Dhauladhar Range

An Overview

The Dhauladhar range (The White Range) is part of a lesser Himalayan chain of mountains. It rises from the Indian plains to the north of Kangra and Mandi. The Dhauladhar range is also known as the Outer Himalayas or Lesser Himalayas. They begin from near Dalhousie at the northwest end of Himachal Pradesh and pass through the state to the vicinity of the bank of the Beas River in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. While they end near Badrinath in Garhwal, they lie almost entirely in Himachal Pradesh. They are distinctive in their typical dark granite rocky formations with a remarkably steep rise culminating in sharp streaks of snow and ice at the top of their crested peaks. This distinctive profile is best seen from the Kangra Valley from where they seem to shoot up almost vertically. The elevation of the Dhauladhar ranges varies from 3,500 m to nearly 6,000 m. From the banks of the Beas river in Kullu, the range curves towards the town of Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, India. Then, running north, it passes through Bara Bhangal, joins the Pir Panjal range and moves into Chamba, Himachal Pradesh.

 Peaks in Dhauladhar Range

Peaks, virgin and scaled in the Dhauladhar range have drawn mountaineers from all over the world. Some of the well-known peaks are:
  • Manimahesh Kailash{5,653m (18,550ft)} in the sacred Manimahesh region in Chamba.
  • Hanuman Ji ka Tibba {5,639m (18,500ft)} near Manali.
  • Bara Bhangal {5,002m (16,410ft)} in Kangra connecting Kangra, Kullu with Chamba, Lahaul region.
  • Mun Peak {4,610m (15,125ft)} near Dharamshala.
  • Gaurjunda Peak {4,946m (16,227ft)} near the Talang pass, which is commonly referred to as the 'Dhauladhar Matterhorn'.
  • Christmas Peak {4,581 m(15,029ft)}.
  • Toral Peak {4,686m (15,374ft)}.
  • Dromedary Peak {4,553m (14,937ft)}.
  • Riflehorn Peak {4400m(14,435ft)}.
  • Lantern Peak {5,100m (16,732ft)}.
  • Arthur's Seat {4,525m (14, 845ft)}.
  • Camel Peak {4,520m (14,289ft)}.
  • Slab Peak {4,570m (14,993ft)}.

Passes in the Dhauladhar Range

One of the major passes across this range is the Indrahar Pass. At an altitude of 4,342 metres (14,245 ft) above mean sea level, near the tourist town of Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, Indrahar Pass forms the border between Kangra and Chamba districts. It is part of a popular trekking route from Dharamshala. It attracts substantial tourist traffic during the trekking season between April and October.

Other Main Passes in Dhauladhar Range:

    • Rupin Pass {4,650m (15,250ft)} lies in Sangla Valley of Kinnaur and it connects Sangla in Himachal Pradesh with Dhaula in Uttarakhand on the other side.
    • Indrahar Pass {4,342m (14,245ft)} lies above Triund in Dharamshala and this pass connects Dharamshala with Chamba on the other side.
    • Jalsu Pass {3,900m (12,795ft)} is a crossing over western Dhauladhar between Chamba and Kangra valleys.
    • Toral Pass {4,575m (15,009ft)}. The pass starts from Tang Narwana and is 10 km from Dharamsala. The pass is an ideal base for trekking. McLeodganj is a nearby place of attraction. Toral is one of the most challenging ones that is rarely crossed by hikers or any outsiders. It is mostly used by local shepherds.
    • Kundli Pass {4,550m (14,927ft)} lies in Kangra with the lowest point to start the trek is Sidhbari, District Kangra. This is one of the highest passes in the Dhauladhar range connecting to the Bharmour region.
    • Bhim Gasturi / Gaj Pass {4,590m (15,059ft)} trek starts from Chhatrari Village in Chamba District and the pass connects Chhatrari to Rewa in Dharamshala, Kangra.
    • Minkiani Pass {4,250m (13,945ft)} connects Dharamshala with Chamba. Trek starts from Kareri village in Dharamshala and then to Kareri lake and further trek takes to the pass and further descend leads to Chamba side.
    • Thamsar Pass {4,700m (15,420 ft)} is a gateway to the Bara Bhangal village tucked in the blissful Kangra valley in Himachal Pradesh.There are glacial lakes in the Dhauladhars. Prominent among them is the Lam Dal which is the biggest with a circumference of about 2.5 km. It is a very sacred lake and considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva. Each year pilgrims take a holy dip in August and September just when the Manimahesh yatra begins. There are other very sacred lakes like the Nag Dal/Nag Chattri Dal. This lake owes its history to the Bhagsunag Temple and is considered sacred. It is dedicated to the Nag Devta or the Lord King Cobra. The other beautiful lakes are the Chanderkup Dal above the Lam Dal, Kareri Dal below the Minkiani Pass, Dehnasar Lake across the Sari Pass and the very sacred Kali Kund just 150 m below the Lam Dal at an elevation of 3900 m and approachable from Minkiani Pass (4250 metres).