Dharamshala also known as “little lhasa” is located in the Kangra Valley, in the shadow of the Dhauladhar mountains and is the second winter capital of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and a municipal corporation in Kangra district. It also serves as the district headquarters. It was formerly known as Bhagsu. The Dalai Lama’s residence and the headquarters of Central Tibetan Administration are loacted in Dharamshala. Dharamshala is located 18 kilometers away from Kangra. Dharamshala has an average elevation of 1457 metres (4780 feet), covering an area of almost 8.51 km.On 19 January 2017, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh declared Dharamshala as the second capital of Himachal Pradesh, making it third state of India with two capitals after Jammu and Kashmir and Maharashtra.
- Dharamshala is known as the residence of the exiled Tibetan monk Dalai Lama.
- With the backdrop of the breathtaking Dhauladhar ranges, it is the one of the most tranquil destinations which you will find in North India, the perfect amalgamation of natural beauty and culture and is visited by thousands of tourists to beat the summer blues.
- The city of Dharamshala is divided into two parts, the lower division is the Dharamsala town whereas the upper division is known as Mcleodganj.
- Dharamshala is a distinct tourist destination in India which attracts large crowds not only nationally but also internationally.
- Dharamshala is a popular name on travelers wish lists due to its magnificent beauty and charming splendor of the landscape.
Places to visit in dharamshala
It is situated in the western Himalayas in Punjab and is home to the famous Masrur temple. It is also a strong contender for the UNESCO World Heritage Site which is a huge appreciation to the place and its beauty. The people in this area speak Kangri, which is a regional dialect of the place.
Bhagsu waterfall has to be one of the most beautiful locations in Dharamshala for people who love waterfalls. Most of the tourists visiting make sure they spend some time here.
It is situated in Sach town, in the Chamba District which is approximately 15 km from Killar. It is an exceptional trekking trail that leads to the Pangi Valley, which is the most enthralling valley. It is blessed with a picture landscape and also offers various options for trekking devotees.
DALAI LAMA TEMPLE COMPLEX
It is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places you must have visited. It is generally decorated with colorful prayer flags and this makes it perfect for long walks. You will find a lot of good statues and the atmosphere is something which lures people to come back again and again. It is a beautiful and peaceful place located in Upper Dharamshala, just a short walk away from the Mcleod Ganj Bus Stand and is decorated with the colourful prayer flags, it’s perfect for long walks, or early morning meditation with chanting monks
Bhagsunath Temple, located in the village of Bhagsu which is now a major attractions of tourists. Most of the people here are into tourism and make a living out of it and is the main reason of the village having lot of restaurants and guest houses which earns a lot of money for the village.
Mcleodganj is named after David Mcleod, the lieutenant Governor of Punjab.McLeod Ganj is a suburb in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is also popularly known as “Little Lhasa” or “Dhasa”. The city has got this name beacause of the large populations of Tibetans and the famous Tibetan government-in-exile has its headquarters in this city.
Triund hills, also called the crown jewel of Dharamshala, is situated in the midst of Dhauladhar mountains and gives a stunning view and is one of the most popular trekking spots in India attracting a lot of tourists.
Dal Lake in Dharamshala
It is located at a distance of 2 kilometres from McLeodganj Market. Dal Lake is just a walk away and also happens to be a major attraction for trekkers as it serves as a base camp for several trekking expeditions. But if you don’t want to walk all the way, you can also go by car or taxi. The lake also has a popular temple of Lord Shiva located on its banks.
Kangra Art Museum in Dharamshala
The Kangra Art Museum was Inaugurated in 1990 displaying artifacts from Tibetan and Buddhist cultures. The museum has preserved a treasure trove from Kangra valley’s cultural past, crafts, arts and other ancient artifacts including miniature paintings, temple carvings, fabrics and embroidery, weapons, and palanquins belonging to local royalty. Some of the items displayed in the museum go back to 5th century. A section in the museum is also dedicated to contemporary artists and photographers.
