Dharamshala is a majestic hill destination situated in the heart of Himachal Pradesh. Dharamshala is located in the picturesque Kangra valley and is incredibly peaceful and beautiful. The plateau region is at an average altitude of 1,475 meters above sea level. The association of Dharamshala with His Holiness the spiritual leader of the Tibetans, Dalai Lama, and the Tibetan refugees has made Dharamshala unique and a remarkable attraction for both the curious Indians and inquisitive foreigners. Dharamshala is surrounded by verdant greenery of the dense woody forests and the cloud-kissing Himalayan ranges. The mystic mountains are shrouded in clouds and mist. The valleys are fragrant with the blooming flowers. The picture-perfect settings of the peaceful monasteries make visiting this place a spiritual liberation and soul-searching journey through beauty and tranquillity.
There are several attractions in and around Dharamshala such as McLeod Ganj, which was named after Sir Donald Friell McLeod, who was the lieutenant Governor of Punjab. Mcleod Ganj is also famous for being the abode of the 14th Dalai Lama. Tibetan culture and the monasteries lend this place a unique out-of-the-world charm. Kangra Museum, exhibiting the numerous rare manuscripts and handicrafts and the Kangra Fort with its enigmatic architectural designs dating way back in the 9th century are some of the primary attractions in and around Dharamshala. The famous Masrur Rockcut Temple belonging to the ancient period of 8th century A.D. has exquisite carvings that can be compared to the fine carvings of the Ellora caves in Maharashtra. The temple has images of Hindu deities like Lord Rama, His consort Sita and Lakshmana mythical figures of the famous epic Ramayana. There is also a serene lake called Dal Lake, which is about 1 square kilometre in size and resembles the famous lake of Kashmir by the same name. Green and thick trees of deodar and juniper surround the lake.
Dharamshala is growing in importance day by day and is constantly increasing in popularity as an attractive honeymoon destination. It is a refreshing destination of Himachal Pradesh and occupies a prominent place in Himachal tourism chart. Dharamshala stands tall on account of some famous tourist destinations such as exquisite Namgyal Buddhist Monasteries, remarkable Norbulingka Institute, fabulous and picturesque Gyuto and Sherbling Monastery, imposing Mcleodganj, stately Masroor Temple, serene Bhagsu Nath Temple and Jwalamukhi Devi Temple, Naddi, luxuriant Palampur Tea Gardens, impressive St. John Church (one of the oldest American Churches built in the wilderness), royal Kangra Fort, peaceful Mata Brijeswari Temple and still some more important tourist destinations such as Tibetan Institute of performing arts. Hanuman-ka-Tibba is supposedly the highest point in the Dhauladhar mountain range and offers breath-taking views of the valley all around and also a majestic view of the Pir Panjal Mountains. Mani Lhakhang Stupa, Tibetan Institute of Performing arts, the Naam Art Gallery and the Kunal Pathri Temple are among the other major attractions of Dharamshala.
How to reach Dharamshala
Set foot in Dharamshala, the pristine mountain beauty nestled among blue Himalayan mountain ranges. Perched on the upper reaches of Kangra valley, Dharamshala is a legendary land signifying romance, beauty and an oriental Tibetan culture. It is also the home to the famous Tibetan leader Dalai Lama. City dwellers get constantly allured by the serenity and the perpetual peace of this part of Himachal Pradesh. Dharamshala sees a lot of national as well as international tourists from all across the globe. The city is well connected by rail, air and road to other major cities of India.
Gaggal is the nearest airport around 15 km away from Dharamshala. Regular flights operate from Delhi, Kullu and Chandigarh. The airport is conveniently connected to Dharamshala via bus service and cab facilities.
Pathankot is the nearest railway station to Dharamshala and is situated approximately 85 kms away. It is major rail head and is well connected by bus and cabs to Dharamshala.
Dharamshala is busily connected to the important tourist hubs and major cities in and around by a wide network of state transportation facilities. Buses operate regularly from cities such as Pathankot situated 88 km away, Jalandhar around 193 km away, Amritsar around 200 km further, Shimla approximately 241 km away and Delhi around 490 km away.
Things to do in Dalhousie
Fly high in the Sky
In Dharamshala, indulge in the adventure sport of Paragliding and skim through the pleasant air and get a bird-eye view of the picturesque town spread below. Feel the air and the adrenalin rush as you paraglide under expert supervision. There are local agencies and tour specialists who conduct paragliding excursions to give a safe and joyous experience to the adventurers.
Gloat at the Glimpse the Majestic Triund Peak and Dhauladhar Ranges
Triund Peak is a famed beauty located in the northern direction of Dharamshala and is a crowned jewel on account of its popularity. Tourists make this journey to Triund hill to catch a view of towering Dhauladhar Mountains contrasted with the beautiful Kangra Valley spread on the other side. The trek to Triund Peak starts from McLeod Ganj and the hikers reach Galu from where the trekking starts. Another alternate spot to start trekking is from Bhagsu Nag. The trek is enjoyable as one passes through gorgeous Himalayan forests and stunning views of the valleys around. Food joints and eateries on the way provide breaks and the much needed beverages and snacks to make the difficult trek enjoyable. The Kareri Lake Trek that begins from Ghera Village is another popular trek that offers popular view of the Dhauladhar Peaks.
