Dalhousie hill station full of colonial charm
Dalhousie (2036 m) is a hill station full of colonial charm that holds lingering echoes of the Raj. Spread out over the five hills (Kathlog, Potreys, Tehra, Bakrota and Balun) the town is named after the 19th century British Governer General Lord Dalhousie. It was popular with the British Army personnel in 1860's. The town’s varying altitude shades it with a variety of vegetation that includes stately grooves of pines, deodars, oaks and flowering rhododendrowns. Rich in colonial architecture, the town preserves some beautiful churches. St. John church is the oldest one built in 1863, St. Francis was built in 1894, St. Andrew in 1903 and St. Patric in 1909.
There are also magnificent views of Chamba valley and the mighty Dhauladhar range with its awe-inspiring snow covered peaks filling an entire horizon. By road Dalhousie is about 555 km from Delhi, 52 km from Chamba via Banikhet and 46 km via Khajjiar and the nearest railhead at Pathankot is 85 km away.
In & around Dalhousie the visitable places are:
Subash Baoli : Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose spent a large portion of 1937 contemplating here. A nice secluded place.
Panjpulla : It means five bridges. It is a picturesque spot with water flowing under the five small bridges. A samadhi of Sardar Ajit Singh, uncle of Bhagat Singh, adds to its importance. A small fresh water spring Satdhara is close by.
Bakrota hills : Visit for a brisk walk round the hills and have a view of snow clad peaks. It is 5 km from Dalhousie.
Kalatope : It is a picnic spot and a wild life sanctury, 10 km from Dalhousie and offers a fine view of the countryside.
Bara Pathar : It is 4 km from Dalhousie enroute Kalatope. In village Ahla here, there is atemple of Bhulwani Mata.
Dainkund : It is 10 km from Dalhousie. On a clear day this tall peak (2745 m) affords a birds eye-view of the hills, verdant valleys and the Beas, Ravi and Chenab rivers threading their silvery passage down to the plains.
23 kms from Dalhousie by road and 13 kms from Kalatop is the mini Switzerland of India i.e. Khajjiar, at a height of 6400 ft. Hutchison writes, "Khajjiar is a forest glade of great beauty, 6400 feet above sea level".
Khajjiar is often reffered to as "Gulmarg of Himachal Pradesh". The lush green meadows are surrounded by thick pine and cedar forests. Grazing herds of sheep, goats and other milch cattle present a prefect pastoral scenery. There is a small lake in the center of the saucer shaped meadow which has in it a floating island. Much of the lake has degenerated into slush because of heavy silting during rains. Still the landscape of Khajjiar is picturesque and a photographer's delight.
A little away from the lake is the temple of Khajji Nag belonging to 12th C. AD. In the mandapa of the temple one can see the images of the Pandavas and the defeated Kaurvas hanging from the roof of the circumambulatory path. The sanctum of the temple has been beautifully carved from wood.
There is a Tourism Hotel and some Tourism cottages at Khajjiar where the tourists can stay . Besides there are two rest houses one each of P.W.D. and Forest Deptt. A couple of private hotels have also come up, which do not match the above places in terms of location and amenities. Bus service to and from Khajjiar is limited and timings change according to local demands. There used to be a golf course in Khajjiar which is not maintained. The best entertainment in Khajjiar is to walk around the lake or to go for long walks in the thick pine forests. Children enjoy this place because of the freedom of movement and the slopy terrain which permits them to roll down to the lake without getting hurt. Another attraction like any other hill station is horse riding.
On 07-07-1992, Mr. Willy t. Blazer, Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India brought Khajjiar on the world tourism map by christening it "Mini Switzerland". He also put a sign board of a yellow Swiss hiking footpath showing Khajjiar's distance from the Swiss capital Berne-6194 kms. Khajjiar is among the 160 locations in the world that bear topographical resemblance with Switzerland. The Counselor also took from Khajjiar a stone which will form part of a stone collage around the Swiss Parliament to remind the visitors of Khajjiar as Mini Switzerland of India.
Distances from Dalhousie
Places to visit Km
Mani Mahesh 145
Norwood Paradham 5
St. Andrews Church 1
St. Francis Church 1
St. Johns Church 2
St. Patricks Church 2
Subhash Baoli 1
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