Snow Escape….. Dalhousie

Ahem! After a lot of avoidable delay caused due to laziness or de-motivation, here’s the 3rd contribution of my Himalayan sojourn. Sleepless night, early morning drive – tiring! gang (three of us) started form Gurgaon to Dalhousie, which is blessed with enchanting beauty, a certain tranquility of its ambience and the serenity and sacredness of its culture. All the parts of Himanchal that I visited are stunning nature’s wonder; however there are few places that stand out from the rest. Not as crowded or commercialized as Shimla or Manali, Dalhousie is a delightful quaint little town.

An evening in ... Dalhousie

It is almost 14-16 hrs. journey and all depends upon weather and road. If one is having own vehicle still early morning drive is preferred as scented air and absence of traffic make it easy to cross Delhi. The road is pretty good till Jhalandhar after that mulitiple diversions can make any driver crazy. We crossed that zig-zag route and early morning reached Pathankot from where another road branches out to the high snow clad Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalayas form a magnificent backdrop of dense pine and deodar forests, numerous streams, cool healthy air, attractive surroundings and the nearby snowline, Dalhousie has everything for a perfect holiday. It is full of life and yet peaceful. And not surprisingly, in 1854 the British Empire in India established it as a summer retreat for its troops and bureaucrats, the town was named after Lord Dalhousie who was the British viceroy in India at that time.

Rain...Rain Go Away

It is built on and around five hills. The roads of Dalhousie are famous for its shape as 8.The roads surrounding the two adjacent hills joints, to form an 8. The curving road and the jawdropping cliff on one side of the road did nothing to assuage our troubled hearts. Thick forests of pine and deodar covered the hill slopes with the trunks of the trees easily a few feet wide. We also saw a few vehicles like ours that had decided to go off-road and now lay in trenches 20-30 metres deep. Heaven help us.

Went Up the Hill.....

Dalhousie is very pretty. A relatively small city, 1800 m above sea level, it has a quaint charm. We stayed at the Hotel Mani Mahesh and found many tourists all around, we also noticed college guys the reason “Youth Hostle”, just besides our Hotel a good accommodation for the travelling students/ youth groups. We were there for only one day and hence decided to make the best of it. The Dalhousie bazaar was our destination that evening. It’s paradise for the shopaholics.

Window Shopping..

DAY I: Dalhousie to Dainkund
We planned to visit Khaijjiar and drove towards Gandhi Chowk from where another road climbs up towards Lakkadmandi/Khaijjjiar (as a small signboard guided us). After driving for 40 mintues we noticed an intersection but missed another small signboard (which ofcourse said “Khajjiar) and reached Diankund a hilltop about 2745 meters above sea level. But once we were there we didn’t regret our mistake.

Tasting Ice...Cream

We experienced our first snowfall (live) and enjoyed it completely. It was biting cold, with tonnes of snow everywhere. I loved the cold weather and the gentle touch of the mildly cold wind against my body, and did not mind shivering a bit for the experience.

Jingle...Jingle.. All the Way

On our way back to Dalhousie we finally got to see the signboard and took a downturn towards, Khaijjair. As soon as we entered the picturesque Khajjiar, welcomed by a yellow Swiss sign for ‘hiking path’ which reads “Mini Switzerland”. Yes, this was Khajjiar, A haven for those who want to escape the humdrum of everyday life, conquer their fear of heights, savour nature in its purest form at an altitude of 6,500 ft. above sea level.

The Khajjiar Lake

Soon it started raining and we had to run and look for shed. Kids were enjoying the rain along with their horse ride. There were chai shops around offering hot and cold beverages and snacks. We also ordered Two plates of Maggi and Two Omolattes with three cups of tea overlooking picturesque saucer-shaped plateau surrounded by dense pine and deodar forests, a place designated as “Mini Switzerland”.

Biggest Saucer

The Biggest Saucer

We left around 3:30 pm to Dalhousie but it started raining again. Unfortunately we got stuck in Traffic. This traffic was totally different from our day-to-day Delhi Traffic. We could see a long line of vehicles on parked one after another; we also followed the trend and parked ours in one corner. It was a difficult situation as road was narrow and three vehicles got stuck, amazing to see people helping those drivers, even in the rain.

Traffic Struck... I mean stuck

Two hours and all got cleared up; everybody cheered and turned on their vehicles and moved. The sun, slowly turning orange, slips from behind the clouds down towards the last leg of its journey for the day, saying goodbye, streaking through the pine trees, calling to the birds to return home. We also returned to ours (Hotel) around 6 and called it a day-off.

Window Shooting...

DAY II : Panchpula & Subhash Baoli
Dalhousie quietly ensconced amidst pine trees with a charming background of the snow clad Himalaya, has a breathtaking scenic beauty. Therefore before saying final goodbye to this Heaven, we decided to explore nearby places and drove towards “Panchpula”.

One of the Oldest Church on the way 2 Panchpula

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. Although Road towards Panchpula is not good and very narrow. After 30 mintues drive and we reached Panchpula the main source of water supply to Dalhousie. There is an elegant monument erected at Panchpula where several streams meet at one point.

