Bir And Billing
Welcome to Palampur Hill Station,
Palampur is a fascinating green hill station in the Kangra Valley in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, surrounded on all sides by tea gardens and pine forests before they merge with the Dhauladhar ranges. Palampur is the tea capital of northwest India but tea is just one aspect that makes Palampur a special interest place. Abundance of water and proximity to the mountains has endowed it with mild climate.
The town has derived its name from the local word 'pulum', meaning lots of water. There are numerous streams flowing from the mountains to the plains from Palampur. The combination of greenery and water gives Palampur a distinctive look. Palampur is at the confluence of the plains and the hills and so the scenery shows the contrast the plains on one side and the majestic snow covered hills on the other side. Behind this town stands high ranges of Dhauladhar mountains, whose tops remain snow covered for most part of the year.
"Baijnath" is a town in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. It is roughly fourteen kilometres from the town of Palampur. It is very famous all over the world as it is one of twelve jyotirlingas. The main attraction of Baijnath is an ancient temple of Shiva. In the town of Baijnath, Dussehra festival in which traditionally the effigy of the Ravana is consigned to flames is not celebrated as a mark of respect to the devotion of Ravana towards Lord Shiva.
Another version also suggests that when Ravana was descending from the Himalayas after years of worhip of Lord Shiva. Lord shiva had presented him a Shiva idol in form of a Shivling , which was supposed to be established at Lanka, now Sri Lanka, which would have blessed him (Ravana) with undefeatable powers even to the Gods. It was advised to Ravana that he can not place the Shivling anywhere during the course of travel, even during resting.
Bir is around 29 km away from Palampur and is known as the paragliding capital of the country. Bordered by tea gardens and low hills, it also has four Buddhist monasteries worth visiting. Most prominent among these are Choling. You can also pick up Tibetan handicrafts from Bir. The village of Billing is 14 km ahead and has a spot ( a cliff) from where paragliders take off. However, you must remember that Billing is not suitable for hang gliding fresher. Moreover, there are neither courses offered nor any equipment available here.
Bundla stream with wide chasm of more than 100 metres, swells up and rises madly in monsoons taking stones and boulders along with it making a loud noise like that of continuous thunder. This is a lovely walk from Palampur to Bundla.
An ancient shrine located with in the ambit of the town limit, Bundlamata temple depicts something unique to the devotees. Prettily surrounded by the lush environ of luxurious greenery of the lush tea gardens, this shrine appears much scenic and serene. Believed to be constructed five centuries back this temple portrays the ancient chic and elegance.
This temple has its own rituals and customs that are practiced over through centuries. Its strategic location in an easily accessible environ grabs it lots of visitors each year. Those who are not interested in this ancient charm can board a stride through the verdant landscape of the tea plantations.
The Chamunda Devi Temple is one of the most important one in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is located at a distance of around 25 km from Palampur and is believed to be around 700 years old. The main temple is dedicated to Chamunda Devi while a smaller shrine honours Lord Shiva. The highlights of the temple are the artistic carvings on the lintel, pillars and the ceiling. A platform in front of the temple shaded by two peepul tree provides shelter to the coming devotees. The temple is currently under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India.
Lying on Dharamshala-Palampur road, wildlife department of H.P Goverment has established a zoo at Gopalpur spread over 12.5 hectares of thick forest. Animals which can be seen here include Asiatic Lion, Himalayan black bear,(a major attraction with the tourists), Leopard, Sambar, hog deer, barking deer, red fox, angora rabbits and so on. It also serves a great picnic spot. You can certainly expect quality time here. The whole area has long outskirts to explore around and provides a good view of Dhauladhar Mountain Range.
A picnic spot for tourists as it provides the natural neighborhood with exciting view of Dhauladhar mountains.On this place, Himachal Tourism runs a cafe which is named on the river Neugal.This is a popular place among people in Palampur to spend weekend holidays.
Around 2 km away from the town is this 300 m wide chasm from where the Neugal stream passes. The place is a popular picnic spot with Dhauladhar range rising just ahead. Quiet closeby is the famous five centuries old, Bundlamata Temple. You can sit in Himachal Tourism cafe here and enjoy the wonderful view of the high rising peaks and gushing stream while sipping a cup of tea or coffee.
A beautiful Reservoir named the Maharana Prathap Sagar in Distt. kangra also known as the pong dam plays host to a wide variety of water sports like Sailing, Water Skiing, Rowing, etc.. This reservoir is situated at a height of about 450 mtrs, covering an area of about 45,000 Hectares approx. This palce is now a wildlife sanctuary with over 200 species of migratory birds having been spotted in and around the reservoir. You can visit this Place from Masroor, Pathankot and Nurpur. This Place therefore serves a dual purpose for the adventurous tourists.
In 1983, the Sagar was declared a wildlife sanctuary and over 220 species of birds belonging to 54 families have been sighted over the waters and the fringing mud-banks - these include black-headed gulls, plovers, terns, ducks, water-fowl and egrets. Maharana Pratap Sagar Lake is the only place in India other than Bharatpur (Rajasthan) where the rare red necked grabe has been found. The sanctuary is close to several places of Hindu Pilgrimage - Jawalamukhi, Chamunda Devi, Chintpurni, Brajeshwari Devi, Mahakalesar, Bagalamata and Naina Devi. The seat of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Mcleodganj and the Namgyal Monastery are a short drive away. The other budhist monasteries at hand are Tahijong and Bir.
