Dalhousie – How to Plan your Trip & What to See !

by Shivani Vedantam

Himachal Pradesh is renowned for its epic beauty and scenery – high up in the Himalayas, the entire state is a feast for the senses. However, Dalhousie remarkably comes out on top of an already illustrious state which boasts locales such as Kinnaur Valley, Rohtang Pass, and Lahaul & Spiti Valley. This tiny hill station in the Chamba district is a dream come true for any traveler who wants to rediscover what the words peace and serenity mean. With dense, mystical woods of pine and Deodar trees and snow-capped peaks this place is temptingly isolated and at the same time within reach! Visit India’s very own Switzerland for your own unique experience!

Dalhousie defines the word sleepy in every sense. This is a town that is literally living in the past – from the British Era hangover with its old world charm of the high street and pony rides to thick forests of Deodar and pines which shelter the town. This is an ideal location for people who enjoy the sound of silence and want nothing more than to soak in the beauty of nature in a serene atmosphere.

DALHOUSIE

In this post, I will talk about how you can plan a trip to Dalhousie including details like how to reach there, different modes of available transport, what to see, where to stay and how much it will cost you. Towards the end of the article, I will also provide a sample of an itinerary that you can follow for your trip.

Below is an index of the information that I have covered later in the article. The headings in the box are all clickable links. So if you want to jump directly to a certain part of the article, you may do so by clicking on the header inside the box.

How to reach Dalhousie


Where is Dalhousie Located?

Dalhousie is located in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh in north India. The modern town has been built on five hills. Bang opposite is the majestic Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas, stark and snow-capped, so close that you can reach out and almost brush them. It is at a distance of 85 kilometers from Pathankot, 172 kilometers from Jammu and 560 kilometers from Delhi.

How to reach Dalhousie by Road?

Due to its location in the hills, reaching Dalhousie by road is the only choice. There is no train station or airport in Dalhousie so there will definitely be some amount of road journey involved. The good news, however, is that the nearby town of Pathankot is very well connected by both train and flights from where you can easily find a mode of commute for your final part of the journey.

Dalhousie is very well connected by road and getting there will not be any trouble at all. I will begin by first explaining the route you will follow if you were traveling by your own vehicle, either a car or a motorcycle. For the sake of this article, I will assume that you were starting your journey from Delhi. However, even if you were coming from a different place, the information below will still at least give you an idea on the route you can follow for driving to Dalhousie.

How to reach Dalhousie from Delhi

Starting from Delhi, route of your journey will be as mentioned below.

Delhi – Panipat – Karnal – Kurukshetra – Ambala – Rajpura –  Ludhiana – Phagwara – Jalandhar – Pathankot – Dalhousie

Traveling this way, your total journey will be of about 560 kilometers. There can be a few other variations to the route but the one I suggested above is probably the shortest and quickest one. Even if you were coming from Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Pathankot or Amritsar, the same route will still apply.

Delhi to Dalhousie Travel Time

Traveling the way I suggested above, it will take you about 10 to 11 hours to reach Dalhousie. I started from my home in Delhi at around 5.30 AM by my Thar and I reached by 4 PM.

Dalhousie Road Conditions

Condition of the road is super smooth all the way and that is why the travel time is not too high. Until Pathankot, it is a super smooth highway but has a lot of tolls on it. I think you will pay about Rs. 500 in toll fee between Delhi and Pathankot. The good part is that the road is very well maintained and you can easily maintain a constant speed. After Pathankot too, the road turns into a single lane one but remains to be in a good condition all the way.

Also Read: Best Time to Visit Dalhousie | When to go to Dalhousie

Best Vehicle for Dalhousie Trip

You do not need a high powered vehicle to get to Dalhousie. As long as your car or motorcycle is well maintained, you can make the trip even by a Maruti 800 or a 100 CC motorcycle.

How to reach Dalhousie by Bus

Being a major tourist destination, there are plenty of buses to Dalhousie from almost every major city. If you were planning to travel from Delhi by Bus then you can easily find one ISBT Kashmere Gate. Other nearby towns like Chamba, Dharamshala, Mcleodganj, and Shimla are also well-connected to Dalhousie. A mix of ordinary and semi-deluxe buses is provided by both Himachal Road Transport and Haryana Road Transport Corporations. You can also find luxury sleeper, semi-sleeper, and Volvo buses operated by private travel companies.

