Planning a trip to Dalhousie-Kangra-Kalatop-Khajjar-McLeodGanj-Dharamshala

#1 Jul 25th, 2017, 02:08
Join Date:
Jan 2017
  • Josephina is offline

My boyfriend and I are looking into honeymooning options in Himachal Pradesh after tying the knot in mid-Feb.

We plan to leave for HP around the 21st of Feb 2018 for a week-long trip. We will be flying to Delhi and then headed to HP.

I would love to receive tips and suggestions from the users here regarding our proposed destination of visit, wrt the temperatures during that time, whether any of the places is closed during that time and so on.

We hope to make Dalhousie our base and plan to take short trips with the possibility of returning to our hotel in Dalhousie for the night. We do intend to stay in McLeodGanj for 2 nights (just for taking in the Tibetan culture, aside from the views and the food) and a night at Kalatop at the Forest Rest House.

Will there be enough sightseeing options on this trip, according to the users here? And will 1 week be enough for this itinerary?

I would be open to either adding or taking away a place from the itinerary if there is significant advantage by way of places of interest.

My fiance loves mountainbiking but generally slow holidays and I am the quintessential snail. Both of us love amazing views, great food and historical places.

We plan to leave for Delhi on the 21st of February 2018 and reach Dalhousie by the 23rd and plan to return to Kolkata on the 4th of March 2018.

Looking forward to your replies
#2 Jul 28th, 2017, 09:13
Join Date:
May 2013
  • soumik69 is offline
I had my honeymoon that period on 2016.
Very cold that time but good for couples.
Your iternary is good but for snow fun you need to go Manali from there you will get bus to delhi. Then back
#3 Aug 4th, 2017, 23:13
Join Date:
Jan 2017
  • Josephina is offline
Originally Posted by soumik69 View Post I had my honeymoon that period on 2016.
Very cold that time but good for couples.
Your iternary is good but for snow fun you need to go Manali from there you will get bus to delhi. Then back
Thanks for your response I don't think we will be able to make time for Manali this time, though. However, we can always plan a next visit.
#4 Aug 11th, 2017, 13:53
Join Date:
Oct 2009
New Delhi
  • maxxtraveller is offline
I followed a similar itinerary on my honeymoon, though it was some years ago and in June in peak summer and not in winter. Here's how we did it:

Firstly we booked HPTDC hotels at all locations well in advance since June is the main tourist season in HP(through a friend in Shimla since the online booking facility wasn't available at the time). HPTDC hotels may not be too fancy, but they are value for money, spacious, well located and have pretty decent rooms and facilities. We traveled from Delhi to Pathankot overnight by train. Took a bus(you can take a taxi also) from Pathankot state bus terminal to Dalhousie which took about 3 hours. Stayed in Dalhousie for 3 days and basing ourselves there visited Kala Top and a few other sightseeing places(can't recollect all of them now).

By now I have done all major hill stations and quite a few small ones in HP, Uttarakhand and TN down south but nothing compares to Kala Top for the greenery and views - no wonder we got to know that it was a very popular shooting location for movies.

Dalhousie was much less crowded than other hill stations perhaps because it is so far away from Delhi. There are some well-built old churches in Dalhousie and some great views - the hotel that we stayed in had a small open restaurant area that looked right down to tiny specks in the plains - it was beautiful.

Next we took a taxi to Khajjiar which is known as the Switzerland of India, a must-visit if you're on a honeymoon. Stayed there for 3 nights(HPTDC hotel as mentioned above). Did a day trip to Chamba town while staying in Khajjiar, but we found Khajjiar the place itself the most beautiful hill station during that trip.

The last destination was McCleodganj(went by taxi again) where we stayed 2 nights in the HPTDC hotel located in the upper part of the town. Been planning a long time to go there again since there is a paragliding centre near the town - something that my son likes, and did multiple times on another trip to Manali(there's paragliding near Manali).

We spent almost an entire day doing local sightseeing in McLeodganj including the upper part of the town which is very popular with foreigners who visit India. Unlike other hill stations this part of McCleodganj has English-style coffee shops with some delicious eats that mainly cater to foreigners so food there is no problem. Usually food at any hill station doesn't match up to what you get in the plains - actually it can get quite tasteless.

We of course went to the Monastery and Temple and the area where the Dalai Lama is based. But over the last few years I have been reading about some negatives pertaining to McCleodganj, especially crowds and traffic jams(mainly in summer I guess) so you may be interested to read this article before planning the details of your itinerary.

India Today article

Came back to Pathankot station and took the train back to Delhi.

Going from Delhi, places like Kasauli and Shimla in southern HP can be reached in a decent amount of time by road. I have done Kasauli over 10 times and takes about 5 hours. But going from Delhi by taxi to the northern parts of Himachal like Dalhousie is a longish drive - I think about 10-12 hours at least depending upon traffic and your taxi's speed and the driver's driving skills. So train is best - don't know about the flight options though I know about flights to Manali in HP only not others. These small hill flights have a reputation for being cancelled or returning to Delhi due to bad weather so keep that in mind.

You can easily book HPTDC hotels online on their website. When I book hotels and would like more information about the hotel like heating and food options, or about places for sightseeing, the temperature and what woollens to carry etc. I always pick up the phone and ask them personally since I have found that it is the best way to know the exact things that you need. While making calls I keep taking notes and then finalize everything from my notes. You can even negotiate good rates over the phone but that is more applicable if your trip is in the next few days.

All hotel staff in Himachal even in the private hotels not just HPTDC are very friendly and eager to provide you with all the information that you need - in Hindi and English.

For booking a room in Feb 2018 you can book HPTDC online on their website, or look up Tripadvisor and book online there or any other travel site after looking for the best rates and nice hotels. By the way Tripadvisor is another great source of information since it lists out all hotels with ratings and photos(hundreds of them), sightseeing options and lots of other information. For example, if you want to know about Dalhousie in the month of February all you have to do is look up the reviews on Tripadvisor that date back to last February. They also have a forum where you can browse over posts and ask location specific questions.

If you live in a place where you're used to warm weather, you'll need some good woollens in February, anywhere in North Indian hill stations. I remember Kala Top was quite cold even in June since it is very high above sea level. Not just sweaters but at least a good thick jacket. A full body thermal wear will keep you warm and safe from biting cold, and is also very light to wear. It is something that I always wear during the rare cold wave in Delhi without feeling too heavy. Wherever you stay, check for proper room heating and hot water in advance though all hotels have it - better to check in advance especially in cheaper hotels.

Another way to get useful information, as I mentioned earlier, is to call up and just ask the hotel staff in HP locations - any hotel or the ones that you intend to book. The best hotels usually also have the best staff and the HPTDC ones have tenured staff who can give you some great tips. Call closer to the date also to know about things like snowfall and other weather related news.

For transportation, you can book taxis at the hotel that you're staying in or negotiate with the available ones outside if you want cheaper rates. Transport at hill stations is quite expensive, and is the biggest expense during hill trips . Again, hotel staff will be able to give you approx figures for February, when you call them up. Actually, you can keep a list of questions ready to ask them when you call.

I took some time to write down whatever I remember from my honeymoon years ago. Hope my post is of some use to you.

Good luck and have a great honeymoon! After your trip do come back for creating a travelogue here and share your experience.

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