For people who love the journey more than the destination, a road trip is the ideal travel option. Road trips are like a prelude to the upcoming destination as you drive by amazing landscapes and truly imbibe the essence of the place. Known for its breathtaking beauty and serene environment, Himachal Pradesh is the perfect place to plan your next road trip. With so many small hill towns, all close to each other but different in culture and tourist activities, you wouldn’t have enough of the beautiful place. Here is how you can plan the best road trip in Himachal Pradesh- covering three magnificent spots Dalhousie, Chamba, and Bharmour.
Delhi to Dalhousie (575km/approx. 11 hours)
Dalhousie is a quaint hill town in Himachal Pradesh and relatively untouched by commercial activity. Enjoying the ideal weather of Himachal Pradesh and blessed with nature’s bounties, Dalhousie makes a great travel destination for anyone seeking tranquillity.
Things to do in Dalhousie
• Dainkund peak
Dainkund peak is the highest peak in Dalhousie and a popular destination among nature and adventure lovers. From the peak, you can see the mesmerizing Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges. The trek is just 30-40 mins away from Gandhi Chowk and takes you through beautiful landscapes surrounded by lush greenery.
• St John's Church
Dalhousie is known for its magnificent architecture inspired by the Victorian era. A reflection of this beauty is the St.John’s church, a beautiful Protestant church located in Gandhi Chowk. Along with its awe-inspiring architecture, the church hosts a rich collection of books, rare photographs, historical artifacts, and paintings. Both religiously and historically significant, the Church is one of the most visited spots in the town.
• Bakrota Hills
One of the highest areas in Dalhousie, Bakrota hills provides a rejuvenating retreat with its picturesque views. A hidden gem for peace-loving travelers, these snow-capped mountains would make you feel like you are at the top of the world! For the best views, visit during the daytime as the entire area glistens under the Sun. A road encircling the hills leads to Khajjiar and you would find tourists enjoying a serene walk around the path which is called the Bakrota Walk.
• Tibetan Market
One of the best shopping places in Dalhousie, the Tibetan market is home to hand-picked artisanal pieces. The market offers everything- from rugs and jackets to quaint Tibetan jewelry. With some of the finest traditional artifacts, the market is both a stage and a tribute to the detailed craftsmanship of Tibetan artisans. A range of restaurants is situated in the vicinity which would add a finishing touch to your shopping experience!
Best places to stay in Dalhousie
• Elgin Hall
Elgin Hall is a luxury hotel in Dalhousie build originally in 1857 for British officials, The property since then has retained its old-world charm and continues to offer its guests a luxurious stay reflective of the heritage but replete with modern facilities. Various recreational rooms like the reading room, game room, and tea room are all a tribute to the British culture and would take the guests through its 125 years of heritage.
• Brij Villa
Set against the Dhauladhar range, Brij Villa is a heritage-style house located on one of the highest peaks of Dalhousie. The place is an entire experience in itself as it hosts a restaurant, coffee shop, and bar, all inside the property without guests having to step out. The rooms provide a comfortable stay but retain elements of the traditional culture like lamps and paintings to transport you to years gone by.
• Zostel Dalhousie
If you are traveling on a budget or with a very small group, then Zostel is the ideal place to stay. With a comfortable stay, Zostel also offers you a chance to meet new people and truly experience the culture of the town.
Dalhousie to Chamba (53km/approx. 1hr 45 mins)
Located around the Ravi River bank, Chamba is a beautiful town in Himachal Pradesh enjoying the panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges. The town is reminiscent of the British empire and has rebuilt itself in a way that combines the best of old-world and contemporary.
Things to see in Chamba
• Church Of Scotland
The Church of Scotland is one of the oldest churches in Himachal Pradesh, more than 120 years old. The magnificent structure took 6 years to build! The construction was headed by Dr. M’Clymont, a Scottish monk, which is evident in the Indo-Scottish style of architecture of the place. Not only religiously sacred but also culturally and historically significant, the Church of Scotland is a must-visit in Chamba. On special days like Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, The Feast of Our Lady, the Church becomes all the more magical.
