Emerald green slopes, clear blue skies, divine mountains of the Dauladhar ranges, are all elements of Palampur in Himachal Pradesh! Nicknamed as the “Tea Capital” of North India, Palampur’s landscape is dotted with many scenic tea gardens. In the recent years Palampur has gained immense popularity as one of the unexplored tourist places in Himachal Pradesh. And the tourists are always left wonder-struck by the breathtaking beauty of this small foothill town. One of the tourists quite accurately listed the places to visit in Palampur as “lush paddy fields, tea gardens, art galleries and shrines.”
Palampur came to the limelight in the 18th century, as one of the leading tea producing regions in India. Tea estates from the colonial period still decorate the scenic landscape of Palampur. Bundle Tea Estate, which is about 200 years old, is the oldest tea estate in Palampur. During the Palampur tourist season (from April to October) the hills here offer great paragliding scopes. People across the world visit Palampur to take a plunge from those lofty cliffs and glide in the air! So, whether you seek adventure, want to relax or simply admire nature, Palampur is your answer.
Awesome Places to visit in Palampur
Palampur Co-operative Tea Factory
As mentioned before, Palampur is the ‘Tea capital of the North India’ and has many great tea plantations scattered all around. It was in the year 1849, when Dr. Jameson (Superintendent Botanical Gardens of North-West Frontier Province) planted the first tea bush in Palampur. After the success with the first tea bush, many Palampur tea estates blossomed. Ever since, the Kangra Tea has gained fame worldwide. Unique fact about Kangra tea is: they are all named after Indian Ragas. Some of the varieties of Kangra tea include Malhar, Bageshwari and Darbari. Palampur Co-operative Tea Factory Limited, located downhill from Palampur, is the place to visit if you want to know more about Kangra Tea. There are special tourist trips organized at this tea estate where you can see the entire process of plucking, picking, processing tea and how it is produced commercially.
- Timings: 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM, 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
If you love fine arts, then you would definitely love the Artists’ Colony of Andretta. This village was set-up and nourished by a young Irish lady by the name Norah Richards. She shifted to the sleepy town of Andretta from Lahore in the 1920s and stayed here till her death. Following her footsteps and various initiatives, many other legendary artists came to Andretta. B. C. Sanyal, Jai Dayal Singh and Sobha Singh are some of the notable personalities who have left their imprints at Andretta. While at the Artists’ Colony you can attend the short classes on art and pottery. You may also go through the collection of work from the notable artists presently residing in Andretta. Apart from all the art and craft, this small village is also great vantage point to witness those mountain peaks and greenery of the valleys.
Chamunda Devi Temple
One of the prime religious places in Palampur is the Chamunda Devi Temple. Situated 10 KM away from Palampur, it is among 51 Shakti Peeths in India. Chamunda Devi is the presiding deity at this 700 year old temple. The temple has a picturesque setting with mountains, rivers and jungles all in close vicinity. There is a sacred pond within the temple and a cave-like scoop on the back side of the sanctum representing a Shivalinga. There are various colorful paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses at this temple. The temple complex also houses a library that carries many ancient manuscripts, Vedas, Upanishads and other Hindu texts.
- Timings: 5 AM – 12 PM, 1 PM – 10 PM
- Aarti Timings: 8 AM & 8 PM
Saurabh Van Vihar
This beautiful garden is named after an Indian Army martyr, Captain Saurabh Kalia, who laid down his life during the Kargil War. Situated near Neugal Khad in Kwat, Saurabh Van Vihar is maintained by the Himachal Pradesh Forest Department. There is plenty to do and see in this garden. Plant enthusiasts can view over 151 species of herbs and medicinal plants here. There is also a Children’s Park, Open Air Theatre, Bamboosetum, Tiger Hill Bridge and Picnic sheds built inside the garden. Open can enjoy boating, birdwatching and bouldering at Saurabh Van Vihar.
- Timings: 9 AM – 7 PM
- Entry fee: INR 10 per person
Tashi Jong Monastery
Palampur and the areas around it have a high Buddhist population. And the Tashi Jong Monastery is the most popular Buddhist center near Palampur. The monastery is home to Tibetan refugees and has a serene ambiance. Various facets of Tibetan culture abound within this monastery. Roof of the Tashi Jong monastery is curved and decorated with red-golden colored ornamentation. The campus has a main temple, a stupa, a college and some restaurants serving lip-smacking Tibetan food.
- Shopping: There are many crafts emporiums in close vicinity to this monastery. They sell beautiful Tibetan artifacts.
- Must try: Do care to taste thupa, momo, thenthuk, Naizah cake and Tibetan tea at restaurants near this monastery.
- Local Delicacies: When at Palampur, do try out delicacies like Patroda, Braha flower chutney, Trembla, Khatta Saag, Lasiada, and Lungru pakoras.
- Best restaurants: Coy’s Café (at Hotel Sai Gardens), Taj Restaurant (at Subhash Chowk), Hotel Surbhi Restaurant (near Main Market), Pizzicato Cafe (at Palampur Shopping Centre)