Himachal Pradesh has become India’s most popular hill resort
owing to its easy accessibility and diversity of hill stations which are
known for cool and salubrious climes, seats of much worshipped religious
deities and adventure sports. Dalhousie is one such hill station which
is increasingly becoming popular among home and foreign tourists. Nestled
on the spur at the western end of Dhauladhar, Dalhousie in its present
shape was founded in 1850’s when the British acquired five hills
from the ruler of the Chamba State for developing the area as a sanatorium.
The project originated with Lt. Col. Napier, then Chief Engineer of Punjab;
(‘afterwards Lord Napier of Magdala”). In 1851 a spot where
the Dayan Kund Ridge breaks in to spurs was selected for the project and
Kathalagh was identified for the construction of Convalescent Depot. Dr.
Clemenger of the 49th Native infantry was deputed to make necessary observations
on the site. In 1853 the five hills of Kathalagh, Potreyn, Terah (now
called Moti Tibba by the locals), Bakrota and Bhangora were acquired by
the Govt. of India from his Highness the Raja of Chamba who was allowed
a reeducation of Rs. 2000 from the annual tribute of Rs. 12,000 paid by
him. Since the estate was founded in the time of Lord Dalhousie the sanatorium
was recommended to be called “Dalhousie” by Sir Donald McLeod.
In the year 1866 more land was required in Bahloon and Bakloh hills for
the construction of barracks of the Convalescent Depot and as Cantonment
for the 4th Gorkhas respectively. For these two portions of the Chamba
State, a further deduction of Rs. 5000 a year was made from the tribute
payable by the Chamba Raja. With the expansion of the estate which started
during the British raj, the whole area has come to be known as Dalhousie.
After acquisition in 1850s Dalhousie was a made a part of Kangra district
of Punjab state. Later it was transferred to the Gurdaspur district in
August 1861. Only after recorganisation of the states, Dalhousie became
a part of Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh on Ist Nov., 1966.
Unlike several other hill stations of Himachal Pradesh, Dalhousie is
favourite among those who seek solitude and restfulness. Off late some
aggression of Punjab can be seen in the behavior of tourists who take
a Maruti hop from Ludhiana, Jalandhar and other parts of Punjab to this
serene and quiet hill station. However, their uproarious laughter, loud
manners, singing and bhangra dancing remain far from creating any sort
of law and order situation. The place is remarkably crime free.
The greatest activity in Dalhousie is on and around the three level Malls
which were laid in the early 1860s for promenades, carriages, horses,
dandies, etc. these roads and the steeper by-lanes which connect them
to the bus-stand are still the arteries of the town. The Malls around
Moti Tibba and Potreyn hills are the most popular among the tourists as
the two are level and most of the business activity and hotels are around
them. Gandhi Chowk, Upper bazaar. Subhash chowk, Catholic church of St.
Frances, Sadar bazaar and the Convent founded by an Order of Belgium nuns
and their Sacred Heart School are on these two malls. Dalhousie’s
third and highest mall was built around the upper Bakrota hill nearly
a 1000 feet above the G.P.O. (Gandhi Chowk). This mall was the favourite
of Dr. Hutchison: “of these Upper Bakrota mall is finest and the
longest being fully 3 miles round and from it extensive views are obtained
of the low hills and figure of eight walk on the two malls encircling
Moti Tibba and Potreyn hills is very pleasant and popular among local
people and tourists.
An ardent admirer of the scenic beauty of Dalhousie Dr. Hutchison would
like a visitor to stand on Dayan Kund at 9000 feet where the magnificent
panorama greets the beholder. He writes, “ Facing south-west the
Kalatop spur is on the right with the Dalhousie hills, Bakrota, Terah,
Porain and Kathalag – stretching away towards the Ravi. Bakloh is
seen at a greater distance on the left and beyond are the ridges and valleys
of the siwaliks, running parallel to one another and losing in distinctness
as they recede towards the plains. Far in the distance is the outermost
ridge, with the cut near its extremity to allow the Chakki to flow in
to the Beas. Near this is Pathankot, with Shahpur a little farther to
the north-west, on the Ravi.
Within the siwalik area two wide river beds are seen running parallel,
the one to the east being the Chakki and that to the west, the Ravi. East
of the Chakki are the siwalik hills round about Nurpur; and across the
Ravi, to the west, the same ridges and valleys, stretch away in the direction
On a clear day three atleast of the great Punjab rivers are visible glittering
in the sunshine and losing themselves in the plains beyond, which seems
to melt away into infinite space. These are the Sutlej, the Beas and the
Ravi, even the Chenab may sometimes be seen.
