Situated on the foot hills of the panoramic Dhaulandhar Mountains, the town of Dharamshala is located at the higher slopes of the upper Kangra Valley. The township of Dharamshala has been divided into two districts namely upper and lower Dharamshala. The difference between the heights of these two districts is almost 1000 meters. For year now, the town of Dharamshala has become a seat of the Buddhism as well as the abode to the renowned monk Dalai Lama, who is also the leader of the Tibetan religious community. Even though Dharamshala is the abode of Tibetan community in India, yet the footprint of the colonial rule can be still felt in the lifestyle of Dharamshala. This picturesque town is encircled by pine as well as Deodar trees from all the sides which give this town a green backdrop. Nearby snowline and multiple streams couples with nice and healthy serine atmosphere makes this place very gorgeous. The township of Dharamshala houses busy market places which have added to its vacationerâ€™s attraction and therefore, the tourist who come to explore the nearby mountains make this town their base camp. The renowned Kotwali Bazaar is a place where one can experience all the colors and flavors of a small township. The lifestyle of the people of Dharamshala is very simple. The mesmerizingly beautiful temples and Gompas represent a blend of Hindu and Buddhist religions. Over the last few decades numerous institutes have developed over here to preserve the remains of the Hindu and Tibetan culture. One can get a glimpse of the rich cultural heritage of this province once you visit the Kangra museum.
The township of Dharamshala is located at a height of around 1475 meters above sea level. The total area covered by this township is roughly 29 square kilometers. Situated at the valley of Kangra in the lap of Dhaulandhar Mountains, this township was declared the capital of Kangra in the year 1852. This town is closest to Pathankot. Because of the location and administrative convenience, this township has been fragmented into two zones namely the Mc Load Ganj which till date retains its colonial flavor and the Lower Dharamshala. The upper Dharamshala is located at height of 1700 meters above the sea level and is at a distance of around 9 kilometers from the district of Lower Dharamshala.
There are many tourist attractions in this picturesque town. The most famous of them all are:
Mc Leod Ganj: This place is located around 9 kilometers from Dharamshala. This the place of Tibetan settlement is renowned for its bazaars where one can buy handicraft items, eat authentic Tibetan food and visit figurine of Lord Buddha, monasteries and gompas.
Norbulinka Institute: This tourist destine was set up to save and preserve the specimens of Tibetan arts and culture. This institute is renowned all across for its wood work as well as tangka paintings.
War Memorial: This is the place which you word see while you are entering this beautiful town. This was built in the fond memory of the brave soldiers who fought for India in various wars.
Bahssunath: Situated at around 11 kilometers away from Dharamshala, this place is famous for its water fall and the temple there in which is a shrine for the Hindus. This place is very close to Mc Leod Ganj.
Trimud: Situated at around 17 kilometers away from Dharamshala, this place is best suited for picnics and adventure sport such as trekking. One would take approximately an entire to trek the whole region. The snow caped valley located at around 5 kilometers from Trimud offers a mesmerizing view of the snow on top and the valley just beneath it.
Dal Lake: Set amidst deodar trees this is a perfect picnic spot where one can witness the serine beauty of nature and can also take part in trekking.
Kangra: Kangra is a tiny town situated at around 17 kilometers away from Dharamshala. This place is famous because of the temples such as Jawadevi temple, Brajeshwari Devi Temple, Kangra Fort whose remains are still there. This fort was destroyed by an earth quake in the year 1905. This tiny town was reworked to its present day structure starting 1920. This place in one way can also be termed as a shrine for the Hindus.
Karreri: Located at around 22 kilometers away from Dharamshala, this place is renowned for its pine trees and green backdrop. Around 13 kilometers away from Karreri is another tourist spot named Kareri Lake which is surrounded by oak as well as pine trees.
Nurpur: Named after the famous Mughal lady Noorjahan, this tourist destination is renowned for the Krishna Temple and the fort which is located here.
The other notable destines of tourist importance include Chamunda Devi temple which is located at around 15 kilometers away from Dharamshala, Palampur and Tatwani & Machhrial.
Travelling to Dharamshala is pretty easy as this hilly region is very well connected by rail, road and air with the rest of India. The internal communication system of the city is also well managed and convenient.
By Air: The nearest air base from this town is Gaggal which is located at a distance of thirteen Kilometers away from Dharamshala. This airport and the services therein connect this small town to the rest of the cities like New Delhi and Shimla.
By Rail: From Dharamshala, the closest meter gauge rail head is Kangra Mandir which is situated around 22 kilometers away from this township. The broad gauge rail head however is Pathankot which is approximately 90 kilometers away from Dharamshala. The railway station at Pathankot connects this township to the rest of the country through Indian Railway network.
By Road: This hilly town of Dharamshala is connected to Jalandhar and Pathankot through the national highway number one. There is a very well connected by road with places such as Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Punjab etc. State and private owned coaches connects this town with the nearby areas.
One can do a lot of things while on a tour of Dharamshala. A few of the things one can really do here include:
Adventure Sports: Adventure lovers can explore their thirst to full as Dharamshala place offers the adventure lovers numerous stretches to trek on. Apart from trekking one can also take on rock climbing paragliding etc.
Winter Sports: As Dharamshala receives plenty of snowfall and therefore it gives the winter sports loves ample of opportunity to enjoy numerous winter sports which includes skiing, skating etc. One can also enjoy the snow fall and the scenic beauty evolver thereof.
Enjoy Local Food: On a trip of Dharamshala one can savor his or her taste buds with some mouthwatering delicacies which are prepared over here. Apart for Indian and Chinese preparations, one can also enjoy Tibetan food here which one can get in the cafes located at Mc Lode Ganj.
Festivals: Numerous Hindu, Buddhist and Tibetan festivals are celebrated here in Dharamshala. One can be a part of any of these events which keep on happening form time to time.
Though everybody has a preference of their own, but this tiny town of Dharamshala is place which can be visited all through the year. But each of the seasons of this region has something to offer everyone. if you are somebody fascinated to adventure sport and winter sports then you can choose to visit in the months between April till July and December till February. But if you are someone who loves to be in the lap of nature and enjoy natural scenic beauty then you can plan a trip of Dharamshala in the rainy season.
Formed in the year of 1849 by the then rulers, the British as a cantonment, this picturesque township was opted as the summer capital. One of the viceroys of British India, Lord Elgin was buried here in accordance to his wish near St. Johns Church. In the year 1959 the Chinese invaded Tibet, and eventually a lot of Tibetans moved here and got settled here with the passage in time. Renowned monk Dalai Lama made Mc Load ganja his headquarters in the same period.
Because of its geographical location, the town of Dharamshala enjoys a relatively cold weather throughout the year. This weather made the Dharamshala the summer capital of the British provincial administration. This town sees three seasons which are:
Summer: Summers in this region arrives in the month of March and continues till July. This is one of the best times to visit this town. The mercury normally remains below 300 centigrade but the nights get a bit cold even in the summers.
Monsoon: Monsoon hits the town of Dharamshala normally in the month of July and lasts till the end of September. The rains make the mercury to dip a bit than normal. The scenic beauty of this town increases in this season as the rains washes off the green backdrop of this town consisting of pine as well as deodar trees. The incessant rain most of the time causes landslides here.
Winter: This is one of the best times to be in Dharamshala. Winters knock this region in the month of December and lasts till the end of February. This season is marked by thick fog cover and snow fall. Temperature in this period here drops significantly till minus level. It snows constantly in these three months of winter.