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Himachal Pradesh - Dharamshala

Dharamsala is one of the main towns of Kangra valley. It is located in the backdrop of snow clad peaks of Dhauladhar mountains about 18kms. north east of Kangra town. The mountains enfold three sides of the town and the valley stretches beyond to the south. Known for its scenic-beauty amidst high pine trees, tea gardens and other timber-yielding trees vying with one another for height, calmness and serenity. Dharamsala's altitude varies between 1,250 metres (4,400 ft) and 2,000 metres (6,560ft). Dharamshala enjoys the unique distinction of being the chosen home of the spiritual and temporal head of the Tibetan. So its practically divided into two parts viz. Upper Dharamsala and Lower Dharamsala. Lower part is a busy commercial centre while Upper part, with the suburbs of Mcleodganj and Forsytheganj still retains the British flavour and colonial lifestyle. The best season to visit the town is between March to June and September to October. Although the Tibetan influence is what has made the town famous, the colorful combination of cultures in this mountainside town is what makes it fascinating. However, the best thing about Dharamshala is the easygoing pace and the peaceful expression on everybody's face.

Dharamshala at a glance :
Dharamshala at a glance :  
Area5739 sq. kms.
AltitudeBetween 1250 m to 1550 m (Dharamshala)
LanguagesHindi, Punjabi, English and Pahari are understood & spoken by the people engaged in tourism trade
Temperature Max.38 C in June: Min. 0 C in Jan.
Annual RainfallVaries between 290 cms. To 380 cms.
Second highest rainfall in the country
Best Season March to JuneSeptember to December
Winter Clothing Heavy Woollens
Summer Clothing Light Woollen and tropical

How to reach

By Air

The nearest airport at Gaggal is 13kms. away after which it is accessible by road.

By Train
Pathankot, the terminal of the broad gauge railway, is 90kms. There is also a narrow gauge train from Pathankot which comes up to Kangra (94kms.). and from here Dharamshala is 17kms. by road.

By Road
Direct and regular bus service from Delhi (470kms.), Chandigarh (240kms.), Jammu (210kms.), Shimla (300kms.), Chamba (192kms.) and Manali (265kms.)

Places of Interest around Dharamshala

Mcleod Ganj, Bhagsunag Falls, St. John's Church, Dal Lake, Dharamkot, Triund, War Memorial, Kunal Pathri, Kareri, Dehra Gopipur, Nurpur, Trilokpur, Palampur

Mcleod Ganj

Mcleod Ganj was established in the mid-1850s as a british garrison, it was the home of the seminomadic Gaddi tribe. There is still a sizeable number of Gaddi families in the villages around Mcleod Ganj. Today Mcleod Ganj is best known as the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile, and is the home of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. It is located at a height of 1770m. A number of residential buildings, restaurants, antique and curio shops, together with famous Tibetan institutions have lent importance to McLeod Ganj. The Tibetan Institute of performing Arts(TIPA) is 1km. walk from McLeod Ganj and preserves a number of musical dance and theatrical traditions of Tibet. There is also a Tibetan handicraft centre situated at McLeod Ganj and a Sunday market is organized at about 10 minutes walk from here.

How to reach

The closest airport to Mcleod Ganj and Dharamsala is at Gaggal, 15 kms south of Dharamsala. The HRTC operates buses to Manali, Dehradun and Delhi. The closest railway station to Mcleod is at the small village of Nagrota, 20 kms south of Dharamsala. Nagrota is on the small narrow-gauge line which serves the Kangra valley, connecting Pathankot with the small settlement of Jogindernagar, 58 kms north-west of Mandi. The main Pathankot to Mandi road runs through the valley and there is a narrowgauge railway line from Pathankot as far as Jogindernagar.

Places of Interest

Tibetan Medical & Astrological Institute
Dip Tse
Library of Tibetan Works & Archives
Tsuglagkhang (Dalai Lama's Temple)

Tsuglagkhang (Dalai Lama's Temple)

Tsuglagkhang (Dalai Lama's Temple), is the most important Buddhist monument in Mcleod Ganj. Although a relatively modest structure, it enshrines three magnificient images, including an enormous gilt statue of Shakyamuni, statues of Avalokitesvara and Padamasambhava, or Guru Rinpoche, the Indian scholar who introduced Buddhism and Tantric teachings to Tibet in the 8th century.

