Kangra Art Museum, St. John's
Church, McLeodganj, Dall Lake
Best Time To Visit : Mid-May to Mid-October.
Set against the
backdrop of the dramatic Dhauladhar
mountains, Dharamsala is perched on the high
slopes in the upper reaches of Kangra Valley.
The town is divided into two distinct and
widely separated sections, Upper and Lower
Dharamsala, which differ almost a thousand
metres in height.
Today, Dharamsala has become the synonymous
to the Tibetan government in exile and the
home of Tibetan leader Dalai Lama. Even
if the Tibetan community dominates the town,
still it has retained the colonial lifestyle
and British fervour.
Dharamsala over looks the plains and is
surrounded by dense pine trees and Deodar
forests. A nearby snowline with numerous
streams and cool healthy atmosphere makes
the surroundings very attractive.
Dharamsala is a busy bazaar town and has
established itself as the travellers base
camp, who come to explore the nearby
mountains. The Kotwali Bazaar provides the
entire colour and characteristic of a small
town, which is mixed with the simple life
The colourful temple and Gompas, which
reflect the culture of Tibet, adds
attraction for the visitor. The Kangra
museum gives an overview of the rich past of
the region and on the other hand there are
institutes that have been established to
preserve the Tibetan art, cultures and
This treasure trove of the Kangra valley's
arts, crafts, and rich past, displays
artifacts that date back to the 5th century.
The museum also includes a gallery of
Kangra's famous miniature paintings and a
representative collection of sculptures,
pottery, and anthropological items.
Set amidst the pine groves is a war
memorial, built on the entry point of the to
Dharamsala to commemorate the post
independence war heroes of Himachal Pradesh.
A web of narrow paths and landscaped lawns
lead towards this monument.
Surrounded by high and green Deodar trees is
the lake, which fills a mountain bowl.
Situated 11-kms away from the town, this
lake is easily approachable by road and
makes an enchanting and serene picnic spot.
St. John's Church:
One of the most poignant memories of the
British Raj is the church of St. John,
situated in the wilderness. This charmingly
dressed stone church is located just 8-km
from Dharamsala on the way to McLeod Ganj.
Under the shade of Doedar branches, a
memorial has been made over the body of the
British Viceroy, Lord Elgin who died at
Dharamsala in 1863.
Tatwani & Machhrial:
There are hot springs situated at Tatwani,
25-km from Dharamsala but on the way, at
Machhrial, is a waterfall twice as big as
the one near the Bhagsunath temple.
Shrine of Bhagsunath:
Just 11-km from the town center of
Dharamsala is the ancient temple of
Bhagsunath. There are many fresh water
springs close to the temple, which are
considered sacred by the Hindus.
These are the rock temples from which the
place derives its name. Kunal pathri is a 3
kms flat walk from Kotwali Bazaar.
Just 11-km away from Dharamsala, located on
the crest of a hill lie this attractive
picnic spot, which presents a panoramic view
of the Kangra valley and Dauladhar ranges.
Just four kms from Dharamsala, Norbulinka
was established to preserve and teach the
ancient Tibetan arts. The shady paths,
wooden bridges, small streams tiny water
falls make this place look like heaven. Here
one can watch the wooden carvings and the
tangka paintings, golsithing and embroidery
being done. The nunnery close to the
institute is a place where women are taught
the advanced levels of Buddhist philosophy.
Just 10-km from the town is the tranquil
ashram complex set up by the great exponent
of the Gita--Swami Chinmayananda. Situated
on the banks of Bindu Saras, the ashram
includes a 9m high image of Hanuman, a Ram
temple, a meditation hall, a school and a
health & recreation center.
Situated just 13-kms away from Palampur,
lies this dwelling place of artist S.Sobha
Singh. It houses a gallery of some of his
major works and a pottery center.
Originally home of the semi-nomadic Gaddi
tribe, McLeodganj is today the residence of
His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. This mid 19th
century place was developed as a British
Garrison. The place was developed as an
important administrative point for the whole
Kangra valley. Today the place has developed
as headquarters of the exiled Tibetan
Government. The impressive monastery has
larger than life size images of Buddha,
Padmasambhava and Avaloketeshwara.
