Dalhousie – Himachal Pradesh
This hill station (2020m) built on five small hills dates from the British times. It is a pleasant place to spend a few days. Not many foreign tourists come here, but it is popular with Punjabis. Dalhousie is named after Lord James Ramsey, Marquis of Dalhousie, who became the Governor General of India in 1848.
To get here, it is usually best to go first to Pathankot (3½ hr bus ride away, 80km southwest). This place can be visited from Amritsar or Chamba (30km north). Dalhousie is 8 hr from Dharamsala and 18 hr northwest of Shimla. Summer: Max 33ºC, Min 15ºC; Winter: Max 11ºC, Min 1ºC.
Dalhousie is spread out over five hills. The Mall connects Gandhi Chowk, an area with many shops, to Subash Chowk, an area with hotels and restaurants. The Mall consists of two roads on which no heavy vehicle traffic is permitted.
The north road of The Mall is known as Thandi Sarak (Cold Rd); the south road is known as Garam Sarak (Hot Rd), because it gets more sunshine than the other road.
The Tourist Office is opposite the bus stand (Mon to Sat 10 am to 5 pm). It operates tours of Dalhousie, Khajiar, and Chamba.
Punjab National Bank, next to the Aroma-n-Claire Hotel, changes cash and travelers cheques (except on Wed.).
The post office is on Gandhi Chowk.
What to See and Do
There are some nice walks in the area. There is a Tibetan market above the bus stand.
It is a short walk south of Gandhi Chowk to Panch Pulla, where five bridges go over a flowing stream.
From Subhash Baoli, 2km from the center of town, there are good views of the area.
Kalatope Wildlife Sanctuary, 8km from the downtown, has barking dear, black bear and a wide variety of birds. It is a nice place to walk around with good views. To enter the park you have to get a permit from the District Forest Officer in Chamba in Dalhousie.
Dalhousie is a good place to get woolen shawls. Tibetan Handicraft Centre, on the road to Khajiar, has Tibetan carpets. Himachal Handloom Industry Emporium on Thandi Sarak has a good selection of shawls. The Tibetan Handicraft Centre Showroom, on the road running parallel to Garam Sarak, has carpets and bags.
The shortest way from the bus stall to The Mall is to walk up the steep hill. The closest railway station is in Pathankot.
There are buses to Pathankot (3 hr, several daily), Dharamsala (6½ hr, 8 am), Chamba (2½ hr), Khajiar (1 hr) and Jammu (7 hr). The booking office at the bus stand is open 9 am to 5 pm.