Dalhousie Bus Booking

Tickets for HRTC Buses can be booked online at the link below.

Himachal Roadways Bus Booking

For private companies, you can either buy one via the travel agency itself or online sites like RedBus.

Listed below are some buses out of Dalhousie for your return journey.

  • Dalhousie to Chamba Bus via Banikhet. Departure at 7am, 7.30am, 7.45am, 9am, 10.30am, 11.15am daily. Fare per person Rs. 80. Travel time of about 3 hours.
  • Dalhousie to Chamba Bus via Khajjiar. Departure at 9am, 9.30am, 4.30pm. Fare per person Rs. 80. Travel time of about 3 hours.
  • Dalhousie to Delhi Bus. Departure at 2.55pm, 6.30pm, 7.40pm daily. Fare per person is Rs. between Rs. 500 – 1400. Travel time of 14 hours.
  • Dalhousie to Dharamshala Bus. Departure at 7.15am, 11.50am, 1.20pm, 2pm. Travel time of 2 hour and fare per person is Rs. 230.
  • Dalhousie to Pathankot Bus. Several buses throught the day. Fare of Rs. 100 per person and travel time of 3 hours.

How to reach Dalhousie by Flight

The nearest airport is Pathankot Airport, 75 kilometers away from Dalhousie. This airport operates commercial flights, private chartered flights and provides helicopter landing pads. However, it only operates flights to New Delhi. The second one is Gaggal Airport nearby in Kangra district. This airport is connected to domestic and international locations. A private taxi from Gaggal to Dalhousie can cost up to Rs. 3000 in peak season. You can also board a direct bus from Gaggal to Dalhousie which will cost you about Rs. 150 per person.

How to reach Dalhousie by Train

This is the most convenient and cost-effective method to reach Dalhousie. Nearest railway station to Dalhousie is Pathankot Railway Station which is about 71 kilometers away. You can take deluxe, super fast and express trains to every station in India.

How to reach Dalhousie from Pathankot

Once you have reached Pathankot by either train or flight, you will majorly have two choices to get to Dalhousie from there. The first one is to rent a private taxi which will cost you about Rs. 1500 – 2000 or above, depending on your negotiation skills and the cab you chose. Second and a cost effective way is to board a Bus which you can easily find from Maharana Pratap Inter State Bus Terminal; which is about 500 metres from Pathankot Railway Station. HRTC operates several buses from here for Dalhousie and fare person is about Rs. 100. You can call the Bus terminal at 0186-2220088 to inquire about exact timings.

Also Read: What to see in Dalhousie | Fun Things to do in Dalhousie

Local Transport in Dalhousie

  • Private Taxis: These typically charge Rs. 2500 per person for the Pathankot-Dalhousie journey.
  • Self Driving: This will be the most convenient way to move around. Do note though that the internal roads in Dalhousie and towards Khajjiar are a bit narrow so be sure to know how to handle a car in the hills before you decide to drive on your own.
  • Private Car: For a full day of sightseeing, it is wise to book a private car. The cost will depend on how far you plan to travel and can range from Rs. 1500 to Rs. 3000. At the day end, they will drop you where you wish.
  • Walk: The Dalhousie town proper is best explored on foot. Take your time and enjoy the picturesque beauty of this hill station on long walks.
  • Horse Ride: Some areas on the Mall Road offer horses for short distances.
  • There are taxi stands in Dalhousie right next to the bus stand and at both Subhash Chowk and Gandhi Chowk. Renting a taxi for moving within town will cost Rs. 100 to Rs.150. If you want to rent a cab for out of town, it will cost you Rs.1800 for Chamba via Kajjiar, Rs. 3200 to Dharamsala and Rs. 1050 return to Dainkund.
  • There are also local buses to Kangra, Dharamsala, Khajjiar and Chamba from Dalhousie Bus stand.
How to reach Dalhousie in Winter

All of the above information remains applicable in both summer and winter. Dalhousie remains open throughout the year and you should not have any problem reaching here irrespective of the month of your visit. Moving to Khajjiar in peak winter however may become a problem because the connecting road between Dalhousie and Khajjiar can get blocked by snow at this time.

