KHAJJIAR – ONE OF THE RARE LOCATIONS IN THE WORLD THAT BEAR TOPOGRAPHICAL RESEMBLANCE WITH SWITZERLAND
Khajjiar is a hill station in Chamba district, Himachal Pradesh, India, located approximately 24 km from Dalhousie.
Khajjiar sits on a small plateau with a small stream-fed lake in the middle that has been covered over with weeds. The hill station is surrounded by meadows and forests. It is about 6,500 feet (2,000 m) above sea level in the foothills of the Dhauladhar ranges of the Western Himalayas and peaks can be seen in the distance. It is part of the Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary.
Khajjiar can be reached from Dalhousie, the nearest major town and hill station, by bus in an hour or so. It has a rare combination of three ecosystems: lake, pasture and forest.
Mini Switzerland-Switzerland of Himachal Pradesh
On 7 July 1992, Mr. Willy T. Blazer, Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India brought Khajjiar on the world tourism map by calling it “Mini Switzerland”. He also put a sign board of a yellow Swiss hiking footpath showing Khajjiar’s distance from the Swiss capital Bern-6194 km. Khajjiar is among the 160 locations in the world that bear topographical resemblance with Switzerland. The counselor also took from Khajjiar a stone which will form part of a stone collage around the Swiss Parliament to remind the visitors of Khajjiar as a Mini Switzerland of India.
The best time to visit Khajjiar is between March and June.
What to See and Do
The Khajjiar lake is situated in the Chambal district of Himachal Pradesh. Surrounded by grassy hills and cotton clouds, this lake is a tranquil picture of natural beauty. Located at the height of about 1920 meters, this destination is a picture perfect landscape. Hailed as ‘Mini Swiss’, Khajjiar is famous for its paragliding and horse riding activities.
If you wish to rejuvenate your body and refresh your spirit, then perhaps Khajjiar lake is the best place to be. Coupling scenic natural beauty and thrilling adventure sports such as paragliding, you will enjoy each and every experience over here. Paragliding here is a must, for it’s a unique chance to capture the Himachali terrain from an altogether new height. And of course, the exhileration of the ride is amazing in every way! You can also traverse the gentle Himachal hills on horseback, and it will certainly give you a regal feeling. A charming destination, Khajjiar is the perfect weekend getaway!
Khajji Nag Temple
Located near the site of the lake, this shrine was built in the 12th century. This temple is believed to be the holiest temple in the state of Himachal, and by association, the lake is also greatly revered. The temple’s inner sanctum features the hanging images of the Pandavas defeating the Kauravas in the epic battle of Mahabharata.
This temple is dedicated to Khajji Nag or the Lord of the Serpents. The construction of the temple is simple and is a subtle reflection of both Hindu and Muslim architecture. Made out of wood, this temple features the statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Hidimba.
Kalatop wildlife sanctuary Overview
The Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Leopard, bear, deer, langur, jackal, Himalayan Black Marten, Barking Goral and countless beautiful birds can be spotted here.
The landscapes are thickly covered with Deodar trees interspersed with little streams flowing into the Ravi river. The wildlife sanctuary was better known as a gaming reserve for Chamba rulers, in history. The area is a favorite spot for trekking, picnics, and nature walks.
The Khajjiar trek is a 14km trek through landscapes of Deodar and Pine trees interspersed with streams. While the sceneries and views are breath-taking, the trek can be a bit challenging.
It is best to do it in an organized structure on a format provided by your hotel or tour provider. Do take a guide or professional with you. Other than this, the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is also ideal for trekking.
Golden Devi temple Overview
The temple derives its name from the golden dome it houses. The temple is very close by to the Khajjiar lake and is quiet a popular tourist spot. It also has a golf course neighboring it, where one can find some scenic views amidst lush greenery.
Tibetan Handicrafts Center Overview
A good place to buy souvenirs and gifts for friends and family. You can find some decent traditional Tibetan items.
HP State Handicrafts Center Overview
This place offers all the Himachali traditional items like shawls, caps, etc. Also a good place to buy local souvenirs.
How To Get Around
By Road – Khajjiar is a small tourist spot, and can only be reached by road. It is well connected with other towns in the Chamba valley. Buses from Chamba (1½ hour) and Dalhousie (1½ hour) stop at this picnic spot. Travelers can also hire taxis from either Dalhousie or Chamba to reach here. One can explore the pristine beauty of this spot by taking a walk in the meadow and around the small pond.