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Exploring Kangra Valley – Making Palampur a base

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Top 4 Reasons To Visit Palampur

Palampur – The Land of Tea Gardens

Criss crossed streams and brooks make up the town of Palampur. The name is derived from the word 'Pulum' which is the Pahari word for water – living it up to its name for being ideal for tea plantation. There is a very interesting legend associated with this town. It is said that the British had become so obsessed with the aroma of the tea leaf that they began planting bushes wherever the land was suitable. However, today this fact is very well proven by the gentle slopes of Palampur that do produce a superior variety of tea which is famous all over the world as 'Kangra Valley Tea'. Nestled in the tea gardens and pine trees the air of Palampur will refresh your souls. Popularly known as the 'Tea Capital of India', this town is equally eloquent for its temple and colonial heritage along with adventure alternatives. At the height of 1,220 meters above sea level it is ideally located at a distance of 38 kms from Dharamshala.
The drive to the main town road along with the Dhauladhar Mountains that rise dramatically will surely seduce you, as you herald into the tea country of Himachal.

Palampur Attractions – Kangra'a Best Kept Secrets

The award for the major attractions of the town definitely goes to the tea gardens that have earned it the title of being India's Tea Capital. Famous brands of tea produced here are – Malhar, Darbari, Bageshwari and Rahaar – named after Indian 'Ragas'.

When on a heritage tour of Palampur, begin your journey by paying homage at the Baijnath temple located at a distance of 16 kms from the main town. This 13th century temple belong to the Kirat kings and is very unusual. Seems to be reflective of the temples of Puri, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Here, try to inspect the rare Sanskrit script etched on the temple's stone slabs. Another temple to be visited is the five century old temple of Bundlamata. Other places of religious significance is the Chamunda Devi temple, which is 700 years old and is located at a distance of 25 kms from the main town. To prove the existence of humongous religious tolerance there is the St. John's Church.

Close to the temple of Bundlamata you should see the Neugal Khud, a 300 m wide channel which forms the passageway of the tiny Bundla stream. See the mighty Dhauladhar range that falls as the backdrop and the sight of the chasm, temple and mountains all together is a leisure you will remember for long times to come.

When in Palampur, you cannot miss Andretta popularly known as the Asthete's Hideaway. A 13 kms drive from the town past tea gardens and mustard fields will lead you to this artist village. This is Kangra's best kept secret that owes its arty statures to Norah Richards. Here you will see mud – and – bamboo houses that have been lovingly restored. Besides having an open air theater there is the Andretta Pottery and Crafts Society, where you can pick up some exquisite pottery. Another important attraction here is the Terracotta Museum housing pottery specimens from all over the world. There is Sir Sobha Art Gallery which homes the works of the late portrait painter.

For all those who are looking for some peace retreat can go to the Tashijong, a Tibetan monastery. This is also a good place for shopping where you can buy carpets with delicate weaves, Buddhist Thanka paintings and other Tibetan arts and crafts. Another monastery that you should not miss is the Sherbling. Approached via Bhattu, this gigantic monastery is home to the pre – eminent Tai Siti Rimpoche. The grand stupas standing in the middle of the forest will surely impress you. You should attend the 'Darshan' between 2 to 4 every afternoon, where the head monk addresses the audience, and mind it – everyone is welcome.

TaraVilla – Tea tourism is a home stay owned by Reeta and Pavi Sarin. They are warm helpful with decent and well educated background from hospitality industry and have established a picturesque home stay which invites domestic & international visitors to explore & experience the sounds and taste of Palampur from the comfort of their home.

Located at 5500 ft in the lap of the DhaulaDhar Mountains and set amidst pine doted and a rolling lush green tea garden is a “dream come true piece of serenity and pure mountain air is very close to the Palampur town in the Kangra valley lies TaraVilla – a home stay with a difference”

The USP of Tara villa reflects in the offer of specially handmade sun dried pure china hybrid teas which results in social rituals amongst the connoisseurs. A visit to Taravilla is exciting at any time of the year but the best season to experience the life in the tea gardens are between March to June and Sep to Nov.

The most inevitable destinations in your tour will definitely be Bir – the Para gliding capital of the country and Billing, the place for hang gliding. You should come here to enjoy some amazing experience while indulging in these adventure sports. In Billing alone there are as many as four monasteries. Out of them the most important is the Choling. In this monastery you cannot miss but notice the entrance that is decorated with rocks sculpted with Buddhist mantras.

Adventure Freaks Make Way to Para Gliding Destination of India

Adventure option in the hill station of Palampur is as vast as the tea gardens. Dense forest of Oak, Pine and Deodar surround Palampur, making it a haven for those who enjoy long walks. The green valleys also make it pleasurable for long drives. The more voracious adventurers can plung off course to nearby destinations that will be quiet rewarding. Enjoy a 4 km long walk to Andretta, an artiste's colony or to the forts at Kangra and Sujanpur Tira, that promises to offer you excellent views and great picnic spots. The route from Sanghar Pass to Bharmaur via Holi is also sure to delight a trek lover.

Turn left at Ahju on the road to Jogindernagar and drive through the tea gardens to reach Bir, the hottest para gliding destination in Himachal as well as the country. You cannot miss enjoying para gliding in Bir and Billing that has created a niche for itself as being the 'para gliding capital of India'. Though there are provisions for savoring hang gliding in Billing, but it is not particularly for freshers. However, no training institutes are available and one needs to carry their own gears if planning to indulge in gliding.

Shopping a Delightful Necessity in Palampur

Though Palampur is not noted for its shopping activity, but still it has a lot to offer. The hunt will definitely begin with tea. Since it is illustrious as a tea state, so it is doubtless fact that the most important buy here will be the tea leaves. You can buy some in the markets or at Tea co - operatives Society's gigantic processing plants that you will come across while driving into the town. Other important things that you should not miss buying will be the local handicrafts and souvenirs, local handiwork, Tibetan carpets and winter clothing.

Go to Andretta, an Artist's village, from where you should buy recherches pottery. There is Andretta Pottery and Crafts Society from where you should buy artistic items. Another wonderful halt for shopping will be the Tashijong Monastery, where you can buy carpets with delicate weaves, Buddhist Thanka paintings and Tibetan artifacts.

Hail Towards the Tea State of Palampurr

Palampur is easily accessible from main areas of the state due to its proximity with Dharamshala. If inclined towards taking a flight, the nearest airport will be Gaggal in Kangra, located at a distance of 37 kms from the main town. Private taxis and buses travel to and fro from the airport to the main town. Pathankot located 115 kms from Palampur serves as the nearest rail junction, as Palampur in itself do not possess a railway station. Palampur is also connected by a narrow gauge railway line, Jogindernagar located at a distance of 5 km.

As far as roadways is concerned The Himachal Road Transport Corporation runs its buses that cover major cities of state. From Delhi, Palampur is located at a distance of 545 km on a stretch of 10 hour drive. Provision for internal transport are also available. You can hire a jeep or an auto to commute inside the town.