Tourist Attractions in Dalhousie and Things to Do


Dalhousie has a long list of attractions and activities that can keep its visitors busy for days, weeks even. So long was the list in fact that I had to cover it in another post other this article would have gone too long. What you can see and do in Dalhousie is a mix that will please families and adventure enthusiasts alike. In this post, I will provide a comprehensive list as a reference. But if you want to know more about these places, including details on where they are located exactly and how you can reach, please read What to see in Dalhousie | Fun Things to do in Dalhousie.

What to See in Dalhousie
  • Subhash Baoli
  • St. John Church
  • Rock Garden
  • Garam Sadak
  • Khajjiar
  • Panchpula
  • Sach Pass
  • Dainkund Peak
  • Chamera Lake
  • Satdhara Falls
  • Mall Road
  • Laxmi Narayan Temple
  • Bara Pathar
  • Bakrota Hills
  • Ganji Pahari
  • Chamba Town
  • Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Rang Mahal
What to Do in Dalhousie
  • Photography
  • Star Gazing
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Motorcycling
  • Paragliding
  • Rock Climbing
  • Boating
  • Shopping
  • Take a stroll through the Tibetan market.
  • Enjoy long peaceful walks and savor on the natural beauty around you.
  • Have a bonfire and enjoy pleasant nights sitting around a fire.
  • Enjoy a pony ride in Khajjiar

Also Read: What to see in Dalhousie | Fun Things to do in Dalhousie

Weather of Dalhousie


Dalhousie retains a cool and pleasant climate throughout the year with misty mornings and evenings, bright sunny days and clear skies. Owing to its elevation, it is considerably cooler than the surrounding plains. Even in the spring, the climate can be downright chilly at nights. The monsoon months, however, tend to be incredibly wet and humid. The skies remain cloudy and it may rain for days on end.

The months of January and February are truly the months of white and it can snow here any time in these months. Chances of snowfall are however more in January than February. Snow starts to melt in March and is mostly all gone by the end of the month. Spring arrives towards late March and the following three months of April, May and June are considered to be the best time to visit Dalhousie. Weather in these months is at its best with warm days and pleasant nights.

Monsoon arrives in July and even though it doesn’t rain much in Dalhousie, it still would be wise to avoid traveling at this time. Ran can definitely pour down any minute and ruin your plans. With that being said, the scenery is at its best in both of these months with lush green carpets of grass all around. September is when the monsoon departs and the region sees quite a bit of tourists due to pleasant weather again. Autumn arrives in October and what once was green in September now turns golden orange giving a magical look to the valleys around. November is when the winter season starts again turning the vistas dull and dry making it a not so good time to visit. The temperature continues to drop and after December 15th, it can once again snow here anytime.

Temperature of Dalhousie

Here is the month wise average temperature break up:

  • Dalhousie in January – 1.2 to 9.8 degree Celsius; heavy woolen and warm clothes needed
  • Dalhousie in February – 3.1 to12.4 degree Celsius; heavy woolen and warm clothes needed
  • Dalhousie in March – 7.1 to 16.7 degree Celsius; snow begins to melt and the weather turns warmer
  • Dalhousie in April – 11.2 to 21.8 degree Celsius; pleasant weather
  • Dalhousie in May – 15.2 to 25.2 degree Celsius; pleasant weather, plenty of cottons with jacket
  • Dalhousie in June – 17.6 to 27.4 degree Celsius; pleasant weather, plenty of cottons with jacket
  • Dalhousie in July – 16.5 to 23.6 degree Celsius; monsoon season, waterproof everything and carry umbrellas and raincoats
  • Dalhousie in August – 16.2 to 22.6 degree Celsius; monsoon season, waterproof everything and carry umbrellas and raincoats
  • Dalhousie in September – 14.9 to 22.7 degree Celsius; this is the best time to visit Dalhousie
  • Dalhousie in October – 11 to 20.9 degree Celsius; winter starts to settle in towards the end of the month
  • Dalhousie in November – 7 to 17.5 degree Celsius; snowfall so heavy woolen and warm clothes needed
  • Dalhousie in December – 4.2 to 13.9 degree Celsius; snowfall so heavy woolen and warm clothes needed

Best time to visit Dalhousie


Like the topic of tourist attractions in Dalhousie, I have talked about when to visit Dalhousie in details in a different post, When is the Best time to Visit Dalhousie. But for a short summary, the months of April, May and June are vastly considered as the best time to visit Dalhousie because of the pleasant weather conditions. But you may want to avoid visiting in these months if you do not like crowded places. With summer vacations on in schools, a lot of families visit Dalhousie and the nearby town of Khajjiar at this time. The months of July, August, October, and November are the ones when there are only a handful of tourists around.

