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Ideal Trip Duration: 2 Full Days

Base Station: Dharamshala

Nearest City to Dharamshala: Shimla (237 Kms)

Best Time to Visit Dharamshala: April to June & September to November

Peak Season: April to May & September to October

State: Himachal Pradesh | District: Kangra

Dharamshala Weather: Summer: Maximum - 30°C and Minimum - 16°C
Winter: Maximum - 16°C and Minimum - 5 °C

At a distance of 9 km from McLeod Ganj, 16 km from Kangra, 84 km from Pathankot, 115 km from Dalhousie, 194 km from Kullu, 234 km from Manali, 237 km from Shimla, and 486 km from Delhi, Dharamshala is a hill station in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. At an average altitude of 1,475 m above sea level, it is one of the best hill stations in Himachal state and among most famous Himachal places to visit apart from being a popular weekend getaways from Delhi for a 2 day trip.

This is the gateway to the Kangra valley and also the headquarters of Kangra district. The city was destroyed by a massive earthquake in the year 1905 and was reconstructed to become a health resort and a popular tourist destination. In the year 1960, Dharamshala became a temporary headquarters to His Holiness Dalai Lama. Today, it is known as Little Lhasa or Dhasa, because of its large population of Tibetans and Buddhist Monasteries.

Dharamshala consists of two distinct parts - Lower Dharamsala and Upper Dharamshala. Lower Dharamsala is a bustling civil and commercial center whereas Upper Dharamshala, known more commonly as McLeod Ganj, is the seat of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Dalai Lama's residence and the headquarters of Central Tibetan Administration are located here.

The hill station of Dharamshala is covered by thick woods of oak and coniferous trees and it is enfolded on its three sides by the Dhauladhar ranges. It has a lot to offer ranging from ancient temples, churches and monasteries to museums and beautiful trekking trails. The ancient Chamunda Temple, Dalailama Temple, Namgyalma Stupa, Bhagsunath Temple, Norbulingka Institute, Gyuto Monastery and Indru Nag are some of the prime tourist attractions. Dharamshala is a starting point to a number of trekking trails. Bhagsu Falls, Dharamkot, Triund, Ilaqa, Toral Pass, Bhimghasutri Pass, Dunali and Kareri Lake are the important trekking trails here.

Gaggal Airport is the nearest airport, which is about 13 km from Dharamshala. It is well connected by flights with Delhi. The nearest major railway station is at Pathankot, 84 km away. It has trains from Ahmedabad, Vaishno Devi Katra, Jammu Tawi, Delhi, Mumbai, Amritsar, Tata Nagar, Rourkela, Haridwar, Jalandhar and Chandigarh. There is also a smaller railway station, Kangra Mandir, just 33 km from Dharamshala but none of the important trains halt here. It has trains from Pathankot, Baijnath and Joginder Nagar. Dharamshala is well connected by bus with Delhi, Pathankot, Kangra, Dalhousie, Chamba, Manali, Kullu and Shimla.

Dharamshala has many accommodation options in the form of private hotels and tourist lodges. The best time to visit Dharamshala is from September to October and again from April to June.

OTHER INFO
Internet Availability: Good
STD Code: 08192
Languages Spoken: Hindi, Tibetan, Pahari and English
Major Festivals: Details Not Available
Notes/Tips:
None

HOW TO REACH DHARAMSHALA


By Air

Nearest Airport: Dharamshala - Gaggal Airport (13 Kms)

By Train

Nearest Train Station: Pathankot (84 Kms)

By Bus

Nearest Bus Station: Dharamshala Interstate Bus Station (0 Kms)

19 PLACES TO VISIT & THINGS TO DO IN DHARAMSHALA


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 3 km from Dharamshala and 6 km from McLeod Ganj, Namgyalma Stupa is an old Buddhist structure situated at Uparli Barol.

Namgyalma Stupa is a dome-shaped construction that contains the remains of Buddha, which the Tibetans consider to be a sacred place of worship. It holds a huge shrine of Sakyamuni Buddha. The Namgyalma Stupa was constructed in the remembrance of the Tibetan soldiers who fought for the freedom of Tibet. This structure is similar in design to the structure built during the 3rd century BC by King Ashoka.

