Your 2-Day Guide To Dalhousie For A Family Vacation

Now that the exam season is over, take your fam down to this pretty hill station for a much-needed break. We have put together a two-day itinerary that is perfect for a short holiday with kids
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the mountain town of Dalhousie is the perfect weekend destination
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the mountain town of Dalhousie is the perfect weekend destinationPaulharding00/Shutterstock

Exams have finally come to an end and your kids might be feeling overwhelmed and stressed. What could be a better way to relax and unwind than going on a short family holiday? If you're planning for a quick getaway, then Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh is the perfect place to visit. This charming town was once a favoured hill station for officials of the British Raj.

Nestled in the Himalayan foothills, it is a captivating place and the perfect holiday destination—from spectacular views of the mountains to the Kalatop Wildlife Reserve, great architecture and glistening waterfalls. 

Here's a two-day itinerary that will help you plan your trip with kids and discover why Dalhousie is one of the best destinations to visit post-exams.

Day One

A Hearty Breakfast

Start the day with breakfast at Cafe Dalhousie, one of the oldest eateries in town. Housed in Hotel Dalhousie's lower floor, the cafe boasts a quaint hill station vibe with breathtaking views. Don't forget to try their homemade cakes and pancakes.

Address: Gandhi chownk, Panchpulla road, near Raghunath temple, Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh 176304

The cafe is an iconic eatery
The cafe is an iconic eatery@deyakash16 /Instagram

Spend Time In The Khajjiar Meadows

Set out for a day trip to beautiful Khajjiar located only 22 km away. Nestled in the foothills of the majestic Dhauladhar ranges of the Western Himalayas, Khajjiar is a small and picturesque saucer-shaped plateau that offers visitors a breathtaking and panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. The dense pine and deodar forests that surround Khajjiar provide a serene and tranquil atmosphere that is perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation. The meadow has a tranquil lake in the middle.

Khajjiar is known as "Mini Switzerland" and with good reason. The Swiss Ambassador officially baptised Khajjiar on July 7, 1992, and a stone taken from here is part of a stone sculpture erected in Berne, Switzerland.

The meadow of Khajjiar is surrounded by thick forests
The meadow of Khajjiar is surrounded by thick forestsmrinalpal/Shutterstock

Take your kids to the 12th-century Khaji Nag temple to show them traditional Himachali architecture. The shrine is dedicated to the serpent god. It is an intriguing blend of Hindu and Mughal styles of architecture which is reflected in the wooden carvings on the ceilings and wooden posts. The temple dates back to the 10th century, and the dome-shaped shrine is made of slates locally extracted from limestone quarries. Adjoining are other shrines of Shiva and goddess Hadimba.

This place is perfect for a family outing as there are several activities to do here, so sign them up after checking in with them first.

Visitors can undertake the journey from Chamba to Dalhousie to this idyllic scenic spot either by buses run by the HP Tourism Development Corporation or in a hired vehicle.

Explore Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary

Hiking through the forests in Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary
Hiking through the forests in Kalatop Wildlife SanctuarySondipon/Shutterstock

The Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary serves as the gateway to the stunning beauty of Khajjiar, with its thick deodar forests and surrounding snowcapped mountains.

The sanctuary is located within the catchment area of the Beas River, and features several patches of thick coniferous forests. It serves as a natural habitat for a wide range of animals and birds, including many rare species. The sanctuary is home to a variety of wildlife species, including the Himalayan black bear, ghoral, barking deer, leopard, Himalayan gray langur, Himalayan black marten, and serow. If your kids are fond of birdwatching, this area is perfect. Don't forget to carry along binoculars and try to spot birds like the chestnut billed rock thrush and the Eurasian jay.

In addition to animal sightings, the sanctuary also offers various activities such as trekking and birdwatching. Built in 1925, the Kalatop Forest Resthouse is the perfect hilltop bungalow with green lawns and flowerbeds looking out at views of the Dhauladhar range. From the forest resthouse, one can hike up to a designated lookout point.

Day Two

Enjoy The Falls

Named after the seven springs which contribute to its flow, the waters of the Satdhara Falls are believed to have therapeutic powers. You can either hire a cab or trek to the site. The journey to the falls is spectacular, and you can also stop in between to enjoy the breathtaking landscapes.

Boating On Chamera Lake

Boating on the artificial lake
Boating on the artificial lakeAisha Nair/Shutterstock

Go boating on the man-made Chamera Lake, an artificial lake that fascinates visitors with its serene beauty and peaceful surroundings. The lake is formed by the Chamera Dam on the Ravi River at Chourah, in Chamba district. It is considered the most scenic spot in the area. Tourists can enjoy various water sports activities here. As an artificial lake, it serves as the storage and reservoir for the renowned Chamera Hydroelectric Project. During the journey, you can even witness the famous dense forests of Bhandal valley. The Himachal Pradesh Department of Tourism has established a water sports sub-center near the lake to encourage water sports and recreational activities around the lake. The lake is surrounded by lush greenery and snow-capped mountains, providing an ideal setting for nature lovers and photographers.

A Colonial Architecture Trail

St. John's Church in Dalhousie is one the oldest churches in the region
St. John's Church in Dalhousie is one the oldest churches in the region Ultimate Travel Photos/Shutterstock

Spend the rest of the day admiring Dalhousie's colonial past, which is still evident in the beautiful churches built in the 1800s and early 1900s.

St John's Church is believed to be the oldest church in the town. Built by Protestant missionaries in 1863, the architecture is of the Victorian-era that was typical of many British buildings at that time. Visit the well-maintained library which contains informative and detailed books about the history and geography of the region. The library also features rare archival photographs that showcase the rich history of the town. Visitors can attend Sunday mass, which is a popular event.

Another gorgeous Colonial structure is St. Andrew's Church. Established in 1903 by Protestant Christians, this stunning church boasts a simple facade that belies its grand interiors. Nestled in a cantonment area surrounded by lush greenery, it's a feast for the eyes. St. Andrew's Church is not just a beautiful sight - it also holds historical significance and offers a glimpse into the town's thriving past during British rule.

St Francis Church features beautiful interior stonework and stunning multicoloured Belgian glass decorations, making it a favourite destination for lovers of art and architecture. The walls of the church constructed in 1894 by the soldiers of the British Indian Army, are adorned with illustrations that narrate the history of the establishment.

Getting There

Dalhousie is about 575km from Delhi and its nearest train station is at Pathankot, about 86km away. Trains from Delhi ply here quite regularly. Gaggal Airport is the nearest airport, located about 107km from Dalhousie.

What To Pack

When planning your trip to Dalhousie, it's important to keep in mind that temperature fluctuations are quite common in the area. To ensure comfort, we recommend dressing in layers that you can easily add or remove as needed. You and our kids will be participating in forest trails and exciting trekking activities. To make the most of your adventures, we strongly advise bringing all-terrain/weather footwear and an extra pair of socks. With the right gear, you'll be able to fully immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural surroundings and create unforgettable memories.

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