If you want to see a live snowfall, you should plan a visit between December 15th to January 30th but if you do not like cold weather in general, then you must avoid visiting between November to March. If you want to see lush green hills then you must visit in either July, August or September. But if rain bothers you, then it would be best to avoid July and August. November is a bad month to visit overall because the scenery at this time is a bit dull and dry. Weather will be very cold and there will not even be any snow around.

If you are traveling on a budget, then try planning in either July or August. As the number of tourists is less in these months, you may get a good deal at the hotels. In terms of photography, April, July, August, September, and October will be the best months to go. If you are into star gazing and stars photography, then best avoid traveling during monsoon season. For trekking, avoid January, February, July, and August.

What to Pack


Clothes for Dalhousie

Carry warm clothes no matter what time of year you are traveling. If traveling in April, May or June, pack plenty of cotton clothes but still keep a light jacket. Also, dress in layers so that you can put on or take off a layer when the temperature changes suddenly. In winter especially, thermal wear and heavy jackets are a must. Carry extra pairs of clean socks at all times. Dalhousie is best explored on foot, so sturdy, all terrain, all weather shoes are a basic requirement. Remember, respect the sentiments of the local tribal people and do not wear clothes which are revealing, especially when visiting a holy place such as a Monastery or temple.

Also Read: When is the Best time to Visit Dalhousie

Your packing will entirely depend on what time of the year you were visiting in. From October to March, pack warm woolens and a heavy windproof jacket. Gloves and a cap to protect your head too would be required. For visiting from April to June, just bring your regular cottons with a light jacket. For July to September, pack clothes that can dry faster, like polyester.

Documents

Carry a valid government-issued Identification proof and Address proof. Passport and Aadhar Card are the accepted ones. It is also advised to carry a list of emergency contact numbers on your person at all times.

Hygiene and personal care

A basic first aid kit should be carried on a priority basis which includes not just bandages and gauze but also medication for fever, diarrhea, indigestion, cold, etc. If you take prescription drugs, carry the adequate dosage of the same to cover the duration of your trip. Carry your own toilet paper and tissues if you are planning on trekking and camping. Also, for women, carry sanitary products.

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Electronics

Carry at least two fully charged power banks at all times for your mobile phone or laptop along with extra batteries for torches. Photography enthusiasts should carry extra memory cards.

Cash

ATMs are few and far between outside Dalhousie, and the ones which exist may not have adequate cash at all times. So, it is wise to carry a decent sum of cash. Don’t rely on payment through card as most hotels and nearly all shopkeepers only accept cash. Distribute cash through all your belongings for safety.

Do not forget:

  • Warm Caps
  • Pair of warm, waterproof gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunblock lotion with highest SPF that you can find (if visiting in Summer)
  • Toilet paper
  • Prescribed medicines if you are on medication
  • Head Phones/Earphones
  • Power Bank
  • Chargers for your electronic items
  • Umbrella or a Rain Poncho (if visiting during monsoon)
  • Torch
  • Snow boots if visiting in winter
  • Comfortable pants if planning to go on a trek as a pair of jeans is not advisable for this purpose

Accommodation and Other Facilities


Hotels in Dalhousie

Dalhousie has more than 100 hotels in all categories spread across various ridges and lanes. High season is May–June. Even though it is a tiny hill station; you will still find small budget hotels with all basic amenities in this town. The state tourism body Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) operates a chain of hotels throughout the region. They are located at prime spots, sometimes a stone’s throw away from the best attractions. They are also clean and spacious with courteous and helpful staff. Also, you can ask around in local restaurants and small businesses for accommodation. Many of them run homestays out of their own place of residence. These are a superb and authentic way to get some local flavor.

If you are visiting during peak tourist season, it would be wise to book your stay in advance. Otherwise, it would be better to reach your destination first, find a hotel per your liking and negotiate an on the spot deal. If you want to stay at a place where there are fewer people around, try looking for a place around Bakrota Hills or Khajjiar.

