If someone asks me about my favorite destination in the world, then it has to be none other than Dharamsala. Nestled in the majestic Dhauladhar range of the Kangra Valley in Himachal Pradesh, this small quaint town is the center of the Tibetan exiles in India. The moment I landed in this beautiful region for the first time, I immediately fell in love with its pristine natural beauty that wooed me for my life. And my love for this place grows stronger and stronger every time I visit this beautiful destination.
What I love most about Dharamsala is the casual nature of this place which is so prominent not only among its residents but also the surrounding as a whole.
Foreigners throng this place as a recluse of solace in their own wandering ways.
The innocent lamas with their ever smiling face and twinkling eyes welcome you wherever you go and this gives you such a warm feeling that you do not feel alien at any point.
No doubt Dharamsala is a tourist paradise but above all it has many other specialties that make it so popular not only among Indians but foreigners too. Let’s go through some below:
Activities to do in Dharamsala
- Mountaineering course: If you are an adventure freak, then you may check into a mountaineering course in various institutes in Dharamsala such as Regional Mountaineering Center, Himachal Trekkers, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and allied sports. They offer some wonderful adventure programmes with certification on completion of any course.
- Voluntary Social Activities: Many of us want to engage ourselves in voluntary activities but do not have any clue. So here is a great chance to help the Tibetan refugees through your voluntary services like teaching English to the refugees, Childcare, women welfare etc., through organisations such as Learning And Ideas for Tibet, Mountain Cleaners, Tong-Len, Life line, Tibetan Children’s Community and much more.
- Buddhist Studies: Buddhism is not a religion but a philosophy of life and for those who want to deepen their Buddhist knowledge or learn the basics of Buddhism then you may take up the courses offered by Tushita Meditation Centre, Himachal Vipassana Centre, Tibetan Institute of Performing Art etc.
For tourists, Dharamsala offers wonderful possibilities as a tourist destination. The upper Dharamsala also known as Mcleodgang is a separate town located at a distance of approx. 6 kms and is gifted with nature’s boundless beauty and splendor. The places you may visit during your stay in Dharamsala are below:
- Namgyal Monastry: It is the home to the 14th The Dalai Lama and is situated within the Tsuglagkhang complex in Mcleodganj. It is one of the oldest monasteries in India that is located in the foothill of the great Dhauladhar range.
- Triund: At a distance of about 10 kms from Mcleodganj, Triund is at a higher altitude and offers some breathtaking views of the Himalayan Range. During my last visit in Nov, it was covered with snow and a trek through the snowy hills was an event to cherish for my life.
- Church of St. Johns: Built in 1852, this Church is one of the best gothic architecture in the state. I was so much mesmerized by its solitude and quietness.
- Kangra Fort: Renowned as one of the oldest forts in India, Kangra fort is a majestic architecture that was constructed in the 4th century B.C by the Kangra Royal family.
- Dal Lake: It is a beautiful tourist attraction and is named after the Dal Lake of Kashmir for its similar beauty.
- Bhagsu Falls: The cascading waterfall is a beautiful tourist attraction and is also the site for Bhagsunath temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
- Norbulinka Institute: Founded in 1988, it is an institute for preserving Tibetan art, culture and language.
- Dalai Lama Temple Complex: If you want solace and peace, then you must visit this complex that reverberates with the chants of monks and pristine calmness.
- Stadium: The HPCA stadium is the most beautiful cricket stadium in India as it is set in the backdrop of the beautiful Himalayan Range. It is set at an altitude of 1457 m above sea level.
- Shopping: Jogibara market and Kotwali market are the best places to shop in Dharamsala. The markets are famous for woolens, shawls, Tibetan bells, and other souvenirs.
- Trek in the wild: Dharamsala is one of the best places for trekking lovers and every year trekkers from across the world visit this place for a great adventure trail.
- Dhauladhar Range: The Great Himalayan Dhauladhar range is a grand view of the Himalayan range. A trek to te Dhauladhar range is the most gratifying trek one could think of.
How to reach Dharamsala
By Road: It is connected to all the major cities. However Delhi (NH 1) is the easiest route which takes around 12 hrs by bus or car.
By Train: Chakki Bank and Pathan Kot are the nearest railway stations.
By Air: Gaggal Airport is about 15 kms from Dharamasala main town.