Tea Gardens are the prime attraction for the travellers visiting Palampur. Owing to the vast tea gardens of the city, Palampur is popularly known as the 'Tea Capital of Northwest India'. Spread over acres of land, these flourishing tea gardens are a source of livelihood for a majority of the locals of the region.
Tea plantation was initiated in the middle of the 19th century by Dr. Jameson, the Superintendent of the Botanical Gardens in the North-West Frontier Province, in the region. Due to the popularity of its tea gardens, Palampur was registered in the international map by 1883.
The variety of tea growing in the region, known as ‘Kangra Tea’, became extremely popular. The tea produced in the region has been sold under many renowned brands like Darbari, Bageshwari, Bahar, and Malhar. All these brands have been named after the ragas of Indian music.
Nevgal Khad, situated at a distance of 2 km from the main city, is one of the noted tourist destinations of Palampur. Also known as Bundla Chasm, its prime attraction is its 300 m wide stream. Apart from picnics, visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty of the place which includes a panoramic view of the Dhauladhar ranges surrounding the region.
The monsoon season further enhances the beauty of the place. Because of this a large number of tourists visit this area during this period.
Tashi Jong Monastery, one of the noted tourist spots of the city of Palampur, is home to several Tibetan refugees in the state. The main feature of the monastery is that it appears to be more like a community than a religious centre. The curved roof of the monastery is mounted with red-golden coloured embellishments that look like prayer flags.
Peace seekers and Buddhist pilgrims visit this place often. The walls of the temple are prettily tinted, representing the art and culture of Tibet. The artistic excellence of the temple can be derived from the beautiful loom like stupa, a Buddhist spiritual monument, placed in the monastery.
A wide variety of Tibetan artefacts, paintings and articles can be seen in the craft emporium of the monastery. Apart from this, magnificent gardens, restaurants and craft emporiums in the region attract many visitors.
Saurabh Van Vihar is named after Captain Saurabh Kalia, a gallant Indian Army officer. This prominent tourist destination, spread across an area of 35 acres, rests amid the Dhauladhar Mountains. The park is home to over 151 species of flora and fauna, including numerous medicinal plants.
Tourists can also spend some leisurely time at the Children’s Park, Picnic Sheds, Health trails, Water streams, Open Air Theatre, Bamboosetum and Tiger Hill Bridge, situated in the park.
Dhauladhar National Park, or the Gopalpur Zoo, is a prominent tourist attraction of the city of Palampur. Located at a distance of 199 km from the city, the park spreads across an area of 30 acres.
This national park houses various species of animals, which attract a large number of wildlife enthusiasts. Travellers can also visit a mini zoo located in the park where animals like leopards, black bears, angora rabbits, Asiatic lion, sambhar, red fox and varieties of deer can be seen.
Baijnath Temple, established in 1204 A.D by Ahuka and Manyuka, two regional merchants, is a chief attraction of Palampur, located at a distance of 16 km from the town. Since its establishment, the temple, dedicated to the Hindu deity, Shiva, has continuously been under construction.
Inscriptions on the porch of the temple indicate the existence of a shrine of the Hindu deity, Shiva, prior to the construction of the temple. The temple’s present architecture is a fine example of the Nagara style of temples which is popular as the medieval north Indian temple architecture.
The Svayambhu form of ‘Shiva Lingam’ lies in the sanctum of the temple over which a tall Shikhara is mounted. An entrance hall leads to a square Mandapa, featuring two balconies of a massive size. The outer walls and outer doorway of the shrine showcase images of several deities apart from religious inscriptions.
A small four-pillared porch placed in front of the Mandapa with an idol of Nandi, the bull that serves as Shiva’s mount, can be seen in the temple.
Sobha Singh’s Art Gallery is one of the noted attractions of the city of Palampur, which showcases the artistic endeavours of Sir Sobha Singh, a famous contemporary painter from Punjab, India. This gallery is situated at a distance of 12 km from Palampur.