• Khajjiar Lake
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Khajjiar, the Khajjiar Lake is a stunning lake nestled in lush green deodar forests. Here, you can enjoy the breathtaking views of Mount Kailash and experience serenity just by a walk around the lake. Surrounding the lake is a spectacular landscape, an ideal spot for a picnic. Along with the natural beauty, there is a range of adventure activities including zorbing, paragliding, and horse-riding which would take the excitement up a notch.
• Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary
If you are someone who loves wildlife, then the Kalatop Wildlife sanctuary is the place for you. Boasting Himachal’s exotic flora and fauna and one of the most exciting jungle safaris, the sanctuary is a perfect mix of thrill and nature. You are likely to spot leopard, bear, langur, and jackal, and an abundance of great bird species like Black Headed Jay, the Black Bird, and Eurasian Jay.
• Manimahesh Lake
The Manimahesh Lake is a religiously sacred lake Situated close to Manimahesh Kailash Peak in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas. A major pilgrimage trek, the lake witnesses’ tourists on a 'Manimahesh Yatra in the months of August and September.
Places to stay in Chamba
• Jamwal Villa Homestay
Jamwal Villa is a beautiful homestay in Chamba. The villa provides a comfortable stay and hosts an abundance of entertainment activities like indoor games, a space for a bonfire, guided tours and treks, and an activity center. Enjoying a great location on the banks of River Ravi, the villa overlooks the surrounding natural beauty and even offers great flavors of Himachal Pradesh both in terms of the food and the culture.
• Anantsan Resort
Anantsan resort is the perfect place to unwind with your loved ones. The property can host up to 6 guests and is therefore ideal for small or intimate groups. The rooms have wooden fittings providing a rustic charm to the property. The proximity to the river Ravi is convenient and can make up a perfect picnic at the banks of the river. There is an in-house restaurant that would take care of all your food cravings.
Chamba to Bharmour (60 km/approx. 2hrs 30mins)
One of the hidden gems of Himachal Pradesh, Bharmour is a pristine town just 60km from Chamba. The town is home to the semi-nomadic Gaddi community and is especially known for its ancient temples and thrilling treks.
Things to see/do in Bharmour
• Chaurasi Temple
The Chaurasi Temple is a cluster of 84 temples (84 is called chaurasi in Hindi) dating back to over 1,400 years. The most sacred of these temples is the Mahimahesh temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was the first to have been built among the lot. Other temples are dedicated to Hindu Gods including Vishnu, Hanuman, and Laxmi Narayan.
• Bharmani Mata Temple
Surrounded by pine and deodar trees, the Bharmani Mata temple is a temple complex dedicated primarily to goddess Bharmani Mata (one of the avatars of Goddess Durga). The temple is revered by the locals and is a site of pilgrimage.
• Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary
Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary is the second largest sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh. Just 17 km from Bharmour, this beautiful sanctuary is home to more than 200 species of flora and fauna. You can even spot the endangered Himalayan Tahr here. Other animals like snow leopard, Indian serow, brown langur, ibex, and the Himalayan yellow-throated fox can also be seen.
• Thala Waterfall
Thala waterfall is a stunning waterfall located near the Thala bridge. The waterfalls in Bharmour have water gushing in throughout the year and have, therefore, become some of the most popular spots to visit. Within 1 km of the Thala waterfall, there are two more waterfalls- Chho Chhundu Waterfall and Ghared waterfall. A great place to spend some quality time and bask in the serenity, these waterfalls are your gateway to the beauty of Bharmour.
Bharmour to Delhi (660 km/approx. 14hrs)
With this, bid adieu to the beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh and all that it has to offer. Being on the road and visiting three wonderful places is a great way to truly imbibe the beauty and culture of the state. With ideal weather all year long and amazing tourist culture, you’ll have a ton of memories to bring back with you. So pack your bags, pick up your car and drive to these stunning locations!