The Namgyalma Stupa is carved from sandstone and is made with a vision of being long-lasting. It is a belief among Tibetans that anything that falls on the Namgyalma Stupa gets purified. Some believe that rain water falling on the Stupa is blessed. It is also believed that a visit to the Namgyalma Stupa cleanses any bad karma that exists in the soul. The Stupa is surrounded by a number of prayer wheels. Tibetans who visit the Stupa for worship .....


Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

At a distance of 2 km from McLeod Ganj Bus Stand and 4 km from Dharamshala, Tsuglagkhang Monastery is the most important Buddhist Monastery situated in McLeod Ganj suburb of Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh.

Tsuglag Khang, also known as Dalai Lama's Temple complex, is the home for His Holiness Dalai Lama. It is among the world renowned religious centers and is thronged by Buddhist pilgrims throughout the year. Tsuglagkhang Monastery is beautifully built structure. This is more like a temple along with being a residential complex for His Holiness and his followers.

The complex houses the Photang (Dalai Lama's residence), Tibet Museum, Tsuglagkhang Temple, and Namgyal Gompa. The monastery deals with training of monks for rituals associated with holy shrine, whereas the temple is a chief place of worship. A beautifully decorated statue of Lord Buddha along with beautiful statues of Padmasambhava and Avalokiteshvara are housed in the temple. It is open from sunrise to sunset each .....

Distance (From Dharamshala): 4 Kms
Trip Duration (From Dharamshala - Including Travel): 1-2 Hours
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Pilgrimage

At a distance of 2 km from McLeod Ganj Bus Stand & 6 km from Dharamshala, Bhagsu Nag Temple also known as Bhagsunath Temple is one of the popular ancient temples located in McLeod Ganj. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the local deity Bhagsu Nag.

Bhagsu Nag Mandir is an ancient temple believed to have been built by King Bhagsu from Rajasthan. The present Bhagsu Nag temple was constructed by 1st Gurkha Rifles in early 19th century and worshipped majorly by 14 Gurkha platoon villages in Dharamshala. Adjacent to the temple building are a series of pools where Buddhist monks and visitors enjoy baths. An annual fair is conducted in the month of September at this temple which attracts tourist from the entire region.

This temple is situated on the way to Bhagsunag Waterfall.

Distance (From Dharamshala): 6 Kms
Trip Duration (From Dharamshala - Including Travel): 1 Hour
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Waterfall

At a distance of 3 km from McLeod Ganj & 7 km from Dharamshala, Bhagsunag Falls, also known as Bhagsu Falls, is an beautiful waterfall situated at Bhagsu village behind Bhagsunath Temple near McLeod Ganj in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

Cascading down from a height of 20 m, this is a mid-size waterfall. During monsoon, this waterfall turns beautiful alongside a mountain that features slate graffiti. This area is covered with snowfall during winters. Tourists love to swim across the cold water which gives the pleasant and refreshing experience. Trekking is also good and much enjoyable option here.

The Bhagsu village is a popular picnic spot and also home to the famous Bhagsunath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is a famous tourist attraction and also an important place for Hindu pilgrims. Reaching this waterfall needs some hard work as visitors need to climb the hill halfway to reach the waterfall. There is a nice cafeteria next to the falls and the area serves as .....

Distance (From Dharamshala): 7 Kms
Trip Duration (From Bhagsunag Temple (1 km) - Including Travel): 1 Hour
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Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

At a distance of 7.5 km from Dharamshala Bus Station and 12 km from McLeod Ganj Bus Stand, Norbulingka Institute is an educational and training institute situated at Dharamshala in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

Norbulingka Institute was founded in 1988 for preserving Tibetan culture, literature and art. It was established by Dalai Lama and is named after Norbulingka, the summer residence of the Dalai Lamas in Lhasa, Tibet.

It has been built in traditional Tibetan style located amidst gardens and ponds. The main sections of the institute are the Academy of Tibetan Culture, Literary and Cultural Research Centre as well as the Centre of the Arts. The institute also has the Seat of Happiness Temple set amidst the Japanese inspired Norbulingka gardens. It is especially known for more than 1000 murals of Buddha, frescoes of all the Dalai Lamas and drawings from the life of the 14th Dalai Lama.

The institute primarily works towards preserving Tibetan traditions and .....


Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

At a distance of 8 km from Dharamshala and 13 km from McLeod Ganj, Gyuto Monastery is located at Sidbhari on the main road to Palampur.

