The village of McLeod Ganj lying in the upper reaches is known worldwide for the presence of the Dalai Lama. On 29 April 1959, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama established the Tibetan exile administration in the north Indian hill station of Mussoorie. In May 1960, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was moved to Dharamsala. Since then, the Dalai Lama along with his people have been residing in Dharamshala.
Dharamshala is the centre of the Tibetan exile world in India. Following the 1959 Tibetan uprising there was an influx of Tibetan refugees who followed the 14th Dalai Lama. His presence and the Tibetan population has made Dharamshala a popular destination for Indian and foreign tourists, including students studying Tibet.
Dharamshala has an average elevation of 1457 metres (4780 feet). The area covered by Dharamshala is almost 29 km².
Dharamshala is located in the Kangra Valley, in the Dhauladhar mountains, and became the capital of the Kangra District in 1852. It is accessible from Pathankot which is 120 km away. The nearest railway connection to Dharamshala is Kangra. The nearest airport is Gaggal at Kangra, which is just 15 km away. There is a daily flight from Dharamshala to Delhi.
The town is divided between McLeodGanj or Upper Dharamshala (which retains a British colonial atmosphere), and Lower Dharamshala (the commercial centre). Upper Dharamshala (elevation about 1,700 m or 5,580 ft) is about 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) from Lower Dharamshala by road and is some 460 m (1,510 ft) higher.
Dhauladhar means "white ridge" and this breathtaking, snow-capped range rises out of the Kangra Valley to a height of 17,000 feet. They form a treacherous range creating unpredictable weather, but passes of 8,900 feet provide route for the herdsmen of the Ravi Valley beyond. The Kangra Valley is a wide, fertile plain, criss-crossed by low hills.
Dharamshala is divided into two very different parts. Kotwali Bazaar and areas further down the valley are called Lower Dharamsala, while McLeod Ganj and surrounding areas are known as Upper Dharamsala. McLeodganj is nine km by bus route and four km by taxi route up the hill from Kotwali Bazaar. While inhabitants of Lower Dharamsala are almost all Indians, McLeod Ganj is primarily a Tibetan area. McLeod Ganj is surrounded by pine, Himalayan oak, and rhododendron. The main crops grown by local Indians in the valleys below McLeod Ganj are rice, wheat and tea.
How To Reach Dharamshala
The nearest airport at Gaggal is 14 km away after which it is accessible by road. Other airports having regular service are : Jammu 200 km., Amritsar 210 km. and Chandigarh 260 km.
Nearest broad gauge railhead is Pathankot 95 km. From Pathankot there is a narrow gauge railway line up to Kangra (94 km) and from here Dharamshala is 17 km by road.
Almost each and every part of the state is linked by roads. The Himachal Road Transport Corporation is running its buses covering the whole state. There is huge network of HRTC to cater the needs of the people.
Climate of Dharamshala
Dharamshala has a monsoon-influenced Alpine climate. Summer starts in early April and peaks in early June, when temperatures can reach 36oC. Summers last till mid of June. From July to mid September, is the monsoon season, when up to 3000 mm (120 inches) of rain can fall, making Dharamshala one of the wettest places in the state. Autumn is mild and lasts from October to end of November.
Autumn temperatures average around 16-17oC. Winter starts in December and goes on till late February. Snow and sleet is common during the winter in upper Dharamshala, i.e., McLeodganj, Bhagsu Nag, Naddi,etc. Lower Dharamshala hardly receives any solid precipitation except hail. Winter is followed by a short, pleasant spring till April. Historically, the Dhauladhar mountains used to remain snow-covered all year long but for the past five years, they have been losing their snow blanket during dry spells.
The best time to visit are the autumn and spring months.
Places To Visit In Dharamshala
This waterfall is situated at Bhagsu, 2 km from McLeodganj. It lies behind the Bhagsunag Temple. During Monsoon, the fall turns into a 30 feet cascade.
11 km. It has an old temple, a spring, slate quarries and a small yet beautiful waterfall. A popular picnic spot.
The major attraction of this place is the fifteen exquisitely carved monolithic rock temples dating back to 8th century. The carvings of these temples are similar to Kailash temple at Ellora. In the sanctum of the main temple, one can find images of Lord Ram, and the Goddesses Sita and Lakshmi. Masrur is located 15 km south of Kangra.
The Lake is spread in an area of 1 km and is bounded by rhododendrons, deodars, and junipers forest. Annually, a fair is held at the Kali Temple near the Lake. There is another temple close to the lake that is dedicated to sage Durvasa. Dal Lake is 2 km walk westwards from McLeod Ganj bazaar.