Turning to the north the gaze rests on an amphitheater of lofty ranges,
with foreground of mountain and valley, forest, gorge and stream. Closing
in the horizon to the west and the north-west are the rounded summits
of the Kund Kapalas and Daganidhar, which in summer are entirely free
of snow. Beyond them are Bhadrawa and Balesa in Jammu. To the north and
north-east the snowy pinnacles of the mid-himalaya or Pangi range stretch
out in majestic array, many of them rising to an altitude of 18,000 and
19,000 feet. Beyond them are Pangi and Lahaul. Towering up from behind
them are two lofty peaks, covered with snow, one slightly rounded and
the other pointed and precipitous, which among Europeans are known as
the Bridge and the Bridegroom. These are in the Gurdhar range in Pangi,
and are about 21,000 feet in height, being the highest peaks in Chamba
state. Far to the south-east the eye can trace the line of the Dhauladhar
till the ranges is lost in a mighty maze of snowy mountains, chief among
which is the Kailas at whose base rest the sacred lake of Manimahesh.”
As Shimla finds its focus in the mall, in Dalhousie action gravitates
in the evening to the G.P.O. which presents a riot of colours and activity.
Sometimes it even becomes difficult to surge ahead without jostling and
elbowing. Most of the good eateries and handicraft emporia, hotels and
of course the ever attractive Tibetan market are all around the G.P.O.
There is a library and a reading room at the G.P.O. for the convenience
of the tourists visiting this beautiful hill station of Himachal Pradesh.
The Post Office is also located at the G.P.O. It remains open from 10a.m.
to 5 p.m. Conversion of currency is possible at Punjab National Bank (Dalhousie).
The business hours in the Bank are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dalhousie has a number of period buildings. Most of them are occupied
by state Government offices officials. Jandrighat (Dalhousie), the summer
palace of the Raja of Chamba is a well maintained edifice.
There are a number of good public schools in Dalhousie. The best is the
Sacred Heart School of the Belgium nuns. Besides there are another half
a dozen schools which attract the wards of the affluent and well to do
families from India and abroad.
Even during the pre-partition days, Dalhousie attracted large number
of tourists. Some of the distinguished personalities like Ravinder Nath
Tagore, Subhash chander Bose and Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru visited Dalhousie
in their formative period to immerse themselves in the leisurely quiet
of this hill station. The calm and compose walks of the thick forests
stirred the poet in Ravinder Nath Tagore. Some of his early poems are
set against the backdrop of Dalhousie. Sardar Ajeet Singh, chacha of Sardar
Bhagat Singh and a freedom fighter himself came to rest his tired limbs
in Dalhousie and he breathed his last just before declaration of India’s
Independence on 15th August, 1947. there is a samadhi in the memory of
Sardar Ajit Singh at Panchpula (Dalhousie) which is a place frequented
by every tourist visiting Dalhousie.
Pt. Nehru visited Dalhousie in 1925 and Subhash Chander Bose convalesced
in Kynance near the Dalhousie Post-Office for about seven months in 1937.
Dalhousie Centenary Celebrations were held in August, 1954. Late Pt. Jawahar
Lal Nehru, the then Prime Minister presiding over the occasion, drew the
attention of government and people of India for rehabilitation of this
beautiful hill station of Himachal Pradesh (Dalhousie). He said,”One
of the finest hill station in India is Dalhousie from the beauty point
of view, climate and agreeable surroundings. Dalhousie is not a flashy
hill station like some other and there are few amusements there…
for my part, I would rather go to Dalhousie than almost any hill station
in India, Kashmir apart…”
Dalhousie Hotels - Recommended Hotels & Accommodations at Dalhousie
Dalhousie has several big and small hotels and guest houses for tourists. These hotels have all the amenities and facilities for tourists and visitors.
Dalhousie Weather and best time to visit
Weather of dalhousie is generally pleasent throughout the year except in the month of may-june when days are a little hot but nights are still very cold. Dalhousie also experiences heavy snow during the months of December and January and most of the buildings and roads are snow clad during this period.
How to reach dalhousie and accessibility through himachal roadways
Dalhousie is well connected with all major cities of Himachal Pradesh around Dalhousie. Nearest biggest bus stand and railway station is at Pathankot, which is aproximately 85 km from Dalhousie. There are several deluxe, super deluxe, volvo and other luxury buses available from Pathankot to dalhousie by Himachal Roadways, Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department and several private operators.