The Gyuto Monastery is one of the most famous monasteries and specializes in the study of Tantric meditation, Tantric ritual arts and Buddhist philosophy. It was founded in Tibet in 1474 by the main disciple of the first Dalai Lama, Jetsun Kunga Dhondup. After the communist Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, the monastery was re-established in India.

It is the abode of Karmapa, the Head of the Kagyu Tibetan Buddhism. Karmapa means the one who carries out buddha-activity or the embodiment of all the activities of the Buddha. Also called TCV School, the main chamber of the monastery has a majestic statue of the Buddha and with the backdrop of the snow-clad Dhauladhar Mountains. Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje houses nearly 200 monks who practice the major Tantric texts including Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara and Yamantaka. They have passed these lineages .....


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 1 km from McLeod Ganj and 8 km from Dharamshala, St. John Church, also known as St. John In The Wilderness, is an Anglican church situated at Forsyth Ganj on the way to McLeod Ganj amidst beautiful deodar trees.

The church was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and was constructed in 1852. The Church is a historic monument and one of the oldest churches in the region. It is built in Neo-Gothic architectural style and features Belgian stained-glass windows that were donated by Lady Elgin, wife of Lord Elgin.

The church was built with grey stone and is one of the few buildings still in existence in the town from the British era. The British style of architecture is extremely evident in the edifice of the church, with elegant wood of the altar and the brass handles of the oil lamps. These lamps have now been replaced with electric lamps. In 1905 an earthquake destroyed the bell tower of this church. A new bell was built in 1915, which was brought from England. .....

Distance (From Dharamshala): 8 Kms
Trip Duration (From Dharamshala - Including Travel): 1 Hour
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Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

At a distance of 200 m from McLeod Ganj Bus Stand and 9 km from Dharamshala, Tsechokling Gompa, also known as Tse Chok Ling Gompa is a religious monument constructed on a steep hillside in McLeod Ganj.

Tsechokling Gompa is amongst the popular monasteries in the region and is highly regarded for its cultural significance. This peaceful Gompa was built in 1987 to replicate the original Dip Tse Chok Ling Gompa in Tibet, destroyed in the Revolution. Home to a small order of Gelukpa monks, the prayer hall enshrines a statue of Sakyamuni in a magnificent jeweled headdress.

The monks who lived in the Gompa made two huge drums covered in goatskin and painted beautifully. The Gompa is famous for the fine Mandalas.

Distance (From Dharamshala): 9 Kms
Trip Duration (From McLeod Ganj Bus Stand (200m) - Including Travel): 1 Hour
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Adventure / Trekking

At a distance of 8 km from McLeod Ganj Bus Stand and 13 km from Dharamshala, Triund is a beautiful hill situated in Dhauladhar Mountains in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. It is located at an altitude of about 2842 m. Triund is popular trekking site in McLeod Ganj and attracts a lot of tourist every year. It is also one of the best trails of short treks in Himachal state. Triund offers the perfect view of the Dhauladhar Mountains on one side and Kangra Valley on the other.

Triund is an 8 km trek from the McLeod Ganj Bus Stand. This is a small and an easy trek, which can be done either from McLeodganj or Dharamkot, which is 2 km ahead of McLeodganj. The trail is 6 km from Dharamkot and passes through Galu Devi temple. From this temple, it takes around 3 hours to reach Triund. The initial half of the trek is a gradual incline and the last 2 km from Snowline Cafe involves a steep climb all the way till Triund. The last 1 km has 22 tiring curves before finally reaching Triund. Along .....

Distance (From Dharamshala): 13 Kms
Trip Duration (From Dharamshala - Including Travel): Half Day to Full Day
.....


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 17 km from Dharamshala, 10 km from Palampur, 24 km from McLeod Ganj and 24 km from Kangra, Chamunda Devi Temple is a renowned Hindu Temple located at Padar on the banks of Baner River in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

This ancient temple dates back to the 16th century. The temple is dedicated to Chamunda Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The word Chamunda has been derived from two words, Chanda and Munda. As per the mythological legends, goddess Kali killed two notorious demons Chanda and Munda in a fierce battle at this place in ancient time. Hence, the goddess is known and worshipped as Chamunda.

