Dharamsala is a beautiful place located amidst the magnificent Himalayas in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The place is characterized by quaint old monasteries, exotic culture and the unsurpassed view of the snow capped mountain ranges. Dharamsala is an extremely poised and calm hill station that is dominated by the Buddhist culture. Dharamsala stands apart from other hill stations as the place is not sacked by excessive commercialisation and retains its pristine beauty. The mystic surroundings of the place will captivate your senses and make you want to visit the place over and over again.
Location : State/District
Dharamsala is located in Kangra district in the state of Himachal Pradesh, in India. The latitude of this place is 32.2180⁰ N while the longitude remains 76.3200⁰ E.
Dharamsala is a quiet hill station nestled between captivating hills. As this place is home of the sacred Dalai Lama, it is also an important pilgrimage site for Buddhist followers. The presence e of several monasteries has made it an important heritage site.
Natural and Scenic Beauty
Dharamsala is a sought-after destination by nature lovers. It is a heaven for those who desire to seek some peace and break free all the stress in their life.
Dharamsala experiences cool climate all over the year. Summers here is pleasant and ideal for outdoor activities while during the winters you can enjoy snowfall. Even though Dharamsala is an all-season destination, the best time to plan a trip is from the months of mid-September to June.
Travelling to this uber hill station is hassle free for Indians. Foreign tourists willing to visit the place must take prior visa permission from the government. Moreover their passports should also be valid for more than a period of six months from the time of their arrival.
Places to Visit
Dharamsala does not have any malls or buzzing tourist’s avenues. It charms its visitors by its natural and untouched beauty. There are myriad sightseeing places in this picturesque hill station that is enough to keep you busy all day long.
The Namgyal Monastery located in the Tsuglag Khang Complex is a must visit in Dharamsala. This monastery is the abode of the holy Dalai Lama and is the largest Tibetan temple in India. The monastery functions as a learning centres to preserve the Tibetan traditions and culture. The impressive statues of Buddha and the serene ambience draws everyone to this place. Dharamsala also has several other monasteries, each having its own significance.
The Norbulingka Institute is a site dedicated to conserve the Tibetan culture, art and literature. The place derives its name from the summer abode of the holy Dalai Lama in Tibet. The Norbulingka Institute imparts training, employment and education to the Tibetans. The place is open for visit on all days except Sunday.
Kangra Art Museum is an impressive museum that displays wonderful artefacts from the Buddhists and Tibetan cultures. The museum is operational from 1990 has a spectacular collection of rare paintings, coin memorabilia, anthropological materials, sculptures, wooden carvings, pottery, jewellery and embroidered costumes. You can spend hours discovering the museum, without getting bored.
St. John Church is one of the oldest Anglican churches dedicated to the Baptist, named John. The church is located between deodar forests and its architecture resembles the neo-Gothic style. St. John church is very popular for the Belgian stained-glass windows present here, which was gifted by Lady Elgin.
The Dalai Lama Temple Complex is a peaceful and beautiful place situated in Upper Dharamsala. The place is adorned with colourful flags that add to its beauty. This Temple Complex is perfect for early morning meditation or serene long walks.
The Bhagsugnag Falls is a stunning waterfall that also houses the popular Bhagsugnath Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This place is an important pilgrim site and a prime tourist attraction. The beauty of the falling water will captivate your senses.
The Jwalamukhi Devi Temple is a very famous temple dedicated to Goddess Durga. In this temple the Devi is manifested as blue flames that appears from the fissures of the old rock. Devotees worship this flame with full fervour. Some of their renowned temples of this place are The Aghanjar Mahadev Temple, Kunal Pathri Temple, Kaleshwar Mahadev Temple and BaglamukhinTemple.
Kotwali Bazaar is the hub of Dharamsala that is lined with small, local street shops. The place is ideal for splurging in shopping as here you will find everything right from daily use stuffs to unusual sculptures. Other popular shopper’s delights are McLeod Ganj Central Square and Jogibara Road.
McLeod Ganj is another important Buddhist pilgrimage site located close to Dharamsala. The place has countless Tibetan settlements that are worth visiting.
Dharamkot is another popular tourist destination that you can visit from Dharamsala. The place offers panoramic view of the hilly surroundings and is a good relaxation destination.
Triund is located at a distance of 17 kms from Dharamsala. Triund offers the most picturesque view of the snow capped Himalayan Mountains and the valley below. It is also one of the favourite trekking and picnic spot.
The beauty of the Kareri Lake also attracts visitors from Dharamsala. It is situated at a distance of 22 kms and the place is surrounded by lush greenery of Pine and Oak trees.
Dal Lake is located at 11 kms from Lower Dharamsala. It is a beautiful spot that has a boundary of green deodar trees. This famous Lake is also the starting point for trekking and other outdoor excursions. There is also a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located on the banks of the Lake. The Dal Lake is an ideal place for leisure walks.
Food & Accommodation
When in Dharamsala you must try the local Tibetan food offered in roadside stalls and even some of the restaurants. Some of the delicacies include momos, Thukpa and Lang Phing. Some of the famous eating joints where you will find mouth-watering food are Carpe Diem, Common Ground Cafe, Lung Ta, Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen, Tibet Kitchen and Namgyal Cafe. If you have a sweet tooth, head straight to the Chocolate Log and their speciality cakes and other desserts.
Dharamsala has a range of accommodation options right from being pocket-friendly to lavish. Some of the good class properties in this place are Asia Health Resorts, Himgiri Resorts, Surya McLeod, Spring Valley Resorts and Nishaad Resorts. If you are budget conscious, look out for Hotel Snow Retreat, Hotel Sahima, Valley View Crest or Hotel Sahil Plaza.