India

Babe Bunch – Relaxed & unwind – in the midst of Himalaya – Dalhousie

Once a year go someplace where you have never been – Dalai Lama

I keep quoting this to everyone, me and my friends have brainstormed a lot to decide on the place. At last we finalized on Dalhousie. We four of us decided to visit this and we planned everything on our own. It was a perpetual, but worth it and we made it

Dalhousie is one of the most beautiful scenic getaway hill stations in Himachal and is also home to numerous historical events. It is certainly an abode of beauty, grandeur and adventure. The hill station attracts and enthralls tourists from all over the country, also known for its adventure activities and panoramic view.

Topics Covered

How to Reach

Weather & Clothing

Place to stay

Itinerary

Facilities available

Approx cost/ budget

How to Reach

Dalhousie is nestled amid mountains and can only be reached directly via road.

By Bus – Himachal Road Transport Corporation and Haryana Road Transport Corporation have their buses running from Dalhousie to other metropolitan cities like Delhi. Dalhousie has a good road system from Pathankot or Chamba which act as the main travel hubs to reach this place. We flew till Delhi and took a Himachal transport night bus from Delhi. For more details on bus check HRTC website for bus timings and route.

By Rail – Pathankot’s Chakki Bank station is the nearest railway station to Dalhousie. From there Dalhousie is close to 80 kms. You can take a road transport from Pathankot bus stop.

By Air – Dalhousie doesn’t have its own airport, Pathankot which is 80 kms away is the closet city to this hill station. You can hail a bus or taxi from Pathankot.

Weather & Clothing

Dalhousie retains a cool and pleasant climate throughout the year with misty mornings and evenings, bright sunny days and clear skies. Owing to its elevation, it is considerably cooler than the surrounding plains. Even in the spring, the climate can be downright chilly at nights. The monsoon months, however, tend to be incredibly wet and humid. The skies remain cloudy and it may rain for days on end. Since we visited in November, winter had started with cool chill breeze throughout the day.

 If you are visiting in winter its better to pack heavy woollen and warm clothes. if you are visiting in rainy, better to carry to waterproof rain gear and umbrella. Spring is best, as you can still see the snow and enjoy pleasant weather.

Place to stay

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Hotel

Dalhousie has more than 100 hotels in all categories spread across various ridges and lanes. Many of them run homestays out of their own place of residence. These are a superb and authentic way to get some local flavour. If you are going in offseason, you can go around directly and check-in to any hotel. I suggest booking ahead if you are planning to go in peak season of summer.

I stayed in Mount View hotel (link below). View is exactly as shown in pics. Rooms are clean and spacious. The best part is, its very close to bus stand, like 30mts. They even allowed an early check-in without extra cost. It had a reasonable price and a good view. Our hotel price was with breakfast included. One night we decided to celebrate mine and Kirty’s birthday in hotel and we stayed back for dinner buffet. It was the best decision we made. Every night hotel hosts some events like Himachali folk music, campfire, kids games or live music performance. The day we had buffet, they had a live music performance from Karan Rana. He has a nice soothing voice. Check out his profile below.

http://www.hotelmountview.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPMcX5BIDT3zlzd3NIA0M5w

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View from our room
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Night view of Hotel

Itinerary

Day 1

We reached Dalhousie by around 9.30. Our hotel was very close to bus stand. We checked in, had a breakfast in the nearby restaurant and freshened up. We spoke to a local cab driver and hired a vehicle to roam around for the day. We started our day a bit late as we enjoyed the view of snow cap mountains from our hotel.

Chamera lake
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Closer view of Chamera

The Chamera is an artificial lake, which is surrounded by beautiful green trees and exquisite valleys. It gives way to various water sports activities such as boat riding and fishing and is a part of the Chamera Hydroelectric project that is built over the Ravi River. Its close to 30 kms from Dalhousie. It makes an ideal escape with companions, family and friends and family, to spend a day. Best way to reach is to hire a cab from Dalhousie. Nestled in a valley in the midst of pine forests, the lake is an excellent site for boating. Instead of normal boat, we opted for special speed boat. It was super fun, the warm chill breeze and rush of power with gliding in the waves of water. Visualize a 360-degree picturesque scene. Colourful parallel shores on either side. Glimpse the shoals of fish beneath the flowing water amidst the mangroves.

We had super fun, while all of us were busy enjoying the chill breeze on our faces and vast waters ahead, our skipper was having his full by looking at us. There was a whirl, where he turned the full speed boat to a U -turn for thrill and we lost our balance, it was fierce and it raised the boat along with whizzing and lapping water, made us all laugh hard. It was then we noticed our friend in the back struggling to get up from the aisle. The turn our skipper took made her lose the balance and fall in the aisle and to glare at him. We were all petrified for a while and then all of us burst out laughing. She wasn’t hurt much (just a little), but the way she looked at him was downright hilarious for us. Can’t blame a guy to look at what’s ahead when he is so consumed with having his eyes full on pretty chicks 😉.

