Palampur is combination of three words ‘Pani’, ‘Alam’ and ‘Pur’. ‘Pur’, means settlement, Pani is water/rain, ‘Alam’ is environment dominated or adobe of. Hence, Palampur is a settlement where there is plenty of rainfall. It is a settlement, the sociocultural and environmental factors of which are determined by rainfall. Similarly, Bandla nearby appeared to have derived its name as a village
consisting of two words ‘Boond’ and ‘Ala’ again meaning thereby a village of persistent rainfall. Again a village Banoori if analysed interms of etymological means ‘Ban’ ‘Ruri’, a place where the dam had been washed away. So all the three settlements one way or the other try to highlight that there is heavy downpour in and around Palampur.
Location : Palampur is located at 32o-7’ North Latitude and 76o-32’ East Longitude, at a height of 1219 metres above mean seal level. Located at bulk of point, it is a fast growing valley town. Dharamshala is a district headquarters and an important regional town stablished by British is located at a distance of about 35 kilometres from the town. At the midway of Pathankot-Mandi National Highway-20 on one hand and picturesque Pathankot-Jogindernagar Railway line on the other, it has a very good accessibility and nodality. It acts as a base station to Tourist attractions in its surroundings.
Evolution Pre-Independence:- During the second half of 18th Century, with success of tea estates in Palampur area, the original settlement started developing. In 1888, it was made tehsil headquarter, by shifting the same from Bhawarna. The tea estate owners impressed upon the administration to bring infrastructure like schools, colleges and hospital. It also became a centre of labourers engaged in plucking of tea leaves and packing, transportation and marketing thereof. The earthquake of 1905 left a trail of destruction. Therefore, building style, projections and building material had to be modified. The tehsil complex, school and church towards T-Bud Hotel were built during British Period.
Consequent upon laying of railway line for hydro-electric project at Joginder Nagar in 1927 and thereby installation of railway station and staff quarters, construction activity grew fast. Increase in the employment, led to investment in the area, whereby multifarious development including roads
From historical point of view, the area around status of Subhash Chandra Bose and Jawahar Lal Nehru appears to be one of the oldest area. Starting from Courts coming towards Police Station, the houses and shops are the oldest. From Banuri moving towards Baijnath there lies a settlement known as ‘Al-Hillal’ meaning full moon. The land of this area was purchased by Nawab of Bahawlpur who got constructed a Palace Complex in 1931. This Palace Complex was purchased by Maharaja Hari Singh Father of Raja Karan Singh of Jammu who converted it into a motel and named it as Tara Palace Motel.
Post Independence:- In 1947, Sobha Singh moved from Punjab to Andreta and developed his art gallary. He painted world famous art pieces related to Punjabi culture and shot into prominence as an artist. After 1946, the regional linkages of town started improving. A Military station got established at a strategic location of the town. Agriculture University got established, besides the establishment of Indian Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (I.C.S.I.R.) Complex (IHBT). Many offices at the level of sub division pertaining to Electricity, Housing Board, Public health and PWD (B&R) were located. tourist accommodation like T-Bud Hotel by Himachal Tourism Development Corporation and other hotels were constructed.
Palampur is an important town of Kangra Valley. Population of Kangra District increased from 1174072 in 1991 to 1338536 in 2001, registering decadal increase of 14.01%. The decadal growth of the State is 17.53% in comparison to 21.34% of National average during 1991-2001. By comparing the percentage decadal growth rate of 1981-1991 decade with 1991-2001 decade, it can be observed that the growth rate has decreased from 18.50% to 14.01% in Kangra District. If one compares the growth rate of 1971-81 decade which was 23.71%, it can be concluded that from 1971 onwards the growth rate of population, in terms of percentage has decreased from 28.71% to 14.01%. It can, therefore, be attributed that the district is experiencing out migration due to less economic opportunities. Moreover, the family planning measures being adopted, have also attributed to decline in the growth rate.
