This is our first trip to Dalhousie - Khajjiar - Chamba (of four days duration) in Sep 2009. Dalhousie and Khajjiar are famous for their untouched natural beauty and peaceful environment. It is a very peaceful place to spend few days away from City Life, in the vicinity of nature. Here are a few details of these places.
Route: Delhi > Ambala > Ludhiana > Jalandhar > Pathankot > Banikhet > Dalhousie
Driving Directions can be found at http://www.oktatabyebye.com/travel-directions/driving-directions-from-New_Delhi-to-Dalhousie.html
Alternatively you can take bus from Delhi to Dalhousie OR train from Delhi to Chakki Bank and then a taxi to Dalhousie.
It took us almost 12 hours from Delhi to Dalhousie. Road is good till Jalandhar, however it is bit tiring from Jalandhar to Pathankot. As road is badly maintained with lot of road pits. From Pathankot to Banikhet, the road is full of natural good scenes. One can enjoy the ride as it is not a tricky hilly road but give enough space to pass two vehicles simultaneously. Road from Banikhet to Dalhousie is good again however bit narrow. So one need to be careful.
One can take break at Ambala(Choupal, appx 10 km before Ambala on G.T Road), and then at Jalandhar (at Haveli).
Road from Dalhousie to Khajjiar is a single road through Pines and Devdar trees Jungle. Driver should be familiar with Hilly driving techniques to drive here.
Even road from Banikhet to Chamba is bit risky and a proficient driver is required here. It is a single road with no protection on the sides and moreover not maintained properly at many places. It took appx 2.5 hours (55 km) from Banikhet to Chamba due to this. Be careful if you see local buses on the route, they wont't care to slow down for passing vehicles (mostly).
Other route for Chamba is from Khajjiar (appx 25-30 km), however we did not try that.
Dalhousie- (30% discount in all hotels for off season. Please check regional sites for off season)
Mount View: It is the Best Ranked Hotel for its services, food and ambiance. We tried the food there. It is bit expensive as compared to other restaurants there, but taste good. Room Tarrifs are around 2000 and above.
Dalhousie Heights: We stayed at Dalhousie Heights. I would rank it above average, however don't expect much scenic views from Hotel. Food is average. Rooms are above average with good Room Service. Prices are around 2000 and above.
If you want some good scenes from your hotel balconies then you should try some hotels at height (probably Grand View etc). We have not searched for it, but hotels should be inquired specifically for it.
Khajjiar- There is one Himanchal Tourism Guest house and probably one private hotel. Keep in mind that there is no local population, but having only few restaurants, one temple and rest house.
Chamba- There are a number of hotels and you can find some good rooms after a little search.
Dalhousie- We just liked the Mount View Restaurant for food. All other places were average in food. Other popular names are Qwality, and Lovely. However we found these average in food. Later we came to know about some Dhaba at Subhash Chowk, however never tried it.
Try 'Jalebi' at Chamba. These are good :)
Dalhousie- You will find the shops at Gandhi Chowk. There are shops for woolen and gift items. For woolen, we purchased a few items form 'Lalji' shop, after taking right turn from Gandhi Chowk. It has good variety. There is also one 'Tibetan Market', near bus stand/Mount View Hotel.
Chamba- You can bought locally made leather foot wear from Chamba.
Travel 'n Fun:
It is a beautiful region with good weather (if timings are right). In rainy season, you will find clouds with you in your living room :). It is a small town with a mall road and few shops. You will find some very beautiful and peaceful places in town. Try to walk around on feet.
If you really like the nature, then move towards Khajjiar and other nearby places. Khajjiar is a good place to spend a full day in the beautiful green ground, surrounded by Devdar and Pines trees and hills. It is called mini Switzerland. You will also find an old Temple of Five Pandavs here. There are only a few restaurants here, however don't expect much in term of food variety. There is one man who used to sing local and film songs with music instruments. Try, its quite soothing :)
Other than this, you have the option to visit the wild life sanctuary (Kalatop) between Dalhousie and Khajjiar. However one local resident told us that you won't find much animals there, probably either they have sent to market or we encroach their area. Still you can enjoy the nature, and some adventure also.
While going to Khajjiar from Dalhousie, you can go upside towards the top of the hill from the junction of wild life sanctuary (Khajjiar road is towards downside from this junction). There you will find very beautiful scenes and a number of places to have some good camera shots.
Chamba- There are few old and beautiful temples at Chamba. And you can enjoy Ravi River here. One temple (Maa Durga) is built at some height, and is quite peaceful. City has a big ground in the center of city (Chougan), sourrounded by market. If you like more fun, there are some more beautiful places at 10-15 km away from Chamba (probably Somor). Weather is compartively hot at Chamba (as compare to Dalhousie).