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[ Travel date : December 2022 ]

During the winters, Dalhousie turns into a winter wonderland due to heavy snowfall. When I decided to visit Dalhousie, all I could think about was seeing a town completely covered in snow. Sadly, the weather had other plans for me. Who knew that visiting one of the coldest places in India, where snowfall usually begins at the end of November, would result in no snowfall until the end of December?

Even so, I had no regrets about going to this town. Maybe that's what Himachal is all about. You will undoubtedly fall in love with this place, regardless of the weather. From summer trekking in Kheerganga (click to read the blog) to monsoons in Manali (click to read the blog) and winters in Bir & Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh has always amazed me with its diverse natural beauty and experiences. Whether you're an adventure enthusiast or just looking to relax and unwind, Himachal Pradesh has something for everyone. With its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and friendly locals, a trip to this majestic region will give you some of the most unforgettable memories.​

Nestled away in the foothills of the Dhauladhar mountains, Dalhousie is a stunning hill station in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. This small town was named after the British Governor-General in India at the time, The Earl of Dalhousie.

How to Reach

Traveling to Dalhousie would be easy if you choose to travel from Delhi by road. If not, the nearest railway station from Dalhousie is Pathankot, which is 82 kilometers away. So, unless there is direct transportation from your location to Pathankot, I would recommend reaching directly to Delhi and then taking a bus or cab from there. The journey is approximately 570 kilometers long and will take between 10 and 12 hours.

We boarded our bus from Delhi (Kashmiri Gate) around 8.30 p.m. and arrived in Dalhousie the next morning.

 

We chose to stay in Zostel Banikhet. Banikhet is a small, secluded village in the Chamba district about 6-7 kilometers from Dalhousie. If you are also choosing to stay somewhere in Banikhet, then you can ask the bus driver to drop you off at the Banikhet bus stop, which comes before Dalhousie.

I've stayed at Zostel several times before, and this was my fourth time here. Though it is not a paid promotion :P, I believe Zostel is a great choice for anyone looking for an affordable stay with great views during their travels. The staff is friendly and helpful, the rooms are comfortable, and the amenities are excellent.

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Our room view

The wall-sized sliding glass doors gave us the sights, sounds, and smell of nature from the comfort of our own room. From admiring the breathtaking sunrise to enjoying the calming sunset, it sure was the best thing that happened. Want to see sunrise view from here? Check the next slide.

The sun's rays were slowly creeping over the mountain, creating a stunning landscape of shadows and silhouettes, illuminating the far right mountain and hut with its warm light and bringing life to this tranquil scene.

The Sunset  hike

Sunsets are a sight to behold, and no matter where you are in the world, they still have a magical effect on us. And I being a sucker for it, wouldn't miss witnessing it from different parts of the world. So, a few hours later, we went on a 1.5-kilometer hike in Banikhet village to see the 360-degree view of a stunning sunset amidst the mountains. We started our hike from Zostel and passed through a small village, passing small huts and shops where villagers were sitting outside a chai thela enjoying their evening gupshups.

 

After passing through the village, we detoured onto an uphill rocky trail. The path was initially shaded by tall pine trees, but as we approached the other side of the hill, there were only shrubs and tall grass, making it an ideal location for a panoramic view of the sunset. The weather was windy and cool, and the fog was thickening as the sunset.

 

I sat at the edge of the hill, enjoying the mountain breeze. As I was looking at the view, I noticed old huts all alone on different peaks of the hill, with no other huts nearby, and with large front yards that I believe were for farming. Looking at it, I imagined what I would do if I lived there. Imagine living in a small house on your own separate hill, receiving the first rays of sunlight in your garden and the last rays of sunlight of the day in your backyard. Seems like a fantasy right?

 

Later, we started heading back before it got dark because the weather was becoming more foggy and cloudy.​

 C H A M E R A    L A K E 

The next day, we decided to go to Chamera Lake. It is a man-made lake formed by the Chamera Dam on the Ravi River, set against a picturesque backdrop of huge mountains. It is about 25 kilometers from the main hill station and serves as a source of water for the villagers' basic needs and irrigation.

Boating is one of the most exciting activities that one can enjoy. Whether it is a leisurely cruise or an adrenaline-pumping speedboat ride, boating offers a unique way to explore the beauty of nature. Luckily we did have an option for boating in Chamera Lake.

The sun was out shining brightly on us, glimmering on the surface of the blue-green waters. And as we zipped around in our speedboat, I couldn't help but appreciate the sweeping views of hills and waters from the center of the lake. As we soared through the waves, I felt alive. The thrill of speed boating is unlike any other and with each passing wave I felt my heart race faster. We were tossed back and forth, up and down in the boat, but I still enjoyed the cool breeze and water splashing on my face as we went faster.

On our way back from the day trip, our driver invited us for tea at his humble abode. We were warmly welcomed by his family. During the time spent there, we got to know them and their culture & lifestyle. It was an experience that left us feeling connected with each other. I met his two cutest daughters, Gunjan and Gorbi, who were about 5 and 6 years old at the time. They were both so sweet and adorable that I couldn't help but be drawn to them. As we talked, they were glued to the TV, watching their favorite cartoon show with big smiles on their faces. It was a beautiful sight to behold, and it reminded me of my own childhood. After exchanging pleasantries and catching up, we said our goodbyes and headed back to our room.