The tourist coming from Amritsar, Pathankot and Jammu and Kashmir, intending to visit Kullu-Manali, pass through the town. The pilgrims also visit Baijnath Shiva Temple. The Tibetan Lamas moving
about in the area during their Mcleodganj and Dharamshala stay also visit the town. A few tourists do visit the Sobha Singh Art Gallery, Andretta and Nora Richard’s House, one of the pioneer centres of Punjabi Drama taken over by the Punjab University. Other places of tourist attraction in the region are such as Chamunda, Bir-hang gliding, Jogindernagar and Sujanpur Tihra.
TOURISM AND INDUSTRY
Palampur town is blessed with the beauty of nature that provides warmth to tourists. Due to Kashmir problem, the importance of tourist towns of Himachal Pradesh including Palampur has increased. During the peak season about 5000 tourists visit the town in a day.
Tourist Attractions :-Palampur has meerged as one of the favourite tourist destinations during the last decade or so. A tourist is attracted to Palampur because of pleasing climate, lush green, tall and majestic trees, tea plantations, snow-clad mountain range of Dhauladhar where silence of mountain speaks volumes of development in philosophical, historical and cultural thoughts. Here snow-clad white peaks, blue sky and changing red and yellow shades of rising and setting sun create striking panorama of colourful natural paintings. In such a setting, existence of certain old temples in the surroundings of Palampur display the rich and wonderful built-in heritage of Indian society for which Indians are proud of. Besides the specific tourist attractions in and around Palampur, the simplicity, hospitality, colourful dresses and musical rhythm of the people of Himachal attract both Indian and foreign tourists. The tourist attractions available in and around Palampur can be classified into the three categories namely natural attractions, built-in heritage attractions and institutional attractions.
(i) Natural Attractions :-Palampur provides scenic beauty of
the Dhauladhar mountain, alongwith its peaks covered with white snow.
During the day, white snow mixes the blue colour of the sky with different
shades of sun rays/light and thereby creating amazing and pleasant (to both
eyes and mind) pictures, scenery, particularly in the morning and evening, at
the time of sun-rise and sunset.
Besides this, the greenery of forests and that of tea gardens
on the pleasing undulations (rise and fall) of the ground create lot of
enjoyment and rhythm while moving in and around Palampur. The beauty of
tea gardens gets further enchanced when one finds Himachal women in their
colourful dresses, singing folk songs while plucking the tea leaves.
Bandla segment and Neugal park also fascinate the tourists
with their natural richness in terms of contours, water and vegetation.
Billing, 20 Kms from Baijnath and about 35 Kms from Palampur is an ideal
place for hand/para gliding, where these events are held. This place is
regarded as one of the best aerosports place in the world.
Neugal Glacier-considered to be paradise for trekkers, at a
height of about 1700 metres is another natural attraction in the Dhauladhar
range. Some tourists cross this glacier to reach Holi Valley of Chamba
district, situated on banks of the Ravi.
(ii) Built-in Heritage Attractions:-In this category, the area has
the following attractions.
1. Vindhya Vasu Temples at a distance of 4 Kms.
2. Baijnath (16 kms from Palampur) having : (i) Temple of “Vaidya Nath”-Lord Shiva which is called as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas
(ii) Mahakal and Mukuteshwar Mahadev Temples near Baijnath.
(iii) Around Baijnath-Bir and Tashijong-two famous Tibetan refugee settlements.
3. Andhretta-house of famous artist Sobha Singh, B.C. Sanyal and Nora Richards. House of Sobha Singh is now a gallery that displays many of his paintings.
4. Near Andhretta-a small attractive village having a
pottery and craft centre.
5. Chamunda Devi-On the banks of Baner Khad, about 20 Kms from Palampur, a temple of Chamundaji is visited by thousands of
tourists every year from Himachal, Punjab and other northern states of India.
