Cultural Tour of Dharamshala
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Cultural Tour of Dharamshala
The high snow clad Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalayas form a magnificent backdrop to the hill resort of Dharamshala. This is the principal township of Kangra and overlooks the wide spread of the plains. With dense pine and deodar forests, numerous streams, cool healthy air, attractive surroundings and the nearby snowline, Dharamshala has everything for a perfect holiday. It is full of life and yet peaceful. And not surprisingly, the headquarters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is here. Covering a wide area in the form of a twin settlement, Lower Dharamshala (1380 m) is a busy commercial center, while Upper Dharamshala (1830 m) with the suburbs of McLeodganj and Forsythganj, retains a British flavour and colonial lifestyle. The charming church of St. John in the wilderness is situated here and this is final resting place of Lord Elgin, a British Viceroy of lndia during the l9th century. There is also a large Tibetan community who have made this their home. Numerous ancient temples like Jawalamukhi, Brijeshwari and Chamunda lie on the plains below Dharamshala.

Cultural Tour of Dharamshala

Places to Visit in Dharamshala

The variety Dharamshala offers ranges from temples, churches and monasteries to museums, ancient towns and places of natural beauty. Every season and every spot has its own offering.

War Memorial
At the very start of town, landscaped lawns fill a pine grove where a monument has been raised to commemorate the post independence war heroes of Himachal Pradesh. Kangra Art Museum.

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. A section houses the work of contemporary artists, sculptors and photographers. The library is just below this.


Dal Lake:
11 km from Dharamshala and surrounded by deodar trees, the lake fills a mountain bowl, On the motor - road, this is an enchanting and serene picnic spot.

St. John's Church
8 km from Dharamshala, between Forsythganj and McLeodganj is the charming dressed- stone church of St. John in the wildness. Under the shade of deodar branches, a memorial has been erected over the body of the British viceroy, Lord Elgin who died at Dharamshala in 1863. There is a wall tended old graveyard on these grassy slopes.

Often called the' Little Lhasa' at 1770 m, this is the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan government-in-exile has been here for over three decades. The impressive monastery has larger than life images of the Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avalokteshwara. The large Tibetan community and the presence of traditional architectural designs drawn from Tibet have enhanced the area. A host of Tibetan handicrafts, curios and garments are available on sale and every Sunday, a flea-market appears.

Cultural Tour of Dharamshala

Close to fresh water springs, this ancient temple is 11 km from Dharamshala. It is a popular picnic spot and the famous slate quarries are close by.

Kunal Pathri
A 3 km level walk from the Kotwali Bazaar leads up to this rock temple.

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.

Based at the root of the Dhauladhar ranges,Triund is at a height of 2827m and is 17 km from Dharamshala. The snowline starts at llaqua 5 km from here. This is a popular picnic spot and trek route, with spectacular views of the mountains and valleys. There is a lovely forest rest house here.

22 km from Kotwali Bazzar, amidst sylvan surroundings, there is a rest house here. Surrounded by open meadows and thick woods,the Kareri lake is 13 km ahead.

Chinmaya 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.

13 km south of Kangra is this large, monolithic temple, similar to the temples of Ellora. With rich ornamentation, this is the only shrine carved out of live rock in north India. Images of Lord Rama, Laxman and Sita are installed here.

41 km from Dharamshala,on the highway to Pathankot, there is a cave temple with a stalactite and stalagmite dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Sujanpur Tira
80 km from Dharamshala, this historic town is famous for its wall paintings, temples and fort. Here, the festival of holiday a major event.

13 km from Palampur, the famous artist S. Sobha Singh lived here for several years. A gallery houses some of his major works. Also, there is a pottery centre at Andretta.

Other Attractions

The temple of Jawalamukhi, Chamunda Devi and Briheshweri Devi are other pilgrim centres close to Dharamshala. The forts of Kangra and Mangarh are other attractions.

Adventure Activities and Sports
Between May and October, the Dhauladhar ranges offer an enormous variety of trekking and rock climbing. Himachal's mountaineering institute has a branch at Dharamshala.

The 20 km stretch of the river Beas between Nadaun and the Pong Dam offers ample opportunities in angling for mahseer.

For local handicrafts at Kotwali bazar, Tibetan handicrafts and carpets at McLeodganj.

Transport Information

By Air
Dharamsala can be approached by air from Delhi. The nearest airport is at Gaggal,just l3 km away. Pathankot, the nearest railway station is 85 km away.

By Road
Taxis for Dharamsala are available at both places from Pathankot the drive takes about three hours. Or you can drive from Delhi (526 km) via Chandigarh, Kiratpur and Bilaspur - this should take around 8 hours. From Delhi and Shimla, luxury buses ply to Dharamsala.

Climate Conditions

In winter the temperature can drop to freezing point when heavy woolens are required. During summer, the climate is mild and light woolens/cottons are recommended.

Cultural Tour of Dharamshala

Best time to visit

Well, everyone has preferences. So, check out to see which time of the year you would like to be in Dharamsala.

If you are a heat freak then mid-April to mid-July is the time for you to be in India and in Dharamsala. Well, as compared to the plains of Delhi, Dharamsala is much cooler but still it can get quite hot at this time.

Mid-July to September is the monsoon season. If you like singing in the heavy rain then its time for you to be in Dharamsala. 'Notorious monsoon' as I prefer to call it. It can pour cats and dogs. Dharamsala, according to Indian metrological study receives the second highiest rainfall in India after Chirapunji. Be sure to equip yourself with a good rainsuit and a strong and a big umbrella.

October to December can be rather cool and you need to be careful in the early hours and in the evenings. It can be chilly. Some light warm clothes are an ideal companion. Daytime can be warm with generous amount of sunshine and clear sky. Beautiful scenery and good weather.

Snowtime!!!!! Anyone????? Usually Dharamsala experiences snow anytime in January or February, around the same time as the 'Losar' - Tibetan New Year. Don't bother to bring heavy warm clothes....woolen gloves, socks, sweaters or shawl are all available in shops here for reasonable prices.


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