A small and beautiful hill station Dharamshala is one of the popular tourist places of Himachal Pradesh. This Dharamshala tourism guide with information like places to visit in Dharamshala, nearby attractions, how to reach, things to do etc will help you to organize your trip. The beauty of this hill station is so enthralling that it is also known as ‘Scotland of India’. Located in the lap of Kangra valley, Dharamshala is situated at 1475 meters above the sea level. This place is majorly known for Tibetan settlement and the seat of 14th Dalai Lama. Dharamshala for its Tibetan population and the Dalai lama is internationally known as “little Lhasa in India “. The famous Dalai lama temple is also built here which is a major attraction of this place. Besides this Dharamshala is blessed with beautiful scenic beauty. A nearby snowline with end number of streams makes this hill station very attractive and special. The colorful temple and Gompas, which reflect the culture of Tibet, adds attraction for the visitor. The mountains enfold it from three sides while the valley stretches in front. Thick deodar tree, calm environment, picturesque views and white mountains attract tourist to come and witness the beauty of nature. Dharamshala is broadly divided into two parts, Upper and Lower Dharamshala. Upper Dharamshala, also referred to as McLeodganj is the major tourist attraction, as it is more scenic and is home to the Dalai Lama and magnificent Buddhist hermitages. Lower Dharamshala, on the other hand, comprises the civic structures like educational institutions, offices, bus station and hospitals.
Best time to visit Dharamshala
Dharamshala has a very pleasant weather in summer, during monsoons rainfall is seen here and during winters snow covers the long thick forest of deodars. Now it’s on your interest and choice. Dharamshala has everything in its treasure. If you want to witness the beautiful climate of Dharamshala then March to mid of July is the best time for you to visit, if you want to enjoy the beauty and greenery of this hill station then monsoon(mid-July to mid-September) is the best time to visit and if you love snowfall then you must visit this place in winters(December to February). Rest of the time has its own charm so you may also visit this place mid-September to November to relax and enjoy the serenity of Dharamshala.
How to reach Dharamshala
- By Air: The nearest airport is Gaggal Airport which is 13 km away from Dharamshala. From the airport taxis and busses are there to reach the place.
- By Train: Pathankot railway station is the nearest railway station for Dharamshala which is at a distance of 85 km. busses are running frequently for Dharamshala from the bus stand near the station. you can also hire a taxi fo Dharamsala which will cost 1000 INR, sharing taxis are also available which costs 300 INR for one seat.
- By Bus: Dharamshala is very well connected by road from the major cities. From Delhi Volvo, bus service and state bus transport busses are running frequently. so if you are residing in Delhi or NCR then reaching Dharamshala by bus is much easier and comfortable.
Places to visit in Dharamshala
Here is the list of top ten best places to visit in Dharamshala.
McLeod Ganj is the most important tourist place of Dharamshala. Buddhist 14th Saint Dalai Lama’s residence makes this auspicious and special for tourists as well as Buddhist. The mesmerising beauty, fresh air, snow capped mountain peaks and thick deodar cedar forest surrounded all over makes this place perfect for nature lovers. It is stated that many famous personalities like Bill Gates, James Bond, Arnold Schwazneger and many more visited this hill station silently to witness the beauty of the place and to get some inner peace. Mcleod Ganj is named after Sir Donald Friell McLeod, a Lieutenant Governor of Punjab. particularly this place of Dharamshala is famously known as “Little Lhasa”. It is situated in the Dhauladhar Range, so when you are planning to visit this place you must trek to ‘hanuman ka tibba’ which is approximately 5 km away. Snow covered white mountains, chilled air kissing your face and greenery of thick deodar trees altogether creates a magical effect.
Dalai lama Temple
The famous Dalai Lama Temple is a must visit the place during your Dharamshala Trip. In India, it is the only Dalai lama temple. The temple just a few km away from the McLeod Ganj bus stand. If you looking for peace then this is a place for you. The Dalai Lama’s residence is just behind the temple and the way from the temple to the residence is really very beautiful. Decorated with the colorful prayer flags, it’s perfect for long serene walks or early morning meditation with chanting monks. Every day thousands of devotee and tourist visit this place. The peaceful environment and beauty of nature attract people in a huge number. The temple complex is open daily, from sunrise to sunset, and visitors are welcome to explore the peaceful ambiance of the surroundings. In the early morning, you are welcome to participate as the monks chant and meditate.
Dal Lake of Dharamshala
Dal lake is approximately 2 km away from the Mcleod Ganj Bus stop. Reaching this place by walk is the best option as the way to this place is full of beautiful sights. The beauty of the lake and its surrounding is really breathtaking. Nestling amidst lush green forests of deodar trees, the Dal Lake is famous for its scenic beauty and pilgrimage center. Boating in Dal lake is a must do thing when you visit this place. Spending some quality time with you family and loved ones while boating in the paradise of nature is a lifetime experience. On the bank of the lake, 200 years old lord Shiva temple is also a major tourist attraction. Maa Kali Temple is also situated on the other end of the Lake.
Masrur Rock cut Temple
Masrur rock cut temple or Himalayan Pyramid also known as Ellora of HimachPradeshesh is located in Masrur of Kangra in the backdrop of the Dhauladar Range and Beas River valley. If you are a monument lover then list this place as must see spot in Dharamshala. The beauty of this place is very unique, a small lake or pond is flowing just in the front of the main temple where the partial reflection the of temple looks very beautiful. The architecture of the temple is a fusion of indian and Aryan style. These awesomely ornamented cave temples are the only rock shrines in the northern part of India.The main shrine contains three stone images of Ram laxman and Sita but the presence of the figure of Shiva in the center of the lintel affords a strong presumption that the temple was originally dedicated to Mahadeva. The entry ticket for this place is just 5 INR per person. Masroor Temple is located on a Hill top from where marvelous view of Dhauladhar Mountain Ranges can be seen. Snow Capped hills of Dhauladhar Himalayas look amazing in Sunset colors. Mountains look pinkish as if all of them are colored for this special moment.
