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Home to the Dalai Lama, Dharmshala is a picturesque city in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Dharmshala is best known for its opulence and grandeur, a city that boasts of the splendor of the Himalayas, the cedar forests and scenic beauty. The city is placed at an elevation of 1457 meters above sea level and rests on the floating clouds. Dharmshala is the perfect place for a weekend getaway trip to breakout from the city life with a lot of sights to visit and things to do. It has seen a surge in travelers and backpackers from all around the country to experience the serenity and be in the nature’s lap.
How to reach Dharmshala?
By Air – The closest airport to Dharamshala is Kangra Gaggal Airport which is located at a distance of about 12 km south of Dharmshala and about 10 km north of Kangra town, Himachal Pradesh. The airport has many direct as well as connecting flights to the various parts of the country.
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By Rail – The main railway station to reach Dharmshala is Pathankot which is a broad gauge railhead and thereafter a connection railway from Pathankot to Jogindernagar, which is a part of the Mandi District and is a narrow-gauge line. The nearest station to Dharamshala on this line is Chamunda Marg which acts as an important railhead to reach Dharmshala.
By Road – Volvo busses as well as non-ac busses ply daily between Dharamshala and major cities such as Chandigarh, Delhi, and Shimla through NH 503. There is several government as well as private bus services that connect the closest metropolitan city of Delhi and Chandigarh to Dharmshala making it very easy for travelers to get going.
Places to visit in Dharmshala
Historical Monuments and Places
1) Tibetan Museum –
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Great place to be acquainted with the Tibet history and culture, the museum has all the information and photos of invasion, revolution, culture and the journey of the Tibetans and how they migrated to India. It is a well preserve museum inside the Tibetan monastery in Mecleodgunj giving one the proper insights about the lives of Tibetan people, thus giving this museum should definitely be one of the things to do in Dharmshala.
H H Dalai Lama Temple Complex, Temple Rd, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
Time – 9AM – 6PM (closed on Sunday and Monday)
2) St. John church –
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The church was built in 1852 to pay tribute to John the Baptist, located at Forsyth Gunj. The church is not big but it is very old and looks elegant amongst the surrounding greenery and beauty all around. It has the old British architectural designs which are also intriguing.
Location – Road to Naddi Village from McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
3)Tibetan National Martyrs Memorial –
Memorial sculpture illustrate the faces & fists of men & women who sacrificed their lives fighting for Tibet. The place pays tribute to all the martyrs. It also has a Tibetan market within where you can go and shop for various items including souvenir for your family and friends.
Location – Temple Road, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
Dedicated to goddess Chintpurni who is the youngest sister of 9 Devi’s so legend has it that she is pleased very easily. She is always ready to grant all the wishes of devotees and hence is visited by large number of devotees and tourists.
Location – The, Amb, District Una, Chintpurni, Himachal Pradesh
2) Kunal Pathri Mata Mandir –
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This historical and ancient Temple is one of “Shakti peeth” among the many which is scattered around India, making this an abode of higher power. Visited by many localities and tourists it has a refreshing and calm atmosphere.
Location – Pat, Himachal Pradesh
3) Guna Mata Temple –
It’s a beautiful temple with mesmerizing and panoramic view of the snow clad Himalayan ranges. According to the city tour guide it’s an easy trekking trail starting from Dal Lake via Bal village. The trek isn’t a very tedious one so one shall enjoy the trill to cut through the rocky terrains to reach his destination yet not be exhausted which makes this places count among the best Dharmshala package.
Location – Balreh, Himachal Pradesh
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4) Aghanjar Mahadev – The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is set in front of a tranquil stream of the Gupteshwara Mahadeva flowing over large boulders at the back of the temple. It is a peaceful location to enjoy the view.
Khanyara Road, Khanyara, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
5)Kalachakra temple –
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Located in the centre of town. One can easily visit the temple while strolling out in the market or on the way to Dalai Lama temple. It is a wonderful place for attaining peace of mind and soul.
Location –McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
Bhagsu Nag Temple –
It is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Snake God or “Nag Devta”. Folklore has it that once upon a time king Bhagsu came from Rajasthan to the glaciers in search of water for his parched state. He was challenged by the ‘Nag Devta’ the dwellers of this region. However, the king was defeated in this combat but his plea for water to his clan was granted and the place came to be known as Bhagsu Nag. The temple itself is small but has a calm environment. A mountain spring is nearby and pilgrims can have a divine and refreshing dip in the same.
Location –Chandigarh-Chintapurni-Dharamshala Rd, McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh
Natural Structure and Sightseeing
1)Kangra Valley –
Kangra Valley is positioned at an elevation of 2,000 ft in the western side of the Himalayas. The valley primarily lies in the state of Himachal Pradesh in India, is a trendy tourist destination, with the peak season around March and April as it has a pleasant climate during this time which is otherwise freezing during the winters. It is surrounded by striking panorama which makes it all the more alluring to many tourists and thus only after being at Kangra one can call it the best Dharmshala trip. Location – Himachal Pradesh in India
)Lakesh caves –
It is a trekking spot in dharamshala which is surrounded by rocky grounds and forest. Camping at this spot is a thrilling experience provided one has all the required protection from the harsh weather condition and enough food and water. Best Dharmshala trip can never be a complete package without a camping endeavor and this is the right spot for camping on your weekend getaway trip.