The temple houses sacred image of Chamunda Devi. In the corner of the temple, one can see small stone with footsteps of Goddess. Besides the main shrine, there is a marble staircase that takes down to the cave of Lord Shiva with a Shiva Linga. Chamunda Devi Mandir is believed to be the abode of Shiva and Shakti. Due to this reason, it is also known as .....


Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

At a distance of 2.5 km from Dharamshala and 3 km from McLeod Ganj, the Nechung Monastery is located just below the Tibetan Library in Gangchen Kyishong and is one of the sightseeing attractions of McLeod Ganj. The monastery is part of Tsuglagkhang Complex.

Nechung Monastery is considered as the seat of the State Oracle and protector-deity of His Holiness Dalai Lama and Tibet. It has a great importance in Tibetan history and Buddhist religion. Nechung has acted as spiritual guide to the Tibetan Government since the 18th century. The physical medium is called Nechung Kuten. When the medium enters into a trance-like state, the protector-deity takes possession of his body and gives advice and predictions to the Dalai Lama and Tibetan leaders in exile.

The original Nechung Monastery in Lhasa had 115 monks in 1959 and was razed to the ground during the Revolution. However, six monks managed to escape to India to continue the complex traditions of the Nechung Institution. Tibetan .....


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 5 km from Dharamshala Bus Station and 8 km from McLeod Ganj Bus Stand, Indru Nag Temple is situated at Indru Nag near Chohla village in Dharamshala.

Indru Nag is an ancient temple built by local villagers and is dedicated to Snake King. People offer prayers to the Indru Nag and they strongly believe that this God saves them from the natural disasters, especially heavy rains. The temple is located on the hill top and one can get the panoramic view of Dharamshala and Dhauladhar ranges.

The Khanyara road from Dharamshala leads to Chohla village. From Chohla, visitors need to trek 1 km to reach the Indru Nag temple. Adventure lovers can trek the whole distance from Dharamshala In the Month of July many devotees of the surrounding villagers visit the Temple.
Indru Nag is also famous for Paragliding since 2011. There is a small plateau located at the hilltop which is used by paragliders as a launching pad for a 15-20 minutes ride. The altitude of the site is .....


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 6 km from Dharamshala and 11 km from McLeod Ganj, Kunal Pathri Mata Temple is situated at Kunal Pathri town in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

Kunal Pathri Temple is a little rock temple dedicated to local goddess Kapaleshwari. The temple was consecrated by regional tribes to offer their prayers. This ancient temple is surrounded by dense tea gardens and is the perfect place for a long peaceful walk amidst the lush surroundings.

The temple displays exquisite carvings of gods and goddesses. It is said that there is a stone in the temple that always remains wet. According to local legend, the moment it starts drying, it rains. The temple premises offer a good view of the mountains. An annual fair also takes place during March/April.


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 9 km from Dharamshala and 16 km from McLeod Ganj, Aghanjar Mahadev Temple is situated in the Khaniyara village at the foothills of Dhauladhar. This temple is believed to be five hundred years old.

The Aghanjar Mahadev Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that once upon a time when Arjuna, one of the Pandavas from the Mahabharata, was on his way to the Kailash Mountains, Lord Shiva appeared at this spot and blessed him with the boon of victory over the Kauravas. There are several idols of Lord Shiva and a Lord Hanuman statue.

The temple is surrounded by forests, mountains and a little waterfall is situated behind the temple with continuous flow of water. There is also a small cave with Shivlinga near the temple. This Shiva temple and its surroundings offer a great relief. This is a beautiful place to relax and capture the beauty of nature and surrounding mountains.

Timings: 5 AM to 9 PM


Lake & Backwaters

At a distance of 3 km from McLeod Ganj Bus Stand and 9 km from Dharamshala, Dal Lake is a small mid-altitude lake situated near the village of Tota Rani on Mcleodganj-Naddi road in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

The beautiful Dal Lake stands at an altitude of 1,775 m and is one of the popular sightseeing attractions of McLeodganj. The greenish lake is home for various species of fish. It is a best base camp for trekkers in Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj. It is situated on the crest of a hill and affords a panoramic view of the Kangra Valley and the Dhauladhar Ranges.

This oval shaped lake is surrounded by deodar trees and is considered to be a sacred spot as there is small Shiva Temple on its bank. According to legend, sage Durvasa prayed to Lord Shiva here. Every year during the month of September, large number of Lord Shiva devotees flock to the Dal Lake to attend famous festival celebrated at Lord Shiva temple.

