Dharamshala as the word suggests ‘Holy Refuge’ is situated in the high zone of the Kangra Valley. It is located 16 km north-west of Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. The British founded the hill resort to take refuge from the scorching summer. The snow laden Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalayas flank Dharamshala warmly. It is divided in two parts- Lower Dharamshala and Upper Dharamshala. Both have their unique charm and use. The Lower Dharamshala serves as the commercial hub and the Upper Dharamshala still maintains the British architecture, with the suburbs Mcleodganj and Forsythganj. Dharamshala is covered with dense oak forests and coniferous trees. The Dhauladhar ranges have encompassed this station from three sides. Dharamshala is blessed with warm views of pine and deodar woods, tea gardens, snow laden peaks and gorgeous mountains. You can go for adventure activities like trekking, rock climbing rappelling etc. Proper guidance and equipped gear are available for hire. Engaging in adventure sports can turn out to be a really stress free exercise.
Home of Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama has blessed this valley by residing here since the Chinese invasion of Lhasa in 1959. Hence Dharamshala has also gained the Tibetan hues and culture as time went along. A peaceful walk among the monasteries and chanting of hymns and the soothing sound of prayer wheels literally calms the mind, body and soul from the inside. Dalai Lama is believed as the reincarnation of Lord Buddha that is why you need to have special written permission to witness this great man in person. It is advised that you can have chance to see him after the Tibetan New Year in March. People rush to participate in this festival and finding an accommodation could be a trouble around this time.
Places to Visit
St. John’s Church -This Church is located in the midst of Forsythganj and Mcleodganj. It is a very ancient church constructed during the year of 1852. The distance from Dharamshala to this church is around 6 km. The church is also popularly knows as St. John Church in wilderness.
Chamunda Devi Temple– The Chamunda Devi temple is probably known by every Hindu people. The temple is located atop a very beautiful place, which offers panoramic views of the valley. Perched at a distance of 14 km from Dharamshala, the temple is used to offer prayers to the Goddess Chamunda Devi.
Dal Lake– It is a very enchanting spot surrounded by Deodar forests. The 10 km journey to this lake is enchanting and relaxing. The quiet place serves as the perfect picnic spot with families.
The Bhagsunath Shrine – This ancient temple is located at a majestic destination. Bhagsunath Shrine offers access to many fresh water springs nearby. The journey from Daramshala to this spot covers around 7 km.
Norbulinka – The distance from Dharamshala is around 4 km. It has a very unique and useful purpose. The Norbulinka Institute of Tibetan Culture was formed to preserve and promote Tibetan art and Culture in exile.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Dharamshala is from the month of May to October. The climate remains pleasant in this time.
How to Reach
The nearest airpot in Dharamshala is in Gaggla, at a distance of 14 km from the tow. Regular flights connect Delhi to Dharamshala.
The nearest railway stations are Kangra Mandir, at a distance of 22 km and Pathankot, at a distance of 85 km. Pathankot is connected many major places of India.
Dharamshala is well connected by roads from nearby destinations like Chandigarh, Delhi and Shimla. There are also facilities of luxury and state bus service.
Where to Stay
There are many affordable options in Dharamshala as far as accommodation is concerned. You can choose from HPTDC’s hotels, guest houses, rest houses and private hotels.