Dalhousie in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh is a hill station and popular tourist destination. Established as a summer retreat, it boasts majestic snow-clad peaks, cascading waterfalls, impressive European architecture, lush green valleys and meadows and more.
With immense natural beauty, Dalhousie is home to the picturesque Chamera Lake, known for being popular boating and picnic spot, along with the gushing Satdhara Falls, said to have medicinal properties. Head over to the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary to lose yourself amidst its deodar trees, discover its flora and fauna, and enjoy tranquil walks with a view of the Pir Panjal range. Dalhousie holiday packages include adventure activities like trekking, rock climbing, river rafting etc.
The residence of the Dalai Lama, Dharamshala is known for its Tibetan culture and features monasteries like the Namgyal Monastery and Gyuto Monastery. It’s also home to the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium, Triund and Tibet Museum. No matter who you are travelling with, We bring you a diverse range of Dalhousie tour packages that are not only reasonably priced but also fully customisable to ensure that you have a memorable trip!
Places to Visit in Dalhousie
1. Panchpula: Surrounded by a cover of green pine and deodar trees, Panchpula is a popular picnic spot in Dalhousie. It is best known for Saptdhara Waterfall, the starting point of the Ganji Pahari trek and activities like Zip Lining, and Burma Bridge.
2. Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary: Thick deodar foliage, a plethora of wildlife, snow capped mountains, carpets of verdant grasslands and easy on the eye streams of fresh water make up the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary. The well laid out trekking and hiking trails in the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary make for a great nature walk with views of the towering and immaculate Pir Panjal range.
3. St John’s Church: St John's Church is the oldest church in Dalhousie and assumes great historical significance apart from being a sentinel of Protestant belief in the region. Embodying the Victorian era, the church in Dalhousie is a reminder of the British regime in the region. The interior of the church is adorned with stunning glass paintings of St John the Baptist along with St Peter.
4. Subhash Baoli: Named after the famous freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose, Subhash Baoli is a perennial spring which has medicinal properties and is believed to have cured the freedom fighter of his ill health. It is an ideal spot for picnics and evening strolls.
5. Mall Road: Gandhi Chowk, or GPO, is the bustling and vibrant street of Dalhousie. Unlike other hill stations, Dalhousie doesn't have a mall road, so Gandhi Chowk is the Mall Road of Dalhousie. Shop for simple local souvenirs, woollen clothes and every-day treasures here.
6. St Francis Church: This is one of the prominent monuments in Dalhousie. Surrounded by Deodar trees outside, the interiors are adorned with Belgian glass and exquisite stone works. The age-old carvings and dioramas tell a story of 100 years of history.
7. Satdhara Falls: Perched at an altitude of 2036 masl, the place has derived its name from the seven beautiful springs believed to have therapeutic value. The water in these springs contains mica, having several medicinal properties that cure diseases and ailments.
8. Chamera Lake: The Chamba Lake is the man-made reservoir for the Chamba Dam. It is a popular picnic spot and boating location. One can explore the lake on a speed boat or a rowboat and indulge in activities like kayaking & canoeing.
9. Ganji Pahari: Ganji Pahari is a scenic hill located near Dalhousie. The 1-2 hour trek to Ganji Pahari starts from Panchpula (about 3.5 km). The name Ganji Pahari was derived from its salient feature which is the complete absence of flora on the hill -'Ganji' meaning Bald in the local language, and 'Pahari' meaning Hill. During winters, the same terrain is covered in a thick coat of snow.
10. Dainkund Peak: Being the highest point in Dalhousie at an elevation of 2755 masl, the peak offers a bird’s eye view of the astonishing verdant valleys and mountains. For nature fanatics seeking a serene and calm place, Dainkund Peak is worth exploring.
11. Rock Garden: Rock Garden is a beautiful garden and a popular picnic spot in Dalhousie. Other than relaxing and revitalizing in the park, you can also try the several adventure sports available in the area including zip lining etc.