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One of the most enjoyable things about staying in the mountains and hills is stargazing under a clear sky, where you are mesmerized by the zillion stars above. With no pollution, you can see stars that are too faint to be seen from cities.

Stargazing night

The weather had been mostly foggy after sunset since the day we arrived in Dalhousie. However, one day when I stepped out onto the balcony at night, I found that the weather was clear and there were many stars visible in the sky (which made me grin foolishly). So, we went outside right away to get a better view of the sky.

We opened the Skyview app and began locating planets and star signs. I also took out my GoPro to do some night photography. We played some music and danced on the road beneath the starry sky while I placed my GoPro above the car roof and set it to timelapse mode. ​The back of my neck was starting to ache from staring at the sky for so long, but I couldn't care less as I couldn't take my eyes off it.

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K H A J J I A R

The next day, we decided to venture out further and visit Khajjiar. Located 24 kilometers away from Dalhousie, Khajjiar is a high-altitude lake surrounded by a cedar forest and is also known as 'Mini Switzerland' due to its striking resemblance.

The scenic beauty of the roads and the pleasant weather made my mood very happy. On my journey to Khajjiar, I opened the car window to take in all the beauty around me. The temperature was just right at around 5°C and the air was fresh and clean. As we drove further, I could see snow-capped mountains in the distance which added to the charm of this place.

Driving through the winding roads of the forest, the tall deodar trees standing tall against a backdrop of rolling hills, and the sun shining through their branches created a beautiful sight. You can feel your worries slip away as you drive through this peaceful landscape.

As we reached Khajjiar, I saw a small lake lying between the lush grassland, surrounded by a cedar forest that stretched as far as the eye could see. The temperature was as low as 2-3°C, and my heart still wished for snowfall. Instead, it only drizzled and created a gentle mist that hung over the peaks like a blanket of fog. I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty of this majestic place and felt my heart fill with awe.

Khajjiar

After spending a few hours exploring this place, we headed towards the next destination – Dainkund. We were looking forward to getting a good view of the mountains from the peak of Dainkund. The anticipation was high and it was time for us to get going!

Dainkund

As the name says... it’s a Hindi word - 'डायन कुंड' which means Lakes of Witches. It is believed that in old days this mountain was the residence of witches. The sound of the breeze passing through the trees makes a musical sound, due to which this peak has also acquired the name, the singing hill.

This peak has two major attractions; one is the Indian Air Force base and the other is the Pholani Devi temple, which is a temple of great importance. One of the most interesting facts about this temple is that except for a trident, there is nothing inside the temple premises. 

Trekking is the most common path to get to the top and the route provides you with amazing views of rolling hills, lush forests, and towering mountains.

Trek to the peak is around 1.5 kilometers long. Being the highest peak in Dalhousie, this place gets heavy snowfall during the winter season but even though it was the end of December, this time only a little snow could be seen.

 

The contrast between the dark green of the tree and the deep blue of the sky was amazing as I watched snow flurries fall over tall deodar trees with huge mountains in the background.

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As we reached the peak, we had a clear view of the majestic mountain ranges and clouds touching their tips. Views like this always make me feel tiny and insignificant in comparison to the incredible landscape.

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This place is also famous for its glorious sunset view and indeed it was. As we started returning home, the sun was slowly setting behind the horizon, and we stopped at the top of a hill to witness the panoramic view of colors that seem to come straight from a dream. I sat on the bench for a while to capture it through my eyes and take it all in. I could feel the warmth of the sun's rays caressing my skin as I watched this beautiful sight unfold before me. It was such a perfect moment that I wanted to savor forever as we headed back home.

Dalhousie Mall Road

 

On our way back, we also visited Mall Road. It is a vibrant and bustling market located in Dalhousie. Here you can find many traditional Indian handicrafts and Tibetan artifacts. It is a great spot to get unique souvenirs like artwork, magnets, clothes, and other collectibles. You can also enjoy delicious local food while you shop. From momos to thukpa, you won't be disappointed with the variety of options available here.

We also stopped by Cafe by Monga's. It is a great place to go for delicious food and coffee. They offer a wide range of dishes that will definitely satisfy anyone's taste buds and the staff is very friendly and helpful. We also celebrated my birthday here as my friends ordered a delicious cake for me :)

 

Apart from this, Cafe Dalhousie is located nearby and is also one of the famous cafes in Dalhousie. The decor of ths cafe is very charming and inviting which makes it perfect for any kind of occasion.

After an amazing four-day trip to Dalhousie, we were ready to embark on our next adventure - a visit to Amritsar! In my next blog, I'll be sharing all the highlights from my trip including the beautiful sights I saw, the delicious food I ate, and the amazing people I met. So stay tuned for more updates about this exciting journey!

Till then stay happy and keep traveling :)

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