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Dharmshala

The Little Tibet in India


Dharmshala HPCA Stadium

Dharmshala is a peaceful and laid back hill station, located at the foots of the Dhauladhar range in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is known for beautful hills, tea gardens, pine and deodar forests along with snow clad mountain peaks and the beautiful ambience of the Kangra valley.  It is also known for being the headquaters of the Kangra district. With the influx of Tibetan refugees, Dharmshala has evolved into an international and spiritually inclined town. It is also known for the residence of Dalai Lama, the Nobel Laureate in the village of McLeodGanj. This is the reason why Dharmshala is fondly also called as 'Little Tibet.' Over the years, Dharmshala has developed into a sought after travel destination for honeymoon planners, leisure travelers and adventure freaks.



It was established as the army subsidiary cantonment in 1849. Troops from Kangra were trained here. In 1960, the Tibetan refugees started immigrating to Dharmshala and hence, formed their Government in exile. Today, this hill station has been divided into two parts, the lower part is called as the commerical base where locals stay while the upper part is bursting with Tibetan shops and cafes along with monastery and resorts. This upper part is called as McLeodGanj and Forsythe Ganj.Meanwhile, one can find the fine trails of old British architecture in Dharmshala.


Unfortunately, Dharmshala was hit by a massive earthquake in 1905. It was after this earthquake, that the new construction of Dharmshala started again. Following are the main attractions of Dharmshala.


Bhagsu waterfall: Its ideal to visit these falls during the rainy season as they dry up in the summer months. It takes a bit of trekking to reach the Bhagsu waterfalls. One can find beautiful stones on the trail along with local kisoks with snacks and drinks. The view after reaching the top most point of the waterfall is very spectacular with huge boulders scattered, on top of the other, giving a very ethereal appeal to the entire landscape. Tourists and children also take a dip in the chilly water of the waterfall, thus adding fun and laughter to the entire environment.


Dharmshala Valley

Dalai Lama Temple Complex: It is located at 3-4 km distance from the McLeodGanj bus stand.This temple complex also includes the temple of His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama along with a monastery and residence. One can easily spot several tourists from different parts of the world assembled in this sacred spiritual complex, trying to absorb the ethereal beauty of the place.


Norbulingka Institute: Dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan culture, this institute was founded in 1988. The name Norbulingka is derived from the name of the residence of Dalai Lama in Tibet. Most of the sacred art and sculpture of Tibetan culture is derived from the teachings of Lord Buddha. These preserved souvenirs include Thangka paintings, sculpture and woodwork.


Jwalamukhi Temple: Situated around 53 km away from Dharmshala, the Jwalamukhi Temple is dedicated to the Diety of Light. Quite interestingly, the temple does not house any idol. The eternally burning light is considered as the manifestation of the Diety of Light. It is believed that the Golden Dome of the Temple was gifted by Emperor Akbar.


HPCA Stadium: The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Associate Stadium has been built in 2003 in Dharmshala. It has hosted important matches between India and Pakistan, India and England and also Indian Premier League Matches.


Excursions from Dharmshala
Following are the places located nearby to Dharmshala where tourists can further carry on with their adventurous streak. These destinations are namely, Kangra (30 km), Palampur (49. 7 km), Pathankot (93.6 km), Dalhousie (121 Km), Chamba (134 km) and Kullu (207. 8 km).



Dharmshala

Shopping in Dharmshala

It is definitely to delve into a shopping experience in Dharmshala because of the bargaining and liveliness enveloping the little hill Station. Mostly tourists choose to buy Tibetan carpets and handicraft items from McLeodganj. McLeodganj is also known for beautiful tibetan cafes and coffee houses, each with its own intrinsic theme and flavour. Every cuisine from Israeli food to the Italian pasta can be found in Dharmshala. Jewellery from the streets of McLeodGanj can be obtained at very cheap prices.


When to Visit
Dharmshala is known for pleasant weather conditions through out the year. The best time to visit Dharmshala is from March to July especially during the months of scorching summer sun. One can also visit Dharmshala around the month of February or March in order to see the Buddhist Festival of Losar. The time from Mid July to September are the best for romantic couples as it rains during this time.


How to Reach
Air: The  nearest airport to Dharmshala is situated at Gaggal which is approximately 13 km away. Spice Jet and Air India flights connect Delhi with Gaggal.

Train: Pathankot is the nearest railway station located to Dharmshala, situated approximately 85 km away. Pathankot is also the usual stop for several trains that go to Jammu and Kashmir.

Road: There are several taxis available from Gaggal and Pathankot for Dharmshala. Toursists can also travel through Himachal Prasesh State buses that run from Delhi at regular intervals.

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