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Our expression says it all

We accelerated sharply and began bouncing violently across the water, the engine roaring. I was thrilled as we raced towards the riverbank, screaming as we suddenly skidded to a stop before accelerating rapidly towards an island in the center of the river.  Speed boats give you a feeling of energy that remains with you for quite a long. Enjoy the high-speed twisting and turning. Don’t miss the opportunity for this nerve chilling experience, simply get set and go.

Popular for –Boating, photography

Tickets: No entry fee, 450 for speed boat (10-12 mins) and 350 for normal boat( half an hour)

Timing: open all time, best to visit before dark for view (boating before 5)

Eating around: there are several local stalls, where you get some good fast food as well as local food for reasonable price.

Rock garden

The rock garden is situated on the main road from Chamba to Dalhousie. It is enroute Chamekra Lake. It’s a small natural place with big rocks and natural water resources. It comprises of rocks strewn across natural streams of water and lush green surroundings overlooking the magnificent mountains and pristine air. If you skip it, its ok, no loss. At certain times enroute you see better place than this.

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Bhalei Mata Temple

The temple is very popular among locals. It is on a hill top and hence the view from the temple is very beautiful especially that part of the temple overlooking the Lake. Temple Dedicated to KaliMata with the interesting history of King of Chamba who made this temple many years ago. It is one of the oldest temple but renovated many time so it doesn’t look ancient. It was very clean peaceful with just the 4 of us and a handful of localite’s.

We ended our day post this. Had a wonderful dinner in local restaurant and enjoyed the remaining of our night by dancing and celebrating my birthday with cake in our room.

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Day 2

Khajjiar

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Khajjiar is a small town which is located near Dalhousie, which offers the tourist a combination of lakes, forests, and grasslands. It’s is also known as the ‘mini-Switzerland of India’. It’s a small plateau with a small lake, which is one among the most preferred tourist places in that town. It’s bounded with green grazing land and a dense forest. It’s also a destination for the adventure freaks and offers a wide range of adventure sports like horse riding, paragliding, trekking, zorbing, etc. Many times, during the winter season it tends to have heavy snowfall which restricts tourists from visiting the place. However, in the dry season, the lake is almost non-existent. But you can still enjoy the beautiful landscapes and horse riding here. For a nature lover, Khajjiar goes straight to the list of places to visit in Dalhousie and around.

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Popular for –landscape view, Paragliding, zorbing

Tickets: No entry fee

Timing: open all time, best to visit before dark for view.

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picturesque view of Khajjiar

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Dainkund Peak
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View from Peak

Another towering peak in Dalhousie with an elevation of 2,745 meters above sea level. Overlooking the grasslands of khajjiar. it’s the highest mountain range among the hills of Dalhousie. An enchanting trek through the scenic charm of Dalhousie is what you might need to reboot your soul! Let’s take a glimpse of Dainkund peak trek in Dalhousie.

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Start point of Dainkund peak

The trail is actually a path to Pohlani Mata Temple that is located on the top of the peak. The peak offers a clear view of the flow of the rivers Ravi, Chenab and Beas which flow at the base. When we started to climb, weather was chilly and after 10 mins of initial steep ascend weather became full foggy. Visibility for 50mts ahead was also tough. I pushed my friends to not give up and keep moving in the initial ascend. This steep stretch of walk is quite safe as the path is made of wide concrete steps. I was enjoying the chill breeze in my face. After initial steep ascend for 700- 800 mts, the route is mostly gradual ascend. Musical serenade caused by the calm breeze while blowing through the woods is mesmerizing.

 

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Enroute– Stairs of initial ascend

When we were just 20 mts before the summit, it started to drizzle, we ran to the nearest stall in the summit. we took a clear look of temple in the foggy weather and sensed a sudden drop in temperature. By the time we started to get into the shelters of stall and ordered a hot chai to warm ourselves, we witnessed a hailstorm and realized the reason for sudden drop in temperature.

 

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Hailstones

It was pouring and we had a hot chai and maggie prepared by Jeevan (chai stall guy). I debated with him on the current temperature. Even though I didn’t have anything to scale, my guess was 8-9 degrees and breeze was making us feel less than 5. His guess was it was less than 5.

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After 20 mins rain stopped and we had a clear view of the valley. The view from the top was in indeed spectacular. I was really content to have made to that point. It became sunny in 10 mins and we saw a beautiful rainbow. The tall deodar trees were a sight to behold as we made our way down from the peak. The spectacular vistas and cool mountain air is sure to leave you spellbound at the summit. The peak offers an enticing panorama of the valley, which has made it an admirable spot. So, visit this charismatic peak and witness the creations of Mother Nature and to admire this exclusive place of worship.

Popular for – View, small hike to top of temple

Tickets: No entry fee

Timing: open all time, best to visit before dark for view.

