Dalhousie-Khajjiar-Chamba Excursion Apr 12-15, 2007

Dalhousie-Khajjiar-Chamba Excursion Apr 12-15, 2007 – By Ripple (ripple4it@gmail.com)

It was a Thursday before a long weekend, due to elections in Noida on Friday & we had an opportunity to go out for any hill station in hot summer days of April. Vikas suggested Dalhousie & I agreed for the same. Without any plan we moved to ISBT-Delhi & found that there is no direct bus for Chamba at around 2300 hrs. Without wasting time we left Delhi to Pathankot at around 2300 hrs in night on Apr 12. We planned it late to visit Dalhousie but one can plan and leave Delhi via train to Pathankot and then take another short journey to Dalhousie or Chamba. We took a bus to from Pathankot to Banikhet (A station between Pathankot & Chamba) & changed the bus for Dalhousie.

Day-1: 13th April, 2007 (Dalhousie & Panchpula)

We reached Dalhousie at around 1300 hrs on APR 13 (half of our day gone astray). We were really impressed by the beauty & weather there. Then we started searching a good Hotel. One can find numerous numbers of Hotels, Resorts and Guest Houses there. After negotiation, we got a discounted room in Hotel Geetanjali(HPTDC Hotel) for around INR 400. One can have a decent single room for INR 300-1000 in April, but in May/June it’s very difficult to find rooms even for 1200 min. After checking in to the Hotel & taking Lunch we went to the Mall. Spent some time in Gandhi Chowk & then had a round back through Subhash chowk. Dalhousie city is spread over three little places connect to each other with road, called as The Mall. Gandhi-Chowk, Subhash-Chowk and Bus-Stand. Dalhousie is a gateway to Chamba (10th AD primordial state), with its innate exquisiteness. Situated at an altitude of 6800 ft., it’s an incredible place. Dalhousie in its present shape was founded in 1850’s when the British acquired five hills from the ruler of the Chamba State for developing the area as a sanatorium.

Dalhousie is better known for its stretch over 5 hills. But I liked the cool breeze with fairly good amount of sunlight at the ridge. We took some snacks and without delay left for Panchpula.

Panchpula is 6620 feet above from sea level, 5 km from Dalhousie, have a historic effigy of late Sardar Ajeet singh (Bhagat Singh’s paternal uncle). Panchpula has a beautiful waterfall. It was a good walk from Gandhi Chowk to Panchpula. After some discussion with some local folks we came to know about a waterfall on a hill which was about 400 m. from Panchpula Stand. We moved towards the waterfall & reached there within 10 min. we spent some time near this waterfall & came back to the mall. Vikas was very happy to be back in the town (He was waiting for something??). Now search started for a wine-shop. We got it within 2-3 mins. We had some beer & then had a round of whole town. Then we spent some time in Subhash Chowk & had dinner at ‘Sher-E-punjab’ not ‘Shere Punjab’. Actually there were two hotels in Subhash chowk ‘Sher-E-punjab’ & ‘Shere Punjab’. We tried both the places in two days & food at ‘Sher-E-punjab’ was good, especially Butter Chicken. There we met a foreigner who was here in India for last 4 Months. He was actually aware of most of the items in the Menu & ordered Chana-Poori. It was a coincident that he was also staying in Geetanjali. After some good discussion about Indian food, fashion & fairs, we went towards Court-Road of Dalhousie. There are some good resorts on the other end of Court-Road. It was about 2200 hrs when we reached Geetanjali. We had gr8 fun that evening.

Day-2: 14th April, 2007 (Bakrota Hills, Khajjiar, Chamba, Ravi, Chamera Lake, Rock Garden)

After a 6 hrs sleep, I awoke at 6000 hrs in the morning, took bath and had little walk on the Mall. These were the most relaxing moments of whole trip. We went to Scottish Church, but since it was closed we got no more information. We booked a cab yesterday evening with Prince Travels, who have well settled transport business in Dalhousie. They charged INR 250 per person and accommodated 8 people in that cab. Our cab left towards Bakrota Hills, which is 7640 ft. above the sea level & 8 km from Dalhousie. On the way we saw very good boarding schools ‘Dalhousie Public School’ and ‘HillTop Public School’, having very good infrastructure. On the northern side of this Bakrota circle, there were beautiful views of the Pangi range & on the southern side, one can enjoy the vistas of the valleys and rivers of the Panjab plains below. Noble laureate Rabindrabath Tagore spent a few months with his father at Snowdun cottage in Upper Bakrota. We got a chance to meet Satish Koushik & have a photograph with him. He was there for a movie shoot out in Bakrota hills.

After Bakrota hill there is a station ‘Bara Pathar’, there is a tea stall and outdoor amphitheater. Also located here is an open-air temple of Bhuvani-Mata. These open-air temples are unique to the hills.

