What strikes one when he thinks of visiting any hill station in India? Well here are certain prominent thoughts- nature, beauty, landscape, but also a mad rush, too much crowd, and subsequently no peace. Well if you don’t like facing the latter then you should go to Palampur. Palampur is a hill station in the Kangra Valley in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, surrounded on all sides by tea gardens and pine forests before they merge with the Dhauladhar ranges. Palampur is the tea capital of northwest India. Boasting of lush green cover consisting of pine forests and tea plantations along with pleasant climate and stunning views of snow clad Dhauladhar ranges, Palampur is an interesting vacation option for summers. Abundance of water and proximity to the mountains has endowed it with mild climate.
Palampur is a very well connected hill station making the undertaken journey easier. Spice Jet and Air India run daily flights from New Delhi to Kangra Airport (Gaggal Airport), which is just 40 km from Palampur. However, owing to unfavorable weather conditions, as it rains in this hill station the year around, it is advisable to travel by road or rail. Palampur is connected by rail from Pathankot. Approximate distance from Pathankot to Palampur is 112 km. The journey takes about 6–8 hours. The Kangra valley toy train also operates in the town. Palampur is well connected by road to all major cities and towns in and around the state. Tickets can be booked online from HRTC website.
Being the ‘Tea Capital of North India’, one of the prime tourist destinations are the lush and abundant tea gardens of this city. The town of Palampur gets its name from ‘Pulum’ which means ‘abundant water’. The region with its innumerable streams and brooks flowing automatically makes it a boon for tea plantations. Historically it was established as a town by Dr. Jameson who introduced tea plantation in the hill station, and the town grew as a famous centre for tea plantation within no time. What’s even more fascinating is that in every tea garden, a factory is also located nearby and the workers of these factories are evermore excited to give a free demonstration of the making of tea right from the processing of leaves to the final product.
The mall road does not leave the shopaholics disappointed. Even though tourists might come from abroad or the metropolitan cities of India, they do end up getting enamoured by the products the market has to offer. All the amenities are present here with the mall road housing even big showrooms like Nike, Adidas, lee, Levi’s and many more. The Tibetan market is an ideal place for shoppers with its handicrafts, carpets and wooden handicrafts gaining international recognition. The market also provides amazing fast food and Jhol, a popular local drink made of rice water, which is a must try.
If you just want good food then, this is the place. This is not a pretentious place with a classy ambience, but what it does well is what it is there for - food. The tourist might become a bit skeptical seeing the place from outside, but once you go in and taste that lip-smacking food, all the doubts go away. And, the best part is that this small place is slowly gaining popularity so much so that it’s difficult to find a place and might require waiting. But the food makes it worth it. It specialises in Indo Chinese cuisine and the prices are exceptionally cheap.
Well I wanted to rest in the recluse of nature and serenity and that’s why I chose this particular lodging. It gives the vibe as if we are just staying at our home making it a home away from home. The hosts Pavi and Rita Sarin make the stay extremely comfortable being helpful hosts and cater to our special needs. There is fantastic view of the hills and of the tea plantations. However, for the perfect stay one needs to go at the right season otherwise service might dwindle.
This village is famous for its Buddhist monasteries. It is located at a distance of 35km from Palampur. Bir has Buddhist Monasteries that are worth visiting. This village is also the site of adventure sports like paragliding. Hang gliding pilots use it as their landing site. Bir, surrounded by tea gardens and an amphitheatre of low hills, is an ideal landing place for para-gliders. Fine Tibetan handicrafts are also produced here.