6. Nandi- Keshwar Temple at the back of Chamunda Temple.
7. Mcleodganj, Dharamsala, the abode of His Holiness Dalai Lama and Budhist pilgrimage centre.
8. The historic fort and Bajreshwari temple, Kangra.
9. Jawalaji Temple, 60 Kms from Palampur is regarded
as one of the Hindu’s Shakti Peeths. First temple was built in 7th century
and later on a gilded dome was added and white gold parasol was installed
by Mughal Emperor Akbar.
(iii) Institutional Attractions:- These include the H.P.
Agriculture University, ICSIR, Environment Convention centre and
Ayurvedic Hospital, Paprola. Vivekanand Regional Hospital under way will
be another centre for attraction of its own kind.
TOURIST NODES :-The Tourist nodes around Palampur are as under:-
- Dharamshala : At a distance of 34 Kilometres towards
North-West in the lap of Dauladhar, Dharamshala has dominating site
alongwith War Memorial, Rock temple at Kunal Pathari, Kangra Art
Museum, St. John’s Church, Mecleodganj the abode of His Holiness Dalai
Lama, Bhagsunag temple, Dharamkot, Dal Lake, Naddi, Kareri, Guna Devi,
Triund, Aghonjar Mahadev, Chin Maya Tapovan Ashram etc. Dharamshala
and its surrounding area afford a lot to see, enjoy and cherish.
- Chamunda Devi: At an altitude of 800 meters, Chamunda
Devi is in midway of Palampur and Dharamshala and has recently acquired
wide fame. The Goddess is said to grant boons requested to her. At the back
of temple is a cave like scoop where a stone “Lingam” under a boulder
represents Nandi Keshwar(God Shiva). It is an enchanting spot with
glorious view of the mountains, the Baner Khad, Dadh and Lahla forests.
- Gopalpur:-At a distance of 8 Km. after Chamunda Devi is
Gopalpur where the Forest Department has set up a zoo called Dhauladhar
- Baijnath:-Located at a distance of 16 Km. from Palampur,
Baijnath is in realit, the appellation of the chief temple Shiva
Vaidyanatha(Lord of physicians). Legend has it that this is where King
Ravana (From the epic Ramayana) supplicated Shiva for a boon of
immortality. The linga enshrined in its sanctum is one of the 12 Jyotirilingas
in the country.
- Masroor :-Masroor is 26 Km. from Gaggal on Nagrota
Surian Link road and is famous for remarkable group of rock-cut temples.
They form a group of 15 monolithic rock cut temples in the Indo-Aryan
style and are richly carved.
- Bir/Billing :-Located at a distance of 35 Km from Palampur,
it is predominantly Budhist town of Bir known for monasteries and a
handicrafts centre. Bir has most salubrious climate and offers good view of
colourful fields and tea gardens below the valley. Bir serves as a landing
ground for hang/para gliders. Billing is 12 Km. from Bir which is one of the
best aerosport sites in the world. The mountain ranges set like an
amphitheatre, offer opportunities for high altitude cross country flying for a
range of more than 200 Km.
- Kangra :-Kangra town is 18 Km. from Dharamshala. This
was the first seat of Raja Sansar Chand II(1775-1823). One of the ancient capital of powerful hill State- fort of Nagarkot stands as a mute witness to
the ravages of conquerors from Mahmood of Ghazni of the Emperor
Jahangir and the disastrous earthquake of 1905.
- Nurpur :-Located at a distance of 65 Km. from Dharamshala
on Pathankot road, Nurpur is the famous town , named after Nurjahan, the
consort to the Mughal emperor Jahangir. It has an ancient fort and a carved
God Krishna temple. Nurpur is famous today for its fine pashmina shawls
- Jawalamukhi :At a distance of 56 Km. from Dharamshala,
here is the famous temple of Goddess Jawalamukhi also called the ‘Flaming
Goddess’ or ‘Sher of the flaming mouth’. It lies in the valley of Beas and is
built over some natural jets of combustible gas believed to be a
manifestation of the Goddess Devi Bhagwati Jawalamukhi. Many people,
especially women take a vow that if anything they ardently wish for, is
obtained, they will go on pilgrimage to the temple here.