Sunday 22 April 2012

Dalhousie - Kalatop - Khajiar - Chamba Winter Trek

Though I have done this winter trek long time back it is only now while rummaging through some old photographs that I decided to write about it. One can reach Dalhousie, a hill station in Himachal by taking a train from Delhi to Pathankot and then by bus or taxis from there onward. There are plenty of options to stay in Dalhousie as this is a hill station catering to tourists coming round the year from the plains. I have on various occasions stayed in the Youth Hostel as well as HPTDC run hotels like Geetanjali. Dalhousie is located at 6800 feet above sea level so in summers also you get cool weather here.

First day of the trek started from Dalhousie. Initially there was no snow but snow patches started immediately after us leaving the town and it kept increasing the farther we went towards Lakkadmandi which is about 10 kms from Dalhousie.

Chocolate covered with cream!

The fresh snow on the stones were giving the impression as if chocolate has been covered by white cream.

We finally stopped at Lakkadmandi at a tea shop as there was no other accommodation there. The tea shop guy offered two rooms upstairs where the whole team slept like a pack of sardines but nobody minded as everyone slept soundly as they were all dog tired after whole day of trekking.

Snow covered terraced fields 

Three kilometers from Lakkadmnadi is the Kalatop Rest House. The walk from Lakkadmandi to the Kalatop is beautiful and is part of the Kalatop-Khajjiar Reserve forest. For booking the Rest House one has the contact the Divisional Forest Officer, Wildlife, Chamba. The first time I was not able to go to the Kalatop proper as I was with a big group and the snow was several feet deep. It was only on another trip that I trekked the reserve forest and even spotted several rare birds and animals inside the reserve.

Snow trek

Next day we all had Alloo paranthas in the morning prepared as a team work and started on the trek. The snow was now even deeper and at several places became thigh deep and was tiring for the ones leading the trek or for those for whom a snow trek was a first time experience (which it was for most).

Time to take a break and enjoy nature

Closer to Khajjiar the snow became less and less as we were going down in altitude.

Khajjiar Lake

Khajjiar lake is saucer shaped surrounded by deodar trees. Over the years the lake has shrunk. It is a really beautiful place which has been a location of shooting of lot of Bollywood films in the earlier years. I liked the winter time better than summers as there are sometimes too many tourist in summers.

Frost at Khajjiar

Khajjiar is also known as the 'Mini Switzerland' of India. The place and surrounding areas is now also a venue for paragliding. At Khajjiar for those who are interested there is horse riding available.

View of the snow capped mountains in Chamba district

The route after Kahjjiar towards Chamba is all downhill - infact too downhill. I like climbing and not descending as after some time of steep descends ones knees start shaking. The route became a bit tortuous as this part of the stretch was not only long but was completely downhill and therefore warmer also. Chamba  is located at an altitude of 3268 ft.

Overall the trek was enjoyable. On reaching Chamba town we stayed at hotel Iravati maintained by the HPTDC. The main sight seeing places in this ancient town are the Laxmi Naryan temple complex, the Chowgan, Bhuri Singh museum, St Andrew's church. But I will write about Chamba proper in another blog post later.

(Some of the above photographs have not been necessarily taken by me as we were moving in a group sharing photos and cameras!)


Ashish said...

I with my friends am going for this trek on 30th Dec. this year. I
have already done SARR pass 2 years back. I would like to know some
things regarding Dalhousie trek:

1) Is electricity available to charge our camera or I need to buy
extra battery (i like to click many photographs)?
2) What will be lowest temperature expected?
3) Is raincoat required? If yes, How is the nature of rain (normal
plastic sheet made raincoat is sufficient or we need good quality rain
4) How many days did you guyz walk on snow?

Looking forward for this trip to be memorable one. I expect this trek
to be easier terrain wise but difficult weather wise. Your inputs will
be really important.

Ashish Ojha.

Himachal Tourism said...

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Pradesh in north India is one of them. Himachal is a wonderful place
known for its natural and breathtaking views.Himachal Tourism is
the best place for tourism in India.

Manali Hotels said...

Khajjiar- a Switzerland in India.Tourists from all around the world come to visit this place. You have imparted beautiful images with this blog
Manali Hotels

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Dimpy Roy said...

Lovely pictures. Established during the 'Raj' as a summer retreat, the place remains great for picnics, treks, and other outdoor activities. Dalhousie's inherent charm lies in its lush greenery, solitude, and meandering streams. Explore all places to visit in Dalhousie.

Unknown said...

Hey I wish to go on this trek on 30th December itself, so could you assist me on whom you contacted for bookings.

Unknown said...

Hey I wish to go on this trek on 30th December itself, so could you assist me on whom you contacted for bookings.

Unknown said...

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Unknown said...

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