Apart from Dharamshala-McLeodganj, Palampur is Kangra’s other large town by a distinctive twist. A few things have given Palampur much of its remarkable character and beauty. The first is the backdrop of the Dhauladhar Mountains which rise dramatically from level ground and within a few kilometres, they touch altitudes of several thousand meters – and many have streaks of snow on their peaks well in the summers. The second is the presence of scores of streams and brooks that crisscross the area – there is the large Neugal chasm while numerous small streams race all over the low rolling hills. The name ‘Palampur’ is believed to be a derivative of the local word ‘pulum’, which means ‘lots of water’. The third is the presence of the tea gardens which established Palampur as a town in the first place when tea plantation was introduced in the mid 19th century. The town itself is built as a single main street that steadily rises from the old tea factory in the direction of the mountains and the Neugal chasm. Parallel to this road, or as angles shooting out of it, are the side roads and by-lanes.
Height: 1250 m
Climate: Summers are warm and cottons are adequate. Winters can be chilly and woollens will be required.
Getting There & Away: How to reach Palampur
Rail: Palampur can be reached by the narrow gauge Pathankot-Jogindernagar train (Kangra railway); Maranda station is 4 kms from town. Pathankot has the closest broad-gauge station and is 115 kms.
Air: The Kangra airport at Gaggal is 39 kms away.
Tourist Attractions in Palampur
Church of St. John in the Wilderness: This was rebuilt in the 1920s after the old one collapsed in the earthquake of 1905. The cemetery is a part of the churchyard.
Chamunda Devi Temple: The history of Chamundaji goes like that the goddess Ambika was once harassed by Chanda and Munda who were the mischievous agents of the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha. For more details, Click Here>>>
Temple of Bundla Mata: This is 2 kms from the market and is close to the Neugal Khad.
Andretta (13 kms): This is an attractive village and became the home of a few noted artists some decades back. Sobha Singh, B.C. Sanyal and Norah Richards were drawn to the sylvan setting of Kangra and settled here. Around these luminaries, a small but active community of artists are flourishing.
Kangra Fort (27 kms): This was the largest fort in India north of Delhi. The earliest reference of the fort is in 1009 AD in the chronicles of the invader, Mahmud of Ghazni. Built on a rocky hill, its ramparts and walls have a circumference of approximately four kilometres. It was heavily damaged in the earthquake of 4 April 1905, nut several gates, the shrines of Ambika Devi, Adinath and Lakshminarayan, and the remains of its palaces are still there. There is a small museum near the entrance gate that has been established by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Al Hilai (11 kms): The splendid mansion that belonged to the former royal family of Jammu and Kashmir is now a hotel. A kilometre away, is the Buddhist monastery of Tashijong which was established ans is managed by Tibetan expatriates. This has a vibrant handicrafts centre.
Bir (2,080 m – 24 kms) has a small Tibetan settlement with a beautiful monastery.
Billing (2,600 m – 38 kms) has attained fame as a world class paragliding site. International level para-gliding competitions are held at Bir-Billing.
Baijnath (1,250 m – 15 kms): The temple of Baijnath is a splendid example of classical Indian architecture and falls within the ambit of the sacred Jalandhara Peeth. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva in his manifestation of Vaidhyanath, Lord of the Physicians. The tiny town of Baijnath is a place of considerable antiquity and was once known as Kiragrama and held a significant position of the old trade routes.