Trip to Dharamsala Hill Station
Location : Himachal Pradesh
Established Between : 1852.
Places of Interest : Kangra Art Museum, St. John's Church,
Best Time To Visit : Mid-May to Mid-October.
¤ Dharamsala - Queen of The
Set against the backdrop of the dramatic Dhauladhar mountains,
Dharamsala is perched on the high slopes in the upper reaches of
Kangra Valley . The town is divided into two distinct and widely
separated sections, Upper and Lower Dharamsala, which differ almost a
thousand metres in height.
¤ Home To Tibetan Leader Dalai Lama
Today, Dharamsala has become the synonymous to the Tibetan government
in exile and the home of Tibetan leader Dalai Lama. Even if the
Tibetan community dominates the town, still it has retained the
colonial lifestyle and British fervour.
Dharamsala over looks the plains and is surrounded by dense pine
trees and Deodar forests. A nearby snowline with numerous streams and
cool healthy atmosphere makes the surroundings very attractive.
A trip to busy bazaar town of Dharamsala is worth taking.The market
has established itself as the travellers base camp, who come to
explore the nearby mountains. The Kotwali Bazaar provides the entire
colour and characteristic of a small town, which is mixed with the
simple life style.
The colourful temple and Gompas, which reflect the culture of Tibet,
adds attraction for the visitor. The Kangra museum gives an overview
of the rich past of the region and on the other hand there are
institutes that have been established to preserve the Tibetan art,
cultures and traditions.
Kangra Art Museum
This treasure trove of the Kangra valley's arts, crafts, and rich
past, displays artifacts that date back to the 5th century. The museum
also includes a gallery of Kangra's famous miniature paintings and a
representative collection of sculptures, pottery, and anthropological
Set amidst the pine groves is a war memorial, built on the entry
point of the to Dharamsala to commemorate the post independence war
heroes of Himachal Pradesh. A web of narrow paths and landscaped lawns
lead towards this monument.
by high and green Deodar trees is the lake, which fills a mountain
bowl. Situated 11-kms away from the town, this lake is easily
approachable by road and makes an enchanting and serene picnic spot.
St. John's Church
One of the most poignant memories of the British Raj is the church of
St. John, situated in the wilderness. This charmingly dressed stone
church is located just 8-km from Dharamsala on the way to McLeod Ganj.
Under the shade of Doedar branches, a memorial has been made over the
body of the British Viceroy, Lord Elgin who died at Dharamsala in
¤ Hot Springs
Tatwani & Machhrial
There are hot springs situated at Tatwani, 25-km from Dharamsala but
on the way, at Machhrial, is a waterfall twice as big as the one near
the Bhagsunath temple.
¤ Other Attractions
The Shrine of Bhagsunath
Just 11-km from the town center of Dharamsala is the ancient temple
of Bhagsunath. There are many fresh water springs close to the temple,
which are considered sacred by the Hindus.
These are the rock temples from which the place derives its name.
Kunal pathri is a 3 kms flat walk from Kotwali Bazaar.
Just 11-km away from Dharamsala, located on the crest of a hill lie
this attractive picnic spot, which presents a panoramic view of the
Kangra valley and Dauladhar ranges.
Just four kms from Dharamsala, Norbulinka was established to preserve
and teach the ancient Tibetan arts. The shady paths, wooden bridges,
small streams tiny water falls make this place look like heaven. Here
one can watch the wooden carvings and the tangka paintings, golsithing
and embroidery being done. The nunnery close to the institute is a
place where women are taught the advanced levels of Buddhist
Just 10-km from the town is the tranquil ashram complex set up by the
great exponent of the Gita--Swami Chinmayananda. Situated on the banks
of Bindu Saras, the ashram includes a 9m high image of Hanuman, a Ram
temple, a meditation hall, a school and a health & recreation
Situated just 13-kms away from Palampur, lies this dwelling place of
artist S.Sobha Singh. It houses a gallery of some of his major works
and a pottery center.
¤ Excursions From Dharamsala
Originally home of the semi-nomadic Gaddi tribe, McLeodganj is today
the residence of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. This mid 19th century
place was developed as a British Garrison. The place was developed as
an important administrative point for the whole Kangra valley. Today
the place has developed as headquarters of the exiled Tibetan
Government. The impressive monastery has larger than life size images
of Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avaloketeshwara.
Fifteen richly carved monolithic rock temples sculpted in the
splendid style of the Kailash temple at Ellora and dating back to the
8th century are to be found at Masrur, just 15 km south of Kangra.
Images of Ram Sita and Lakhsman can be found in the sanctum of the
Set amidst a sylvan surrounding is a rest house, located in the cool
depths of the pine grove. Surrounded by green open meadows and forests
of tall oak & pine at a height of 3250m is situated the
picturesque Kareri Lake, which is just 13-km from the rest house and
22- kms from Dharamsala.