12. Laxmi Narayan Temple: Built between 920 and 940 AD, the Laxmi Narayan Temple in Dalhousie is an ancient temple in the Chamba region. The temple has six shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Shiva, constructed in the Shikhara style; the temple house beautiful idols, Shrines, Garb Griha and Mandapa. The idol of the main deity Lord Vishnu is made of rarefied marble. The temple's roof is designed to hold heavy snowfall that's common from December to February.
13. Khajjiar: Often referred to as 'mini-Switzerland of India', Khajjiar is a small town located close (20km) to Dalhousie and is great for a day or overnight trip. Khajjiar is known for its picture perfect grassy meadows. Khajjiar is popular for adventure sports including paragliding, zorbing, and horse riding. It is also known for its nine-hole golf course which is nestled in the midst of lush greenery and a breathtaking landscape.
14. Chamba: Chamba is a Himalayan town located in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. Located almost 55km from Dalhousie, it makes for a great day trip. Chamba is popular for its traditional handicrafts and art along with the miniature Pahari paintings. It is also the base camp for several treks in the great Himalayan ranges.
15. Dharamshala: Dharamshala, the home of the Dalai Lama, is often included in Dalhousie tour packages. Located 120km away, it is often visited as a 1 night stay. The state's winter capital, Dharamshala, is separated as upper and lower divisions with different altitudes. The lower division is the Dharamsala town itself, whereas the upper division is located 3 km away and is popularly known as Mcleodganj.
16. Shimla: Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and a popular hill-station among Indian families and honeymooners. An Amazing Himachal with Dalhousie tour package, can include Shimla in the itinerary. The hill station still retains its old-world charm with beautiful colonial architecture, pedestrian-friendly Mall Road and the ridge lined up with multiple shops, cafes and restaurants.
17. Manali: Manali can be included in Dalhousie holiday packages to explore the Amazing Himachal state in 6-7 days. One of the most popular hill stations in Himachal, Manali offers the most magnificent views of the Pir Panjal and the Dhauladhar ranges covered with snow for most parts of the year. It has many trekking options around it, making it a great base for exploring this side of Himalayas. Tourists flock to Rohtang Pass & Solang valley for various adventure activities including skiing, paragliding, horse-riding & zorbing.
Things to Do in Dalhousie
Ganji Pahari Trek: Ganji Pahari is a scenic hill located near Dalhousie. The 1-2 hour trek to Ganji Pahari starts from Panchpula (about 3.5 km). A tour to Ganji Pahari can also be accompanied by a guide whom tourists can hire from Dalhousie but it is not mandatory. People trek to Ganji Pahari for the sunset and sunrise. There are a handful of places to stay on top and camping is also an option, but the bookings have to be made in advance.
Khajjiar: Paragliding is one of the exciting activities and things to do in Dalhousie. The favourable months for paragliding are September to November and January and June when the weather conditions are most ideal. Most of these activities are held at Khajjiar and you should definitely experience it when in the hill town.
River Crossing & River Rafting: River crossing is done across the river Ravi or Saal under the supervision of trained instructors while River Rafting is a growing favourite in Chamba, usually done on the Rivers Ravi and Saal, too. Both private as well government tourism organizations organize these activities.
Rock Climbing: This adventure activity is popular and carried out at various places in Dalhousie, especially in Khajjiar. Since the activity is done under professional supervision, it is best to go in groups, since individual training and activity might cost a bit more.
Food in Dalhousie
Dalhousie, one of Himachal Pradesh’s most popular hill stations, is a treat for the eyes and for the taste buds! Here you get to have delicious Himachali food as well as Tibetan, Chinese, continental and more.
Madra is a delicacy of the state, made by cooking boiled chickpeas or kidney beans in yoghurt along with spices, cardamoms, cloves, cumin, coriander powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida etc.
You can have siddu which is prepared by kneading dough of flour with yeast, stuffing it with dal daste made using soaked dal, spices, chillies etc., steamed and then served with meat or vegetables.