Camping in Dalhousie

Dalhousie is really a small town so camping inside Dalhousie may not be a possibility. It however can definitely be done on the outskirts of the town. If camping is on your mind then my advice would be to head straight to Khajjiar and do it there. You can either stay at any of the existing camp sites or can even pitch your own tent. For camping, you will not find a better spot anywhere else in Dalhousie.

Shopping & Foods to Try


What to Eat in Dalhousie

Dalhousie cuisine has an eclectic character. You will find dishes of Pahari, Nepali, Gurkha, Tibetan and English cuisines. No matter the origin, the food is usually simple, homely, nutritious and inexpensive. Much of the food is grown and consumed locally. In fact, if you ask for local dishes, it is likely that the rice, wheat, vegetables or fruits are freshly harvested from some local garden. The organic produce tastes more flavorful than anything you would find in a city grocery. Food imports are mostly made to satisfy tourist tastes.

Here are some typical dishes you will find here. These are just some dishes from a wide range of food to try in Dalhousie.

  • Chutagi
  • Skieu
  • Paba
  • Khambir
  • Momo
  • Thenktuk
  • Mokthuk
  • Thukpa
  • Chicken curry
  • Maggie
  • Egg dishes
  • Bhutta
Where to Eat in Dalhousie

Dalhousie offers several options to eat out – large restaurants in the Tibetan area, tiny hole in the wall shops, street stalls, roadside dhabas, and Maggie points. You can eat a different dish every day at every meal! However, if you have the opportunity to befriend a local, try authentic homemade Pahari fare. Beats the market offerings any day!

Also Read: Mcleodganj – A Comprehensive Travel Guide and Itinerary

What to Buy in Dalhousie

Don’t leave Dalhousie without shopping to your heart’s content. Here are the Dalhousie’s most famous shopping choices. The list can be long but these are some of the best options in terms of shopping in Dalhousie.

  • Handcrafted Woolens: Dresses, caps, pullovers, socks, scarves, shawls and mufflers. Special shout-out to Pashmina goodies.
  • Brass and wooden knickknacks: Statues, walking sticks, boxes of various sizes and home decor pieces.
  • Accessories: In the Tibetan shops, you can find some very trendy, quirky and unique footwear, bags, purses, and jewelry.
  • Souvenirs: Lampshades, prayer wheels, prayer flags, books and porcelain, singing bowls, Buddha statues, handmade diaries, rugs, carpets, and paintings, miniature paintings.
  • Tea: Tibetan tea, Green tea, and Kangra tea
  • Books: On Tibetan Buddhism, mythology, spirituality and Tibetan History
Places to shop in Dalhousie

Gandhi Chowk market is located a stone’s throw away from the Central Bus Station. It’s a bustling place, not only for shopping but also for its restaurants and eateries.

Timings – 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Come here for: Colorful and patterned scarves, mittens, shawls, sweaters, jackets, gloves, and caps all handcrafted and made of pure wool. You will also find Tibetan wall hangings, carvings, wooden sculptures, prayer flags and other Buddhist paraphernalia at the Tibetan Refugee Center. Also, unique items such as jewelry, bags, dolls, and purses can be found here.

Health & Safety


Is Dalhousie Safe for Tourists?

It is very safe to be in Dalhousie throughout the year. The standard rules of safety like being alert with strangers and not to hang out in strange places will apply to everyone. If you are traveling alone then it is advisable to stay in a hotel in Dalhousie itself and not in a remote area. Visitors are also advised to stay cautious during monsoon season. Take a weather check before you leave home and if there is news of rains and landslides, better cancel or postpone your plan.

Another thing would be to consider your driving skills. Dalhousie is a hill station and getting here would mean that you would have to drive on some steep winding roads. If you are not sure that you can handle a vehicle in the hills, better hire a taxi for the trip.

In short, Dalhousie is a very safe place to visit as long as you act sensibly, drive responsibly, and do not take unnecessary risks. People here are very humble and will do their best to help tourists in time of need.

Also Read: Thanedar, Himachal – How to Plan your Trip & Explore

Travel with family

Dalhousie is a child-friendly place and there are plenty of attractions to keep the young ones occupied and happy. However, since they will be unfamiliar with the terrain, it is important to keep an eye on them at all times, especially in the wilderness areas like forests, viewpoints and picnic spots.

