I had heard a lot about Khajjiar being called Mini Switzerland, and I was very excited to check it out on our trip to Dalhousie. A huge lush green meadow with a lake, ringed by dense forests – what’s not to love about it, right?
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The quaint hill station of Khajjiar is popularly known as India’s Switzerland as well Gulmarg of Himachal. Khajjiar is a nature lover’s heaven with picturesque vast meadows, dense deodar forests and some majestic views of snow-capped mountains. Khajjiar is situated at a height of 6500 feet and bestowed with natural beauty and a pleasant climate. There are various adventurous activities to do here such as paragliding and trekking, making it a popular hill station for tourists.
As to why it is called Switzerland of India, here’s the reason - On 7 July 1992, Mr. Willy T. Blazer, Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India brought Khajjiar on the world tourism map by calling it "Mini Switzerland". He also put a sign board of a yellow Swiss hiking footpath showing Khajjiar's distance from the Swiss capital Berne-6194 km. Khajjiar is among the 160 locations in the world that bear topographical resemblance with Switzerland. The Counselor also took from Khajjiar a stone which will form part of a stone collage around the Swiss Parliament to remind the visitors of Khajjiar as a "Mini Switzerland of India".
How to reach Khajjiar
From Delhi, Khajjiar is connected by road and is 520 km from New Delhi. You can drive your car to reach Khajjiar.
From Dalhouisie, Khajjiar is around 25 km from Dalhousie. By road, you can drive your cab or you can take a cab from Dalhousie to reach Khajjiar. It takes an hour or so to reach Khajjiar.
The nearest station to Khajjiar is Phatankot. It is around 120 km away, and you have to take a cab or a bus to reach Khajjiar.
The nearest airport to Khajjiar is Kangra Airport. It is around 180 km from Khajjiar. From there, you will have to take a cab to reach Khajjiar.
Best time to visit
SUMMER – The best time to visit Khajjiar is between March and June. The summer months enable you to enjoy sightseeing as well as various activities such as paragliding and zorbing. The weather is warm yet pleasant and the nights are cool. However, the sun may be too harsh sometimes, and you should carry a sun hat to beat the sun. Tourism in summers is at its peak and I’ll advise you to pre book your hotel rooms.
MONSOON – The months from July to September constitute the monsoon seasons. Unlike most of the hill stations, Khajjiar can be visited during the monsoon season. It is actually the season where the place comes alive. Though it does rain here, it does not pose any threat of landslides, etc to the tourists. Khajjiar gets rejuvenated, adding to its charm. Visit Khajjiar in these months to truly know why it is called the Switzerland of India.
WINTER – Starting from October, Khajjiar experiences the winters till March. The weather is extremely cold and it snows too. For the snow lovers, this is the best time to visit Khajjiar. However, it may be difficult to reach Khajjiar at this time, and there may not be many options for your accommodation.
Where to stay in Khajjiar
Most tourists who visit Khajjiar choose to stay in Dalhousie. There are tons of hotels so there isn’t any problem in finding accommodation there. However, to truly soak in the essence of Khajjiar, I recommend that you stay in Khajjiar itself. There are accommodations suiting every budget in Khajjiar. For a luxurious stay, you can opt to stay at Deodar Manor or Hotel Royal Residency.
For those seeking local hospitability, there is a hotel and some cottages run by HP Tourism at Khajjiar where the tourists can stay. Besides that, there are two rest houses one each of P.W.D. and Forest Deptt. There are also various homestays. You can consider Anjali Homestay Or Puri Guesthouse.
For those on a budget, you can choose to stay at Hotel Mini Swiss.