Tour : Palampur
Location : Himachal Pradesh
Places of Interest : Neughal Khad, Andretta, Tea Factory
Best Time to Visit : March to June and Mid-September to November
Palampur is the tea capital of northwest India. Set on the rising slopes of Kangra Valley before they merge with the Dhauladhar ranges. But tea is just one aspect that makes Palampur a special resort. Abundance of water and proximity to the mountains has endowed it with mild climate. The town has derived its name from the local word "pulum', meaning lots of water. Palampur was a part of the local Sikh kingdom and later on came under the British rule.
The place enjoys a healthy climate and the pine scented air is said to have curative properties. The scenery presents a sublime and beautiful contrast- the plain presents a picture of rural loveliness and repose, while the hills are majestic. Behind this town stands the high ranges of Dhauladhar Mountains, whose peaks remain, covered for most part of the year. Situated in and about the middle of the Kangra Valley, it is convenient base to explore the surroundings. This hill station is not only known for its numerous tea gardens and paddy fields but it also known for its colonial architecture and temples. Palampur and places around it are popular for adventure sports like hang-gliding and trekking.
Neughal Khad: Close to the temple of Bundelmata temple, is this 300-metre-wide chasm through which the Neugal stream flows.
Andretta: The charming village, spread below the thickly wooded hill and sprawling plains of the Kangra Valley was once the home of the famous painter Sardar Sobha Singh and the playwright Ms Norah Richards. Now Andretta is a centre for various artistic activities such as pottery and is just 13-km away from Palampur.
Baijnath: Noted for it's ancient temple, which was built in 804 A.D. and dedicated to Shiva Vaidyanatha. Its tall shikhara carved in stone is framed by the imposing snow capped peaks of Dhauladhars. The linga enshrined in its sanctum is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in the country. Every year during the Shivratri fair, thousands of pilgrims descend on Baijnath for the colourful fair and festivities. It is 16-km from Palampur and 56-km from Dharamsala.
Bir and Billing: Sheltered by the mountains and surrounded by tea gardens, Bir serves as a landing ground for hang & Para gliders as well as known for it's Buddhist monasteries and Tibetan handicrafts. One of the best aero-sports sites in the world, Billing is 14-km from Bir. The mountain ranges set like an amphitheatre, offer opportunities for high altitude and cross-country flying for more than 200-km.
Chamunda Devi: The famous temple dedicated to the goddess Chamunda is 25-kms away from Plampur and Yatri Niwas here provides an excellent accommodation for the visitors.
Gopalpur: Situated 13-km away from the town, Gopalpur consists of a mini zoo.
Tea Factory: The cooperative society tea factory provides an insight to the processing of Kangra Tea.
Temple of Bundelmata: Walk through tea gardens and open fields or drive to reach this temple built about five centuries ago.
Al-Hilal: A few kilometers from the city of Palampur is Al-Hilal, a place of unparalleled charm. During the conquests of Kangra by Maharaja Renjit Singh, this place was a military bastion.
Trekking: Several trek routes lead out of Palampur, particularly over the Dhauladhar Mountains towards the town of Chamba. Treks of 5-8 days duration are viable from May to October. Some of the interesting treks from Palampur include Palampur to Holi over the Shingar pass, Palampur to Dharamsala via Indrahar Pass and Baijnath to Manali over the Thamsar pass.
Hang/Paragliding: Twenty-eight kilometers from Palampur is an important center for the adventure sport of hang/paragliding. It also has numerous Buddhist monuments and is famous for its Tibetan handicrafts. The town of Billing, which is 42 km from Palampur and 14 km from Bir, is also an important center for hang-gliding.
Fishing: There are ample opportunities for the angler between 1st March to 1st June and 1st September to end of October for Mahaseer fishing in and around Dehra Gopipur, Nadaun and Pong Dam.
HOW TO GET THERE
Rail: Palampur does not have an airport or railway station. The nearest railway station is at Maranda, which is 2-km from Palampur and on the narrow-gauge line between Pathankot and Joginder Nagar. The main bus station is located 1-km south of the main Bazaar. There is frequent bus service from Palampur to Dharamshala, Mandi, and Pathankot. Travelers can also make use of taxis to travel to these towns from Palampur.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel T-Bud is run by the HTPDC at Palampur. One of the most luxurious places to stay in the region in is Taragarh at the Taragarh Palace, 8-km to the east of Baijnath.
The weather in Palampur is moderate. Summers are mild and winters are cold but pleasant. It experiences southwestern monsoon rains in July-September.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
In the month of March, Holi's riot of colours and celebration of spring comes with laughter and vitality. There are exuberant celebrations at Palampur and Sujanpur.
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