Khajjiar is the most exotic and scenic beauty place around 22 Km from Dalhousie. Khajjiar is officially proclaimed the mini-Switzerland of India. At an altitude of 6450 ft, this saucer shaped green meadow, ringed by Devadar Trees has a lake in the middle complete with floating island. I liked horseback riding and strolling. It’s the best place to spend more time as compare to the other places. We spent around 2 hrs & enjoyed Horse riding there. After negotiation you can get a peripheral Horse ride for 100 Rs.

We reached Chamba city at around 1500 hrs, but got disappointed after looking at chaotic condition of Chugan promenade.

The famous Minjar festival takes place in Chugan. We had our lunch in Chamba & tried some local dishes. Then we went to Lakshmi-Narayan Temple. This is in the middle of Chamba Market. This temple has lord Vishnu and Shiva effigies. There are Sui mata and Chamunda temples uphill around 3 Km away.

We missed the opportunity to visit Rang Mahal due to shortage of time. Also, adding to our bad luck, the Bhuri Singh museum was closed for state holiday

Chamba is situated along side river Ravi (locally known as Iravati). There was a marvelous view of snow on 11000 feet high mountains of Pangi Valley. From local people I came to know that river Chandrabhaga (or Chenab) gorges through Pangi. One should stand for a while near Chugan and experience soothing sound of Ravi.

Next we moved on to Chamera Project in kriyan village. NHPC Chamera is divided into 3 stages as Chamera 1, 2, 3 located at different places – Kheri, kriyan, garlot. Kriyan project generate 540 MW Electricity. After Chamera we also went to Rock Garden, it was not interesting for us. Actually that place was a normal place, but seen a lot of tourists there. So people from big cities might be interested to that place since it’s a dry river with big Rocks & few artistic pieces made out of rocks. Both of us were used to of this kind of places & not enjoyed much. Now came back to Dalhousie at 1900 hrs. We found that the town is very crowded & realized that the day was Saturday. Most of the Punjabis (belongs to north side to Punjab) like to come to Dalhousie since it’s the nearest hill station for them. Vikas was really happy to see the crowd & we spent 1:30 hrs on Gandhi Chowk & then went to Tibetan Market near Gandhi Chowk. This market was respectively very costly & came back without anything. Vikas was really interested to buy something from Dalhousie and we started exploring the market for some unique things. Finally we spotted to a shop having some local craft works. Shopkeeper showed us some hankies and told that these are hand made; even thread used is also made by the local people of Chamba. When we asked for the cost, it was 1800+. Vikas came out & said that I will try this myself, Thanx.

There is good shop (Himalayan Handicraft) on Mall road (between Gandhi Chowk & Subhash Chowk) where you can get some good handicraft(Kullu Shawl, Chamba Shawl, Himachali Topi & some other winter wears) items on reasonable rates. Again we had dinner at ‘Sher-E-Pujab’ & came back to Hotel.

So, second day was a round trip covering a lot of places on the way. (Dalhousie-Bakrota Hills-Lakkar Mandi- Khajjiar – Chamba – Ravi River – Chamera Project – Rock Garden – Banikhet – Dalhousie)

Day-3: 15th April, 2007 (Dain Hills & Kala Top): the best day of our trip

After a sound sleep last night we were ready to go for trekking at 8:00. After breakfast we took HRTC bus to ‘Lakkar Mandi’. There is a hamlet of Dhogria tribals here. A few tea stalls and country stores are here, for refreshment and recuperation. From here, one trek leads to Kala Top Forest rest house. This is a pleasant, plain walk. The other uphill trek goes to Dain Hill, the highest point around Dalhousie. From Lakkar Mandi we started moving towards Dain-hills. It was 5 km from Lakkar Mandi. Dain Hill is toppest hill in Dalhousie (9500 feet). There is fantastic 360 degree view from the top. You can have a view of two Ravi River & Ranjeet Sagar Lake.

Then we moved towards Pohlani Mata temple, which was 2 Km on feet from Dian Hills. The motivation to there was snow & we enjoyed it a lot. There is panoramic view of the ice-covered Pir Panjal Range. It is surrounded by thick forests, and the treks through these forests & the slopes of the mountains are most rewarding. So now we had to go back to Lakkar Mandi on feet. After covering 14 odd kms on feet we reached Lakkar Mandi at 1:30. After taking some drinks & snacks from Lakkar mandi we moved towards ‘Kala-Top’ National Forest Sanctuary. There is also a wine-shop (I thought, it’s important to mention because some trekkers might be interested to have beer on the way to Kala Top). You can go by your personal vehicle by paying 100 Rs. at the gate as Entry pass fee. Located almost midway between Dalhousie and Khajjiar, Kalatop is a beautiful forested area. A very thick and dark forest crowns the hilltop and perhaps that is why the place has derived its name as Kalatop which literally means a black cap. It was really a fantastic stretch of 3 km. I will recommend not missing this place, you will enjoy a lot if you can manage to go on feet. We shot a lot of photographs here. Pheasants and Monal and various other birds can be frequently seen in the place. Leopards, black bear are also found by travelers occasionally, but we were not able to see anything except some colorful birds.

