Dalhousie Experience: The hill station of Dalhousie is not overcrowded with tourists as against many other major hill stations as a result its not as developed in facilities also, or maybe its the other way round!!
Food, sight-seeing and shopping: Gandhi Chowk is the most happening spot of Dalhousie. Don't miss the tasty spicy gol gappas on Garam sadak near Gandhi chowk in the evening. For restaurant, actually I didnt come across any in my three days of stay that I can say was very good! I guess, hard luck for me. There is a Tibetan Refugee market adjoining Gandhi Chowk, full of electronics and clothes. I didnt find the prices any cheaper from any other city, but still if you have to do some shopping from there avoid going in the evening as at that time you will hardly find any space to move in the dingy lane that is too over crowded.
Activities & things to do: There isn't much of activity to do in Dalhousie other than watching the lovely mountains. Local tourist spots are over hyped as Panchpulla was all dried up in June, had it not dried up then also I can not imagine how could it look anywhere near beautiful. All you could do there was shoot at the baloons or some very small rides for the children. At Rock Gardens, you can enjoy by dipping your feet in the very small stream of cold water. Then there is Satdhara, well just water coming out from some mountains, it may have medicinal properties though, but not for people who are looking for natural beauty. Same can be said for all the local sights. I took a day trip to Khajjiar and Chamba. Well the valley of Khajjiar is beautiful, no doubt about that and rightly said mini-Gulmarg, but being situated at a quite low altitude its real real hot in summers during day time. Kids can take on Parasailing there, with a parachute that goes up about 30-35 feet being on being pulled by a couple of men. Then there is the giant rubber ball in which two people go and tie up in a fixed jacket, then it is set rolling for a short distance. But I wished that I had taken a stay there with all the beauty and a cool weather of the night. After Khajjiar I went to Chamba which was even hotter and all to see there was the Laxmi Narayan Temple and museum showcasing the paintings and lifestyle of the erstwhile rulers.
Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: Well, as I mentioned earlier that tourist facilities are not very developed, major drawback being lack of public transport. I reached by train till Chakki Bank, and was hoping to catch a delux bus from there to Dalhousie, to my dismay there were only ordinary bus available and that too just 4-5 in the entire day, so I had to get a taxi instead. I had read on this site that the rates of the taxis are fixed by the union so, there is no question of overcharging. Well the union rate is 1350 for an indica in the year 2009. However you can do some negotiations in the taxi union office also and I got the car for 1150. In case you are lucky enough you can catch a taxi that has come from Dalhousie to drop someone and has to return at even lesser rates, as I came to know by my taxi driver that it was the case with him and he was getting only Rs. 500, rest being kept by the operator, so had I met him directly he would have dropped me for just 600 bucks. In local transportation also, there is absolutely no public mode of transport available and you have to take a cab for every where, they charge an exorbitant Rs.250 for a return trip of a distance as meagre as 2.5 km. Dalhousie is also very hot during the day time in the summer months, though the evenings are pleasantly cool. Just in case you are going to Dharamshala from there do not even think of taking the bus, which though just takes 5 hours, but is a local one so much crowded with people that they are literally falling over each other and hardly any space to breath. It was the worst experience of the entire trip.
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