History: A picturesque and popular hill station, Dalhousie was set up in 1854, as a retreat for the British soldiers and bureaucrats. Located atop the five hills of Kathalagh, Potreyn, Terah, Bakrota and Bhangora, it was named after the British viceroy Lord Dalhousie.
Description: Dalhousie is the gateway to ancient Chamba hill state. Dalhousie is in Chamba district of the Himachel Pradesh. The hill station of Dalhousie is full of charm and holds lingering echoes. It covers an area of about 14 sq. km Dalhousie has charming architecture, including beautiful churches. Its location presents panoramic views of the plains - and like a long silverline, the river ravi twists and turns below Dalhousie. It surrounded by snow-capped mountains, and situated on the western side of the mountainous ranges of Dhauladhar, it is known not only for its captivating beauty, but also for the ancient temples, the valleys of Chamba and Pangi which are great trekking grounds.
Dalhousie Quick facts
Dalhousie Geography and Climate
In winter, the temperature can drop to freezing point when heavy woolens are required. The summer temperature are mild and light woolens/cottons are recommended.
Best time to visit Dalhousie
Best season to visit Dalhousie is between June to November as weather is pleasant during these months.July is the peak season when most of the tourists flock in here.
You need light woolens during summer months (June to mid september). During winters you need heavy woolens as the region is extremely cold during winter with temperatures sometimes reaching below freezing point.
Dalhousie is spread out over five hills. The Mall connects gandhi chowk, an area with many shops, to Subash chowk, an area with hotels and restaurants. The Mall consists of two roads on which no heavy vehicle traffic is permitted. The north road of The Mall is known as Thandi Sarak (Cold Rd), the south road is known as Garam Sarak (Hot Rd), because it gets more sunshine than the other road.
Dalhousie Near Getaways
Chamba: Just 56 km from Dalhousie, situated at a height of 996 m above sea level, Chamba still has a medieval feel about it. Founded in 920AD by Raja Sahil Varma, the little town, perched on a plateau overhanging the river Ravi, was named after his favourite daughter Champavati. Isolated by the high mountains in its beautiful valley, Chamba was allowed over the centuries to develop its own rich style of Pahari art and architecture. Much of this heritage has been preserved and Chamba is known today for the spendour of its temples and its exquisite handicrafts.
Pathankot 80 km
Chamba 50 km
Dharmsala 145 km
Amritsar 190 km
Palampur 176 km
Delhi 560 km
Simla 400 km
Manali 360 km
Katra 235 km
The city of Dalhousie is well connected by direct bus services. The city has a good road network with other states and cities in India and is accessible from Delhi, Manali, Punjab and Mumbai. Local transport in the city includes taxis, horses and buses.
How to reach Dalhousie by Rail
Pathankot is the nearest railhead for Dalhousie, which is connected by regular train services from Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, and Bangalore. There are bus services available from Pathankot Railway Station to Dalhousie. The distance from the station is about 80 km and it will take around 3 hours to reach the city.
The city of Dalhousie is accessible from three airports – Pathankot in Amritsar, Jammu airport in Jammu and Kashmir and Gaggal airport in Himachal Pradesh. Private car services are available from the airports to reach the city.
Bon Ami Festival: The Bon Ami festival is the largest of all the festivals in Dalhousie. It is held on the last week of july and the first week of august. The word Bon Ami translated means Good Friend. Activities held throughout the Bon Ami Festival include a gigantic beach party, market days, antique car show, parade, pageantry, theater productions, dancing, sporting events, mussel boils (shellfish delicacy) lobster dinners, teen activities.
The people of Himachal Pradesh have a rich culture which is very much apparent in their day to day lives. The colourful dresses of Himachalis will strike you instantly as you make your way through the state. However, more than the dresses or even the notable physical features of the people, it is their warm and friendly nature that will draw you towards them. Interacting with them can be extremely fruitful as you will get to know more about their religious and cultural life as it is.
Watch the various art forms of the people on metal, wood, leather and wool and collect some of these items as memory of your visit. Rejoice in their folk dance and music and even pick up a few notes and steps from the artists. The cuisine of Himachal is not as rich as some other states of the country yet there are quiet a few dishes that you must try out during your visit.
People & Lifestyle
The population of Himachal Pradesh is a mixed one though Hindus are definitely in majority. The Hindu communities residing in Himachal include the Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis. There are also tribal population in the state which mainly comprise Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis. In some area, like Lahaul & Spiti, there is a majority of Buddhist population. A percentage of people are also Tibetans. Muslim, Christian and Sikhs are in relatively small numbers. The physical feature of most of the people resemble the Aryans however, there are still many with prominent Mongoloid feature.
Though Hindi is the state language, many people speak Pahari. Pahari itself has many dialects and all of them trace their origin to the Sanskrit language. A majority of the population is engaged in agricultural work, however the more educated of them are now moving towards farming and other newer profession.
