A small picturesque saucer-shaped plateau surrounded by dense pine and deodar forests, is one of the 160 places throughout the world to have been designated “Mini Switzerland”. Yes, this is Khajjiar, a tiny tourist resort in Chamba about 24 kms from Dalhousie; at an altitude of 6,500 ft. above sea level. The moment one enters the picturesque Khajjiar, one is welcomed by a yellow Swiss sign for ‘hiking path’ which reads “Mini Switzerland”.
Set against the backdrop of dense pines, deodars and lush green meadow, Khajjiar is exquisitely nestled down in the foothills of the imposing Dhauladhar ranges of the Western Himalayas. The dish-shaped Khajjiar provides a panoramic and breathtaking perspective to visitors.Khajjiar is famous for the popular Khajji Naga shrine dedicated to the serpent god from which the name is believed to have been derived. The temple dates back to the 10th century and is interspaced with different patterns and images on the ceiling and wooden posts.
A curious blend of Hindu and Mughal styles of architecture is reflected in the wooden carvings on the ceilings and wooden posts. The image carvings are said to represent the Kauravas who were tied up here in the hideout by the Pandavas. The temple consists of a spacious congregation hall sufficiently enclosed by wooden supports. The dome-shaped shrine is made of slates locally extracted from limestone quarries. Adjoining are other shrines of Shiva and Hadimba goddess also. The age-old tradition of sacrificing a goat is still practiced outside the temple premises.
Located almost midway between Dalhousie and Khajjiar, Kalatope is a beautiful forested area. A very thick and dark forest crowns the hilltop and perhaps that is why the place has derived its name as Kalatop which literally means a black cap. The spot really commands a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.