Khajjiar is a picturesque hill station situated 22 kms from Dalhousie and 24 kms from Chamba. Perched at an altitude of 6,500 feet above sea level, this enchanting glade is a rare amalgamation of three eco-systems: lake, pasture and forest.
Owing to this topographical resemblance to Switzerland, it has officially been bestowed with the status of ‘Mini Switzerland’ by the Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India, Mr. Willy T. Blazer, on 7th July 1992. He also put up a sign board which displays the distance between Khajjiar and Swiss Capital-Bern and took a stone from Khajjiar to be mounted in the stone collage around the Swiss Parliament to constantly remind people of Khajjiar as the 'Mini Switzerland'.
Khajjiar is a vast saucer shaped green meadow on a flat plateau foothill of the Dauladhar mountains with a serene lake in the middle and embraced by the lush pine and deodhar trees with a view of the snow-capped kailash mountains from a distance. With a tranquil vibe and stunning landscape, it is a perfect tourist spot for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
Khajjiar lake is a serene tranquil natural splendor at an elevated height of 1,920 meters surrounded by emerald green luxuriant hills and cedar trees with the towering mountain ranges visible in the background on a sunny day. The clear transparent water glimmers under the brilliant radiance emanating from the sun.
A naturally blessed beautiful meadow, it offers a lot of recreational activities for tourists. Indulge in the innumerable activities offered here such as paragliding, zorbing, horse-riding etc. Pose for pictures in the local attire including traditional jewellery and holding a basket with furry rabbits in it. The locals provide the opportunity for such picture perfect moments for a fee. Make sure to bargain! Khajjiar has a spectacular 9-hole golf course snuggled between the lush greenery and mesmerizing landscape.
Apart from the meadow, there are various places that can be explored in Khajjiar:
1.Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary – Positioned between Dalhousie and Khajjiar, Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 30 sq km at an altitiude of 2,500 meters above sea level. A favourite tourist spot for hiking and nature walks, it offers a stunning and pristine views of the rich and dense grassland which is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, freshwater streams flowing into river Ravi and snow crested mountains of Pir Panjal. The wildlife sanctuary comprises of coniferous, rhododendron, cedar, pine and oak trees and one can spot barking goral, Himalayan black bear, wild cats, serows, langur, jackal, pheasants, deers, squirrels and leopards. The clear trails, riveting views of the hill and less explored trek, it is an ideal spot for trekking and nature walks with the highest point being the 4 km walk from from Lakkarmandi to Kalatop.
2.Trekking – The best way to explore Khajjiar is through trekking as it serves as the commencing point for treks to Chamba, Dalhousie and Kalatop Hill. The 14km route takes you through a slightly challenging path but the scenic beauty of lush landscapes of dense cedar forest interspersed with rivulets makes the trek worthwhile. Other mesmerizing trek route is a 4km hike from Lakkarmandi to Kalatop. A 4 km trek 6 km from Khajjiar to Dainkund is an excellent well-defined trek and perfectly suitable for beginners and children.
3.Golden Devi Temple – Also known as the Khajji Naga temple, the name derives from the golden dome and spire on top of the temple. Built in the 12th century on the banks of Khajjiar lake, it is a shrine dedicated to the Lord of serpents and has several snake idols in the temple. It is a perfect amalgam of Hindu and Mughal architecture with a reflection of pahadi style and intricate carvings on the wooden pillars depicting the defeat of Kauravas by Pandavas in the Mahabharat epic. It houses the idols of Lord Shiva, Hidimba and images of Pandavas made out of wood.
Also, not to be missed are the Dainkund peak, Khajjiar villages, Panchpula, a grand and majestic 85 feet statue of Lord Shiva and shopping at the Tibetan handicrafts center.
The best time to visit Khajjiar is March to June and September – October when the weather is pleasant. It is ideal for trekking and visiting the kalatop wildlife sanctuary as its at its plushest phase. During monsoon it is not advisable to go trekking as it receives heavy rainfall and in winters the temperatures drop considerably and can be shut during heavy snowfall.
A family holiday for a scenic and glorious sightseeing, trekking and sport activities.
Air: The nearest airport is Kangra Airport, Gaggal. From there it is at a distance of 134 km from Khajjiar and can be reached by a cab.
Train: The nearest station is Pathankhot station. From there the distance is 142km and a cab can be hired to Khajjiar.