Traditional dress of the Brahmin male includes dhoti, kurta, coat, waistcoat, turban and a hand towel while that of the Rajput male consists of tight fitting churidar pyjamas, a long coat and a starched turban. The female of these two caste have kurtas, salwars, long skirts (ghaghri), embroidered tops (choli) and red head scarves (rahide) as their traditional attire. The dress up of the people has now become a mixed one with traditional blending gracefully with the modern.
The typical house in Himachal Pradesh is constructed of clay bricks and the roofs are of slate. The hilly areas have their own kind of house which is made of stone. The slate roof is replaced by timber. The houses are pucca and cattle shed is nearby. The tribals usually have two storied houses wherein the cattle house occupies the ground floor while the first floor is meant for personal use. Labourers have thatched roofs house for themselves.
Music and Dance
Music and dance in Himachal Pradesh revolves around religion. Through their dance and music, people entreat gods during festivals and other special occasions. There are also dances that are specific to certain regions and are best performed by the people of that area.
Some of the dance forms of Himachal are Losar Shona Chuksam (Kinnaur), Dangi (Chamba), Gee Dance and Burah dance, (Sirmour), Naati, Kharait, Ujagjama and Chadhgebrikar (Kullu) and Shunto (Lahaul & Spiti).
As for the music of Himachal Pradesh is concerned, there is no classical form though there plenty of folk music to listen to. The folk stories of mountainous regions often find a mention in these music. The stories range from romance, chivalry and changing seasons. Musical instruments that are quiet frequently used by the artists here Ranasingha, Karna, Turhi, Flute, Ektara, Kindari, Jhanjh, Manjara, Chimta, Ghariyal, and Ghunghru.
Dalhousie Religious Places
Laxmi Narayan Temple: This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and was built more than 150 years ago. The temple enshrines a beautiful image of Lord Vishnu. The temple is frequented by local devotees. The temple is located in Sadar Bazar approximately 200 mtrs. from subhash chowk.
ST. Andrew's Church: St. Andrew's Church commonly known as the Church of Scotland was built in the year 1903 at Baloon by Protestant christians.
ST. Patrick's Church: This Church is situated in Baloon, Dalhousie Cantt., on Military Hospital road approximately 2 kms. from main bus stand. St. Patrick's church is the largest church in Dalhousie having a seating capacity of 300 persons in its main hall. The church was built in the year 1909 and the dressed-stone building is still in good condition.
ST. Francis Church: This Catholic church is a very prominent monument on the subhash chowk. This Church was built in the year 1894 from the contributions made by army and civil officers and Civilians. This Church is managed and maintained by the cathoilic diocese of Jalandhar.
ST. John's Church: This Church stands on the gandhi chowk approximately 2 kms. from the main bus stand of Dalhousie. This Church was the first to be built after the town of Dalhousie was founded. Prior to 1863 a wooden structure stood at this place. The idea to build a stone structure took birth with the arrival of Rev.
Dalhousie is a quiet town, with a sense of enchantment. This hill station spreads over five low-level hills at the western edge of the Dhauladhar range, just east of the Ravi River. The picturesque town is interspersed with the colonial-era buildings, low roofed stalls and hotels. The pine-covered slopes around it are intersected with paths and treks, which are ideal for short undemanding walks.
The gateway to the Chamba Valley, this colonial town was established in 1854 by the British governor-general Lord Dalhousie. Covering an area of 14 sq.-km and surrounded by alpine vegetation, Dalhausie has charming architecture and panoramic views of both plains and the whitecapped views of the mountainous ranges.
Places of Interest in Dalhousie
» Subhash Baoli:
Commanding a view of the snowcapped mountains, 1.6-km away from the G.P.O. Square, the spring of Subhash Baoli is situated at an altitude of 2,085m.
On the way to Panjpulla, at an altitude of 2,036m, these seven springs are reputed to have great therapeutic value as they contain mica with medicinal properties.
5-kms from Dalhousie, Kalatope is a pleasant getaway, with a panoramic view, an enchanting palace, and a forest rest house. Kalatope is situated 10-kms away from G.P.O. Square at an altitude of 8,000-ft. Walking along the secluded and forested road through upper Nakorota hills, one reaches Lakkarmandi. The home of Dogri families, Lakkarmandi is nestled between 8,600 feet high Dayan Kund peak on its right and Kalatope on the left. The little Kalatope Sanctuary has a variety of wildlife such as Ibex, Deer, Bears and Leopards.
Just 27-km from Dhoudar the beautiful little plain of Khajjiar is one of the favourite retreats for visitors. The saucer-shaped meadow, ringed by pines, has a lake set in the middle, complete with a floating bland. A little golden-spired temple of Khajjinag belonging to the 12th century and a picturesque golf course complete this pretty picture. A picturesque spot with an emerald, saucer shaped meadow set amidst a dense deodar forest, it has a lake as it's centre with a floating island, a forest rest house, a little temple with a golden spire and a golf course.
Dalhousie has about seven trek routes, these trek routes allow one to enjoy the beauty of nature in the most purest form.