Location – Trail to Trail to Lahesh Caves, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh
3) Kareri Lake –
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Kareri Lake is located at a high altitude of 2934 meters, is a shallow, fresh water lake that falls to the south of the Dhauladhar range which is approximately at a distance of 9 km from Dharamsala. There is also a trekking route to this lake which is mesmerizing and is visited by many trekking enthusiasts throughout the year; the lake usually remain frozen from December to April thus it the trek becomes really difficult thus carrying a proper gear is highly recommended. While one is enjoying his weekend getaway one of the finest thing to do is to be on this trek which will be the best Dharmshala trip.
Location – Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh
4) Triund Hill –
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The location remains highly crowded during the holidays as people chose this spot to be their weekend getaway. Triund is a brilliant trek of 6 km uphill from Upper Dharamkot and according to the city tour guide it takes around 3-4 hours to reach the destination. It is surrounded by lush greenery during September and October which makes for an admirable panoramic view. Camping is also a popular activity here and camping equipments are available for INR 400 or 700 per person for a night. Few food stalls are available but there are no suitable toilets/ washrooms. The selling point and popularity of the location has to be due to the starry night sky. Camping in the open ground and staring at the night sky is surely dazzling as one gets to stare at the countless stars and just enjoy the serenity of the place, camping here has to make your trip the best Dharmshala trip.
Location – Triund Hill Trail from Bhagsunag Waterfall, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
5) Dalai Lama temple complex –
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It surely is one of the most delightful and undisturbed location to be at. The whole vicinity is ornamented with vibrant prayer flags and this makes it accurate for prolonged serene walks.
Location –McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh
6) Bhagsunag Waterfall –
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Bhagsu waterfall is unquestionably one of the most gorgeous sites in Dharamshala. Most of the vacationers that visit Dharamshala visit the waterfall without fail for its peaceful, serene and beautiful location. Being at the waterfall will draw you closer to nature which is absolutely refreshing and is like hitting the restart button of one’s life.
Location – Near Bhagsunag Temple, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
7) Mcleod Ganj –
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McLeod Ganj is a town of Dharamshala in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. It is also called “Little Lhasa” or “Dhasa” due to its extensive population of Tibetans. However this town also has many shops, bazaars and is very important tourist hub with many city tour guides and tour providers housed here which provide the best Dharmshala package. Despite being the economic hub, the town does not lose its own essence and beauty which is also mesmerizing and attention grabbing.
Location – Dharamshala, Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh
Adventure activities in Shimla
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Paragliding is a fun yet thrilling adventure sport in Dharmshala which attracts tons of travelers and adrenalin junkies. There are many service providers in and around the city who are well trained and trustworthy and once flying in mid air the view of the surrounding valley looks stunning, perfect for all adrenalin junkies.
Location – Dharmshala, Himachal Pradesh
Time – 9AM – 5PM
Duration – 60 – 120 minutes
Price – INR 2000 – 8000 per person
2)Rock Climbing –
Source – flickr.com/photos/mrjns/
Rock climbing is an adventure sport that demands your sweat, predicaments or climbers climb on the natural rock formations to reach the set point at a high peak, which exhilarating and thrilling activity and then to return back without falling. This activity requires a lot of physical strength, stamina and will power, and is not for the faint hearted. While on the climb one also witnesses the beauty of the nature and the surrounding view which is why travelers and adventure seekers love this sport and cannot call it a successful weekend getaway at Dharmshala without conquering a peak.
Location – Dharamshala-Nayagroeon, Himachal Pradesh
Price – INR 1000 per person
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Rappelling is an adventure activity which is a controlled drop from a rock or small hill with the help of a rope. However, the event might be nerve racking but there are great mountaineering instructors to help you with this activity.
Location – Mcleod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh
Price – INR 800 – 1000 per person
4) Trekking –
A stunning uplifting day hike to Triund through Rhododendron forests. Panoramic views of Bhagsu village, Mcleod ganj, Dharamshala valley and indistinct sight of Shivalik hills and plains of Kangra valley are a bonus, of course. Triund is a green meadow at an elevation of 2,900 meters.
Location – Triund Hill, Mcleod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh
Price – INR 2650 – 3000 per person
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Dharmshala is one of the best place for camping due to its perfectly cool weather throughout the year, the lush greenery, the scenic beauty and the narrow streams and lakes as one gets to enjoy camping in the lap of nature’s vast wilderness. It awakens on souls and refreshes the body. Thus a trip to Dharmshala shall never be complete without the taste of primitive living. Once you’ve experienced camping, it is the best weekend getaway.
Location – Triund Hill, Mcleod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh; Price – INR 700 – 2500 per night