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Dalhousie & Khajjiar, mystical land of pines and deodars

Updated on August 15, 2021
Jaspals profile image

Lawyer, Consultant & Politician: Expert in Overseas Education & Immigration Matters, Traveller & Blog writer

It was during my college days when I visited this hill station for the first time. We planned a short trip for 2-3 days, and it was really wonderful trip. We all enjoyed ourselves a lot. Dalhousie is a small but wonderful tourist destination in Himachal. Nature-loving tourists visit this hill station every year as the land is wonderfully blessed with natural beauty.

Dalhousie View
Dalhousie View

Built on and around five hills, Dalhousie is located on the west of the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas. Natural beauty is spread in every corner of this place. Situated at the height of 6,500 feet above sea level, this beautiful hill station is surrounded by long trees of pines, deodars, oaks, and flowering rhododendron. Awe-inspiring snow-capped peaks filling an entire horizon can be seen any time whole the year. This place is the perfect combination of all-natural beauties. Lush green woods, warm sunshine and pleasant air, and beautiful landscapes all are here to make your trip really memorable.

View @ Gandhi Chowk Dalhousie
View @ Gandhi Chowk Dalhousie

Dalhousie is named after the British governor General of the 19th century, Lord Dalhousie. Initially, British people established this hill station in 1854 as a summer retreat for its troops and bureaucrats. This is the reason that there are lots of old building structures of that period. In colonial architecture, Dalhousie is also known for its old churches and other landmarks built in the British period. It preserves some beautiful churches. St. John church is the oldest one built in 1863. Among few other churches are St. Francis, St. Andrew, and St. Patrick.

St John Church Dalhousie is oldest one. It was built in 1863
St John Church Dalhousie is oldest one. It was built in 1863
St Francis Church in Dalhousie
St Francis Church in Dalhousie

By road, Dalhousie is about 555 km from Delhi, 52 km from Chamba via Banikhet and 46 km via Khajjiar, and the nearest railhead at Pathankot is 85 km away. From Jalandhar, my hometown Dalhousie is around 200 Km. It takes around 4-5 hours to reach there from Jalandhar.

I visited Dalhousie many times since my first visit during my college days. In this write-up, I am blending all impressions that I got on different occasions about this place. The last visit to this place was a few years back. Here I am sharing all my impressions that I had and are still there like fresh memories.

Dalhousie is a famous destination with a pleasant climate for most of the year, making it tourist-friendly. Summers are perfect for nature walks, whereas winters are too chilly. Snowfalls usually occur during winters.

Ajit Singh's Memorial at Panjpulla.
Ajit Singh's Memorial at Panjpulla.

Tourist Attractions in and around Dalhousie:

Panchpula: It means five bridges. It is a beautiful spot covered in green forest with water flowing under five small bridges making it really amazing. People go and enjoy themselves there like a picnic spot. This place is so calm and quiet that you can really have a good time relaxing your mind and soul.

This place is situated at approx. 4 km from Dalhousie. It can be within walking distance for those who really enjoy waking in the green forest. I love waking, so I always prefer to go there walking. There is also a memorial of S Ajit Singh, uncle of Shaheed Bhagat Singh (A great freedom fighter), at this place.

A small freshwater spring Satdharais close by. It is a collection of seven natural cold-water springs. The water is said to have remedial properties for skin diseases. Situated at the height of 2040 meters, it's a place with Amazing greenery, pleasant climate, and natural scenic beauty. All these attractions make this place really worth spending time on.

Trekking from Panchpula to DainKund is very popular, and adventure lovers often love to explore unknown paths. The Dainkund Peak is the highest and a popular peak of Dalhousie, located at an altitude of 2755 meters. The peak offers a splendid view of the valley that is a treat to watch.

View of Panjpulla Spot
View of Panjpulla Spot
Forest Rest House @ Kalatop, a nice place to stay and enjoy nature
Forest Rest House @ Kalatop, a nice place to stay and enjoy nature


Surrounded by a thick forest, Kalatop has situated 10 km from Dalhousie. It is one of the places near Dalhousie that has snow all year round. Long pines and deodar trees surround the whole way from Dalhousie. The other place touching Kalatop is Lakkarmandi.

