The ‘Lesser Himalaya’ or the Dhauladars of the Himachal region have blessed the lower regions of Kangra Valley with the most saturated green planes full of Pine trees and wide tea estates. Almost from every point, one can see the presence of the Great Himalayan Chain.
The best sunsets are seen from the mountains and even better when surrounded by lush green beauty beneath.
Palampur, being the ‘Tea capital of North India’ is rich in mineral-lush land and a visual beauty which only people who have taken a walk in the tea estates watching the sun go down will understand.
It is named after a local term called ‘PULUM’ meaning ‘lots of water’.
For me, caffeine isn’t much of a thing to be excited about. I am not that big of an addict, apart from just having a large cup of coffee each evening, just to be made by me, matching rightly my standards and expectations. JUST A LITTLE OBSESSION AND NOT ADDICTION!
So a chance to explore some more caffeine, umm TEA, in Palampur got me excited even without consuming any more caffeine. I think I am just made out of caffeine. Anyway, so a short trip to Palampur it was.
How to Reach Palampur?
From Delhi, Palampur is at about 490 km. It is a well-connected destination both within Himachal and from Delhi. Regular buses ply to Palampur from Pathankot, Mandi, Dharamshala, Jogindernagar, Shimla, Chandigarh, Gurdaspur, Sandhole etc.
Palampur is the nearest railway station which is 3.1 km from the main area. It is further 5.3 km away from the main Palampur area.
The beautiful Gaggal Airport is the nearest to the Kangra valley and is 40 km away from Palampur.
We took to a local bus from Dharamshala (Gandhi Park) to Palampur, the one that goes via Thakur Dwara. In order to reach Raipur Tea Estate, we de-boarded at Thakur Dwara chowk. The estate was only 1.4 km from there.
The 60-acre tea estate has 128-acre pine forest with 27 varieties of exotic bird species.
Our day was planned with GHASXP (Great Himalayan Adventure Studio Pvt Ltd.) who made sure to make us happy as soon as we reached all exhausted in the afternoon heat.
A glass of fresh green tea? GHASXP knows how to delight travellers.
When against the backdrop of snow clad mountains in the Valley of Gods, one sits amidst the lush green beauty of Kangra Tea Estate and take that first sip of the Orthodox Kangra Tea, the world seems to make complete sense. The magic of fresh aroma with a tinge of fruitiness surrounds your heart and brain with that perfect sense of retreat. A retreat amongst the best of flora and fauna.
Address: Raipur Tea Estate, PO Thakurdwara, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh 176102
Phone: 097699 47009
I and other Stay On Skill experts were here collectively to enjoy our last day in Kangra valley.
GHASXP which started 4 months back, lets you indulge in a lot of adventure activities like paintball, arena, archery, ATV rides, cycling, paragliding, treks, riverside camping and tea factory tours as well.
You are free to pitch your tent by the river side for a mere 500 INR which is maintenance and safety charge.
Archery was something which I enjoyed the most. Not because I was good at it but yes! Because I was actually good at it even though that was my first time.
ATV rides give you the thrill of your life.
The thrill that you get while you push your exhausted body up the mountain and the thrill that is in while you glide above mountains.
In this, you just take these beats through some really beautiful and carefully laden pine trails.
Full safety is ensured by the GHASXP team and the director Mayur Sud. No one is allowed to sit without helmets and the complete safety gear. 5-minute practice sessions ensure further safety and the precautions are also read aloud.
With a slight push to the accelerator, this beast can reach up to an uncontrollable speed. The thrill I mentioned!
The trail is the definitely the highlight where you whirl past by tea estate corners and under pine tree canopies, on and off through some hurdles.
Paintball was another fun activity. The next time you plan for Palampur, plan it with your group of friends for some mountain paintball arena fun.
Doing 3 to 4 activities made the stomach growl and howl. And the next minute we had proper Himachali Dham food in front of us.
While eating we were told that the food was made by the women already employed in the tea estates. No wonder it tasted out of this world. I could have easily gulped down 3 plates if looking bloated in pictures wouldn’t have been the case later.
While in Palampur, a tea factory tour was a mandate. Had to know the secret behind the refreshing green tea we had.
Mr. Mayur Sud from Ghasxp took us to The Himalayan Brew Tea factory to give us some behind the scenes of all that goes from tea plucking to tea processing and packaging.
Seeing tea leaves in abundance and getting dried made my tired face absolutely lit and of course that earthy aroma, what to say about that.
Kangra tea has the significance of heritage now since it goes back to 150 years before. Then-superintendent of the Botanical Tea Gardens, Dr. Jameson, announced in 1849, that the Kangra region is ideal for cultivating tea. It forms India’s one of the small tea cultivating regions thus making its black and green tea all the more exclusive.
We took a full factory tour and also did tea tasting.
Factory Timings: 9 am to 5 pm
On our return, we witnessed another remarkable sunset and the day stood to a still but it felt complete.
Apart from the above-mentioned activities, you can also indulge in local sightseeing in Palampur.
Top Things to do in Palampur
1. Pottery in Andretta village
Andretta village is a small artisan colony where handicrafts like pottery sculptures, antiquities, and heirlooms are always on display. One can indulge themselves in the making process with the villagers or can simply buy some products as souvenirs and contribute to the local economy. The village was also home to the famed artist Sardar Sobha Singh.
Fee to try pottery– 150 INR for 20-minute
Distance-13 km from Palampur
2. Sardar Sobha Singh Art Gallery
It is a significant arts and crafts centre to witness pottery which happens in Andretta village. More than 2000 paintings are credited to his name. Some are in the art gallery, some in his home town and many lost during the time of partition.
