Dalhousie – A beautiful hill town nestled around five hills in the Dhaulandhar range in the lap of Himachal Pradesh. It resides around a paradise like view of the Himalayan foothills, breathtaking and mesmerizing. As you ascend towards the town, the pine clad valleys and typical flower laden houses of Himachal form a lovely welcoming scene.
There are quite a few places to visit near Dalhousie, namely, the Khajjiar lake, Kalatop forest and resort, Panchpulla waterfall, Satdhara falls, Daikund peak, Subhash Baoli etc.
Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary – A beautiful dark forest which is a host to a wide variety of pine trees and many wild animals, The famous Deodar trees (Himalayan cedar) are in abundance and a sight to behold. Some of the trees are as old as 300 years old. Also an intriguing sight is that on some slopes the pine trees have one directional branches due to the sunlight. The name of the forest itself suggests it’s character – the forest is dark in colour. The air here is so pure that it has healing capacity. We can use private vehicle/cab to enter the forest but a guide is mandatory. Entry fee is to be paid at the entrance.
There is a rest house in the forest which can be booked well in advance if one wishes to stay within the forest. It commands an excellent view of nature and the breeze here is so purifying! There is food and washroom available.
The forest guide can explain about the varied flora and fauna. We got to know the difference between high altitude trees and the ones found in the low altitudes. Fir, deodar and oak trees along with the dense undergrowth form the foliage of this dark forest. Hence the name, Kalatop (black forest).
Animals like, bear, leopard, jackal, squirrels and deer are common. Common forest birds like the Jays and the flycatchers too populate the area. We didn’t get to sight any animals but we did see a few birds and lots of butterflies.
Interesting fact : Cutting down or selling the deodar (Himalyan Cedar) trees is illegal in India! If a tree in the forest falls down on the road due to natural causes, it can be moved from the way but it can’t be carried out of the forest or sold.
5. Khajjiar Lake – It is an absolute scenic delight. The Khajjiar is an amalgamation of sprawling bright green grassy meadows outlined with tall dark green Deodar tress and a lake in the center.
There is a well maintained and huge parking ground. Some restaurants are there too, which serve hot meals and parathas. You can also get yourself clicked in the traditional attire! There are many photographers who offer their services and get the photograph ready in a jiffy while you enjoy the scenery.
This place experiences a lot of foot fall during peak tourist season because of it’s serene beauty and it looks like a mini Switzerland! Know more about the Khajjiar lake, click here.
Panchpula – This is a small waterfall which lies surrounded in a towering forest of deodar and fir. The tranquility of the scene and nature’s abundance is overwhelming. The shadows and peeping sunlight mixed with forest sounds make it a very enchanting place to visit. There is no laid out path to reach near the waterfall. One has to trek for a small distance. It is however a favourite picnic spot for the locals. It is a nature’s enclosure with a very pronounced jungle vibe that lays out plenty for photography. There are a couple of tea and maggi stalls to enjoy a quick snack break in nature’s lap. Parking space is there at the bottom of the trek. Also there is an man made pond with boating activity near the parking place. It is not far from Dalhousie and except winters, every other time is good to visit this place.
Satdhara Falls – Another beautiful waterfall on the way to panchpula from Dalhousie and a good place for nature walk.
Dainkund peak – It is also known as the singing hill and is the highest point of Dalhousie. It commands a magnificent bird’s eye view of the Khajjiar lake and the surrounding area. As the breeze passes through the tall trees, it makes a subtle whistling sound, hence the name, Singing Hill. The cars go upto a certain distance and then there is a trek leading to the peak.
Subhash Baoli : Netaji Subhash Candra Bose had spent some time at this place to regain his health. It is an enchanting spot surrounded by tall trees. The water of this spring has medicinal properties.
Apart from this, there are a few beautiful churches in Dalhousie and also for shopping there is a Tibetan market at the Gandhi Cowk.
Best time to visit Dalhousie is from March to May when there is very little snow and the temperature is delightful.
All in all it’s a trip out of the books, every moment worth it!