Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh)

DharamsalaSynonym for Buddhism in India

Dharamsala is famed as the holy abode of Tibetan charismatic leader Dalai Lama and houses the Tibetan Government in exile. Dharamsala is a synonym for Buddhism in India. It is situated on the upper hilly terrains of Kangra Valley and set against the scenic backdrop of exquisite Dhauladhar Mountains. The gorgeous city is distinctively divided as upper and lower divisions with two altitude ranges.

Home to the Tibetan leader, this is the perfect place to learn about Buddhism and the Tibetan struggle for freedom. The city is dominated by the Tibetan populace while still retaining the British fervor and English lifestyles. Numerous Buddhist Viharas or Gompas, presenting great cultural values and Tibetan architecture, are the main attractions of Dharamsala.

Dharamsala has a vibrant environment with dense green forests with Deodar trees and pine trees. Blessed with many clear and unpolluted streams it is an ideal retreat for nature lovers. This place has been renowned as one of the best picnic spots in India.

Kotwali Bazaar is a perfect shopping place where one can view the color and lifestyles of the entire Dharamsala community. The market is considered as the base camp for tourists traveling to upper Dharamsala. Those who love nature walks and trekking can stay in this base camp and explore the hilly forest regions.

One of the tourist attractions in Dharamsala is the Kangra Art Museum, displaying the rich past of Dharamsala and the culture of the Tibetan people. There are some institutions as well which are established to preserve the grand old Tibetan traditions, cultures and arts.


Haripur-Guler, Kangra: Haripur-Guler is a twin township in Kangra district famous for preserving the heritage of Guler Riyasat. The towns are separated only by a small river making it a haven for migratory birds.

The hill in Haripur still has the ruins of various monuments and a fort built by Raja Hari Chand. There are a few temples as well as a cave which make it a place worth visiting. The town is also famous for its traditional Kangra paintings.

Kangra Art Museum: Situated close to the bus stand, Kangra Art Museum is a unique museum displaying the artifacts of Tibetan and Buddhist cultures. This is a treasure of Kangra Valley’s cultural past, crafts, arts and other ancient artifacts. Some of the displayed items in the museum date back to 5th century.

Kangra Fort, Kangra: Located just 20 km from Dharamsala and 3 km from Kangra, the Kangra Fort is a magnificent structure built by the royal family of Kangra. The fort finds a mention in the war records of Alexander, around 4th century B.C. It is one of the largest and oldest forts in India.

Tibetan Library: Tibetan Library, located at Gangchen Kyishong Complex (3km), is just halfway up the mountain between lower Dharamsala and Mcleodganj. It is the archive store of Tibetan works, cultures and arts. The library encloses original Tibetan manuscripts and serves as an excellent depository of rich heritage of Tibetan literature.

War Memorial: War Memorial is adorning the entrance to the great old holy city of Dharamsala. Memorial is placed in a perfect place of peace, amidst the lush green pine trees to pay tribute to Great War heroes from Himachal Pradesh in the post-Independence era. The war memorial is beautifully decorated with attractive green lawns and artistic landscaping.

Bhagsu Falls, Mcleodganj: Bhagsu Falls is a small yet beautiful waterfall located 2km away from Mcleodganj. Around 0.5 km from the waterfall stands the Bhagsunath temple and the waterfall is revered by devotees who throng the temple.

Dal Lake, Mcleodganj: Dal Lake, which is 2km walk westwards from Mcleodganj market, is renowned for its scenic beauty and the cool ambience. With an altitude of 1775 m, the lake is situated at the vehicular road between Mcleodganj and the village of Naddi. Surrounded by deep green Deodar forests, it is also a base camp for trekkers in Dharamsala and Mcleodganj.

Hanuman-Ka-Tibba, Mcleodganj: Hanuman-Ka-Tibba is an ideal trekking route for all those who love challenges. Situated right in front of McLeodganj, it offers a spectacular and breathtaking sight. It is the highest point in the Dhauladhar ranges and is famous for scenic views.

Kareri Lake, Kangra: Kareri Lake is a shallow fresh water lake around 9 km from Dharamsala. Located on a very high altitude, the lake is fed by the snow melting from the Dhauladhar mountains. Due to the fresh shallow water, the bed of the lake is easily visible. This lake also serves as an excellent trekking spot in the Dhauladhar region.

Neugal Khad, Palampur: Neugal Khad is located around 2 kms from the main town and serves as an ideal picnic spot. Also called as Bundla Chasm, there is a 300 mt wide stream where tourists can enjoy picnicking. The spot also offers scenic views of the Dhauladhar ranges. The place receives rainfall throughout the year, but the beauty increases bounty times during the monsoons.

Tea Gardens, Palampur: Palampur is the only destination in Himachal Pradesh that boasts of tea garden attractions. Lush tea gardens sprawling over vast acres of land are enough to captivate the senses of onlookers. Palampur is also known as the ‘Tea Capital of Northwest India’, and the splendorous virgin beauty of the place is the USP of this holiday destination.

Triund, Mcleodganj: Triund, the name of a crest in the Dhauladhar ranges in The Himalayas, is a very famous tourist attraction, which is 9 km trek from Mcleodganj. 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.

Best time to visit

Dharmasala has a cool climate all through the year but the best season to visit Dharmasala is from mid-September to June.

How to reach
By Train: Nearest railway station is Kangra Mandir at a distance of 22 km from Dharamsala. All trains won’t stop here. The major rail junction is Pathankot, which is about 85 km away from Dharamsala. Pathakot is well connected to all major cities in India.
By Air: Gaggal airport (also known as Dharamsala airport) in Kangra valley is the nearest airport. It is 15 km away from Dharamsala. This airport connects domestic flights to Delhi. International travelers have to connect through Delhi Airport, which is about 520 km away from Dharamsala.

By Bus: Regular bus services are available in Dharamsala connecting the nearby cities.

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