Palampur’s magic lies in the charming Raj-era narrow gauge railway track, tea plantations, hill-paddy fields, pockets of thick wooded slopes that are home to the monal, leopard and fox, Gaddi villages and old temples and settlements. 

The valleys of Palampur are crisscrossed with tiny streams that drain the Dhauladhars and feed the mighty Beas. The opportunities to reconnect with nature’s glories are aplenty here in this picturesque town.

Tribhuvan Tiwari
Plantation workers surrounded by a sea of emerald-green tea bushes 
Plantation workers surrounded by a sea of emerald-green tea bushes

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Palampur Cooperative Tea Factory

Situated on the highway just before the market, the Palampur Cooperative Tea Factory, was set up in 1952. It produces 4,000 tonnes of tea every day between April and November.

Entry Free, but with permission of the manager Tel 01894-239034

Church of St John in the Wilderness

Rebuilt after the 1905 earthquake, this single-nave whitewashed church is currently being managed by the Church of North India, Amritsar Diocese. Its original structure is said to have been a twin of the more famous one in Forsythganj, located just below McLeodganj.

Kayakalp

The Himalayan Research Institute for Yoga and Naturopathy, Kayakalp, offers day-long and week-long (or longer) therapies that include basic naturopathy and physiotherapy treatments.

Holta Tea Estate

All that remains of the original Holta Estate is the Chandpur Estate run by the Sarin family, who also run Country Cottage within the estate as a homestay. The estate is located in the Holta Cantonment and can be accessed by a public road.

Tashijong Monastery

Famous for the Dzongsar Institute of Higher Learning, Tashijong belongs to Tibetan Buddhism’s Kagyu sect and together with Sherabling near Baijnath and Palyul Cheokhorling at Bir (see p74), is among the oldest in the region. All three were built in the mid-1970s by Tibetan refugees.

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT

Palampur offers several stay options, from rooms facing tea gardens to grubby hole-in-the-wall stays. In the city, Hotel Yamini (Tel: 01894-230632; Tariff:  ₹1,500–4,500) is a neat hotel with 23 rooms, a restaurant and gym. Hotel Surbhi (Tel: 232727; Tariff: ₹1,200–1,800) has a restaurant. Highland Regency (Tel: 231222; Tariff: ₹700–1,400) is a budget option near the new bus stand.

The Taragarh Palace Hotel (Tel: 242034; Tariff: ₹6,000–8,400) is a good option. Chandpur Estate’s Country Cottage (Tel: 230173, Cell: 09816047047; Tariff: ₹3,200–4,000) offers six independent cottages and is set amidst the oldest tea estate in Palampur.

HPTDC’s Hotel Tea-Bud (Tel: 231298; Tariff: ₹1,700–2,400) has a restaurant and a travel desk. Vacations Holiday Resort (Tel: 232099; Tariff:  ₹550–1,500) offers rooms, a dorm and a restaurant.

THE INFORMATION

When to go All year round. Summer is pleasant, but the height of tourist season. Winter is milder than in Dharamsala

Tourist Office

HPTDC , Hotel Tea-Bud, Near Mission Compound, Palampur. Tel: 01894-231298, W hptdc.nic.in

STD code 01894

GETTING THERE

Air Nearest airport: Gaggal (38km/ 50mins). Taxi to Palampur costs ₹1,200

Rail Nearest railhead: Chakki Bank (113km/ 3.5hrs) Taxi costs ₹3,000

Road Palampur falls on NH20 Bus Four Volvo bus services run from Delhi’s ISBT Kashmere Gate to Dharamsala