During my recent 1 week trip across Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh, I happened to figure out what can be the best 5 days Dalhousie Chamba itinerary. It includes, other than popular tourist places like Khajjiar and Bharmour, some offbeat villages, temples and waterfalls too.
It all happened when I was invited for a 1-week Chamba itinerary by a local tour company called Explore The Unexplored.
The idea was simple, they would invite me across places and in return (if I liked what they offered, of course) promote them on my blog. The entire trip was thoughtfully created with destinations personally handpicked for me.
I have already written about a few destinations I explored with them, including this detailed article on top places to visit near Bharmour.
Please note that I am not recommending each and every day travelled with them. Out of my 7-day Chamba itinerary, in this blog, I am eliminating a few destinations and experiences and presenting to you what I would call as the best 5-day itinerary for Chamba, including Dalhousie.
Stay In Bakloh
The company I was travelling with, Explore The Unexplored (you can check their website for more details) had its own homestay near the cantonment area of Bakloh. For me, it turned out to be a perfect place to stay — quiet and less hurried.
Contrary to Dalhousie (which remains crowded most of the time of the year, particularly on weekends) Bakloh offered a much more peaceful ambience — a kind of setting I travel to the Himalayas for.
So on Day 0, arrive and stay in Bakloh. If you are coming from Pathankot or Amritsar or Chandigarh, you will first come across Bakloh. From Bakloh, Dalhousie is 30 km away.
5-Day Dalhousie Chamba Itinerary
Day 1: Khajjiar, Jot Pass, Kalatop
Whether you stay in Bakloh or Dalhousie, it makes for a good 100km loop covering Jot Pass, Khajjiar and Kalatop.
Stop 1 Jot Pass: Located at 2880 meters above sea level Jot Pass is one of the popular places to visit near Dalhousie. You come here any time of the year and you will find patches of snow on the top.
At a distance, and from the top point, you get sweeping panoramic views of the mighty Dhauladhar. The Dhauladhar peaks, again, will be snow-covered.
Stop 2 Khajjiar: Often referred to as the Mini Switzerland of India, A visit to Khajjiar is a must-have for any Dalhousie or Chamba itinerary. The place needs no introduction.
Think of it as one big beautiful meadow surrounded by tall Deodar and Cedar trees. In the middle, is a small stream-fed lake. Close to the lake you will also find a 12th-century Khajji Nag Temple dedicated to a serpent god. It is worth visiting the temple and studying its beautiful architecture.
Stop 3 Kalatop: Located approximately 12 km from Dalhousie, Kalatop is located inside the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary. Tourists need to pay an entry fee for their car and motorcycle to access the wildlife area (at LakkadMandi).
Inside the wildlife sanctuary, you can spot various species of animals and birds including the Himalayan black bear, pheasants, Himalayan black marten, serow, leopards, jackals, langurs, Eurasian jay, black-headed jay and the common blackbird.
The term Kalatop means ‘black cap’, which in turn refers to the lush black cover of forest on the sanctuary’s highest hilltop.
Kalatop makes for one of the least explored areas in Dalhousie and a must-see in any Dalhousie or Chamba itinerary, particularly for those who enjoy THE OFFBEAT!
If you’re short with time, read my recommended one day Dalhousie itinerary. Here’s a Youtube Video for a similar experience…
Day 2: Ennan Mata Temple & Waterfall, Dalhousie
Start Day 2 of your Chamba itinerary with a quick visit to Ennan Mata Temple (also spelt as Anan Temple). The temple is dedicated to a local deity, Goddess Anan. When you are inside the inner sanctum of the temple that, in reality, is a natural cave, you get a heavenly feeling.
Other than that, the grandeur of the architecture and the relaxing silence is worth experiencing too.
Right behind the temple is a nearly 100 metres high waterfall known as Ennan waterfall. It is possible to walk all the way to the bottom of the waterfall. If you want, you can carry some packed food and enjoy it right beneath the waterfall.
Once done, head to Dalhousie.
Start with a walk, or drive around the main town, and explore the colonial architecture. A drive through Garam Sadak and enjoying stunning landscapes of Dalhsoue and the adjoining valleys remain at the top spot in any Dalhousie itinerary.
Garam Sadak is popular for Tibetan rock painting and local souvenir shops.
If you have time, and if you enjoy walking, take a quick stroll at Bakrota Loop — a 3-kilometre stretch offering excellent views of snow-clad hills, and the Snowdon Residence, the former residence of Rabindranath Tagore.
