Dharamshala is a city existent in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley and is famous for abundance of the majestically tall Deodhars. The village of McLeodGanj lying in the upper reaches is known worldwide for the presence of the Tenzin Gyatso.
Dharamshala is the centre of the Tibetan exile world in India. 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. On the route one crosses 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.
One can also do rock climbing across the ridges of Dharamshala. Several thousand Tibetan exiles have now settled in the area, and most live in and around McLeodGanj in Upper Dharamshala, where they have built monasteries, temples and schools. McLeodGanj is sometimes known as 'Little Lhasa".
CONNECTIVITY TO DHARAMSHALA: 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.
SALIENT FEATURES OF DHARAMSHALA:
- DHARAMSHALA CRICKET STADIUM: which serves as a home ground to the Himachal Pradesh state cricket team.
-. MASRUR: The major salient feature of this place is the fifteen exquisitely carved monolithic rock temples dating back to 8th century similar to Kailash Temple at Ellora.
- BHAGSU WATERFALL: 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.
- BHAGSUNAG TEMPLE: Temple of god Shiva situated around 2 km from McLeodganj Bazaar.
- KANGRA MUSEUM: Situated close to the bus stand, Kangra Art Museum is a unique museum displaying the artifacts of Tibetan and Buddhist cultures.
- KUNAL PATHRI TEMPLE: This temple is dedicated to Goddess Kalpeshwari, and is located 3 km from the Kotwali Bazaar.
- CHAMUNDA TEMPLE: This temple is located around 15 km from Dharamshala on the right bank of river Baner on the Mandi-Pathankot highway.
- DAL LAKE: The Lake is spread in an area of 1 km and is bounded by rhododendrons, deodars, and junipers forest.
- TRIUND: Triund is nestled in the foothills of Dhauladhar and is around 17 km from Dharamshala. It's a trekking destination from McLeodGanj, and offers magnificent vistas of the mountains and valleys.
- NADDI: This scenic picnic spot is located 5 km northwest of McLeodGanj. Naddi offers a spectacular view of the Kangra valley.
- MCLEOD GANJ: Mcleod Ganj is charming Tibetian settlement with bustling bazaar that sell carpets, Tibetian handicrafts, and delicious tibetian foods.
- ST. JOHNS CHURCH: One of the most poignant memories of the British Raj is the church of St. John in wilderness. This charmingly dressed stone church is located just 8 kms from Dharamsala on the way to McLeod Ganj. The church is surrounded by Deodar trees which adds to the poignant beauty of the church.
- CHINMAY TAPOVAN: 10 km from Dharamshala on the banks of the rivulet Bindu Saras, is an ashram complex established by the late Swami Chinmayananda, a noted exponent of the Gita. The complex includes a 9m high image of Lord Hanuman, a magnificent Ragunath Temple, a meditation hall, a school, and a health and recreation center.
- KOTWALI BAZAR: This treasure love of the Kangra valley's arts, crafts and rich past displays artifacts that date back to the 5th century. It includes gallery of Kangra's famous miniature paintings and a representative collection of sculptures, pottery and anthropological items. 'Shamianas' and dresses used by local royalty, old carved doors, jails, lintels and pandals are also on display. Coins, jewellery and manuscripts are included.
On the crest of a hill this attractive picnic spot presents a panoramic view of the Kangra valley and the Dhauladhar ranges. This is 11 km from Dharamshala.