Dalhousie was established by the British in the 1850s as a sanatorium for officers and civil servants. It was named after the erstwhile Governor General of India. Sprawling bungalows, charming cottages and beautiful churches dot this quiet and picturesque hill town.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Dalhousie begs to be traversed on foot. The Mall Road, stretching between Gandhi Chowk to the east and Subhash Chowk to the west, has no dearth of eating joints and souvenir shops. Thandi Sadak and Garam Sadak, running parallel to this road, are for those who crave pleasant walks and brilliant views of the Pangi Hills. Dalhousie’s oldest church called the St John’s Church was built in 1863 and is located at Gandhi Chowk. The best-preserved church in Dalhousie, however, is the one attached to Sacred Heart School. It is adorned with tall French windows, a stained glass altar and an 18th-century Mannborg piano that still plays music.

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Kalatop
Kalatop

Kalatop, a hilltop dedicated to Lord Shiva, falls in the Kalatop-Khajjiar Wildlife Sanctuary and has a grand view of the Pir Panjal Range. If you’re fit enough, a 14-km trek through the forest and past three small streams takes you to the meadows of Khajjiar. Subhash Boali (6,775ft), where Subhash Chandra Bose is said to have meditated, also falls on this route.

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Khajjiar
Khajjiar

The seven tiny streams that converge at Satdhara are said to have medicinal properties. Panchpullah Falls boasts of impressive waterfalls that look particularly gorgeous during the monsoon. About 8km from Banikhet lies the Chamera Dam (also called Bhadrakali Lake) where efforts are on to develop water sports. The dam and a rock-littered slope called Devi Dehra provide travellers with the perfect space to unwind.

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Aerial view of a hillside in Dalhousie
Aerial view of a hillside in Dalhousie

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT

Grand View Hotel (Tel: 01899-240760, 242823; Tariff: ₹4,200–6,800), retains a colonial ambience. Alps Holiday Resort (Tel: 240775/ 81; Tariff: ₹1,800–3,600), on Upper Bakrota Hill is a great choice. Hotel Snow Valley Resorts (Tel: 242600, 242700, Cell: 09318513788; Tariff: ₹4,800–6,645) has modern facilities. The wooden Mehar’s Hotel (Tel: 242179; Tariff: ₹750–2400) on the Mall Road has a restaurant and bar. Silverton Estate (Tel: 240674, Cell: 09418010674; Tariff: ₹1,000–8,000) on Moti Tibba is a family-run heritage property (closed during winter). Hotel Shangri-La (Tel: 240439, 242314, Cell: 09316972577; Tariff: ₹900– 2,500), located on the Mall Road, offers stunning views. Hotel Mount View (Tel: 240610; Tariff: ₹3,900–7,100), on Club Road, is another good option.

For a quick bite, Kwality at Gandhi Chowk and Moti Mahal at Subhash Chowk are good options. You’ll find Tibetan dhabas on the Mall Road. Sharma’s Dhaba just below the taxi stand on Gandhi Chowk offers paranthas and vegetable biryani. You can find pizzas, dosas and burgers as well as ice-cream stalls on the Mall Road too.

THE INFORMATION

When to go All year round

Tourist Office

HPTDC, Hotel Manimahesh, Bus Stand, Dalhousie, Tel: 01899-242155, W hptdc.nic.in

STD code 01899

GETTING THERE

Air Nearest Airport: Kangra’s Gaggal Airport (130km/ 3hrs). Taxi (Dalhousie Tel: 01899-242786) costs ₹2,500

Rail Nearest railhead: Chakki Bank (64km/ 2hrs). Taxi costs ₹2,000

Road It’s a 14-hr drive to Pathankot via Ambala, and Jallandhar Bus A Volvo bus leaves Delhi’s ISBT Kashmere gate at 8.20pm. The fare is around ₹1,000