The hill resort of Dalhousie has always been a paradise for true nature lovers. Suitably placed on the main range of Dhauladhar. The sleepy town of Dalhousie commands a panoramic view of the ice-covered Pir Panjal Range. It is surrounded by thick forests, and the treks through these forests and the slopes of the mountains are most satisfying.
Bharmour to Manali via Kugti pass, Bharmour to Mani-Mahesh, Mcleod Ganj from Chamba via Minkiani pass are some of the trekking routes in Dalhousie. Trekking in these routes is a delightful experience. The tourists can explore the majestic beauty of the nature, while trekking on these routes. However, some of the treks such as the Sach and Cheni Pass are dangerous to some extent. Trekking on these routes involve a lot of risk. These routes are covered with snow in winter. Even during the summer months, trekking in these routes involves a lot of preparations.
Dalhousie is famous for the shawls, chappals, cane baskets, woolens and dolls. There are many outlets for daily stuffs, but Himachal Handloom Industry emporium on Thandi Sarak and Tibetan handicraft centre are genuine stores for handicrafts, woolen shawls, bags and purses.
Dalhousie Museum and Hill Stations
Bhuri Singh Museum: The museum is a storehouse of the original Pahari art and sculpture. The collection includes Bhagwat Puran wall paintings, collection of Chamba Rumals, collection of carved fountain slabs, wood carvings from ancient Bharmour, country jewelry, old coins, and rare photographs.
Bakrota Hills: Less than 5 km from the town centre, the Bakrota Hills frame a breathtaking view of the further snowscapes. The 'round' is a walking circuit around the hills, very popular with residents.
Gardens and Parks at Dalhousie
Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary : This small sanctuary lies in the catchment of the ravi river, and contains patches of good coniferous and Oak forests. A lovely bowl-shaped meadow at Khajjiar, with a lake and a ‘floating’ island, is a popular tourist spot. There is a ‘golden’ domed temple at the edge of this meadow, dedicated to the deity ‘Khajinag’, from whom the area derives its name. A motorable road to Kalatop Rest House leads from the Dalhousie - Khajjiar - Chamba road at the point named Lakkad Mandi. The track from Lakkad Mandi to Kalatop rest house is plain and the walk through the dense forest is amazingly refreshing.
Lake at Dalhousie
Khajjiar Lake : This lake is 16 km from Dalhousie and 22 km from Chamba. Fed by slim streams, this small lake rests in the centre of the large glade of Khajjiar. Khajjiar has the thick forest of the Kalatop sanctuary surrounding its soft green grass. It is surrounded by cedar (deodar) forest. Khajjiar is also called "Mini Switzerland". The lake remains full of water in all the seasons.
Chamera Lake : Chamera lake is an artificial lake came into existence as a consequence of Chamera Hydroelectric project. The Dam site is 36 kms from Dalhousie and located at a height of approximately 892 mtrs above sea level. The Dam site enjoy very sharp fluctuations in climate between april to june. During the day it can get very hot (around 35 degree centigrade) though by the evening, temperatures fall to between 18 to 20 degree centigrade. Between july and september the area received mdetate to heavy rainfall.
December-february occurs snow, very cold. March-april occurs cold. May-june occurs warm. July-september occurs monsoon, warm and rainy. October-november occurs cold.
You must carry woolen cloths whether you are traveling in summer or in winter. During summer, light woolen cloths will serve the purpose but during winter, you must bagged heavy woolen wear and jackets.
Advise to take medicine during traveling.
Dalhousie Tourist Offices
Tourist information centre
Near Bus Stand,
State Bank of India
DALHOUSIE, HIMACHAL PRADESH - 176304
Must do at Dalhousie
Panchpula - This is a very stunning spot where a stream feeds a series of pools. A monument has been built here in memory of the freedom fighter,Ajit Singh
Subhash Baoli - This place is surrounded by majestic trees, that Subhash Chandra Bose spent a lot of time mediating during 1937. The place is name after Eminent freedom fighter Subash Chandra Boase during his secret visit, it gives a great view of the snow capped peaks.
BaraPathar - This is a famous temple at the middle of the thick forest. It is on the way between the Kalatop sanctuary and the Dalhousie Municipal limits. It is a good place for a break on the way to Kalatop. This place has a outdoor temple of Bhuvani Mata.
Kalatop - Is a wild life sanctuary,home to the 'ghoral' and black bear.It is a wild life sanctuary which houses many species of animals including ghoral, barking deer and the Himalayan black bear. Temperature variations will be from 10°C to 35°C. Several tributaries of the River Ravi, which lies to its north, flow through it.
Subash and Gandhi Chowk The Mall - Gandhi chowk previsously known as GPO is a lively square with numerous restaurants and shops. There is a Tibetan market, varieties of products range from electronic goods to fake designer clothes are available. There are two roads that lead to Subash Chowk, which present the Himachal handloom industry emporium.
Not to do at Dalhousie
Do not scribble on trees, rocks and buildings
Do not destroy any type of vegetation or plants during your visit here