With tea garden filled plains on one side and the pine forests of the Dhauladhar mountain range on the other, Palampur is full of natural beauty and countless opportunities for its visitors. The city is located in the Himachal Pradesh region of India at an elevation of 4500 feet above sea level. Palampur has a wonderful mix of attractions for the history buff, as well as the adventurous at heart. From breathtaking hikes to serene tea gardens this city has something for everyone. Palampur and the surrounding areas in Himachal Pradesh are full of things to do, see, and taste. We compiled a 24-hour itinerary for a free day spent in the region.
7:00 a.m. “Start the Day out Right”- Get a start to the day by enjoying a typical northern Indian breakfast. Choose between paratha (an Indian flatbread) stuffed with aloo (potato), paneer, or mooli (radish) and served with chutney, pickles, and tea.
8:00 a.m. “Stimulate Your Senses”– Visiting the markets of Palampur is a must. The markets are filled with stalls selling Tibetan handicrafts, textiles, wooden trinkets, and Kangra tea. Awaken your senses as your stroll through the market in search of souvenirs to document the experience.
10:00 a.m. “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” – Get out of the busy city and spend your morning at the Gopalpur Zoo. Surrounded by the Dhauladhar Range, the zoo is filled with native species from the region, including Asiatic lions, Himalayan black bears, Indian hog deer, angora rabbits, Indian crested porcupine, and many more. The zoo grounds are also filled with a variety of plant species, from maple trees to horse chestnut and Deodar trees.
12:00 p.m. “Lunch with a View” – Next, head north of Palampur and grab lunch at Neugal Café. Make sure to have a piping hot cup of flavorful Kangra tea with you meal, while overlooking the beautiful Himalayan range of Dhauladhar.
1:00 p.m. “A Garden Stroll”– After lunch, stroll across the old suspension bridge spanning Neugal Khad – a 300 meter wide channel.
Though it remains a stream during much of the year, Neugal Khad swells to become a raging river during monsoon season. Make sure to stop and take in the views as you cross the bridge – a sight that rivals any other. Continue to Surabh Van Vihar across the channel to learn about the medicinal plants found throughout the gardens. Lastly, rent a boat and get out on the small lake to get a whole other view of the gardens and mountains.
3:00 p.m. “Get Lost in the Clouds” – Get close and personal with the mountains on a short hike to Birni Devi Temple, the highest easily accessible temple in Himachal Pradesh. Depending on your starting point, the hike can take from 30 minutes to 2 hours. No matter your preference in hike length, you will not be disappointed with the panoramic views over the region.
6:00 p.m. “Find Peace in the City”– After heading back into town, make a stop at Tashi Jong Monastery. This peaceful, brightly colored monastery is home to various artifacts, idols, carvings, and paintings.
7:00 p.m. “Get Your Fill”– Finally, end your day with some delicious traditional food. Taj Restaurant is one of the oldest in Palampur and has a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian Indian dishes. Pick from an assortment of curries to soak up the freshly baked naan.
9:00 p.m. “Tea Party”– Spend the evening relaxing and reflecting on your day at one of the many cafés of Palampur. Get to know some of the locals over a cup of tea – Palampur is the tea capital of northwest India – or relax with a good book.
11:00 p.m. “Home Away From Home”– At the end of the night, make your may back to the volunteer house to catch up with your roommates and new friends.