Triund is a popular picnic spot at an height of 2827 m. The area is
on the foothills of Dhauladhar range and is 17-kms from Dharamsala.
The snow line starts at Ilaqua, which is five kms from Triund. The
breathtaking views of the mountains and the valleys makes Triund an
ideal picnic spot and trekking spot.
On the way from Pathankot, 41-km from Dharamsala are the unique cave
temples with a stalactite and stalagmites dedicated to Lord Shiva.
This place is famous for the wall paintings and the temples. Sujanpur
Tira also has fort, which is worth visiting. It is 8- km from
Dharamsala and in particular the festival of Holi is a major event
here and attracts many visitors to this area.
Dedicated to the "Goddess of Light", the temple is one of
the most popular Hindu temples in northern India. In this temple there
is a copper pipe through which natural gas comes out, the priest of
the temple lights this and the blue flame emanating is worshipped as
the manifestation of Goddess. The temple is topped by a golden spire,
a gift from the Emperor Akbar. The famous temple of Jwalamukhi is
30-km. from Kangra and 56-km from Dharamshala.
Not so far from the town is the famous temple with the majestic
Dhaulandhars as a backdrop. It is an enchanting spot with glorious
views of the mountains, the Baner Khud, Pathiar and Lahala forests.
Named after Nurjehan the consort of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir, it
has an ancient fort and an exquisitely carved Krishna temple. Nurpur
is also famous for its fine Pashmina shawls and textiles.
¤ Adventure Sports
Dharamsala is one of the most popular starting points for treks and
rock climbing over the ridges of the Dhauladhar range. Take a travel
trip to mountainous valley and indulge in diverse adventure sports.
There are tailor-made treks in the Kangra valley around Dharamsala and
adjoining places. The trekking season starts from May and goes on to
October. The most frequented route from Dharamsala to the Chamba
valley, over the Indradhar Pass (4350m), is arduous trek but the most
novice trekkers can manage to complete it within five days.
There are many easy walks of small treks around McLeodganj and
Dharamsala such as Toral Pass (4575m) that start from Tang Narwana
(1150m), which is 10-km from Dharamsala. A 2-km stroll takes one to
Bhagsu, then a little further a 3-km walk will bring the trekkers to
Dharamkot. If one wishes to go on a longer walk then he can walk 8-km
to Triund. The snow line of Ilaqa Got is just a 5-km walk.
The most difficult route is towards the north, a five to six day trip
across Bhimghasutri Pass (4580), covering near-vertical rocky ascents,
sharp cliffs and dangerous gorges. An easier four or five day trek
from Dharamsala crosses Bleni Pass (3710m) in the milder ranges of the
northwest, weaving through the alpine pastures, woods and passing
through few streams, before terminating at Dunali, on the Chamba road.
The area is rich in small rivers and streams, which give ample
opportunity for angle fishing. The 20-km stretch of the river Beas
between Nadaun and the Pong Dam offers ample of opportunities in
angling for Mahaseer.
¤ How To Get There
Air : Dharamsala can be
approached by air from Delhi and the nearest Airport is at Gaggla,
just 13-km away from the town.
Rail : Pathankot is 85-km and is the nearest railhead for
Dharamsala. Trains from all over the country make a stop over at
Pathankot and from here it is a three-hour journey to Dharamsala.
Road : From Manali too bus services are available to this
place. One can drive from Delhi via Chandigarh , Kiratpur, Bilaspur
and it's an 8-hours journey. From Delhi and Shimla , luxury buses ply
¤ Places To Stay
Dharamsala's accommodation options include HPTDC's hotels, private
hotels, guest houses, PWD and Forest rest houses, which are located in
and around the place and are available at resonable prices.
Dharamsala offers mainly the handicraft items, which are manufactured
by the local artisans. The Kotwali Bazaar is one of the main shopping
areas in the town. The main attraction of the town is Tibetan carpets.
These carpets are delicately woven and are decorated with vivid
The Motifs on these carpets are either inspired from nature or from
the monuments or carry a description of some folk story of the Tibetan
cultural heritage. Over all, these carpets carry a totally different
style and attraction from their counterparts in Kashmir or the Persian
Further the local handicrafts are also available in the market.
Tibetan Textile can be purchased from the office of Tibetan
handicrafts. One can always bargain items like the traditional hat,
the Chubas, the traditional wear for the Tibetan women, bags, trousers
As Dharamsala is located in the Himalayas, the climate is very
pleasant during the summers but in winters the cold is very bad.
Temperature can drop below the freezing point during the winters and
heavy woollen clothes are required.
During the summers the weather is mild and light woolens and cottons
are recommended. The best time to visit the place is during the
summers when the cold has shed its biting teeth and there is plenty of
Sunshine. But avoid coming here during the monsoon months, as there is
a danger of landslides.
¤ Nearby Cities
Kullu : 183-km
Shimla : 185-km
Manali : 223-km
Chandigarh : 225-km