Many restaurants serve dham, a platter, that consists of rice, dal, rajma, boor ki kadi, curd, jaggery etc.
You can also try some bhey which is basically lotus stem that is thinly diced and cooked with onions, gram flour, ginger-garlic paste.
Tudkiya bhat is a pahari pulao made using a variety of spices, lentils, yoghurt, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, cardamoms, cinnamon etc. and is topped off with some lime juice.
Do have some mittha which is sweetened rice garnished with dry fruits like cashews, raisins, almonds etc.
Given that Dalhousie is close to the China/Tibet border, you can also find eateries serving delicious thukpa, a noodle soup with vegetables or meat. Momos are also quite popular here; steamed or fried, they contain meat or vegetables and are served with a spicy dip. You can also have chowmein here.
Apart from this, you would find many restaurants and cafes serving a number of continental dishes like pizzas, burgers, pastas, sandwiches, sizzlers, pancakes and more.
A few of the well-known eateries include Shiva Cafe, Mogas Cafe, Tandon Food Corner, Moti Mahal etc.
Shopping in Dalhousie
Dalhousie is an excellent destination to buy a bunch of Himachali as well as Tibetan souvenirs. You can find beautiful Kullu shawls in many markets here, made of different materials like angora, lambswool and pashmina and often featuring intricate embroidery.
Kashmiri shawls are also sold here owing to the region’s prominent handloom industry.
The hill station is also a great place to find some cosy yet simple woollen clothing items like sweaters, jackets, haps, scarves, gloves etc.
Since the state is quite close to the Tibetan borders, Dalhousie is also known for its wide array of Tibetan souvenirs; singing bowls, wall hangings, Thangka paintings, dresses, rugs and carpets, prayer wheels, bags, dolls etc. are some of the options.
Dalhousie is also known for its yummy jam and marmalade made by locals that you can have with cream and scones.
Some of the places where you would find these items include Bhuttico, Tibetan Handicraft Centre, Gandhi Chowk, Himachal Handloom Industry Emporium and DC Khanna Store, amongst others.
Best time to visit Dalhousie
Dalhousie, with its ideal climatic conditions, makes for one of the very few places which may be visited all year round. However, the best time to visit Dalhousie is from the month of March-June. The snow begins to melt in the months of March and April and its brilliance can be seen when the rays of sun hit the snow-capped mountains and pastures. The weather remains rather pleasant during this period and you can continue to experience the chills too.
The temperature begins to rise in the month of June. The summer months experience nice weather throughout, thus making it a perfect destination for nature buffs. Monsoons are also quite pleasant here as the moderate rainfall does not cause any inconvenience to your plans. Winters in Dalhousie are perfect for outdoor activities.
How to Reach Dalhousie
By flight: Kangra Airport: 108km, Jammu Airport: 170 km, Amritsar Airport: 208 km
By Bus: Dalhousie is well-connected with major cities of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and other states in this region. A number of buses-private and state-owned-run from Delhi's ISBT to Dalhousie (590 km) on a daily basis as well. You can board Deluxe, A/c, Non- A/c buses to Dalhousie. Overnight Volvo from Delhi can be booked.
By Train: The nearest railway station to Dalhousie is Pathankot railway station, located 86 km away from Dalhousie.
Local transport in Dalhousie: While you can cover most of Dalhousie by walking, taxis are readily available in Dalhousie. Dalhousie also offers horse or pony rides to take you around the city, with a trained guide & handler.
Clubbed together with Dalhousie are nearby destinations like Manali, Dharamshala and Shimla. A paradise for honeymooners, Shimla is synonymous with colonial structures like Christ Church and Visceral Lodge. Green Valley is a beautiful attraction along with the Himalayan Bird Park, Scandal Point and Chadwick Falls. The Ridge and Mall Road are famous shopping destinations. Visit Manali to explore the Vashisht Baths, Bhrigu Lake, Van Vihar National Park and the 9km-long Atal Tunnel. It is also famous for adventure sports like river rafting, paragliding, zorbing, trekking and skiing.