Dalhousie, named after Lord Dalhousie, is an enchanting little town, with a colonial hangover. Thick forests, wildlife, tranquil ambience and refreshing views of the far mountains draped in snow, attract nature-lovers and tourists alike.
Set on five hills and facing the Pir Panjal range, one can catch spectacular views of the Ravi, Beas and Chenab rivers, from certain vantage points. Fold after fold of mountains, snow-capped and pristine, and spectacular landscape of Dalhousie sure warrants a visit.
When the British annexed Punjab in 1849 their Chief Engineer, Lt. Col. Napier was inspired by the surrounding natural beauty and aptly chose the land at the foot of the Dhauladhar range as a place to carve a town out of a hillside. Thirteen square miles were marked out and rented from the Raja of Chamba in 1853.
Sir David McLeod (of McLeodganj fame) named the hill station after Lord Dalhousie, then Viceroy General of India. There was soon a sanitarium that Lord Dalhousie and many of the British visited regularly to rejuvenate them selves. In the 1920's, it was a favorite holiday spot, especially with the elite Punjabi community who traveled up from Lahore.
It was a cheaper and arguably more attractive alternative to Shimla. After the partition of India most of the local Muslim population migrated to Pakistan and it also lost the patronage of the British. Dalhousie suffered an economic slump for many years. In 1954, at Dalhousie's centennial celebrations, Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru tried to encourage tourism with "Let us go to the Himalayas".
He also chose Dalhousie as a place of refuge for several thousand Tibetans after China invaded Tibet in 1959. Now a part of the state of Himachal Pradesh, Dalhousie has recently been re-discovered by travelers and tourists (who can no longer visit unsafe Kashmir). It is also a current favorite with the Hindi film industry - watch 1942-A Love Story.
Mughlai, Kashmiri and Chinese cuisine.
The roads along Gandhi Chowk are dotted with tiny shops selling ethnic trinkets and other souvenirs. The Himachal Handloom Industry Emporium on Thandi Sarak is a good place to buy a woollen shawl. The Tibetan Handicrafts Centre is about 3 km from Gandhi Chowk along the Khajjiar Road. The best thing about this place is that it has Tibetan carpets made to order. Other things to buy include bags and purses.
There are four beautiful churches in Dalhousie. These are St. Andrew's Church and St. Patrick's Church at Balun, St. Francis Church at Subhash Chowk and St. John's Church at Gandhi Chowk. .
It was at this enchanting spot surrounded by majestic trees, that Subhash Chandra Bose spent a lot of time in 1937, contemplating and meditating.
This is a picturesque spot where a stream feeds a series of pools. A monument has been built here in memory of the freedom fighter, Sardar Ajit Singh.
This wild life sanctuary is a home to the 'ghoral' and Himalayan black bear.
Dalhousie is a sleepy little place along the Dhauladhar Range in Himachal Pradesh, 80 km from Pathankot at an altitude that varies between 5,000 feet and 7,800 feet.
The nearest airports are at Gaggal near Dharamsala, Amritsar and Jammu, all of which are within a circuit of 130 km to 190 km. Tourist taxis and buses are available from the respective three destinations for transfer to Dalhousie.
Catch the Jhelum Express, Jammu-Delhi Express or Himachal Express to Pathankot. Railway station: Pathankot, 80 km away, is the nearest railhead for Dalhousie. From here, it is a two-hour uphill drive by taxi, car or bus.
Himachal Pradesh Tourism runs deluxe buses from Shimla and Dharamsala to Dalhousie. Fares range between Rs 150 and Rs 500. Road routes are good via Ambala or Patiala to Pathankot. Even though the roads are not very broad, the drive upto Dalhousie is quite comfortable. Bus terminus: The bus stand is a 10-minute walk down the road from Subhash Chowk, near the Tourist Information Office.
Summers are fairly pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 12? C to 25? C. Winters are extremely cold, with temperatures dipping as low as 2? C to 10? C.
Khajjiar is a favorite picnic spot for tourists located 24 km from Dalhousie. Flanked by forests, the tiny lake in the middle of the meadow is enclosed by wooden cottages or forest cabins. One could take a horse ride around for Rs 50. Buses and taxis are available at any time of the day. You could spend a night there, too. The Mini Swiss Hotel offers decent accommodation.
At a distance of 1 km is Subhash Baoli, an enchanting spot surrounded by majestic trees. Subhash Chandra Bose spent a lot of time in 1937, contemplating and meditating at this place, giving it the name of Subhash Baoli.
Panchpula, a beautiful spot, is barely 3 kms. from G.P.O. On the way to Panchpula is Satdhara springs gurgling with refreshing water, believed to contain some medicinal properties. Panchpula stream is the main source of water supply to Dalhousie and Bahloon. The stream springs from the north side of DayanKund and runs down a picturesque ravine to the waterworks of Panchpula. There is an elegant monument erected at Panchpula where several streams meet at one point. This monument, a samadhi was built in memory of great revolutionary Sardar Ajit Singh who breathed his last in Panchpula. There is Tourism restaurant and several chai shops in Panchpula that offer hot and cold beverages and snacks.
About 10 km from Dalhousie is this wildlife sanctuary, which is a home to the 'ghoral' and Himalayan black bear
The churches of Dalhousie are worth visiting. There are four beautiful churches in Dalhousie, which are a beauty in themselve. These are St. Andrew's Church and St. Patrick's Church at Balun, St. Francis Church at Subhash Chowk and St. John's Church at Gandhi Chowk.
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.