Travel with partner

Dalhousie is perfect for a romantic getaway, whether for a week or even just a weekend. It is in fact one of the top honeymooning destination in India. You will definitely not find yourself to be the only couple in town.

Travel possibilities during different seasons

During peak tourist seasons, all forms of transport will be highly expensive. To get to Dalhousie you must plan at least 2-3 months in advance and pre-book travel tickets. Otherwise, not only will you find prices sky-high, you may not be able to book a ticket at all. During monsoon, prices drop, but travelling through the mountain roads is tricky as landslides are frequent and devastating.

Health and Safety

There are several hotels and clinics located in Dalhousie that are capable to handle some serious cases as well.  The nearby town too has some large and even better hospitals located. If you could not get the needed medical assistance in either of these places, the next place to go to would be Pathankot.

Facilities Available


Bank / ATM in Dalhousie

All the commercial banks of India have branches and ATMs in various parts of Dalhousie. ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, HDFC Bank and Punjab National Bank are to name a few but there are other banks as well. Cash too remains available and it is very rare that you will run out of case in Dalhousie with no functional ATM.

Petrol Pumps/Mechanics

There are several petrol pumps and mechanics available in Dalhousie. You will find them on the route as well as in the town as well.

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Mobile network in Dalhousie and data connectivity

All major mobile networks in India offer connectivity within and near Dalhousie. However, the farther you venture into remote areas, the lesser the chances of mobile connectivity, except BSNL network. Free Wi-Fi spots in Dalhousie are currently only available at hotels for their guests. I have been to nearby places like Khajjiar, Chamba, Kalatop and Bairagarh and remained on the network.

Also Read: Tirthan Valley – A Complete Travel Guide & Itinerary

People and culture


Languages Spoken in Dalhousie

The locals speak “Chambyali”, “Gaddi” and “Holi” which at their core are distinct variations of Hindi that has evolved over centuries of isolation. The Tibetans speak their native Tibetan. However, almost everyone communicates readily in Hindi. Most people even have a basic understanding of English, courtesy of British Era influence.           

Festivals Celebrated in Dalhousie

Dalhousie celebrates several festivals with happiness and fanfare.

  • January: Haldi – Celebrates the beginning of winter’s end. Expect bonfires and folk music and much dancing
  • February: Basant Panchami and Samvastar Pareva – Saraswati Puja
  • March: Losar – Tibetan New Year
  • October: Sharadotsav and Dussehra – This is the year’s busiest and most spectacular festivals and draws both domestic and foreign tourists. Lasting for nine days, these festivals involve pujas, melas, processions and street food galore!
  • December: Christmas – Courtesy of the British presence, this festival is celebrated in a winter wonderland of snow

Itinerary for Dalhousie


Below is an example of an itinerary that you can follow for your trip to Dalhousie.

Dalhousie Itinerary for 5 Days

Covers: Sightseeing in and around Dalhousie, Chamba and Dharamshala

  • Day 1: Land at Pathankot and transfer to Dalhousie. Visit Bara Pather, Panchpula, GPO, Satdhara Falls, Dain Kund and Bakrota Hills
  • Day 2: Day trip to Khajjiar, Kalatop; and Chamba town
  • Day 3: Trip to Dharamshala; and overnight stay
  • Day 4: Sightseeing in Dharamshala
  • Day 5: Breakfast followed by departure to Pathankot
Dalhousie Itinerary for 4 Days

For the second itinerary, I am going to assume that you are driving to Dalhousie by your own vehicle with Delhi as your starting point.

  • Delhi to Dalhousie – Day 1
  • Sightseeing in Dalhousie – Day 2
  • Dalhousie to Khajjiar – Day 3
  • Khajjiar to Delhi – Day 4
Dalhousie Itinerary for 3 Days

If you only had 3 days in hand, then you can skip Khajjiar and your itinerary can be like below.

  • Delhi to Dalhousie – Day 1
  • Sightseeing in Dalhousie – Day 2
  • Dalhousie to Delhi – Day 3
Dalhousie Itinerary for 5 Days

Another version of 5 days itinerary can be like this.