Sir Sobha Singh painted numerous paintings exerting prime focus on Sikh gurus. His portrait of Guru Nanak, which he painted in 1969 on the occasion of the 500th birth anniversary of the guru, is believed by most people to be closest to the visage of Guru Nanak. One can also find the paintings of people of the Gaddi tribe with the Dhauladhar Ranges in the background.
The painting of Sohni-Mahiwal, dating back to the 1940s, placed in the gallery is the prime attraction for the tourists. The painting of Heer-Ranjha is also appreciated by visitors. Portraits of Indian heroes and leaders painted by Sir Sobha Singh including that of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri, among others are a part of the collection displayed in the gallery.
Al-Hilal, situated at a distance of 12 km from the city of Palampur, is a popular tourist destination. The literal meaning of Al-Hilal is ‘land of the crescent moon’. From Al-Hilal, travellers are provided with a panoramic view of the Dhauladhar ranges. This site acted as the military stronghold of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Visitors can avail accommodation at a guest house named Taragarh Fort, which spreads across an area of 15 acre in proximity to Al-Hilal.
Bundlamata Temple, situated in the township of the Kangra district, is a renowned Hindu shrine of the region. Constructed over 5 centuries ago, this temple is considered among one of the oldest temples in the city and the most sacred site of the region. The temple rests amidst lush green tea gardens, which add up to its beauty.
The design of the temple clearly depicts prehistoric art. The rituals performed in the temple are unique and have been practiced over the centuries. The temple is located in an easily accessible area which is why it is flocked by the tourists from far-flung areas.
Sherbling is a prominent tourist spot is Palampur renowned for its enormous Buddhist viharas or monasteries. Renowned Buddhist preacher, Tai Siti Rimpoche, chose this place, lying amidst majestic hills, as his abode. Sherbling houses a large stupa, a Buddhist religious monument, which is surrounded by lush green vegetation and picturesque woods.
This place is visited by peace seekers as well as Buddhist pilgrims all the year round. The head monk of the place, the Rimpoche, greets his followers and blesses them with his holy sermons every afternoon.
Chamunda Devi Temple, located at a distance of 10 km to the west of Palampur and 15 km from Dharamshala, rests amid mountains and forests on the banks of the river Baner; this beautiful temple is approximately 700 years ago.
The temple has immense religious importance as it is counted among one of the 51 Shakti Peethas or places of worship. The shrine of the temple is dedicated to the Hindu deity Chamunda, popularly known as Durga, which is kept under cover, owing to its religious significance.
The ambiance of the temple is serene and calm, owing to which a large number of devotees meditate there and seek blessings of the Goddess. Travellers can also find a beautiful pond inside the temple, which is believed to have sacred water.
A cave-like hollow bearing resemblance to a ‘Shiva lingam' is seen in the temple. One can also find paintings of other Gods and Goddesses inside the temple complex. Some of the other attractions in proximity to this temple are a river stream called Ban Ganga, an Ayurvedic dispensary, a Sanskrit college and a library. One can also find a variety of ancient manuscripts, astrology books, Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads in the library.
Trekking is one of the popular tourist activities in Palampur. Many trekking routes passing through the Dhauladhar Mountains exist between Palampur and Chamba. Palampur to Holi via Shingar pass, Palampur to Dharamsala via Indrahar Pass and Baijnath to Manali via Thamsar pass are considered to be some of the noted trekking routes, which last from 5 to 8 days.
Tourists can enjoy the panoramic view of the mountains while trekking across the valley. The months between May and October are considered ideal for trekking.
Andretta, also known as artist’s village, is a prominent tourist spot in the city of Palampur, located at a distance of 14 km from the town. This village represents a unique blend of cultures. One can find several craft shops in the region selling miniature paintings from Kangra, Shobha Art Singh Gallery, Norah Center for the Arts and Norah Richard’s house.
Andretta Pottery and Crafts society is another prominent spot, where students can learn the art of making pottery.