Places to visit in Dalhousie – Himachal Pradesh

by admin on May 3, 2012

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Dalhousie View of DhauladharIt was the height of summer in Delhi, and I really wanted to take of my shirt and shake off the heat and dust from all over my body. Dalhousie is 485 km by road from Delhi, so I set off in a hired air conditioned car and took the long winding route into the mountains. Luckily the driver was familiar with Dalhousie and started telling me all about how Dalhousie was located on the western edge of the Dhauladhar Mountains and that the nearest airport was Gaggal, in Kangra at a distance of 135 Kilometres from Dalhousie. He further explained that Dalhousie was located in and around five hills.  I checked into the Grand View Hotel just opposite the bus stand in Dalhousie and while breathing in the crisp mountain air, I watched the peaks of Dhauladhar range.

Located at a height between 6000-9000 feet above mean sea level, Dalhousie started off as a small troop retreat for British troops and bureaucrats during 1854. As the name suggests, it was named after Lord Dalhousie, Governor General of India in that period of time.   The extraordinary mega mix of Scottish and Victorian architecture of the bungalows and churches held me spellbound for a while as I strolled on the streets. In stark contrast, the surrounding Chamba district is filled with ancient Hindu temples and architecture, art and culture.  Chamba itself is just 52 Kilometres away and is home to the Gaddi and Gujjar tribes who ruled the area with their capital in Bharmour. Bharmour was also said to have 84 temples dating back to the 10th century AD, I was told.

Anyhow, pondering on these thoughts, I walked on to Gandhi Chowk in Dalhousie and came across the Tibetan market where I bought some knick knacks, including a jacket for me and a carpet for home. At Gandhi Chowk, there was an 8 way junction leading to Subhash Chowk, Panchpula, Upper Bakrota, Diankund, Banikhet, Khajjiar, Sadar Bazar and Motitibba. Which road should I take I wondered.

The next day, I set off to Bharmour on the Khajjiar route via Chamba and a good 107 kilometres away. The route was long and narrow and broken at parts. On the way to the river Ravi, there was the Kalatop Khajjiar wildlife sanctuary. No stopping I said. The place was sometimes called Bharpur as it was known as Brahmpur in the 6th century AD till 920 AD when a new capital was started by King Sahil Varman in the area. All the ancient temples stood on the same area called Chaurashi as 84 Sidhhas (or Yogis) are believed to have meditated here some thousand years ago. The Yogis are thought to have come from Kurukshetra and Manimahesh.Khajjiar view

I took some snaps of the Lakshna Devi and Ganesh temple. Inside the sanctum was the idol of Lakshna Devi in her incarnation as Mahisasurmardini.  The tallest among the temples was that of Manimahesh which had a Shivalingam inside.  In the other temple called Nar Singh there was a life size bronze statue of Nandi, the bull. Maybe that’s why this land was also called Shiv-bhumi I thought. I bit into one the apples famous over here. It was a juicy treat.

Back in Chamba I took in the sights of the brick and stonework that built the Church of Scotland in 1903. With arched windows and carvings showcasing Scottish architecture, the church is now converted into a library.

Once more at the 8 junctions, I took the hired car to Satdhara falls on the route to Panchpulla. The place takes its name after the seven springs in the area that contained mica, and is supposed curative or therapeutic effect on the body. Take a dip? No I said, and headed back to town.  Goa was calling.

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