  • Delhi to Dalhousie – Day 1
  • Dalhousie Sightseeing – Day 2
  • Dalhousie to Bairagarh – Day 3
  • Bairagarh to Sach Pass to Bairagarh – Day 4
  • Bairagarh to Khajjiar – Day 5
  • Khajjiar to Delhi – Day 6

If you only had 5 days in hand and cannot spare a 6th one, then do not stay in Bairagarh after coming back from Sach Pass and head straight to Khajjiar. It will be a long drive but it is doable and you will be able to save a day.

Know Dalhousie


Fast Facts
  • Nearby Town(s) – Bakloh, Chowari, Dharwas, Khajjar, Pangi and Salooni
  • Population and density – Just above 7000 for locals, and a varying floating population of tourists and service providers during peak seasons
  • Religion – Majority Hinduism with a tiny presence of Tibetan Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and Muslims
  • Dalhousie Altitude – About 6460 feet above sea level
  • Currency – INR
Important Numbers

Kangra (Gaggal) Airport – 0189 223 2374

Pathankot Airport – 0186 210 0044

Pathankot Railway Station – 0186-2251594

Also Read: Kinnaur Valley – A Comprehensive Travel Guide

Brief history

Although the Chamba Valley has been inhabited for thousands of years and has changed hands in numerous empires, Dalhousie is its present form was formally established by the British in 1854. After the defeat of the Chamba King, he gave the British five hills as territory – Bakrota, Bhangora, Moti Tibba, Potreyn and Kathalagh. The original idea was to develop the place as a sanatorium. Soon though, the area’s remoteness and peacefulness made it into a favourite retreat for summer vacations, and even today you can see the old colonial bungalows built around the town.

Mythology and legends

The Chamba district in general, its rivers, mountains, landmarks and temples find mention in the Mahabharata literature. This area has been inhabited since the beginning of mankind. In fact, the entire Chamba region has a unique backstory – it is probably the only place on the Indian subcontinent where one single royal clan the Varman dynasty ruled uninterrupted for a thousand years! The rugged terrain helped in maintaining the region’s isolation. The Mughals attempted to conquer this area several times but always failed. Even with the coming of the British, the erstwhile rulers simply ceded some territory but were otherwise unharmed.

The Chamba region has been inhabited as far back as 20,000 years in the past. The original native Hindu inhabitants were hunter-gatherers, shepherds and herdsmen, who wandered around these holy, picturesque mountains and valleys with their flocks. These tribes still exist today, mainly the Gujjars and the Gaddis, and their way of life has remained virtually unchanged. The Gujjars, in particular, are a distinct Turkic origin community and have their own language and customs.

With the passing of the centuries, the arrival of other settlers, most notably the Brahmins and Rajputs from the plains, Sikhs from Punjab, Gurkhas from Nepal, the British and of course the Tibetans has contributed to a unique, melting pot of culture, tradition and peaceful coexistence.

Why to visit Dalhousie

You should visit Dalhousie if you want to spend some time at a place that has plenty of tourist attractions, activities to keep you involved. But at the same time, it does not get too crowded. Dalhousie should be your destination if you want to spend a peaceful area without going too remote. It is easily accessible, has all the facilities that you will need as a tourist and will keep you connected so you can feel safe as well. In short, it is a perfect place for a family vacation as well as a fun trip with friends.

Also Read: Manali – How to Plan your Trip and Explore?

Important FAQs about Dalhousie


1. Does it snow in Dalhousie?

Yes, it snows in Dalhousie towards the end of December and in January. Depending on the weather, a snowfall can also occur in the month of February.

2. Is Dalhousie safe for tourists?

Yes, Dalhousie is very safe for tourists.

3. What is the altitude of Dalhousie?

Dalhousie is located at a height of 1,970 meters.

4. Is Dalhousie worth visiting?

Yes, Dalhousie is a great hill station and definitely worth visiting.

5. Is Dalhousie crowded?

No, Dalhousie is not too crowded as compared to some other hill stations like Shimla and Manali. With that being said, a lot of tourists do visit here in the months of April, May and June.

6. Is Dalhousie better than Manali?

I wouldn’t really compare the two places because they are both equally beautiful and have their own pros and cons. In the end, it will all depend on your own preference and which one is easy for you to reach.

7. Is Dalhousie better than Dharamshala?

For Dharamshala as well, the answer would remain the same that I gave above for Manali.