Blissful solitude here makes this place an ideal choice for honeymooners. Couples can have a wonderful time without disturbance from anybody.

I clicked her @ Kalatop: She is wearing the traditional Himachal costume.  Photo: Jaspal
I clicked her @ Kalatop: She is wearing the traditional Himachal costume. Photo: Jaspal

Nature is offering all they need to be with each other. I remember my visit a few years back; this place was fully covered with snow. The road was completely covered with snow, and It was challenging to drive rather than very risky on snow-covered roads. It was a hard time, but today I still remember that we really enjoyed ourselves a lot. Tourists were playing with snowballs in less risky areas. We clicked many photographs there. I can’t forget those moments in my life ever.

View of Barrier near Kalatop
View of Barrier near Kalatop

The nearby wildlife sanctuary shelters a variety of wild animals. The sanctuary, spread over an area of 1962 hectares, lies in the path of the Ravi River and is surrounded by coniferous and oak forests. Jungle Safari highlights the sanctuary that almost every visitor opts for, along with families and children. Sanctuary houses wildlife like Bear, Himalayan Black Marten, Leopard, Deer, Barking Goral, Squirrel, Jackal, Langur, and many more.

You can go for tracking along the dense forest. You can walk here for hours, enjoying stretches of silence, sloping roads, and the singing of birds. While walking, you can have sips of hot tea, as there are many small tea stalls along the way. Forest has black bears, so it is better to take a guide along.

I still remember the soothing sounds of birds. The silence of this place with the occasional humming of unknown birds makes this place one of the most romantic places on the earth. It was really amazing jungle walk. This place has the ability to set deep impressions on anyone’s mind. I still feel long back memories like it is a thing of yesterday. Once you visit this place, it always keeps on calling you.

View of typical house in the area
View of typical house in the area


Situated 13 km from Kalatap on the same road from Dalhousie, Khajjiar is also known as ‘Mini Switzerland’ and ‘Gulmarg of Himachal.’

Khajjiar is full of natural landscapes as it is situated at the base of the mountain range. You can see snow-capped mountains at the top of the lush green trees of pines and deodars. Here you can view panorama views of natural beauty. Khajjiar is a unique combination of three environments-Lake, grassland and forest, all in one place. Khajjiar and its nearby places are ideal for adventure sports like trekking, mountaineering, Paragliding, and ice skating.

Paragliding in Khajjiar
Paragliding in Khajjiar

The best way to enjoy Khajjiar is by doing nothing and just gazing at the idyllic pastoral scenery featuring a lake, pine and cedar forests and snowcapped mountains, grazing sheep & horses. Khajji Cottage, run by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism, is ideally located just opposite to main ground, where you can book your stay to watch this place at different times of the day. But we preferred a different hotel to stay in, which was in a more dense forest, as I always prefer a less crowded stay on such trips.

Khajjiar View with natural lake in the center
Khajjiar View with natural lake in the center
Road map to Dalhousie & other places
Road map to Dalhousie & other places | Source

In the middle of the main ground, there is a natural lake with a small wooden bridge up to the centre of the lake. Tourists stand on this bridge and enjoying watching the landscape and also clicking their photographs. There is also a horse track on the circumference of the ground. You can hire horses for horse riding. We really enjoyed horse riding there.

There are different stalls selling eatables and other things. Kids can enjoy different games. Air balloons are the main attraction for kids and even grown-ups. You can also get your photograph clicked in traditional dress, and those can be saved in unforgettable memories.

The Temple of ‘Khajji Nag’ is the main attraction to visit while you are in Khajjiar. This temple belonging to the 12th century AD is dedicated to snake worship, and there are some snake idols inside.

We spent the whole day in beautiful surroundings on our trip to this place, enjoying all that nature has gifted to this wonderful land and decided to go back to our hotel, which we preferred near Dalhousie. It was a short trip of two days, but we enjoyed it a lot. It has the potential for longer holidays if you really have more time to spare. From Khajjiar, you can further travel on the same route to reach district headquarter Chamba. Again many options are there for tourists. I visited this place many times. I will prefer to discuss it in a different article as Chamba itself has a lot to offer to nature lovers.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Jaspal Singh


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