Kangra Fort also known as ‘Nagarkot’ is approximately 3 kms away from the main town. Trekking is the best option to reach the fort as the way to this place is really beautiful. Green lush deodar trees and inhalling fresh air while trekking will rejuvenate you mind and soul. The fort is steeped in rich history. There is a muesum at the entrance of the fort where you can see the rarest photos of Kangra Princess. The fort was built by the royal rajput of kangra dynasty and is the largest fort of Himachal Pradesh and probably the oldest dated fort in India. There are a few beautiful stones, carvings, idols, artefacts and sculptures.The climb inside the fort will lead one through seven huge doors. Along the way, one will encounter a few numbers of idols imprinted on the walls of the fort. One can at once see the history of this fort come alive.
Namgyal Monastery is a private Monastry of dalai lama where only Dalai lama and students are allowed to go, however tourists can visit the namgyal art gallery, which opens from 10 am to 7 pm but remains closed on Mondays. The monastry is in Tsuglagkhang Complex, where a Tibetan museum is the main attraction and a cafeteria, a book shop and library, prayer wheels and Buddhist shrines, apart from the royal but simple residence of the Tibetan spiritual leader can also be seen. Visitors are allowed to move anywhere in the complex without any obstacles and difficulties. One can reach this place hiring a taxi. The scenic beauty and peaceful environment of the place will attract you visit this place again and again. Surrounded by Dhauladhar range, beauty of snow peaks and greenery of pine trees offers a perfect tranquility in the location.
The enchanting water fall Bhagsunag fall is an important tourist spot in Dharamshala which is 11 kms away from the city. This place is famous for old temple, fresh spring of water, spectacular waterfall and the green thick cedar forest all around. The famous Bhagsunag temple, where Lord shiva is worshipped, is the main attraction. Huge number of tourists as well as local people visit this temple to pay there devotion and to witness the beauty of the nature. The height of this waterfall is approximately 20 meters and it is an absolute marvel to look at, especially during the monsoon. There is a nice cafeteria next to the fall for tourists to indulge in lip-smacking snacks and drinks that are served with warmth. The Bhagsunag Fall is located only 2 kms from Mcleoganj and can be best visited while on a trek.
Located on a very high altitude, Kareri Lake also known as Kumarwah Lake is around 9 kms from Dharamshala. Due to the fresh shallow water, the bed of the lake is easily visible. This lake also serves as excellent trekking spot in the Dhauladhar region. Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti temple is at the hilltop which is also a great place to visit. If you are in the mood to picnic and want to spend some quality time with your family and loved ones then this place is perfect for you. The lake remains frozen during winters and looks like white bed of snow.The Kareri Lake trekking originates from the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh and takes the participants through lush forests, narrow terrains, whirly passes, scenic meadows and much more. Adding more, while on this trek, the trekkers can also participate in local tours and adventure activities like Tyrolean Traversing.
At an altitude of 2,827 meters above the sea the spectacular hilltop ‘Triund hill’ is the crown jewel of Dharamshala. From the hilltop a panaromic view of Dhauladhar range can be seen which attract lots of tourist from all over the world. It has the perfect view of the Dhauladhar mountains on one side and kangra valley on the other. It is famous for its trekking route which is achievable by people of all age group. A trek to Triund will take around 4 hours from Mcleodganj and the best time to trek is April – June & September – November. Along the way there are many small tea stalls where one can refresh during the hike.This place gives a breathtaking view of the Moon peak-Indera Pass. Ideal for camping, its unpolluted air and the unspoiled environment make the place an eco-friendly tourist spot.
War Memorial marks the entrance of Dharamsala, the holy city. This city is located on the beautiful slopes of the Kangra Valley and the beautiful surroundings give this tourist spot a serene and calm appeal. It was built to commemorate the memory of those who fought for the honor of their motherland. This place is ideally located in the pine forest of Dharamshala and offers a very pleasant walk through the woods. There are two main attractions nearby the War Memorial-the beautiful GPG College Dharamshala, made during the British Era and a cafe serving fast food and beverages. Surrounded by sprawling gardens, the elegant looking War Memorial is a tribute to those brave souls who sacrificed their life for the country and this signifies that these soldiers will always be alive in our thoughts. During the operations of 1947-48, 1962, 1965, and 1971 and various peacekeeping missions, many soldiers lost their lives, and it was in their memory that the War Memorial was built with the names of those many heroes inscribed on the stone.
Places to visit near Dharamshala
There are some very beautiful places near Dharamshala which can be visited during the Dharamshala on a one day trip. Here is the list of places to visit nearby Dharamshala:
Things to do in Dharamshala
- Dharamshala is a truly spectacular environment to embark on your exciting and transformative yoga journey.
- Try authentic Tibetan food especially Momo. Delicious Momo are served here at a very affordable price.
- Do some shopping at Tibetan market. Handicrafts and Artifacts are the things you can buy for yourself and for your loved ones.
- Trekking is a must do activity if you love adventure, so keep your trekking shoes with you.
- Boating in kareri lake with your family should be there on your list.
- This an ideal destination for adventurous enthusiasts as the town offers plenty of activities that one can enjoy here.