8. Are there any budget hotels in Dalhousie?

Yes, Dalhousie has several budget hotels. For a cost calculation purpose, assume the per day cost of stay at Rs. 800 to be on a safer side.

9. Is Dalhousie expensive?

It will depend on your time of travel. If you went during top tourist season, it may cost you a little more than regular. If you want to make a budget trip, best would be to travel during off season.

10. Do you need any permits for visiting Dalhousie?

Sightseeing in and around Dalhousie does not require any permits or visa for Indian nationals or foreigners.

Conclusion

That pretty much is all that you need to know about visiting Dalhousie. If you have any other questions; or need any other details; please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.

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17 comments

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Mrunal February 26, 2020 - 8:50 am

Thanks Shivani,
Its very helpful and informative blog.
I am planning to visit dalhousie in end of March with kids and parents (67,63 age).
Do I have to book hotels earlier or will get it once reach.
Will it be expensive during this time of the year?
What kind of activities can be done?
Will you suggest some local homestay with phone number or address for us?

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Praful Pathak January 27, 2020 - 10:02 am

The rent mentioned for cab for out of town, is it for round trip or one way trip?

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Vargis.Khan January 27, 2020 - 2:49 pm

It is for a drop to Dalhousie

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Amee December 29, 2019 - 8:52 pm

Very useful informative blog…
Ma’am v r visiting on 8th and 9th Jan delhousei..
Wl it snowfall???
Do v need to carry umbrella??
Whether woolen hand gloves (11yr boy) will b enough or leather hand gloves v hv to carry??
In case of mountain sickness which medicines shud b taken??

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Vargis.Khan December 30, 2019 - 1:22 pm

Snowfall – Yes it may
Umbrella – If it is not inconvenient
Medicines – None. Just rest in the hotel till your body acclimatizes.

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Sunil Chawla December 27, 2019 - 10:57 am

Lovely blog
Thanks for sharing
I am planning Amritsar & Dalhousie During July 2020.
Is it safe to travel during monsoon ?
Thanks
Sunil

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Vargis.Khan December 29, 2019 - 7:36 pm

Thank you Sunil. Yes it is OK to go as long as the weather was not extreme

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Suzain George November 13, 2019 - 5:57 am

Great Blog! Thanks for sharing informative content. I will definitely go through these ideas.

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Vargis.Khan November 14, 2019 - 6:44 pm

You are welcome !!!

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Nilesh December 1, 2019 - 3:56 am

Please provide same detail for manali and amritsar

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Prashanth December 19, 2019 - 9:49 am

Hi,
Saw your blog. Was very informative. I am from Hyderabad, down south, anf planning to travel to Dalhousie, Amritsar in January with my kids 6 & 8. Can you guide me on 2 issues
1. Does it snow in January
2. How is the road from Amritsar. Can i come by a self driven car from Amritsar, as I have no experience in driving on snow, but yes 15+ on plain roads

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Dileep Kumar November 7, 2019 - 8:57 pm

Thank you for the detailed blog, it really is very helpful. Although you have mentioned November is not a good month to visit, unfortunately(or may be fortunately) we are visiting with family and a infant during last 3 days of the month. Can we expect some snow or is it going to be a dry and cold winter weather?

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Varma SNK October 23, 2019 - 11:07 am

Mr Vargis , Your infromation is very appreciated for new visiters. I am planning to go there with faimly, kids and parents – is it worth going Delhi – Pathankot – Dalhousie – Dharmasala – Manali – Delhi. How many days it required? Is it worth in watching Dec (is the wrote is safe)

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Vargis.Khan October 23, 2019 - 1:20 pm

Thank you Mr. Varma. I will recommend at least 7-9 days to cover all the mentioned places. And yes, it is definitely worth visiting.

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Post Graduation September 9, 2019 - 11:46 pm

Can you please help me out with public transport options between Dalhousie to Amritsar ,Shimla to Dalhousie and Dalhousie to khajjiar unable to find buses

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Maulik Modi August 16, 2019 - 5:52 pm

I have checked HRTC app and HRTC website, could not find Pathankot to Dalhousie bus service. Is it some kind of temporary error,or am I missing something or bus service is not operational between Pathankot and Dalhousie?

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Vargis.Khan August 16, 2019 - 10:31 pm

No it just means that it is an ordinary bus not available for online booking. You will have to board it on the spot.

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