The sanctuary is a wetland. Forest Types include dry deciduous scrub, dry bamboo and Himalayan pine forest. Mammals includes Indian wild Bear, barking Deer, red Indian Fox, Indian hare, Hedgehag,longeared, Jackal, common Langur, Rhesus Macaque, Mongoose, Nilgai, Indian Porcupine and Sambar. Reptiles includes Indian Cobra, Book's Gecko, common Indian monitor and Indian Python etc. Fish includes Tor Putitora ( Mahasheer ), Wallago Attu ( Mallip ) and Ophiocaphalus etc.
The Art Gallery by eminent artist Sardar Shoba Singh is a treat to watch for the tourists all over the world. The gallery is approximate 12 Km from Palampur .Sobha Singh's cottage at Andretta has become an art centre. Sobha Singh's most admired painting is that of Sohni-Mahiwal, which he painted in 1944.His potraits of Sikh Gurus ,Kangra Dulhan,The Gaddan reflect great work by him.
In order to enable the visitors to enjoy the nature and make them aware of the importance of nature and environment, a nature park namely "Saurabh Van Vihar" at Palampur over 13 hactare area has been established. It is located on the right bank of Neugal Khad near Kandi bridge in the lap of Dhauladhar ranges, in village Kwat, 4 km from Palampur town. Saurabh Van Vihar is developed in the memory of Martyr Lt. Saurabh Kalia, who sacrificed his life during Kargil operation on 9th June, 1999. This tourist park is bounded by majestic and picturesque Dhauladhar mountain ranges in the north and north-east. It is being managed by H.P. Forest Department through a registered society called "Saurabh Van Vihar Management Society, Palampur".
Picnic Sheds, Childern Park, Water bodies, Health trails, Open Air Theatre, Bamboosetum, Tiger Hill Bridge and tree, shrubs and 151 species of herbs/medicinal (including seasonal) plants are existing in the Saurabh Van Vihar.
Himachal Pradesh is a flourishing centre of Buddhist monasteries for a long and being part of such a rich tradition, Palampur also holds so many colossal Buddhist Viharas. One of such gigantic as well as imposing monastery is the Sherbling that is set in the midst of majestic hills. Large stupa like structures flanked by greenery all around is really proffers an enthralling scenario.
The popularity of the shrine lies in the fact that it is the holy abode of Tai Siti Rimpoche, the most revered figure in the Buddhist sect. Each afternoon Rimpoche or the head monk gives his darshan to the visitors and the inmates and bless them with his holy sermons.
A legendary temple that boasts of a rich tradition, Baijnath temple is the most magnificent monument in Kangra Valley. Directed westwards, the temple encompasses astonishing structural designs that resemble the Jagannatha Temple at Puri. The temple architecture shows an adytum or puri of 8 to 18 feet width where the Lingam is depicted. Mandapa and its pyramidal roof of the temple is the other alluring attractions.
Lord Shiva is seen in the Vaidhyanatha form or the Lord of physicians and it is from this temple the town got its name Baijnath. The temple holds the legendary belief that it was here that Ravana attained immortality by worshipping Lord Shiva. A marvel in architecture the temple is unparallel in all ways. Apart from its elegant designs and carvings the temple precincts displays extreme solitude and serenity. Its pretty ambiance of the snowy peaks and the lustrous greenery attributes its charm.
A monastery of recent origin, Tashijong is a community rather than a monastery. It encompasses a small stratum of the Tibetan refugees where one can see the dwellings of the people in exile. This monastery depicts structures at different levels, there is a college for freshers and a Tibetan restaurant. The main shrine is placed on a top platform at the fag end of a garden.
It's curved roofs with red and golden colour ornamentation portrays prayer flags that waves with the gentle breeze. A thick loom like stupa, which is typical of a Buddhist shrine, adorns the extreme side of the garden. Secondary prayer halls where the monks carry out their routine prayers flank the garden.
Apart from its religious significance, the monastery holds an excellent craft emporium where one can get exquisite Tibetan artifacts. One of the alluring sites in Palampur, this monastery offers the imposing scenery of the Kangra valley and the near by surroundings. Its serene and tranquil ambiance makes every visitor forget all the hustle and bustle of the day to day life. Do not miss to visit this holy abode of Buddha!
Palampur is very famous for its beautiful tea gardens. Tea gardens are spread in the entire Palampur area providing Palampur with a unique environment. The entire tea production of Himachal pradesh is produced in kangra especially in the Palampur valley. It was Dr. william jameson who had itroduced the chinese green tea, had brought the seeds from the kumaon hills, to Nagrota and Bhawarna hills first. After testing and trying period of more than 75 years, the four co operative tea factories at Palampur , Bir, Sidhbari and Baijnath encouraged the disillusioned planters to produce quality tea and it is fetching good price now. Tea in Kangra valley was introduced in 1854. When "Holta" tea estate was set.
- Temples : Kanjesar Mahadev Temple, Sidh Bairag Lok Temple, Bundlamata Temple etc.