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Dalhousie: Paradise on Earth

Dalhousie: Paradise on Earth
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Dalhousie is one place which remains undiscovered by the tourists and interestingly it has been a honeymooner’s paradise for many since ages. Obviously, Dalhousie is the most alluring and unexplored hill station in Himachal Pradesh. Having derived its name after a British governor general in the 19th century,  Lord Dalhousie is a perfect gateway to the ancient Chamba Hill state, now Chamba District of the Himachal Pradesh. Given its spectacular snow-covered Dhauladhar mountains that are visible from this enchanting town, I was definitely mesmerised and the memories are well imprinted in my mind. The magnificent and pleasing views of the mountains are second to none.

Indeed, Dalhousie is known for its balmy and bracing weather, picturesque landscapes and some exotic and amazing botanical gardens that makes it an ideal for picnic spots. The most distinctive and astounding features are the level walks and interesting tracks amidst the dense and green forest filled with pine trees. Needless to say, it is one of the most splendid, undiscovered and exotic hill stations one can ever imagine.

How to get there: By road, Dalhousie is about 550 km from Delhi, 52 km from Chamba via Banikhet and 43 km via Khajjiar. Also, the nearest railheads at Pathankot and Chakki bank railway station are roughly 85 km.

Touristy places in Dalhousie: Ajit Singh Memorial: Sardar Ajit Singh, a freedom fighter, breathed his last on the day India gained Independence. His samadhi is located at Dalhousie’s Panjpulla, a picturesque spot with a natural tank and water flowing under small bridges from which the place has got its name. At Panjpulla, there is a samarak in the memory of Sardar Ajit Singh and on the way to Panjpulla is Satdhara springs gurgling with sweet and refreshing water, believed to
contain  medicinal properties that cures several diseases.

Khajjiar: 20 km from Hotel Mount View, referred as the Mini Switzerland of India, is one of the finest Saucer shaped meadows lined by tall Deodar Trees and a Lake in the middle with over an 500 year old Wooden Nag Temple near to the Lake. Khajjiar has thick forest of the Kalatop Khajjiar sanctuary surrounding its soft green grass. Called the Mini Switzerland and 21 km from Gandhi Chowk (and Mehar’s hotel), it is a saucer shaped meadow surrounded by dense wood slopes and a small lake in the middle with a small floating island.

Lakkad Mandi: It is barely 13 km from one of the most famous hotels of Dalhousie called ‘Hotel Mount View’. This small sanctuary lies in the catchment of the Ravi river and contains patches of good coniferous, pine and Oak forests too. A motorable road to Kalatop Rest House leads from the Dalhousie – Khajjiar – Chamba road at the point named Lakkad Mandi. The track from Lakkad Mandi to Kalatop Rest House is plain and the walk through the dense forest is amazingly refreshing.
St. Francis Church: Dalhousie is well known for its church buildings and other landmarks erected by the British. The town has old churches like St. John’s Church (1853 ), St. Francis’ Church (1894), St. Andrew’s Church (1903 ) and St. Patric’s Church (1909). St. John’s Church, the oldest is located at Gandhi Chowk, about 2 km from the bus stand. This church was the first to be built after the founding of Dalhousie.

Bholani Mata: 10 km from Hotel Mount View, is Dainkund is the highest mountain in Dalhousie, at an altitude of 2,755 mtrs it provides the picture book scenery of the whole valley. The amazing experience of a pliable trudge in a beautiful ambience is quite spectacular. The sweet sound of the gentle breeze puffing through the trees makes a musical serenade and so Dainkund is popularly known as the singing hill.

Bhalai Mata: 32 km from Hotel Mount View, the mighty Bhadrakali temple of Bhalai Mata, the local deity, is much respected and revert place of Chamba district. It is known fact that a visit to the shrine grants all wishes that one might have in mind. It is a worth seeing site and must be visited.
Chamera Dam project: 30 km from Hotel Mount View and on the way to Chamba. This is the reservoir of the Chamera dam built over the river Ravi. Chamera lake is an artificial lake came into existence as a consequence of Chamera Hydroelectric project. The Dam site enjoys very sharp fluctuations in climate between April to June. During the day it can get very hot (around 35 degree centigrade) though by the evening, temperatures fall to between 18 to 20 degree centigrade.

Kalatop: This place commands a beautiful and grand panoramic view of the surrounding landscape and eye travels wide over hill and dale, field and forest, smooth and ruggedness, till in the direction of Jammu and Kashmir, it meets a horizon of snow peaks. Kalatop in Chambiali dialect means a ‘black cap’. A beautiful Forest Rest House with a chowkidar residence stands amidst the thick forest. The place comes under a Wild life sanctuary known as Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary and its ideal for trekking and hiking for the tourists. Besides it is ideal for all potential hikers and trekkers to begin their adventurous expedition too.

Therefore, if you are tired of places like Simla, Mussorrie, Nainital and Mount Abu, it’s time to think beyond the clichéd destinations to turn the heads around and become the cynosure of everyone’s eyes. Not only is it stunning and tantalising but it is less crowded than popular counterparts like Simla. Once you reach there and experience nature’s bounties, you would agree that its indeed the a paradise on Earth and you can mark my words for it. It is about time one visits this paradise called Dalhousie.
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