Palampur. Not Quite Dharamshala, But Better.

Palampur doesn’t come up readily in a list of mountain holiday destinations. However given our recent visit, it’s quite a surprise that it doesn’t.

Deciding to travel by train, we were told that taking the overnight Himachal express from Old Delhi to Amb, and then a cab onward would be the best bet, as we’d be travelling through the night and avoid wasting daylight sitting in metal cube with tinted windows. (Just our luck that the train got delayed, and we did end up sitting in the aforementioned cube for a fair part of the day).

The nearly three hour drive from Amb to Palampur is a pleasant one, with a wide road and a gradual increase in altitude. As you climb higher, the greenery increases to a point where entire sections of the road are covered under a canopy of trees.

Road to Palampur

The road from Amb to Palampur

One of the best moments in the drive though is when you catch the first glimpse of the simply stunning Dhauladhar mountain range. There is no option at that time but to stop and admire the grand view.

A picture can never express the scale of what one see through their eyes, but here’s our very first view of the Dhauladhar range.

Dhaluadhar on way to Palampur

Pure magnificence

Palampur Evenings

Reaching the resort in the latter part of the day, we were assigned our cottages. Being wrung out thanks to the six-hour train delay, we were headed straight to recovery mode involving a nap till dinner time.

The sunset stopped us dead in our tracks.

Dusk at Palampur

It’s a surreal feeling when the environs around you go dark in the evening, but there’s this faint orange tint covering everything and the origin of that tint, glowing bright orange, the mighty Himalayan peaks stand defiant against the failing light.

Post a refreshing nap, we headed to the restaurant.

With a lovely nip in the air, we had some spicy tomato shorba followed by comforting, wholesome Indian food and went straight to bed in this amazing, warm, fuzzy cottage.

Rakkh Resort Cottage Palampur

Palampur Mornings

There is this amazing side-effect of being away from the city and in the mountains. It’s called getting back to your Circadian Rhythm. With no light or sound pollution, you sleep in time and then as your eyes open, it’s the break of dawn! No alarms, no one calling to wake you up. It’s an amazing feeling!

BTW this was the view that I woke up to.

Dawn View Rakkh Palampur

A glint of the rising sun behind the mountain & you’re up!

Although being in the mountains might get you back to your natural sleeping rhythm, it doesn’t do anything for your caffeine addiction. At least not in the short term.

The morning cuppa always spells joy, but here at the resort, it was nothing less than pure bliss. For one, the inexplicably beautiful setting, and two, a special partner to share my morning with.

Morning Coffee at Rakkh Resort Palampur

The chirping of birds, the crisp air, and some good coffee.

I have to warn you that my partner for these morning cuppas is extremely good natured, good looking and loving. It’ll be hard not to fall in love. But you will.

The cookie monster at Rakkh Palampur

My Partner – The Cookie Monster

We had a great hour with my coffee and his cookies. A resident at the resort, would 14/10 go back just to meet him.

The Cookie Monster at Rakkh Resort Palampur


Done with my morning, we moved on to spending two amazing days around Palampur, enjoying a host of activities which I will be listing out in the next blog post.

Palampur Vs. Dharamshala

Now the you must be wondering about the relevancy of the title of this blog post “Palampur. Not quite Dharamshala, but better”.

Shimla, Manali & Dharamshala are well known tourist hubs in the mountains and for due reason. However for a certain genre of traveller, these over-crowded, bursting-at-the-seams, overly commercialised concrete jungles no longer serve their purpose as a get-away from the concrete jungles they’ve become.

Destinations like Palampur then offer a wonderful alternative. In close proximity of major tourist attractions (in this case 45 minutes driving distance from Dharamshala), but not quite suffering from the ills of mass tourism, they are perfect destinations to head to.

Many tourists are unaware of the MANY things beyond Mcleodganj and the Bhagsu-Triund trek worth experiencing in the vicinity of Dharamshala.

The next blog-post will be all about those!

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