He was born in Gurdaspur in Punjab and shifted to places like Delhi, Amritsar and Lahore once he opened his studio. After partition he shifted to Andretta where mountains became his last muse.
It is also a good place for history buffs and connoisseurs to spend time at.
Timings- 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Distance-13 km from Palampur
Andretta village also has Norah Richard’s House who was an artist and a theatre practitioner. He settled in Kangra valley in the 1920s.
3. Neugal Khad and Cafe
One of the best spots to see the panoramic views of the valley, the khad is again a good place to relax and unwind.
Distance– 2 km from Palampur
4. Tashi Jong village
Apparently, it is the first smoke- free village. You will find Khampagar monastery here which is home to Drugpa Kagyu tradition of Buddhism.
Distance– 36 km from Raipur Tea Estate
5. St. John’s Church
Pic credits: http://mytravelaroundglobe.blogspot.com/2015/06/a-day-well-spent-in-palampur.html
This one church is located in Palampur and remains open for prayers unlike the one by the same in McLoedganj. It has benches for the Sunday prayers as well.
Distance- 7.1 km from Raipur Tea Estate
6. Norbulingka Institute
Definitely, this place is a must visit in the lower Dharamshala (Sidhpur) region. The calmness of its surroundings instantly disconnects you from all the noise and pace.
The institute is dedicated to preserving Tibetan culture and rarest form of Tibetan crafts.
Do visit the Losel Doll Museum at the Norbulingka Institute having the world’s largest Losel doll collection.
Timings: 9 AM – 5:30 PM (offices and workshops closed on Sundays) Guided tour entry fee:100 INR
Distance– 29.5 km from Palampur
7. Narghota Tea Gardens
The vast Narghota tea gardens give sights to witness magical sunset against the diminishing layers of Dhauladhar mountains.
Distance– 34.1 km from Palampur
8. Naam Art Gallery
The works of Elsbeth Buschmann, a German professional painter, and Alfred W. Hallett, a renowned painter from England, are displayed here.
Timings: 10 AM – 7:30 PM (closed on Monday) Entry fee: INR 10
Distance– 26 km from Palampur
9. Bake ‘N’ Brews Café
I have tasted some of the best shakes and pastries here. It is near to the Naam art gallery and provided a chill place to sit around.
Distance– 26.8 km from Palampur
Wondering what is all there to do in Mcleodganj and Dharamshala? Check my blog post here!
10. Chinmaya Tapovan Ashram, Sidhbari
A young journalist, Balakrishnan Menon, started the Chinmaya Mission. The institution is named after his guru Swami Tapovan and is now a centre of Chinmaya Rural Primary Health and Training Centre.
It is a great place to learn something new about history and beliefs apart from looking at panoramic greenery of Sidhbari area.
Distance– 26 km from Palampur
11. Bundla Stream
Feeling heavy-headed with all the mountain views and sharp road journeys? Relax and unwind by this huge khud. Choose your favourite boulder to sit or stretch on and enjoy the sound of water flowing beneath.
A 500-year old Bundla Mata Temple is also here.
Distance– 8.8 km from Palampur
12. Baijnath Temple
The temple built in 804 AD is dedicated to Lord Shiva Vaidyanath (Lord of Physicians) is a typical example of Hindu temple architecture. The tall shikhara looks magnificent against the mountain backdrop. One can also try to catch the traditional festival of RALI which is celebrated in April here. Altitude: 1125m
Timings: 6 AM – 9 PM
Distance-17 km from Palampur
13. Birni Devi Temple
Birni Devi temple is the base camp to reach to the higher side of Dhauladhar in Palampur. It is a steep trek of at least 1.5 hours but is definitely worth the hard work.
One can camp for the night in places where generally local shepherds rest.
Location: Birni Po- Bundla Tea Estate, Palampur
Best time to visit– October to December
Altitude- 2200m above sea level
Distance- 12.5 km from Raipur Tea Estate
14. Langha Mata Temple
In Kandbari, Nanahar, this local temple of Langha Mata is built by the Gaddi tribe at a serene location. Hike to capture the majestic views.
Distance- 19.9 km from Raipur Tea Estate
15. Sujanpur Tira
Raja Abhay Chand of the Katoch dynasty of Kangra built this fort in 1758. It also houses 5 temples, court and a hall. The destruction caused by the 1905 Kangra earthquake is visible on the fort walls.
Distance– 42 km from Palampur
16. Chamunda Devi Temple, Baner
Built in the 16th century, by the banks of Baner river, the temple is dedicated to Hindu goddess Chamunda Devi. The temple is believed to be the abode of Shiv and Shakti.
Distance– 10 km from Palampur
17. Shree Jakhni Mata Temple
Situated at the topmost point in Chandpur village, the temple is dedicated to Devi Latti Jakhni. The temple is a hike away from the mainland and located at a vantage point from where Dhauladhars are visible.
Distance– 7.8 km from Palampur
18. Dorzong Monastic Institute
DMI is a recently established institute to study and practice Buddhist dharma. To preserve the Drukpa Kagyu community, the institute was established by Eighth Kyabje Dorzong Rinpoche. The institute is perched between mountains and cedar forest which is a view in itself.
Distance- 20.6 k from Palampur
19. Bir Billing
Mecca of paragliding in India, Bir Billing remains as one my favourite go-to destinations in Himachal Pradesh. Dotted with monasteries, cafes and vast green landscapes, Bir`s sunsets are definitely not a sight to be missed.
Distance- 35 km from Palampur
Seasons to Visit Palampur, Himachal Pradesh
April to October: summers (8°C – 30°C) November to March: winters (0°C – 10°C) Best Time to Visit: March to December
Mention in the comments if you have something to add on to this Palampur travel guide.