A British Legacy --- Dalhousie
"Tourist Information: Must-know"
Dalhousie (2039m above sea level, with an average elevation of 1954 metres and is spread over 13km.) is built on and around five hills and is on the western edge of the Dhauladhars (a mountain range of the Himalayas). You can also have a peeping view of the Pirpanjals from here. Apart from this, the tranquil town boasts of thick forests of pine, deodar, rhododendron.
Although, the best time to visit is in the summer, and the peak tourist season is from May to September. I think I did'nt miss much in the Off-season!
The town as one can easily guess, is named after Lord Dalhousie, who had founded the town. Infact, its true that most of the hill stations in India are actually founded by the English. The Englishmen visited this place for their summer vacations and its justified that Scottish and Victorian architecture is prevalent in the bungalows and churches in the town. For a moment, it may seem that we have come actually to some sleepy little town in old England.
We checked in Hotel " Geetanjali" had a quick lunch, and went straight for the Panjpulla --- at barely 3 kms. from G.P.O. The Panchpula stream is the main source of water supply to Dalhousie and Bahloon. The stream springs from the north side of DayanKund and runs down a picturesque chasm to the waterworks of Panchpula.The water flows under five little bridges(hence the name of this place 'panj-pulla'). There is Monument dedicated to Shahid Ajit Singh who died on August 15, 1947 in Dalhousie when his dream of independence was achieved. On the way, we stopped by "Satdhara" where seven springs flows at the height of 2030 meters.These seven springs are supposed to contain water enriched with mica and supposedly is bestowed with medicinal properties.
At Panjpulla,one can trek up the hill top! I am an awful trekker, yet I managed to climb up. The springs were reaching the ground level and I was climbing up, this contradiction was something which intrigued me. On the way, I saw lush green vegetation comprising trees--some known and mostly unknown but beautiful nevertheless...
The red blossoms were abundant in the trees all over!! I was wondering how to climb up the tree and whether it was a feasable option! Only then, the local guys passing by, smiled at me and offered to help--- I was touched by their gesture. The guy in the middle climbed up to get me these red flowers!
After coming back from the Panjpulla, we drived upto River Ravi--which runs below Dalhousie. I remember sitting on the rocks beside the river. The silence that prevailed thereafter spoke volumes --- all the gloom and all the stress that is part-n-parcel of our everyday lives, I remember sharing with the river. And I never got to know, when all of it was no more a part of me...!!
Lord Tennyson came in my thoughts yet again---
"I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows ;
I make the netted sunbeam dance
Against my sandy shallows.
I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses ;
I linger by my shingly bars ;
I loiter round my cresses ;"
The next day, we went to Snow Point. It was still covered with snow, yet accessible by tourists!
I managed to hire some "climbing boots" and climb up the snow point--- on the way I had several free-falls and stumblings! It was fun though. We spent hours climbing up, and each time we fell, we knew we had to climb even upper!! I managed to climb up almost all of it, untill I lost my breath! But I know I tried.
We came back and had lunch at a small restaurant near Gandhi Chowk, one of the most densely populated areas in the whole town I thought! Just behind the Gandhi Chowk, stood solemnly St. John's Church, the first church to be built after the town of Dalhousie was founded. Prior to 1863 a wooden structure stood at this place. The stone structure took birth with the arrival of Rev. John H. Pratt who came to Dalhousie sometime in 1863 and inspired the Christian community to build a permanent church building at this place. There are also other chruches in and around Dalhousie---St. Patrik's Church, St. Francis Church, St. Andrew's church. Each of these monuments reinforce the feel of the bygone Victorian era, which is basically prominent in almost every architecture in the town.
Ideally speaking, this place is for honeymooners, and nature lovers. I remember while climbing up the lush green woods in the hills, I met up with honeymoon-ing couples every now and then (who I thought were quite a bit embarrassed by these chance encounters).
One can rarely find some "night-life" in this quaint little town. But, I can gurantee that once you are here, you are bound to fall in love with Dalhousie...and before you leave, you will make a promise to yourself, "I shall come back".