Namgyal Monastery in Dharamshala
Namgyal Monastery is the home of the Dalai Lama, and also the largest Tibetan temple outside Tibet. Namgyal Monastery was found in 16th century by the second Dalai Lama. The monastery was established so that Namgyal monks could assist the Dalai Lamas in public religious affairs, perform ritual prayer ceremonies for the welfare of Tibet and function as a center of learning and meditation on the profound Buddhist treatises.
After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, when His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was granted asylum in India, the monastery was re-established here to preserve and continue the Tibetan culture and traditions.
Dharamshala War Memorial in Dharamshala
The War Memorial is built in the memory of war heroes who fought bravely for their mother land and sacrificed their lives in its defense.It is located in the middle of lush green pine trees and is a peaceful and patriotic place decorated with lawns and artistic landscaping.You can easily spend an hour or two walking around the area. While there, you should also see the GPG College nearby, which was made during the British Era.
St. John Church in Dharamshala
It is one of the oldest an Anglican churches in the region, dedicated to John the Baptist. Belgian stained-glass windows can be seen inside the church and were donated by Lady Elgin, wife of Lord Elgin. The church’s bell tower got destroyed during a strong earthquake in 1905 in Kangra and a new bell was built in 1915 by Mears and Stainbank, which was brought from England.
The Aghanjar Mahadev Temple in Dharamshala
It is surrounded by forests, mountains and a charming stream that flows right next to it.It is believed that once upon a time when Arjuna, one of the Pandavas from the Mahabharata, was on his way to the Kailash Mountains, Lord Shiva appeared in front of him at this spot and blessed him with the boon of victory over the Kauravas.
Tea Gardens in Dharamshala
The Kangra Valley in Himachal is known for its beautiful natural landscapes and the spectacular range of Dhauladhar.
Best Place to Eat in Dharamshala
The local restaurants in Dharamshala offers very unusual and tasty food that will linger in your memories for a very long time. One can eat Tibetan food, which is offered at almost every restaurant in Dharamshala. There are many restaurants that serve guests Indian, Italian, South Indian etc and you will also see many stalls selling hot “momos,”
Here are some of the most popular eating joints that you can try during your tour:
- Nick’s Italian Kitchen
- Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen
- Lung Ta
- Tibet Kitchen
- Namgyal Café
- Pace Café
- Chocolate Log
- Lhasa Restaurant
- Pema Thang Pizzeria
- Four Seasons Restaurant
- Taste of India
- Carpe Diem
Shopping in Dharamshala
Dharamshala is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Himachal Pradesh that gives you enough reasons to explore the splendor of the destination. The city has a large number of shops offering great Tibetan handicrafts, carpets, and mats at a very reasonable price. If you know how to bargain then shopping can be more fun here. Some of the popular markets that draw tourists in huge numbers are listed below:
Kotwali Bazar: This is the perfect place to buy Tibetan accessories like trinkets, traditional jewelry, mandala paintings, thangkas, Tibetan dresses, woolen shawls, prayer wheels, trousers, slippers, prayer flags, and gift items.
Mcleodganj: If you are looking to buy Tibetan handicrafts, carpets, and other local goods, then it the right place for you. Those who love Tibetan garments and other local goods can find a speacial sale which goes on here every Sunday.
The Green Shop: This shop is owned and run by the Tibetan Welfare Office and offers recycled goods. The best Eco-friendly products can be find here specialy if you are nature lover.
Climate in Dharamshala
The cool weather of Dharamshala is one of the main reasons why many travelers visit this place to beat the heat in summer and to experience snowfall during winters.
Summer: The maximum and minimum temperature observed in this season are 31°C and 16°C.
Winter: The maximum and minimum temperature in this season are 25°C and 6°C.
Best Time to Visit Dharamshala
- The best time to visit Dharamshala is between March and June as it doesn’t get too cold or hot during this season.
- The months of July and August are for rainy season lovers as it presents some very scenic views of the freshly washed forests but, make sure that your journey is safe and comfortable as cases of landslide are quite common during monsoon.
- C in winter, and so the months between December and February are the best to catch a glimpse of chilly Dharamshala.°Winter too is the best time to visit Dharamshala, especially for someone who wants to experience snowfall. The temperature even drops to 0.