Dharamshala is a beautiful hill station located in the Kangra Valleys in Himachal Pradesh. This serene land surrounded by the snow-laden mountains of Dhauladhar range is situated at 1475 meters above sea level. The headquarters of Central Tibetan Administration and the residence of the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama are located in Upper Dharamshala, popularly known as McLeod Ganj. With a lot of monasteries, temples, churches, museums and amazing trekking trails, Dharamshala attracts a large number of tourists every year. Mesmerizing natural beauty, rich culture and the presence of Dalai Lama make Dharamshala an awe-inspiring destination. Gaggal Airport is located at 13 km and Pathankot railway station is at 84 km from Dharamshala. It is well connected by road with major cities like Pathankot, Delhi, Dalhousie, Shimla, Kullu, Manali, etc.
McLeod Ganj : This beautiful village, which is also known as “Little Lhasa” or “Dhasa”, is famous for the headquarters of Central Tibetan Administration and also the residence of DalaiLama.
Dalai Lama Temple : Also known as Tsuglagkhang Complex, this peaceful place is one of the largest Tibetan temples outside Tibet.
Namgyal Monastery : This famous monastery is a major cultural and learning center, which has more than 200 Tibetan monks. It was established by the 3rd Dalai Lama in 1575 AD.
Gyuto Monastery : Founded in the 15th century by the discipleof the 1st Dalai Lama, it is a serene place well known for tantric meditation.
Kangra Fort : This historical fort is one of the oldest structures with amazing architecture.It dates back to 9th century AD.
Kangra Museum : A must-visit museum which displays several artifacts, manuscripts, handicrafts, pottery etc., significant to the ancient Tibetan Buddhist culture.
Dal Lake : Spread across one square kilometer, it is a beautiful picnic spot that resembles the Dal Lake in Kashmir.
Masrur : Masrur is famous for its rock-cut temples, which are architectural marvels and have images of Hindu deities Rama, Sita and Lakshmana.
Naddi Village : Naddi village offers magnificent views of the surroundings and is one of the popular places mostly visited by nature lovers and trekkers.
In addition to the above, Dharamshala has many more attractions, which include Triund Hills, Bhagsunath Temple, Jwalamukhi Devi Temple, Naam Art Gallery, Bhagsu Waterfall, Tibetan Library, etc.
Dharamshala has a number of shopping areas that offer varieties of Tibetanhandicrafts, sculptures, dresses, carpets, shawls, rugs, souvenirs and several attractive gift items. Kotwali Bazaar, Tibetan Handicraft Center, Palaco Hand-made Crafts, Divine Buddha Handicrafts, Village Boutique, etc., are some of the popular shopping places. The Green Shop run by the Tibetan Welfare Office is a good place for recycled goods and eco-friendly products.
A number of restaurants in Dharamshala serve delicious Tibetan foods. ‘Momos’ are their specialty. Besides, one should try Thukpas, Baklebs, and other Tibetan dishes. Honey ginger lemon tea, which is a refreshing drink, is another specialty. Many restaurants also serve South Indian, North Indian, Italian, Chinese, and Israeli dishes. Taste of India, Woeser Bakery, Tibet Kitchen, Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen, Four Seasons Restaurant, Xcite, etc., are some of the popular eating joints.
Though Dharamshala is more spiritual, still people can find a lot of places for entertainment in the evening hours. One can stroll down the hilly road and enjoy the cool breeze, watch a movie on a big screen at a Video Parlour, visit a restaurant and enjoy live music and poetry, or spend some relaxed hours in a bar and unwind themselves. Tavern the Bar, Xcite Bar and Restaurant, Mcllo Bar and Restaurant, etc., are some good places to enjoy a few drinks.
Dharamshala offers a lot of activities to all kinds of travellers regardless of their age. Kids, youngsters, couples, families and friends can involve in exciting activities as per their choice. One can explore the historical and spiritual destinations, go for trekking on some of the best trekking trails, do camping in some beautiful spots, try a Tibetan food- walk, walk around the markets and enjoy a great shopping experience, watch a movie at a Video Parlour, or simply stroll along the misty hills and feel the coolness and serenity of the surrounding.