Spend the evening shopping at Tibetan Market, Gandhi Chowk. Here you will find everything you can think of — from artefacts to caps to a variety of handicrafts. Gandhi Chowk market is also quite famous for woollen clothing.
A great way to conclude your Dalhousie itinerary is by booking a table at Cafe Dalhousie.
Day 3: Bakloh Or Dalhousie To Bharmour, Via Chamba
On day 3 of your Chamba itinerary, start early and leave for the town of Bharmour.
Though we have quite a few bus connections (especially from Chamba) between the two towns, the best way to travel is in a car or a motorcycle. For most of the time of the journey, you will be driving next to emerald green Ravi River with many picturesque spots on the way.
If you have some time, make a quick stop at the main town of Chamba.
About 30 km from Chamba (towards Bharmour) you will come across Trilochan Mahadev temple that’s certainly worth a stop. It is believed those who couldn’t visit and bathe in Manimahesh Lake can do so and complete their pilgrimage by taking a dip at Trilochan Mahadev temple.
From Dalhousie (or if you’re staying in Bakloh as I suggested) Bharmour is a 5-hour journey.
Day 4: Bharmani Mata Temple, Chaurasi Temple & Bharmour Market
Located 4 km away (after a steep climb) overlooking the town of Bharmour, Bharmani Mata temple is certainly a must-visit.
Every visitor before or after visiting Manimahesh Kailash take bath in Brahmani’s holy pool too.
Please note that it is only possible to visit Bharmani Mata between March and October. During winter months, because of snowfall, the route to Bharmani Mata temple remains closed. I couldn’t visit Bharmani Mata either during my visit to Bharmour in the last week of November.
Chaurasi temple (dedicated to Lord Dharamraj) is another highlight to not miss during any travel itinerary for Chamba district. Just like Pushkar, in Rajasthan, has the world’s only temple of Brahma, Chaurasi temple in Bharmour is the only temple of Lord Dharamraj.
The entire temple premise houses 84 temple Shrines (Shivalingas) and thus the name Chaurasi. Chaurasi in Hindi translates to the number 84.
As you exit Chaurasi temple, you exit into Bharmour Market. Though nothing much of a tourist highlight, with not many souvenir shops as compared to Chamba or Dalhousie Gandhi Market, it is still worth a quick stroll. It is also worth climbing one of the mountains and finding snow on top. There are high chances of finding snow in Bharmour town between November and February. From March to July, you may have to climb 300-400m uphill.
Day 4 of your Dalhousie-Chamba itinerary ends exploring the peewee lanes of the marketplace in Bharmour.
Day 5: Kugti Village
Kugti happens to be the last village of Chamba district. Beyond the mountain-range of Kugti, what begins is known as Lahaul Valley. The village is located inside of the Kugti Sanctuary that also happens to be the second-largest wildlife sanctuary of Himachal Pradesh.
It is worth visiting Kugti if you enjoy exploring life in higher Himalayas and experience how people where there’s no road-connection, no phone connectivity and no electricity (for a few months of the year) survive.
There is old and new Kugti. It is the Old Kugti that’s worth visiting in particular, given it has about 20 houses all Kath-kuni style — made of wood, stone and mud.
Read more: My Visit To Kugti Village.
It takes about 2 hours to drive from Bharmour to Kugti. Spend about 3 hours in Kugti, explore the village, and return to Bharmour. If you’ve another day to spare, spend the evening in Bharmour and return to Dalhousie/Bakloh/Chamba or your respective location the next day.
If you’re short on time, you can do a trip from Bharmour to Kugti and back in about 7 hours, return to Bharmour by afternoon and make your journey forward the same day.
My Dalhousie Chamba Itinerary
As I mentioned above, my trip was taken care of by a local tour company called Explore The Unexplored. They have a homestay in Bakloh (30 km from Dalhousie). I was on a 7-day trip across Chamba region with them.
Out of my 7-day trip, this travel blog talks about the highlighted 5-day Chamba itinerary.
Also, Read my detailed Himachal Pradesh Travel Guide for more travel tips.
This concludes our 5-day Chamba and Dalhousie itinerary, including some of the offbeat and popular tourist highlights across the region.
If you have anything to add to the list, please leave a comment below and I will try to add your suggestions in the article. If you have any questions, you can connect with me on Instagram.