Dharamshala: Land of The Dalai Lama!
Dharamshala, Land of the Dalai Lama. Scenic, mystic, charming, beautiful! If you’re heading to India on a grand adventure to experience the different facets of the country, there’s just no way you can afford to miss out on Dharamshala, the social, cultural and spiritual home of the Dalai Lama in the ruggedly picturesque state of Himachal Pradesh.
Start planning your visit to Dharamshala here!
Dharamshala is beautifully designed, awe-inspiringly carved, vividly colourful and quite, quite, enchanting, with its quaint location on the hills of the Kangra Valley and against the background of the rugged and snowy Dhauladhar mountains, vibrant eclectic people and charmingly Tibetan culture that makes it seem more of a village in Tibet than a sanctuary in India!
There’s so much to see and do in Dharamshala that you’ll be spoiled for choice! Let’s take a look at everything that this beautiful destination has to offer the curious tourist and the budding Buddhist!
What to See and Do in Dharamshala
- Sightseeing – Dharamshala has more than its fair share of fascinating sights, not least of which is the Dalai Lama Temple! No trip to McLeodganj is complete without a visit to this most famous of Buddhist Temples, and home to the 14th Dalai Lama. Other interesting spots to check out include the Norbulingka Institute of Tibetan Culture, the Church of St. John in the Wilderness, Kotwali Bazaar, Kangra Art Museum and the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium.
- Buddhism – For Buddhists, Dharamshala is the one place in the world that holds the key to the truth. Dharamshala is overflowing with monks from all walks of life, in maroon and saffron, most of whom make their way to this beautiful hill-station for a taste of the Buddhist way
- Picnicking – Picking wild berries, lying back on the green, green grass as you listen to the birds chirping and the leaves rustling, and all you can see in the blue, blue sky and the rambling mountains in the distance! One of the most unspoiled spots in India, Dharamshala is a haven for nature lovers who come here to get away from the crowds and pollution of the cities!
- Trekking – The Dhauladhar Mountain Range offers different levels of treks for both amateurs and professionals. If you’re looking for the perfect hike where you can take in the glorious countryside, breathe in crisp, pine-scented air and enjoy the flora and fauna at the top of one of the most glorious destinations in India, you’ve found it right here!
Where to Stay in Dharamshala
Dharamshala offers a wide range of accommodation requirements, ranging from the ultra-mod luxury hotels that offer tantalizing glimpses of the mountains to picturesque lodges that give you a unique experience into the Indo-Tibet way of life!
I stayed at the Surya McLeod Hotel, which was quite ideal for everything I wanted to do in Dharamshala, with its budget rates, glorious views (ask for rooms at the top) and cosy rooms. Other fantabulous hotels in Dharamshala include:
- Asia Health Resorts – Nestled on the edge of Strawberry Hills, this place is a wonder and a half, with its charmingly picturesque interiors and glorious, glorious views!
- Imperial Heights Resorts – This is the quintessential Dharamshala Hotel, offering crisp pine-scented surroundings, tantalizing views of snow-capped mountains, warm earthy tones in the interior and Tibetan cuisine to die for!
- The Horizon Villa – North – This hotel is ideal for all your excursions in Dharamshala. Located in close proximity to the Dalai Lama Temple on Buddha House Road in McLeodganj, the Horizon Villa – North is one of the more expensive options in Dharamshala, since it’s in a prime location and offers amazing views of the valleys! Take your breakfast in your room balcony overlooking the hilltops.
How to Get to Dharamshala
As a curious traveller who loves the prospect of adventure anywhere, I wanted to do Dharamshala as a road trip, so I could experience for myself the journey from the bottom to the top! Coming towards Dharamshala from Manali was an exhilarating ride by itself, with the narrow, curving roads on the Himalayan mountains offering an adrenalin buzz like no other! Daily buses run from New Delhi, Jammu, Chandigarh, Shimla, Manali and Chamba.
However, if you suffer from motion sickness, you might want to stay off the roads and opt to enter Dharamshala via the closest airport or railway station. With India’s amazing interconnect of train stations, you’ll have no trouble coming to Dharamshala! All you need to do is get your train ticket to the nearest railway station, which happens to be Pathankot. From Pathankot, take the scenic route via the narrow gauge train all the way to Kangra, and then opt for the shuttle to Dharamshala. Via air, your stop should be Gaggal, which is approximately fifteen kilometres from Dharamshala.
Best Time to Visit Dharamshala
If you’re looking to enjoy snow sports in Dharamshala, why not try to be there as soon as the first snow falls? January and February are ideal for winter-lovers, but you need to ensure you bring very warm clothes with you!
If you’re looking to visit Dharamshala now, why not try planning your trip here? You’ll get the best deals that are to be had all year!