Dalhousie India

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Description: Open source travel guide to Dalhousie, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written by Wikitravellers from around the globe.

Dalhousie is a hill resort town in the Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh in India at 32.53° N 75.98° E and 2000 meters (6400 feet) altitude.

Dalhousie is a quiet hill station with little night life, best suited for people who want to de-stress, who like the quiet, serene atmosphere, and for honeymooners; ideal for long walks, picnics and treks. It is not recommended for people who want discos, malls and multiplexes. While there is plenty to do, see and experience, Dalhousie exudes an old-world charm and it seems like it hasn't quite caught up with the rest of the world yet.

Lord Dalhousie founded the town in 1854 because its fresh and peaceful atmosphere and healthy surroundings enchanted him. The British acquired five hills — Kathalagh, Potreyn, Terah (now called Moti Tibba by the locals), Bakrota and Bhangora — from the ruler of the Chamba State for developing the area as a sanatorium; in return, his taxes were reduced. The project originated with Lt. Col. Napier, then Chief Engineer of Punjab; (‘afterwards Lord Napier of Magdala”). Dr. Clemenger of the 49th Native infantry did the surveying. In 1851 a spot where the Dayan Kund Ridge (now Dain Kund) breaks in to spurs was selected for the project and Kathalagh was identified for the construction of Convalescent Depot.

The English visited this place for their summer vacations. The bungalows here are all made in the English style. The modern town is situated among the five hills, facing the Pir Panjal range of snow-capped and pristine mountains, surrounded by thick forests of pine and deodar trees.

It is usually warm in the morning and afternoon in June–July, gets cold early in the evening, and is quite cold at night: pack woolens and jackets; T-shirts can be worn in the daytime while the sun is out. The weather gets quite cold when it rains.

In winter, the temperature can drop to the freezing point, when heavy woolens are required. The summer temperature are mild and light woolens/cottons are recommended.

The trip to Dalhousie is a long one if you are heading from Delhi. There are direct buses to Dalhousie from Delhi at 5;50 and 7 pm which take around 12 hours to reach Delhi. It usually involves taking an overnight train to Pathankot (about 10 hr) and then a 2–3 hr drive from Pathankot to Dalhousie. The options for overnight trains are Delhi-Pathankot or Delhi-Chakki Bank train. Chakki Bank is only 4 km away from Pathankot which gives you the pleasure of being on train at right time (around 9PM) and being in Chakki Bank at morning (06:30AM.

If you are planning to drive down, then the road distance to pathankot from Delhi is approx 560 km. The roads are generally excellent in Haryana and Punjab. The route to take is Delhi- Ambala-Chandigarh-Ropar(Rupnagar)-Hoshiarpur-Dasayu-Pathankot. On the Delhi -Ambala stretch,the road is generally excellent up to Karnal.From Karnal to ambala. you tend to have bumpy ride because of diversions made because of unfinished overpasses. Ambala to chandigarh is smooth. From Chandigarh to Ropar to Hoshiarpur, you get single lane toll road, but it is in excellent condition. You are advised to avoid the more conventional route of NH1 which is Ambala-Ludhiana-Jalandhar-Pathankot because the unfinished overpasses at industrial town of Ludhiana brings traffic to a crawl. You would spend a couple of hours just negotiating through Ludhiana itself. There are frequent bus services from Pathankot to Dalhousie, which cost 70 Rs. as well as one bus a day from Delhi. A taxi from Pathankot will set you back between 800 (unoffical) to 1350 (offical taxi) Rupees.

  • Pathankot at 75 km, with one flight from Delhi to Pathankot and back. However, in case of fog, it gets cancelled.
  • Gaggal airport at 135 km, with two flight from Delhi to Kangra and back. However, in case of fog, it gets cancelled.
  • Jammu, at 180 km. There are regular flights from Jammu to Delhi and many other destinations.
  • Amritsar airport is 5 hrs away by bus.

There are also local buses to Kangra, Dharamsala (7:15AM, 155 Rs.), Khajjiar and Chamba. For example, going for a local bus from Kangra to Dalhousie will take only Rs 150/- per ticket and will give some best scenic views on the way. You will also get a chance to interact with local people on the way who are nice. Seeing villages having merely 5-10 houses in the middle of mountains is a good experience.

The greatest activity in Dalhousie is on and around the three level Malls which were laid in the early 1860s for promenades, carriages, horses, dandies, etc. these roads and the steeper by-lanes which connect them to the bus-stand are still the arteries of the town. The roads are too narrow to handle present day vehicles such as SUVs and sedans. Hence, one has to be careful while driving up the steep roads as the traffic can jam up any minute. The Malls around Moti Tibba and Potreyn hills are the most popular among the tourists as the two are level and most of the business activity and hotels are around them. Gandhi Chowk, Upper bazaar. Subhash chowk, Catholic church of St. Frances, Sadar bazaar and the Convent founded by an Order of Belgium nuns and their Sacred Heart School are on these two malls. Dalhousie’s third and highest mall was built around the upper Bakrota hill nearly a 1000 feet above the G.P.O. (Gandhi Chowk). This mall was the favourite of Dr. Hutchison: “of these Upper Bakrota mall is finest and the longest being fully 3 miles round and from it extensive views are obtained of the low hills and figure of eight walk on the two malls encircling Moti Tibba and Potreyn hills is very pleasant and popular among local people and tourists.

As Shimla finds its focus in the mall, in Dalhousie action gravitates in the evening to the G.P.O. which presents a riot of colours and activity. Sometimes it even becomes difficult to surge ahead without jostling and elbowing. Most of the good eateries and handicraft emporia, hotels and of course the ever attractive Tibetan market are all around the G.P.O. There is a library and a reading room at the G.P.O. for the convenience of the tourists.

The main mode of transport is a car or motorcycle; it can get very cold in the evening so a car is recommended. Pony rides are available in G.P.O. and Khajjiar, but this is mostly a recreational activity rather than a functional one. The ponies are called khachhars (mules), crosses between horses and donkeys: don't expect thoroughbred horses! Walking around Dalhousie is a good option, but to see Khajjiar and Chamba you will have to use some kind of transport. Taxis to these destinations are easily available from the main market. there are so many buses from pathankot to Dalhousie with fare rs 97 per head within every half an hour

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