Waterfall.... with Medicinal Properties

From Punj pulla there are also a few hiking trails. If you are planning to go for hiking, make sure you are well equipped for it. The pines, deodhars, oaks, tiny mountain flowers, the jungle babbler, the undulating hills, the tree line, soothing breezes, all perfectly. I realize, my furiously beating heart has settled to a trance at this discovery. We promised to cover that next time.

Trekking Trail

Our Dalhousie visit was on the concluding stage and finally we went towards Subhash Baoli approximately 1 km from G.P.O.. Neta ji Subhash Chander Bose is believed to have spent most of his days, meditating amidst dense woods of Cedar and meeting his party workers.

Subhash Baoli

The spot really commands a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. One can see the hills, snow-capped mountains, the valleys, the hamlets, the greenery and the ruggedness standing from the place.

Home Grown... Hanuman

There were many more scenic places to visit around Dalhousie but for us, it was time to say Bye. We were in the car, climbing down from Dalhousie to Pathankot. Our mind full with the thoughts of Journey but one thing became clear, this beauty is impossible to explain through words so, just a piece of advice for all – Go visit Dalhousie.


  • SKoli says:

    My New Post thanking every Ghumakkars for motivating me….

    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      Dear Ms. Kohli,

      First of all thanks for listening our request and changing your decision.

      Nice description supported with beautiful pictures. Dalhousie & Khaijjiar is my radar, let see when the wish will come true.

      Don’t you think, instead of own vehicle, better to go by train till Pathankot & further journey by road. I think its takes around three hours from Pathankot to reach Dalhousie.

      Cheers :-)

  • nandanjha says:

    Shalini – good show :-).

    nice pics, esp the snow ones and great info about the places. Though I have been to Dalhousie (2003), I didn’t even know of ‘Subhash Baoli’. We spend one day doing Khajiar and another day doing just walking trips from Subhas Chowk to Gandhi Chowk, doing time at Tibetan market and general idhar-udhar. I was driving from Dharamshala. On return trip, I did via inner roads (mostly Himachal and not NH1, via Pong time etc) and hit back at Ambala, cutting NH1 at a couple of places. good fun. We started at about 9 and were home only by 10ish. Its a long drive.

    More info around route and travel-time would further help ghumakkars.

    I am very happy :-). Thanks.

    • GSK says:

      Hi … Here is route details and relevant info..

      -Driving to Ambala from Gurgaon Approx 240 km Travelling Time around 3 hours 45 mins ….. Left on 23 Jan 10 at 20.00 hrs
      (Road condition quite OK…NH1)

      -Driving to Jalandhar from Ambala Approx 180 km Travelling Time around 3 hours 10 mins… Reached around 00.00 hrs at Ambala and around 03.00 hrs at Jalandhar.
      (Road condition quite OK…NH1)

      -Driving to Pathankot from Jalandhar Approx 120 km Travelling Time around 2 hours 20 mins ((Road condition very pathetic Single route and lots of diversion as double lane work is going on..very danger to drive in night as deep pathholes not visible…I think it is NH1A) Reached around 05.00 hrs at Pathankot. Took a 90 min break…

      -Driving to Dalhousie from Pathankot Approx 80 km Travelling Time around 2 hours 20 mins. (Road condition quite OK..SH33)..Reached around check in time …. Quite good hotel…rent approx Rs.1800 for SUPER DELUX ROOM / DAY

      -Driving to Khajjiar from Dalhousie Approx 25 km Travelling Time around 1-2-3 hours as people park on single lane road and enjoys nature beauty .. (Road condition very poor in winter)

      Car Problem :-) …. Got 1st puncture in 4 year around Khanna…

      Weather.. Entire north India under cover of dense fog and … while going we haven’t encountered… BUT GOD…while return journey it started from Khanna till Panipat… Oh GOD….

      Punjab Strange… On 26 Jan 10 every liquor shop was open….and people enjoying in front on shops …very strange… I think 26 Jan is dry day….

      Toll Charges… Approx 600+ both ways

      Petrol … Easily available till Dalhousie…


  • Manish Khamesra says:

    Very interesting post Shalini. We too went to Dalhousie on a rented vehicle in / around 2000. It so far from Noida that I would like to avoid it, my preference would be Mahesh’s way. It is also because I am not among those who enjoy drives, I prefer public transport :-)

    Good to know that you were drenched with snow, I wish that might have taken away some of the tiredness away and gave you all pure freshness.

    The gang of you three is indeed Gritty …. If not for the last pic, still the effort of drive and coming back with two days each at Khajjiar and Dalhousie is a Hanumanian effort.

    Good going.

  • nandanjha says:

    MK – If you start early, you can be there before it gets dark. I know I should have been in transport business (Gill Sandhu Transport or something similar)

  • Sushant says:

    @Shalini Koli

    Probably it escaped me, which month did you go here? Feb 2010 or earlier types ?



  • Gita AM says:

    Nice write up. We may be going to Dalhousie in the first week of December. Any idea about the weather then? Bearing in mind that we are from Mumbai! Thanks

  • RB says:

    Lovely Photos and article!

  • Indeed a nice post and I really like reading Hotels in Dalhousie, Dalhousie hotels, Hotel in Dalhousie. You have beautifully explained the importance and updated news on the Hotels. Keep up the nice posting as I have subscribed to your blog.

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