Dharamshala is a busy bazaar town and has established itself as the travelers base camp, who come to explore the nearby mountains. Dharamshala is lying on the spur of the Dhauladhar range about 17 km north- east of Kangra town. This hill station is wooded with oak and conifer trees and snow capped mountains enfold three sides of the town while the valley stretches in front. The snowline is perhaps more easily accessible at Dharamshala than at any other hill resort and it is possible to make a day’s trek to a snow-point after an early morning’s start.
Dharamshala is also the headquarter of the Kangra district.The town is divided into two distinct and widely separated sections, Upper and Lower Dharamsala, which differ almost a thousand meters in height.
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.
Tourist attractions around Dharamshala :
Mcleod Ganj :
Around 4km above Dharamsala, or 10km via the main road, McLeod Ganj is the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile and the residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. It’s also the main traveler hangout in Himachal Pradesh, with dozens of budget hotels, trekking companies, net cafés, restaurants, video movie parlors and wall-to-wall shops selling Tibetan souvenirs.
Bhagsunag Fall : ( 11 km. from Dharamshala town ) Known for its old temple, a fresh water spring, water falls and slate quarries. Bhagsunag can be approached by road. The Bhagsu fall is one of the main attractions of Mcleodganj. There are some trek routes to Triund near the fall.
St. John’s Church : ( 8 km. from Dharamshala town ) The church lies in the forest between Mcleod Ganj and Forsyth Ganj. It has a monument dedicated to Lord Elgin, one of the viceroys of India, who died at Chauntra ( Mandi district ) and was buried here in 1863 A.D. The Church has lovely spotted glass windows and there is a Christian cemetery around it. It is ideally situated in the majestic ‘Deodar’ forest.
Dharamkot : ( 14 km. from Dharamshala town ) It is situated on the crest of a hill, this favourite picnic spot affords a panoramic view of the kangra valley and the Dhauladhar ranges. Various small restaurant, and small shops are situated in the path for a quick relaxation and beverages. The scenery from Dharamkot is simply breathtaking
War Memorial : Situated in Dharamshala town. The memorial is situated near the entry point to Dharamshala commemorates the memory of those who fought valiantly for the honour and defence of the mother land. The place is ideally located in the pine forest and offers a very enjoyable walk through pine forest. Near War Memorial is the beautiful GPG College Dharamshala made during the British Era.
Triund : 17 km. from Dharamshala town, at an altitude of 2,827 meters. The snowline starts just 5 km. from Triund and affords a breathtaking view of the snows above and the valley below. It is a popular picnic and trekking spot. Is is the famous trek route for trekking lovers.
Not far from lower Dharamsala, in the green Kangra Valley, is the Norbulingka Institute of Tibetan Culture, founded to preserve, promote, and teach the traditional Tibetan arts, literature, and culture.
Built in the traditional Tibetan style, it’s set in a beautiful garden of meandering paths, flowing streams, small waterfalls, bridges, and koi ponds, while the spectacular Dhualadhar mountains of the outer Himalayas rise impressively in the background.
Kunal Pathari : 3 km. from Dharamshala. A level walk from Kotwali Bazar leads upto the rock temple of the local goddess. Temple is related to a legend dating back to centuries. Located near the beautiful tea gardens, Kunal Pathari Temple offers good view of the Dhauladhar Range. Because of high altitude, Kunal Pathari area greets the visitors with refreshing winds. It is a very ideal place for having a memorable walk and the blessings of the mother goddess.
Dal Lake : Lies amidst hills and deodar tress and is 11 km. from Lower Dhramshala. It is a starting point for excursion and trekking and is located next to Tibetan children’s village.
Naddi : A high point beyond the Dal Lake, Naddi village affords a magnificent view of Dhauladhar mountain range to the north and the vast expanse of lush Kangra valley to the south.
Excursions from Dharmsala
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 center.
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.
Tatwani & Machhrial(25Km.)
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.
On the way from Pathankot, 41-km from Dharamsala are the unique cave temples with a stalactite and stalagmites dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Chamunda Devi Temple
It is an enchanting spot with glorious views of the mountains, the Baner Khud, Pathiar and Lahla forests. 15-km from Dharamshala a tiny village of Dadh on Palampur road is the famous temple dedicated to Goddess Chamunda Devi
Masrur Rockcut Temple
Masrur is 32 km from Kangra on Nagrota Surian link road and is famous for remarkable group of rock cut temples. They form a group of 15 monolithic rock cut temples in the Indo Aryan style and are richly carved. These richly 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.
Nurpur Fort (66 km)
Nurpur Fort was renamed by the Emperor Jehangir, son of the Great Moghul Jalal-Ud-Din Mohammad Akbar. The fort is now in its ruins, but still has some finely carved reliefs.
Pong Lake Sanctuary (65 km)
Pong Dam reservoir is 65-km from Panthankot and 115-km from Dharamsala on the Beas River. The Pong Dam Lake is significant for a wildlife sanctuary with wild life species like Nilgai, Sambar, Barking Deer, Wild Buar, Clawless Otter, and Leopard. The reservoir is developed on a large scale for promoting water sports for tourists
How To reach – Dharmshala
Dharamsala can be approached by air from Delhi and the nearest Airport is at Gaggla, just 13-km away from the town.
Pathankot is 85-km and is the nearest railhead for Dharamsala. Trains from all over the country make a stop over at Pathankot
One can drive from Delhi via Chandigarh, Kiratpur, Bilaspur and it’s an 8-hours journey. From Delhi and Shimla, luxury buses ply to Dharamsala.