Boating facility is also available at this lake .....

Distance (From Dharamshala): 9 Kms
Trip Duration (From Dharamshala - Including Travel): 1-2 Hours
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Adventure / Trekking

At a distance of 12 km from McLeod Ganj and 17 km from Dharamshala, Lahesh Cave is a Camping ground which is used by shepherds in the summers when they take their sheep to the high altitude meadows here. It lies at an altitude of 3500 m above sea level.

Lahesh Cave is a 12 km trek from the McLeod Ganj Bus Stop. This is an easy to moderate trek, which can be done either from McLeod Ganj or Dharamkot, which is 2 km ahead of McLeod Ganj. The trail is 10 km from Dharamkot and passes through Galu Devi Temple, Triund and Illaqa. Triund is the base camp for the trekkers who continue the trek to Lahesh Cave, Indrahara Pass to Bharmour. Along the way there are many small Tea shops where one can refresh during the hike.

After a 2 km ascent from Triund, traversing through a ridge will lead to Illaqa or Laka which has a temporary shepherd camp. The path is rock-strewn and uneven, some spots were treacherous too. Illaqa is a flat stretch of land on the Moon Peak Mountain which divides the .....

Distance (From Dharamshala): 17 Kms
Trip Duration (From Dharamshala - Including Travel): 2-3 Days
.....


Adventure / Trekking

At a distance of 16 km from McLeod Ganj and 21 km from Dharamshala, Indrahar Pass is a mountain pass in the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas near the town of Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh. Located at an altitude of 4,342 m above mean sea level, Indrahar pass forms the border between Kangra and Chamba districts.

The trekking trail to Indrahar pass is very popular and the trek starts from Galu Devi temple above Dharamkot village near Dharamsala, which is 2 km from McLeod Ganj Bus Stop. The Indrahara Pass trek is considered a moderate to difficult trek. The trek passes through the camping grounds of Triund, Illaqa, and Lahesh Caves. Guna Devi to Triund is a 6 km steep but marked trail. Triund is the base camp for the trekkers who continue the trek to Lahesh Cave, Indrahara Pass and Bharmour. Along the way there are many small Tea shops where one can refresh during the hike.

Trek up to Triund is very popular and busy with many local and foreign visitors. The trek gets slightly .....

Distance (From Dharamshala): 21 Kms
Trip Duration (From Dharamshala - Including Travel): 3-4 Days
.....


Adventure / Trekking | Lake & Backwaters

At a distance of 32 km from Dharamshala and 39 km from McLeod Ganj, Kareri Lake, also known as Kumarwah Lake, is a high altitude lake south of the Dhauladhar range in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Trek to Kareri Lake is one of the top things to do in Dharamshala and it's also one the best short treks near Dharamshala town.

Kareri Lake is situated at an altitude of 3100 m and is a fresh water lake. Snow melting from the Dhauladhar range serves as the source of the lake and a stream, Nyund is the outflow. Since the source is fresh melting snow and the lake is shallow the lake bed can be seen clearly.

Kareri Lake is best known for being a trekking destination in the Dhauladhar range. The trek starts from Ghera village, which is about 22 km from McLeod Ganj. Ghera is accessed either by shared jeep from Dharamsala or on foot from Naddi. It has a few shops from where one can purchase few supplies. The trekking starts from Ghera village. A 9 km dirt road links Ghera to Kareri .....


Historical & Heritage

At a distance of 37 km from Dharamshala, 44 km from McLeod Ganj and 54 km from Kangra, Kotla Fort is a historic structure at Kotla Town situated on the Pathankot-Dharamshala road in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

The fort stands at an altitude of 650 m, overlooking the surrounding deep valleys. The fort was built by Raja Ram Chand of Guler in the 16th century. It was seized during the reign of Raja Suraj Mal and his brother Madho Singh was made the commander of the fort. The way to the fort is covered with thick forests of pine.

The fort houses 15 corridors and was built on a huge rock, which follows the building style of Kangra Fort. A Bagulamukhi temple is located at the main entrance of the fort. There is also a small temple devoted to Lord Ganesh which features a round roof. The temple is adorned with wall paintings on the outer walls. There is a wall featuring three arches and niches which is popular.

The fort is now restored and maintained by archaeological .....

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