The Kangra valley of which Palampur (1249 m) is a major station, was the 'Trigarta' of old. It was one of the leading hill states and was once a part of the kingdom of Jalandhara.
In local parlance, the word for 'lots of water' is 'pulum'. This is what has given Palampur its name and it is water that has given the valley so much of its character. Countless streams and brooks criss-cross the landscape and in their intricate mesh, are tea gardens and rice paddies. The town came into being when the tea bush was introduced in the 19th century - and Palampur became a focus of planters. Kangra tea, with its centre at Palampur, has been internationally acclaimed since then.
To further bless the area with remarkable natural beauty, the Dhauladhar ranges rise dramatically from the earth, just beyond Palampur. The town itself has some interesting colonial architecture and the area around is richly garnished with historical temples and forts - and scores of picturesque hamlets.
How to get there
The airport at Gaggal (Kangra) is 37 km from Palampur. The broadguage railway reached Pathankot which is 115 km from Palampur - and the narrow guage railway comes right upto Moranda, 4 km from the town. Taxis and buses are available at both places. By road, Palampur is 545 km from Delhi.
More on Himachal
At a Glance
In winter, the temperature can get quite low when heavy wollens are required. It is warm in summer and cotton are recommended.
Places to stay
The approapriately named Hotel T-Bud is run by Himachal Tourism at Palampur. In the finest part of town, with lush tea garden just opposite, the hotel rests amid a sprawling lawn on a wooded knoll. Shaded by deodar and pine trees, this red-brick building is a haven for those who seek solitude and privacy.
Hotel T-Bud, Palampur (H.P.) - 176 061.
Places of interest in and around Palampur
Tea Factory (1.5 km): At the very start of town, the tea factory of the co-operative society, offers an insight to the processing of Kangra tea.
Church of St. John in the Wilderness (200 m): This attractive church, very close to the hotel and surrounded by poinsettias, is built on a low rise. This was reconstructed in 1929 and has several memorial tablets.
Temple of Bundlamata (2 km): One can walk through tea gardens and open fields or drive to reach this historical temple which was originally built about five centuries ago.
Neugal Khad: Close to the temple of Bundlamata, is this 300 m wide chasm, through which the Bundla stream flows. Immediately ahead are the Dhauladhar mountains.
Gopalpur (13 km): There is a mini zoo here.
Chamunda Devi (18 km): Legend has it that two demons, Chanda and Munda tried to harass the goddess Ambika. Enraged, Ambika knitted her brows and from their folds emerged a terrifying of Kali, who slew the demons. Pleased, Ambika declared that Kali would now be worshipped here as 'Chamunda'. Himachal Tourism also runs a 'Yatri Niwas' at this sacred place.
Andretta (13 km): This has been the home of artists Norah Richards, Sobha Singh and B.C. Sanyal. In Sobha Singh's home, now a gallery, several of his notable works are displayed. There is also a pottery and crafts centre at Andretta.
Kangra Fort (27 km): The most important fort of the region, it is enclosed by high ramparts and its walls have a circumference of approximately 4 km. It was built about 1,000 years ago on the confluence of the Banganga and Manjhi rivers. Its various gates, shrines and remains of the old palaces are noteworthy.
Sujanpur Tira (42 km): Built in 1758, the fortress of Tira has the remnants of old halls, palaces and temples. The town of Sujanpur below the fort, has several old temples of which the Narbadeshwar and Murli Manohar are exemplary.
Tashijong (12 km): There is a Tibetan monastery here.
Baijnath (15 km): At the jewel-like temple of Bajnath, Lord Shiva is revered as Vaidyanath-the Lord of Physicians. With a wealth of intricate carvings and graceful proportions, this temple is a big draw for pilgrims and visitors. It is said that here, King Ravana supplicated Lord Shiva for the boon of immortality.
Bir (24 km): There is a Tibetan monastery here.
Shopping: Kangra tea. Local handicrafts. Tibetan carpets and pullovers.
Adventure: Several trek routes lead out of Palampur, especially over the Dhauladhar mountains towards Chamba. Some important ones are over the Sanghar pass to Bharmour via Holi and from Baijnath over the Jalsu pass to Bharmour.
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.