Fifteen richly carved monolithic rock
temples sculpted in the splendid style of
the Kailash temple at Ellora and dating back
to the 8th century are to be found at Masrur,
just 15 km south of Kangra.
Images of Ram Sita and Lakhsman can be found
in the sanctum of the main temple.
Set amidst a sylvan surrounding is a rest
house, located in the cool depths of the
pine grove. Surrounded by green open meadows
and forests of tall oak & pine at a height
of 3250m is situated the picturesque Kareri
Lake, which is just 13-km from the rest
house and 22- kms from Dharamsala.
Triund is a popular picnic spot at an height
of 2827 m. The area is on the foothills of
Dhauladhar range and is 17-kms from
Dharamsala. The snow line starts at Ilaqua,
which is five kms from Triund. The
breathtaking views of the mountains and the
valleys makes Triund an ideal picnic spot
and trekking spot.
On the way from Pathankot, 41-km from
Dharamsala are the unique cave temples with
a stalactite and stalagmites dedicated to
This place is famous for the wall paintings
and the temples. Sujanpur Tira also has
fort, which is worth visiting. It is 8- km
from Dharamsala and in particular the
festival of Holi is a major event here and
attracts many visitors to this area.
Dedicated to the "Goddess of Light", the
temple is one of the most popular Hindu
temples in northern India. In this temple
there is a copper pipe through which natural
gas comes out, the priest of the temple
lights this and the blue flame emanating is
worshipped as the manifestation of Goddess.
The temple is topped by a golden spire, a
gift from the Emperor Akbar. The famous
temple of Jwalamukhi is 30-km. from Kangra
and 56-km from Dharamshala.
Not so far from the town is the famous
temple with the majestic Dhaulandhars as a
backdrop. It is an enchanting spot with
glorious views of the mountains, the Baner
Khud, Pathiar and Lahala forests.
Named after Nurjehan the consort of the
Mughal Emperor Jehangir, it has an ancient
fort and an exquisitely carved Krishna
temple. Nurpur is also famous for its fine
Pashmina shawls and textiles.
Dharamsala is one of
the most popular starting points for treks
the ridges of the Dhauladhar range. There
are tailor-made treks in the Kangra valley
around Dharamsala and adjoining places. The
trekking season starts from May and goes on
to October. The most frequented route from
Dharamsala to the Chamba valley, over the
Indradhar Pass (4350m), is arduous trek but
the most novice trekkers can manage to
complete it within five days.
There are many easy walks of small treks
Dharamsala such as Toral Pass (4575m) that
start from Tang Narwana (1150m), which is
10-km from Dharamsala. A 2-km stroll takes
one to Bhagsu, then a little further a 3-km
walk will bring the trekkers to Dharamkot.
If one wishes to go on a longer walk then he
can walk 8-km to Triund. The snow line of
Ilaqa Got is just a 5-km walk.
The most difficult route is towards the
north, a five to six day trek across
Bhimghasutri Pass (4580), covering
near-vertical rocky ascents, sharp cliffs
and dangerous gorges. An easier four or five
day trek from Dharamsala crosses Bleni Pass
(3710m) in the milder ranges of the
northwest, weaving through the alpine
pastures, woods and passing through few
streams, before terminating at Dunali, on
the Chamba road.
The area is rich in small rivers and
streams, which give ample opportunity for
angle fishing. The 20-km stretch of the
river Beas between Nadaun and the Pong Dam
offers ample of opportunities in angling for
Dharamsala can be approached by air from Delhi
and the nearest Airport is at Gaggla, just
13-km away from the town.
Pathankot is 85-km and is the nearest
railhead for Dharamsala. Trains from all
over the country make a stop over at
Pathankot and from here it is a three-hour
journey to Dharamsala.
too bus services are available to this
place. One can drive from Delhi
and it's an 8-hours journey. From Delhi
buses ply to Dharamsala.