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Dharamsala

The Little Tibet of India

“You must go on adventures to find out where you truly belong.”

If your heart aches for adventures and your soul yearns for solitude, then you must visit the quaint and beautiful hill station called Dharamsala. The town is nestled in the snow-capped mountains of Himachal Pradesh and can be visited all around the year.

Located in the foothills of Dhauladar ranges, the town offers a blend of rich cultural diversity and mesmerising scenic views. Owing its popularity to its famous handicrafts, handmade carpets and garments, and the Dharamsala has now become the cultural and traditional hub of Himachal Pradesh.

While the lower Dharamsala mainly comprises of the main city with a bustling commercial centre, the upper portion comprises of a British colonial style township, inspired by the township of McLeod Ganj and Forsyth Ganj. As a traveller, you have the choice to indulge in adventure sports such as trekking, mountaineering and camping during their visit.  The hill station with its dense green valleys, glinting streams, and pristine air, make for an out-of-the-word experience.   

The hill station is situated in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley at an altitude of 1,457 meters above sea level. Dharamsala was ruled by the Katoch Dynasty of Kangra, the oldest surviving royal dynasty in the world.  

In 1848, the British took control of the region. Following the British invasion, the region was developed into a cantonment town for the Gurkha Light Infantry. After 10 years of Indian Independence, the town became a refuge for the 14th Dalai Lama who was fleeing Tibet along with the government officials following the failed Tibetan uprising.

VIEW POINT

Dharamsala Cricket Stadium

A treat for you, cricket-lovers

An unusual tourist destination but a must visit for sure, the Dharamsala Cricket Stadium is located at the height of 1457 meters above sea level and is every cricket-lover's dream destination. The vast lush green field along with the beautiful backdrop of Dhauladhar mountains makes for an unforgettable experience. The architecture is influenced by the Tibetian culture and further adds to the charm of this place and makes it an alluring blend of creativity and natural magnificence. Even if no matches are being played here, the stadium is open to tourists.

Kareri Lake

Some adventure?

Yearning for a trek? Travel down south the Dhauladhars to find this fresh water lake located 9 kilometres from Dharamsala, in Kangra district. A popular trekking destination, Kareri Lake, also known as Kumarwah Lake, remains frozen between December and March. Plan accordingly.

You may find it interesting to know that the lake secures its water directly from the snow melting from the Dhauladhar range. At several places, you can even see the lake bed due to its brilliant visibility and shallowness.

 

Saint John in the Wilderness Church

For its Victorian charm

You will find this beautiful church on your way to McLeodganj. True to its name, Saint John in the Wilderness Church is surrounded by deodar forests and posseses a neo-gothic architectural style. It was built in the 19th century. 

activities

Go on a trek

Adventure-seekers' paradise

Owing to its fantastic location near the mountain range of Dhauladhars, Dharamsala is a boon for adventure-seekers. You can go on many trekking trails in and around Dharamsala.

Some of the trails include Dharamsala to Chamba valley, Dharamsala to Triund, Dharamsala to Kullu through Sari pass, etc.  The trails are exciting and challenging at the same time as the trekkers have to pass through tough terrains, dense forests, and steep mountains.

Explore tea gardens

A piece of heaven for tea-lovers

Dharamsala boasts of beautifully-lined and organised tea gardens across the Kangra Valley. The beautiful city of Palampur in the Kangra valley is known as the northwest’s tea capital. Take a trip to the tea gardens and taste your heaven fresh from the farms. Don’t forget to bring your chai-lover friends a gift.

how to get there

By Flight

The nearest airport is Gaggal Airport in Kangra Valley which is located at a distance of 15 km from Dharamsala. Once you reach the airport, you can take a taxi from to reach Dharamsala.

By Train

The nearest railway station to Dharamsala is Kangra Mandir at a distance of 22 km.

By Road

Buses are another convenient way to reach Dharamsala. There are many private buses available from the nearby cities to Dharamsala. Direct private buses are available from Delhi which is 520 km away. Here is how far Dharamsala is from some major cities:

McLeodganj: 9.2 km via NH503

Chandigarh: 249.0 km via Chandigarh-Chintapurni-Dharamsala Road

Dehradun: 414.0 km via NH503

Shimla: 237.6 km via NH205

Manali: 237.6 km via NH3 and NH154

Jaipur: 753.9 km via NH48

when to visit

Though the climate in Dharamsala stays pleasant throughout the year, months between September and March see a lot of footfall. Summers are also pleasant here with a maximum temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius. The weather is great for sightseeing and trek in the Himalayas.  

The temperature ranges between 16 -17 degrees Celsius during the autumn. Winters here are very cold with occasional snowfall. However, it makes the valley look much more beautiful.  

You should avoid visiting during the months of monsoon as it rains heavily and maximum precipitation is experienced during the monsoon months between July and September. The rainfall is up to 120 inches sometimes.

Local cuisine

Food in Dharamsala

Momos and more

Tibetan cuisine dominates Dharamsala. Get ready for a fun eating-out experience in the city as you get to choose from a variety of momos and noodles with a dollop of chilli sauce. Yak butter is quite sought-after too. Look out for stalls near Temple, Jogiwara and Bhagsu Roads. Do not come back without relishing thukpa with steaming hot soup. The popular choice in Dharamsala is mutton thukpa.

You can also find a wide range of cuisine on the streets of McLeodganj, which is also referred to as Upper Dharamsala. Treat yourself to a variety of cuisines such as Tibetan, Himachali, Italian, Belgian, Korean and Japanese.

Local Shopping

Shopping in Dharamsala

The Little Tibet awaits

The “little Tibet” Dharamsala is known for its intricately-done Tibetan carpets and mats. The carpets are hand-woven and you can find them in various designs, shapes, sizes and colours. The carpet designs are often inspired from nature and old traditions of Dharamsala.

You can also visit the famous Kotwali Bazaar to pick up handcrafted items, traditional Tibetan hats, bags, trousers, and slippers. Traditional Tibetan dresses and jewellery are also a hot buy here.

Art-hoarders, you can buy special mandala paintings and exquisite Thangkas. 

 

City Map

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