Dharamshala Travel Guide: All You Need to Know
A city in Himachal Pradesh, Dharamshala has two parts – Lower Dharamshala (commercial center with shops of everyday items) and Upper Dharamshala (home to Mcleodganj and structures of the colonial past). Mcleodganj is at the height of 2,082 meters and is dominated by Tibetan Buddhist culture. The colossal snow peaks of the Dhauladhar ranges overlook Dharamshala, making it a delightful sight. Shops selling Tibetan arts & crafts, eateries, and museums are located around the Tsuglagkhang Complex, the official home of the 14th Dalai Lama. We’ve prepared a comprehensive guide of Dharamshala for travelers planning to visit this city.
Here is the detailed Dharamshala Travel Guide to plan your trip efficiently.
Things to Do in Dharamshala
Himachal is famous for its adventure activities, making millions of travelers choose Himachal Pradesh tour packages to enjoy paragliding, skiing, camping, trekking, river rafting, and other activities. So naturally, Dharamshala, being located in Himachal, also offers many adventure activities for tourists can indulge in. Take a look at the top things to do in Dharamshala to make it unforgettable –
• Paragliding – Satiate your adrenaline rush with paragliding in Dharamshala. For the best experience, summer is the best time. Also, the activity will cost you around INR 2000 to 8000, but the prices are subject to change.
• Triund Trek – North of Dharamshala and Mcleodganj is the Triund hill. It offers incredible views of the Dhauladhar Mountains on one side and Kangra Valley on the other. Start the trek to Bhagsu Nag, through the forests, crossing the steep mountains, and summit Triund.
• Camping – The hill terrain and pleasant weather make camping exciting. You can hire the equipment from the shops in Dharamshala or carry your own. Meet new travelers and enjoy the peace that Dharamshala is best known for.
• Shopping – From jewelry to woolens, Dharamshala has many walking markets to shop at. You will find accessories of various stones and watch the woolens knit in front of you. Make sure to take prayer flags and handicrafts home with you that speak volumes of Tibetan and Indian culture.
• Explore Dharamshala – Apart from adventure, visiting sacred places is among the top things to do in Dharamshala. Walk through the streets, watch this place’s traditional dance, and know their culture up close. Wear a traditional dress and take pictures. Also, indulge in traditional cuisines.
Tourist Attractions in Dharamshala
There is a lot to explore, from temples to waterfalls, shopping markets to museums in Dharamshala. The city has a rich colonial past and is surrounded by beautiful mountains, so there is no dearth of scenic sights and experiences. For a memorable holiday, here are the top tourist attractions you must visit in the city –
• Dharamshala Cricket Stadium – One of the world’s highest sports grounds, this cricket stadium is the practice ground of the Indian Cricket Team, Himachal Pradesh state-level cricket team, and the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Kings XI Punjab.
• Namgyal Monastery – This monastery overlooks the Dhauladhar ranges and is situated within the Tsuglagkhang complex. It is the residence of the Dalai Lama and has bookstores, temples, etc.
• St. John in the Wilderness Church – Built in 1852, this is one of the significant churches in Himachal Pradesh and is dedicated to John the Baptist. It is located in the jungles, which makes the surroundings really peaceful.
• Bhagsunag Temple – Situated at 1770 m above sea level, the temple is enveloped by stunning pools and lush greenery, enticing a lot of devotees and tourists.
• Gyuto Monastery – Famous for studying Tantric Meditation and Philosophy, this monastery was founded in 1959. It aims to preserve and promote Black Magic, also called Tantric Teachings of the teacher Tsongkhapa.
• Bhagsu Falls – Located 2 km from Mcleodganj, this waterfall is ideal to get a respite from the heat. Here, witness the lush greenery and nature in its true form and bathe in the cool waters for a fun holiday.
Best Time to Visit Dharamshala
March to mid-July (spring and summer) is the best time to plan a Dharamshala trip. The temperature ranges from 21°C to 34°C, making sightseeing and activities pleasant. One can witness snowfall from December to February, which makes the valley more stunning. From late July to early September, you must avoid visiting here as there are high chances of landslides.
How to Reach Dharamshala
Taking an overnight private bus to Dharamshala from Delhi is the best way to reach here (approx. 470 km, 10-11 hours). The nearest international airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. Bus/private cabs are available to reach Dharamshala. Gaggal Airport is the nearest domestic airport. At 85 km is Pathankot Railway Station, connected to Delhi via direct trains. Buses/taxis are available from here to Dharamshala.
Where to Stay in Dharamshala
Being a popular travel destination, Dharamshala has a range of accommodations – homestays, luxury hotels, hostels, etc. You can choose as per your needs and budget. The hotels in Dharamshala not only offer a comfortable stay but also majestic views of the snow-clad peaks. The top places to stay in Dharamshala on your holiday are –
• Fortune Park Moksha – Member ITC Hotel Group
• The Hosteller Mcleodganj
• Hotel Woodville Inn
• Hotel Vatika – the riverside resort
• WelcomHeritage Grace Hotel
Important Tips for Dharamshala
• Apart from Triund Trek, there will be mobile connectivity at Dharamshala, Dharamkot, and Mcleodganj.
• Decent medical facilities are available in Dharamshala and Mcleodganj.
• It is best to avoid the monsoon season.
• Respect the local culture.
• Don’t forget to relish local foods at various cool cafes.
• Avoid wearing short pants and cut sleeves inside the temples. Also, remove your footwear before entering the temple or monastery.
• Use public transport to save money.
• Avoid plastic water bottles.
• Wear sunscreen and keep yourself hydrated, especially when on a trek.