The romance of the Himalayas.
Nestled in the valleys of the Himalayas, Dalhousie is pristine little hill station in Himachal Pradesh. Set up in 1854 by the Governor of India at the time, Lord Dalhousie who envisioned the beautiful hill station as a retreat from the brutal summer heat of the southern states. With a quiet, serene atmosphere, this hill station is quite attractive to those looking for a break from stress and for honeymooners looking for a sweet, secluded spot to celebrate their lives. Lagging behind the world in terms of technological development, Dalhousie is littered with English era buildings, churches, towns and malls.
Located among five hills, this hill station offers a beautiful view of the Pir Panjal range of mountains, snow-capped and relaxing for the eye and soul. The high altitude station is ornate with thick forests of pine and deodar. There are three level malls in Dalhousie around which the social life revolves in the town. Laid down in the 1860s, these malls contain pathways for promenades and carriages of the yesteryears. Forming the arteries of the town, these roads are also the marketplaces for the town dwellers who rely on the tourist inflow for their income. The Tibetan market here calls for special attention for people looking to take home a collection of souvenirs. Dalhousie is just right for those looking for short walks, treks and picnics as the place is covered with beautiful gardens, green patches and trails leading to beautiful viewpoints.
With a cold climate for most of the year, Dalhousie is perfect in the summer where the warmth of sun beautifully contrasts with the coldness of the atmosphere. The climate here is quite humid and warm during the morning till the noon and gets colder towards the night. Pack your woollens, for the nights can get quite cold here. The temperature drops even further when there are rains pouring down on the hills. During the winter, temperatures reach freezing points and often the snowfall is quite thick, covering the land in pristine whiteness.
Food and Dining
Dalhousie, being a popular tourist spot, caters to the needs of all types of people. But the traditional Himachal Pradesh cuisine here is also quite interesting and mouth-watering. Due to the cold weather, the favourites around here are usually non-vegetarian dishes but vegetarian dishes are also delectable. Chana and dal are staples of the Pahari cuisine while mutton and mutton parts also hold an important role in the Dalhousian culture. With influences of the Victorian era, wheat-based breads are also prepared here.
For dining, Dalhousie has a number of restaurants that offer multi-cuisine fare.
- Kwality Restaurant - one of the oldest and best restaurants in town, Kwality serves a mix of Indian and Chinese foods all year round.
- Dawat Restaurant - at the Hotel Mount View, near the bus stand there, serves good quality North Indian dishes.
- Sher e Punjab - serves good Punjabi food and is found all around Dalhousie.
Apart from a couple of bars and liquor stores, the nightlife in Dalhousie is pretty bleak and as such relaxing.
Top things do in Dalhousie
How to reach
Centrally placed in the crown of India, Delhi is the watering hole for most travellers to Dalhousie. Buses are available from Delhi to Dalhousie while overnight trains are one of the best options for a traveller who doesn't want to waste even a minute of his daytime. The closest airport is Pathankot at a distance of 75 kilometres while Delhi is about 560 kilometres away from Dalhousie. Taxis are available from Delhi and Pathankot to Dalhousie at quite reasonable rates while several local buses are also available if you manage to get to nearby towns like Kangra, Khajjiar or Chamba.
How to Reach by Flight
The nearest airport to Dalhousie is Pathankot at 75 kilometres. Direct flights to Pathankot are quite rare and most are routed through Delhi, which is at a distance of about 560 kilometres. Quite similarly, Gaggal airport is at a distance of 130 kilometres from the hill station. During the winter or monsoon, flights do get cancelled to these airports due to visibility issues rising from fogs and rains. The airport at Jammu is just 180 kilometres away from Dalhousie is frequently serviced by air from Delhi.
How to Reach by Train
There are a couple of trains from Delhi to Pathankot and Dalhousie that would serve the purpose. Overnight trains to Pathankot or Chakki Bank is the most common travel route which is followed by a drive down to Dalhousie. Cabs and buses are available from both Pathankot and Chakki Bank to get to Dalhousie. Arriving during the morning gives you beautiful views of the morning mist flowing down the pristine mountains.
How to Reach by Bus
Direct buses from Delhi takes around 12 hours to reach Dalhousie while Pathankot is just 75 kilometres away and frequent buses should be available connecting the two towns. Local buses connecting nearby towns like Kangra, Khajjiar, Chamba and Dharamshala are available throughout the day and is quite a pleasant trip with good views all around. Several seemingly isolated small villages dot the mountainsides while the locals are warm and welcoming
How to Reach by Road
Delhi is the staging point for a road trip to Dalhousie. At about 560 kilometres away from Pathankot, Delhi to Dalhousie is usually a smooth trip overall. The recommended route to take would be Delhi to Ambala to Chandigarh followed by Hoshiarpur, Dasayu and Pathankot. From Pathankot, it is just a 2-hour drive up to Dalhousie. The roads can get challenging at times but the trip in overall can be termed smooth and at times mesmerising due to the views on the way.
How to travel within
Two-wheelers and cars are usually the most common means of transport. Since the climate is usually quite cold, cars are the recommended mode of transport, especially after the evening. Horse and pony pulled carts are available for hire in the town but serves more of an entertainment purpose than as a transport means. The artery roads in the town are sometimes quite narrow and steep and could jam up with traffic at any time. For fans of walking, they would be at the most advantage as the Dalhousie climate is perfect for short walks.
Predominantly a Hindu society, Dalhousie has a collection of Brahmins, Rajputs and other clans while the tribal population here is also quite extensive. Even though Dalhousie was a colonial vacation spot, foreign influences in the culture are quite minimal apart from the easy laid back character of a cold vacation spot. The architecture here is mostly Victorian era and since independence in 1947, Dalhousie has remained quite isolated from the outside cultures.
A number of local festivals are celebrated here throughout the year apart from the common Hindu festivals like Navratri and Rakhi. Locally known as Birshu, extensive preparations are made for these fairs with delicacies being prepared everywhere and people listening to sermons of priests. This is followed by ceremonial dances and promenades all around the town. These festivals are exceptionally beautiful and enchanting to watch.
The locals also have a number of folk dances and songs for women as well as men. These dances are performed wearing traditional outfits and ornaments, making it a sight to behold. Since tourism is the main trade here, over the years, the people here have become very friendly and welcoming to visitors.
- Dainkund Peak
- Dainund Temple
- Churches and Monuments
- City Shopping
- Bakrota Hills
- St. John's Church
- Panch Pulla
- Satdhara Falls
- Subhash Baoli