Dip Tse

Dip Tse - Chok Ling Gompa, this beautiful little gompa lies at the bottom of a steep track which leads off the laneway past the Om Guest House. The main prayer hall houses an image of Shakyamuni, as well as two enormous drums covered in goat skin and painted around the rim, which were made by monks at the gompa. Also here are some superb butter sculptures, which are made during Losar. Fine and detailed sand mandalas are also made here.

Library of Tibetan Works & Archives

Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, down at Gangchen Kyishong, halfway between Kotwali bazaar and Mcleod is the repository of Tibet's rich literary heritage, containing about 40% of Tibet's original manuscripts, as well as an excellent general reference library on the Himalayan regions and a photographic archive.

Tibetan Medical & Astrological Institute

Tibetan Medical & Astrological Institute is at Gangchen Kyishong, about five minutes walk below the main entrance to the library area. There is a museum, library, research unit and a college at which Tibetan medicine and astrology is taught. The museum has a well displayed exhibition of materials used in Tibetan medicines.

Bhagsunag Falls

At a distance of 11kms. from Lower Dharamshala, Bhagsunag can be approached by road, here an old temple, a fresh water spring and restaurant are located. Further about 2kms. is beautiful Bhagsunag water falls which sooths one's eyes.

St. John's Church

8km from Dharamsala, between Forsythganj and Mcleodganj is the charming dressed-stone church of St. John in the Wilderness. Under the shade of deodar branches, a memorial has been erected over the body of the British Viceroy, Lord Elgin who died at Dharamsala in 1863. There is a well tended old graveyard on these grassy sloped.

Dal Lake

The lake lies amidst hills and stately fir trees 11kms. from Lower Dharamshala connected by motorable road. Surrounded by deodar trees, this is on the motor road to Talnu. Held sacred, this has a small Shiva temple on its banks. The banks of the lake are enlivened every September by a fair attended - amongst others - by a large number of migrant Gaddi folk.It is the starting point of excursions and trekking and is located next to the Tibetan Children's village.


Situated on the crest of hill 11kms. from Dharamshala. This picnic spot affords a panoramic view of the Kangra valley, Pong Dam lake and Dhauladhar ranges.


20 kms. from Dharamshala, Triund lies at the feet of the perpetually snow clad Dhauladhar at the height of 2975 m . The snow line starts at ilaqa, 5kms. from Triund. It is a popular picnic and trekking spot. Accommodation is available in the rest house of Forest Department ,but water has to be fetched from a distance of about 2kms. Ropeway is being installed from Dharamshala to this place.

War Memorial

Set amidst beautiful surroundings , this memorial is built near the entry point to Dharamshala to commemorate the memory of those who fought valiantly for the defence of the motherland

Kunal Pathri

A level 3kms. walk from Kotwali Bazar leads upto the rock temple of the local goddess.


22kms. from Kotwali Bazar it has a rest house for night halt. On way visit Kareri lake situated at the distance of 13kms. from rest house. Durbasa and Kali temples are located here.

Dehra Gopipur

It is situated on the bank of the Beas. It is possible to use Dehra as a base for different fishing areas like Pong Dam, Pattan, kurn and Nadaun. There are PWD &Forest rest houses for a night stay . one can also visit the famous temple of Chintpurni from here.


It is situated 41 kms. from Dharamshala and can be approached by road the natural cave temple of Trilokpur contains a stalactite and stalagamite is dedicated to Shiva. High on the ridge of the cave are ruins of a palace and baradari (audience hall)of Lehna Singh Majitha, Governor of Kangra hills during the Sikh rule.


66kms. from Dharamshala , Nurpur is famous for an old fort and a temple of Brij Raj. Nurpur acquired its name in 1672, when Jahangir, the Mughal Emperor named it after his wife Nurjahan. Nurpuri shawls are good. There is a PWD rest house for the convenient stay of tourists.