointing as we couldn’t trace a single wildlife that most travel websites and guides don’t write. If at all you want to go then be prepared to enjoy the greenery and at the end of it the tourist bungalow with two-three restaurants serving quick bite food.
This bungalow is the same place where many Bollywood films like Lootera, Shivaay etc. have been shot. The bungalow looks gorgeous in winters after the snowfall happens.
On the same way above Kalatop is Dainkund Peak. This is a must visit place and highly recommended to be seen in Dalhousie. It has a small temple for reaching it one has to walk a 2-3kms. on a narrow path. With children, one has to be careful about the same but it is not that difficult. However, the beauty of the place is one of its kind with flower beds and pine trees all across.
There are a number of big to budget hotels in Dalhousie for lodging & boarding. Plus one gets all types of food here. Places like Panchpulla & Satdhara are over-hyped, nothing to much enjoy.
The next and the best stop in the Dalhousie circuit is Khajjiar. Dalhousie to Khajjiar takes about an hour to reach. Khajjiar is also called as Mini-Switzerland of India. Rightly so, the place has been used as the film location in many Bollywood movies like 1942-A love story, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai etc. It is actually mini-Switzerland! Green pastures with hills surrounding it, the pine trees and the fresh air makes it a mesmerizing place to visit. Here you can indulge in many adventure sports like Paragliding, Zorbing, Horse Riding, Camping etc. It is a must visit place!
Rest most places are over hyped.
The market of Dalhousie especially a particular lane is good for shopping. Silver trinkets, winter clothes, and toys can be bought from there.
Dalhousie to Dharamshala is about 117 km. which takes about 4 hrs of time. So if you have few more days in hand then you can club visiting Dharamshala too in the same trip.