We came back to Lakkar Mandi & took a bus to Dalhousie. We reached at 1700 hrs, took late very late lunch. After checking out from Geetanjali we reached bus-stand to take bus back to Delhi. There is a last bus at 1830 hrs & we took the same. Suddenly we realized that the trip was over. After some time Vikas says – “Kash hamara Office Dalhaousie mein hota” & immediately said that “To shayad Dalhousie bhi Noida jaisa polluted hota”.

Last day was the best day of whole trip. Kalatop & Dain-Hill are the best places if you are interested in natural beauty & fond of Trekking.

Ultimately it was very good time in Dalhousie!!! The best places were Dalhousie, Khajjiar, Dain-Kund & kalatop according to our interests. If you are more interested in Temples then Chamba is the best place.

Some of the other photographs of this Trip: http://adobe.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=f4ez4b0.adtflxos&x=0&y=2w2p3x


  • Nandan says:

    A chance to meet Satish Kaushik, great. Very comprehensive.

    Been to Dalhousie and Khajiar in 2003, didn’t make it to Chamba, was driving all the way from Delhi.

  • shilpa says:

    A gud description abt ur journey… U r very lucky to visit all these beautiful places… Pics are awesome…

  • raman preet says:

    very nice flicks….
    wish i had been there with you…. :)


    Dalhoudieis one place,I dont mind visiting again and again. Apart from the fact its beautiful ,unspoiled it has special momories for us.
    We went to Dalhousie by car on 6th October to 12th October, 2005 and managed to get rooms at a hotel called SHANGRILLA which had a huge cantilever balcony overlooking the hills,Somehow we didnt like the place but agreed to stay for a day till we found another p[lace..On the 7th morning when we were going to move to another place,there was a sever earthquack at 9,30 in the morning and the balcony almos shook like the LAKSHMAN JHOOLA for almost oover one minute. Everybidy was so frightened and ran out on the Mall Road.I will never forget that
    Any if your readers like old heritage kind of plac,I can reccommend where we then moved into. Its a beautiful heritage bunglow with big lawns and view of snowpeaks calledSILVERTON ESTATE, GUEST HOUSE,right above the Circuit House at almost 90 degrees but you can drive upto there for parking. The place belongs to Lt.General Gurinder Singh of Hoiddsons Horse,and ryn by his son, Vikram Singh., Itys at Moti Tibba.
    Another thing about Dalhousie is that it has some of the best walks around hills. One can buy a book”Walks around Dalhousiue” if youreally want to enjoy nature. Having seen Khajiar in Fifties, we didnt really care for it now–lake almost drying up and allthoser people from Punjab picknicking is little too crowded for me, I think youy must visit the shop of DCKHANNA, down the lake sidfe in Dalhousie for a 100 year old feel.,We loved Chamba also but we went therte only for a day visit to see some of the temples innarrow lanes. Thanks for excellent feature,sir. Jatinder sethi

  • nandanjha says:

    Interesting. We (me and wife) also stayed in Sangrila and our room was right on the balcony. We spent lot of time just watching mountains from that balcony. :)

    That was in October 2003 so about two years before you went. It feels so good. I was on my honeymoon drive (pun intended) and we had no great plans so we drove everywhere starting with Dharamshala.

  • it is interesting that while everybody else is discussing the financial crisis you are taliking about it. Very well done.

  • Very interesting website, wish I had found it earlier. This information will definitely come in handy. Fred

  • Hey this is good stuff. So glad you posted this. I enjoy reading blogs like this. Anna

  • Pradeep says:

    Thanks buddy.It reminded me of my trip to Dalhousie and Chamba.I had the goodfortune of visiting the museum.It was great to know about heir art & culture.On our way back we stopped and spent quality time near the river ravi.we washed our hands and legs and it was really cold and soothing.Thanks for giving me the flashback.

  • Dhruv says:

    hiii…. i live in chamba and i am glad to know that you like my birth place and my home town..
    i am a student so most of the time i live outside of my home town……..
    you have remembered me my place……………………..
    if you again came to chamba then contact me……………

  • Gita AM says:

    We may have an opportunity to visit Dalhousie in the first week of December so it is very interesting to read this account. Thanks.

  • sandeepgill2005 says:

    Its very intresting. Thnks for the opportunity to read this.

  • vijay sareen says:

    Been in dalhousie for the last 36 years.We are always enchanted with the scenic view of perrenial snow clad range of pir panjal ranges. With an estate of apprx 1 acre freehold land and great deal of greenary alround,it is such a change from concrete jungles of Delhi/Gurrgaon. As we are likely to migrate abroad, we would have no choice but to sell it

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