Triund is nestled in the foothills of Dhauladhar and is around 17 km from Dharamshala. It's a trekking destination from McLeod Ganj, and offers magnificent vistas of the mountains and valleys. The nightstays are in the hoods, small time caves, that local gaddis with their goat herds use as shelters from rains during the daytime.
This scenic picnic spot is located 5 km northwest of McLeod Ganj. Naddi offers a spectacular view of the Kangra valley. You can trek to Kareri Lake, Triund, and Guna Devi from here. It's also becoming a popular destination for nature lovers.
Tibet has lent importance to Mcleod Ganj. The Buddha temple is situated opposite the present abode of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. This place is well worth a visit and around it is situated Tibetan monasteries and nunnery. A number of residential buildings, restaurants, antique and curio shops are present.
Church Of St. John
In The Wilderness Fifteen minutes' walk from McLeod Gunj, the Anglican church lies in the forest near Forsyth Gunj. This neo-Gothic stone church was built in 1852 and has some fine Belgian stained-glass windows.
This is around 3 km. A level walk from Kotwali Bazar leads up to the rock temple of the local goddess.
11 km. Situated on a hill, this picnic spot affords a panoramic view of the Kangra district and Dhauladhar.
Best Time To Visit Dharamshala
April to June & September to November is the best time to visit Dharamshala.
Important Distance To Dharamshala
Dharamshala to Chandigarh - 239 km.
Dharamshala to Delhi - 514 km.
Dharamshala to Nangal - 145 km.
Dharamshala to Jalandhar - 166 km.
Dharamshala to Hoshiarpur - 128 km.
Dharamshala to Mandi - 147 km.
Dharamshala to Jwalamukhi - 55 km.
Dharamshala to Kullu 214 - km.
Dharamshala to Manali 252 - km.
Dharamshala to Chamba 192 - km.
Dharamshala to Shimla 322 - km.
Dharamshala Cricket Stadium
Dharamshala Cricket Stadium (DCS) is a cricket stadium of international reputation, which serves as the home ground to the Himachal Pradesh state cricket team and also for the IPL team Kings XI Punjab to a limited extent. By virtue of its natural backdrop, it is one of the most attractive cricket stadiums in India. In addition to Ranji matches, some international matches are also planned to be held here. Recently a match between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Superkings held here in which His Holiness the Dalai Lama graced the match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Stadium in Dharamshala. The snow capped mountains can be easily viewed throughout the year. An additional feature is the Dharamsala College nearby which is surrounded by pine trees on one side.
Adventure Sports In Dharamshala
Trekking, Rock climbing, Mountaineering and Fishing are the most popular activities among tourists.
Dharamshala is a starting point to a number of trekking trails that especially lead trekkers across Dhauladhar into the upper Ravi Valley and Chamba district. En route, you cross through forests of deodar, pine, oak and rhododendron, and pass streams and rivers and wind along vertiginous cliff tracks, and also the occasional lake waterfall and glacier.
A 2-km amble takes one to Bhagsu, and then a further 3-km walk will lead the trekkers to Dharamkot. If one wishes to go on a longer walk then he/she can trek 8-km to Triund. The snow line of Ilaqa Got is just a 5-km walk.
Other trekking trails that lead you to Chamba from Dharamshala are:
• Toral Pass (4575m) which begins from Tang Narwana (1150m) that is located nearly 10 km from Dharamshala
• Across Bhimghasutri Pass (4580m) via near-vertical rocky ascents, steep cliffs and dangerous gorges. This is a highly difficult level trek and takes around six days to complete.
• Dharamshala—Bleni Pass (3710m) – Dunali. Compared to other trekking trails, this one is much easier and takes around four or five-days to complete. The trek leads you through alpine pastures, woods, and streams, before ending at Dunali, on the Chamba road.
Also, Dharamshala is an ideal destination for rock climbing enthusiasts. One can go rock climbing over the ridges of the Dhauladhar range.
Fishing is popular in the 20-km stretch of the river Beas between Nadaun and the Pong Dam.
Shopping In Dharamshala
You can shop at the Kotwali Bazar for paintings, sculptures, pottery, coins, jewellery, Shamianas, manuscripts and other traditional artefacts. Held every Sunday, the McLeodganj flea market is a colourful and fascinating collection of Tibetan flavours. Here, you will find local Tibetan food, wine, curios, garments, duvet covers, fur hats, singing bowls and lots more.
Hotels In Dharamshala
Hotel Anand Palace
Spring Valley Resort
Hotel White Heaven
Hotel Snow Crest Inn
Hotel Victoria Palace
Hotel Sahil Plaza
Hotel Pong View
Hotel Himgiri Resorts
Hotel White Haven
Hotel Pong View