Duration to climb: 30 – 45 mins. Easy trail of 3to 3.5 kms

Satdhara Falls/ Panchpula falls

The Satdhara Falls lie on the way to Panchpulla. One can go for a walk to this waterfall and enjoy the everlasting beauty of deodar trees and lush green picturesque panoramic view surrounded by beautiful snow-clad mountains. If you are a south Indian and if you have already seen Gokak, Jog, Athirapally, Hogenakkal, Irrupu,  or Meenamutti, then you won’t even consider this as a falls. The backdrop of this Satdhara Falls is lush green landscape, sky-touching trees and fog tinted hills makes it an ok visit. May be water will be at its best during rainy. You can definitely skip this. Even before I saw this place, I told my friends somehow, I will be disappointed here and yes I was.

Popular for – medicinal properties of water and some adventure games like zip line

Tickets: No entry fee

Timing: open all time, best to visit before dark for view.

Duration to climb: 10-15 mins.  Close to 80 steps

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Falls :).. You can totally skip it
Beeji’s park

Beeji’s Park is on the road which connects Dalhousie to Khajjiar and it’s very close to Dalhousie (approx 2km from Gandhi Chowk). The place is envisioned and curated by Dr G.S. Dhillon who is chairman of Dalhousie Public School. This defense park in Dalhousie is dedicated to all mothers.

Gandhi Chowk
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Deserted Gandhi Chowk

it’s a small main market area with vibrant street. There is a church, few shops, Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in the center. You find shops, kiosks and street vendors selling primarily food (Gulab Jamun, noodles, French fries, momos, Sweet corn, pizza, tea, coffee, ice cream), warm clothes, toys, Pashmina shawls and artifacts and souvenirs.

We ended our day post Gandhi Chowk. Our driver Roshan was so sweet to wait for us till we roamed and took us back to hotel post that. We enjoyed out buffet dinner and live music performance in hotel. That guy made our day by singing soothing music throughout 2.5 hours.  We had our own fun again till 12.30 and celebrated Kirty’s birthday.

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Day 3

Since this was our last day in Dalhousie we made Roshan stop the vehicle at several points and enjoyed the view throughout the day.

Chamba

Chamba is one the most famous getaway everyone has always dreamed off visiting. The temperature at Chamba is very well balanced which makes it the appropriate destination for the tourist throughout the year. The Ravi river goes across the town and adds a beauty to the view. The major area of sub-Himalaya is adequately gifted with a wide variety of flora and fauna, which makes it a perfectly charming scenery for you vacation diaries.

 At Chamba, there are many wildlife sanctuaries, lakes and temples which make the tourist feel like this are have everything to offer you. One goes back from this place with full of memories. The best thing about Chamba is that how it stays hidden from the swarm of tourists. Frankly, Chamba will not extend jaw-dropping landscapes for you. But, include Chamba in your Dalhousie plan to experience the chilled-out scenes

Lakshmi Narayana temple

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Laxmi Narayana Temple is the main shrine in Chamba. This is one of the most popular temple of Chamba that is known for its great historical significance and architectural marvel.  There is a Garuda statue in metal watches over the main gate. It was constructed in 10th century. The temple exhibits Shikhara style architecture with shell roof and wooden chhatris atop the temple.

Popular for – Temple architecture

Tickets: No entry fee

Timing: morning 6- 12.30 and 2.30 to 8.30

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Facilities available

Bank / ATM in Dalhousie

All the commercial banks of India have branches and ATMs in various parts of Dalhousie. ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, HDFC Bank and Punjab National Bank are to name a few but there are other banks as well. Cash too remains available and it is very rare that you will run out of cash in Dalhousie with no functional ATM.

Petrol Pumps/Mechanics

There are several petrol pumps and mechanics available in Dalhousie. You will find them on the route as well as in the town as well.

Mobile network in Dalhousie and data connectivity

All major mobile networks in India offer connectivity within and near Dalhousie. However, the farther you venture into remote areas, the lesser the chances of mobile connectivity, except BSNL network. Free Wi-Fi spots in Dalhousie are currently only available at hotels for their guests. I have been to nearby places like Khajjiar, Chamba, Kalatop and Dainkund top and remained on the network.

Our cab driver Roshan Details

He charged 1500 per day to take us to all places. We had hired a swift desire which was clean and in good condition. He was patient and compassionate. You can connect with him, if you ever visit Dalhousie and if you need a vehicle to roam around.

Ph number – 9817848743 / 8350913700

Name – Roshan / Ganesh – 7018487958

Approx cost/ budget 

How much money will you need for your trip? OMG, flight, accommodation, meal, cab it will be expensive. These are the first question from everyone. Here is a breakup of my cost for this trip. Its not average, but it worked out for us. Below cost is per person in rupees.

Flight (to and fro – blr to Delhi) 8500
Hotel –3 days 3210
Bus (Delhi to Dalhousie – to & fro) 3000
Cab 1124
Other expense 2000
Total 17500 Rs

With a heavy heart we boarded our bus back to Delhi. When we reached Delhi ISBT in the morning 9, we dumped our luggage in Delhi metro cloak room, went to Connaught place had a delicious breakfast in Saravana Bhavan and packed some sweets from Hira sweets and departed towards airport. We were back in Bangalore and in our homes by evening 7.

 

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