Camping on the Lush Green Valleys
The superb greenery of the mountain side flanked by the towering mountain ranges makes for cosy camping sites for the rough and tough brave hearts. Summer and spring time sees a lot of enthusiastic and adventurous attempting camping expeditions in and around Dharamshala. The clean and fresh mountain, the proximity to real and beautiful nature and the pleasant weather makes for a memorable camping experience.
Day Outing Visiting the Spellbinding Kangra Valley
Kangra Valley is steeped in enthralling mountain beauty that attracts visitors with its never-ending charm and glamour. Embark upon a day loaded with sightseeing as you explore the charm of the hidden jewels of Kangra Valley. The Kangra Valley houses the Kangra Fort that is popularly known as the oldest in the history of India. The fort commands majestic views from the summit and reveals loads of interesting historical facts and thrilling tales associated with the fort and its strategic location and how it defeated the invasion attempts of mighty enemy rulers.
Enjoy the Serenity and Peace of Dal Lake
Dharamshala has a very poignant tourist attraction by the name of Dal Lake that is located in a green and clean deodar covered Himalayan terrain housing a charming and peaceful lake with a sacred Shiva Temple beside it. The tourist can enjoy natural beauty along with lake view and the thick forests and the holiness of the temple.
Mystic Monastery Moments
Dharamshala is the home to Gyuto Monastery located around 9 km from Dharamsala. It has a special Buddhist connotation and teaches and preaches Tantric methods of worship. Visit the monastery premises for an exhilarating spiritual. Bathe in the beauty of the surroundings. Another similar such experience is offered by the Sherbling Monastery located in Keori about 60 km from Dharamshala. Watching the monks carrying out their meditation and prayer rituals will set your heart and mind at peace and rest and also you will get to know about the ways of ascetic living.
Get Floored by the Kangra Tea Valley
The lush green tea estates are neatly arranged in steps in a staggering fashion clinging to the mountain sides like a beautiful aromatic green carpet. Kangra tea plantations are popular worldwide. A visit to a plantation is an experience of its own. Thereby visit a tea factory to complete the experience with a sip of steaming hot tea and some tea packets to be carried back home for consumption and to be gifted to friends and relatives.
Best Time to Visit Dharamshala
Dharamshala has a pleasant climate in the summers, spring and autumn. It has a chilly bite in the winters and receives a lot of rainfall in the monsoons. Almost the whole year, Dharamshala remains green and cool and entices hoards of tourists from all across the country and even outside with its fascinating natural beauty. Summers are quite pleasant with warm sunshine and cool climes and gentle breeze. Winters get quite cold with plenty of snowfall but remain a favourite haunt for all. Monsoon months from June to August can be tricky with the roads leading to the destination getting slippery and prone to landslides. The summer months of April and May sees the maximum number of tourists as people take respite from the scorching summer heat of the plains to the upper altitudes of the Himalayas. Also during spring the hills get adorned with colourful mountain flowers in all wonderful colours and fragrances.
Dharamshala Itinerary 4Days/3Nights
Day 1Dharamshala sightseeing
After an early morning breakfast, set for a variegated and enthralling sight-seeing trip. Visit the famous holy Bhagsu Nag Temple, the stately and Neo-Gothic architecture style built St. John Church, the famed Chintpurni Hindu Temple and breathe in the peace and solitude of the destinations. Also visit the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts and the Tibetan Museum to get an interesting insight into the exotic Tibetan culture. End the day with an exciting trip to the local market and shop for knickknacks and mementos to be carried back home for all close ones. Tibetan style home décor and carpets and rugs can be collected here. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 2Visit the Famous Monasteries
After breakfast, proceed to feast your eyes on the beauty of the tradition and heritage rich Tibetan Monasteries of Dharamshala. Start with The Namgyal Monastery perched in a scenic valley corner commanding hypnotic natural beauty amidst manicured gardens and serene quietness. Proceed towards Gyuto Tantric Monastery temple to enjoy the richness of Buddhist cultural essence. On the way also visit the Norbulingka Institute that preserves and showcases the austere Tibetan culture in its literary and artistic forms. Return to the Dharamshala Hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 3Visit to the Kangra Valley
After an early breakfast, proceed to the Kangra Valley. The majestic Kangra Fort is the centre of attraction of Kangra Valley. Tea plantations are also found in Kangra Valley and a visit to them proves refreshing and an enchanting experience. Combine the visit with a scenic tour of the valleys with mystic views of the Dhauladhar ranges. Shop for some Kangra Shawls and Kangra tea and return to the hotel in Dharamshala for an overnight stay.
Day 4Departure from Dharamshala
It is time to say goodbye to the heavenly beauty and peace of Dharamshala.