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Top 10 Places To Visit In Dharamshala


Dharamshala is located in the upper reaches of the Kangra valley in Himachal Pradesh and is placed at an average altitude of 1,475 meters above sea level. The city is surrounded a thick cover of deodar cedar trees and is one of the major strong holds for the Tibetan refugees and the seat of the 14th dalai lama of the Tibetan sect of Buddhism. The town due to its picturesque surroundings and the presence of the Dalai Lama has made the town a popular tourist destination, both for the Indians and the foreign tourists. Here’s the list of the best places you must visit in Dharamshala.

1. Tsuglagkhang Complex

Tsuglagkhang Complex
Buddhist Wall Hangings, Photo by Adam Jones, CC BY-SA 2.0
Visitor Information
  • Famous for: Tibetan Culture, History, Pilgrimage.
  • Tickets: No entry fee.
  • Opening Timings: Open all days (5am to 8pm).
  • Duration: 1 hour.

There is no better place to take a glimpse at Tibetan culture than Tsuglagkhang Complex. This place is is the official home of the 14th Dalai Lama and is the largest Tibetan temple outside Tibet. The place is a major pilgrimage site for exiled Tibetans and is also heavily visited by tourists from all over the world.

  • Namgyal Cafe.
  • Tibetan museum.
  • Visit the Kalachakra Temple.
  • Pay your respects at Buddhist shrine.

2. Namgyal Monastery

Namgyal Monastery
Photo by Christopher Michel, CC BY 2.0
Visitor Information
  • Famous for: Tibetan Culture, History.
  • Tickets: No entry fee.
  • Opening Timings: Open all days (5 am to 8:30 pm).
  • Duration: 1-1.5 hours.

Namgyal Monastery was established by the 3rd Dalai Lama in 1575 and was relocated to Dharamshala following the 1959 Tibetan uprising. The monastery is one of the major learning and cultural centers of the Tibetan populated in Dharamsala. The monastery currently houses around 200 Tibetan monks and is one of the most frequented places in Dharamshala.

  • Meditation.
  • Observe Tibetan Culture.
  • Pay your respects at the Buddhist Shrine.

3. Masrur

Masroor
Photo by Akashdeep83, CC BY-SA 3.0
Visitor Information
  • Famous for: Architecture, Photography, History, Religion.
  • Tickets: No entry fee.
  • Opening Timings: Open all days from 6am to 6pm.
  • Duration: 1 hour.
  • Distance from Dharamshala: 1 hr 36 min (46.6 km).

Masrur is famous for its various rock-cut temples that date back to the 8th century AD. The carvings in the temples are finely detailed and are similar to that of the Ellora caves in Maharashtra and contain various images of the Hindu deities like Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshmana from the oldest Hindu epic, Ramayana.

  • Visit the Kangra Valley.
  • Go to the Shiva temple.
  • Take a trip to Palampur.

4. McLeod Ganj

Mc Leodganj
Visitor Information
  • Famous for: Nature, Photography, Tibetan Culture, Viewpoints.
  • Tickets: No entry fee.
  • Opening Timings: Open all days.
  • Duration: 1-2 Days.

With an average elevation of 2,082 meters above sea level, McLeod Ganj is named after Sir Donald Friell McLeod who was the Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab under whom the area was developed. The place is known for its various attractions including the residence of the 14th Dalai Lama. The place is one of the most frequented spots in Dharamshala and is famous for its Tibetan culture, handicrafts and temples. The Hanuman Tibba is the highest peak at the height of 5,639 meters above sea level and can be viewed from McLeod Ganj.

  • Triund.
  • Dharamkot.
  • Tibet Museum.
  • Bhagsu Waterfalls.
  • Tsug La Khang Shrine.
  • Tibetan Children’s Village.

5. Kareri Lake

Kareri Lake
Photo by Shalabh, CC BY-SA 3.0
Visitor Information
  • Famous for: Adventure, Nature, Photography.
  • Tickets: No entry fee.
  • Opening Timings: Open all days.
  • Duration: Half a Day.

A perfect place for adventurers and hikers, Kareri Lake is an unexplored gem of the Dhauladhar range. It's not easily accessible by roads and therefore not a much visited site but its isolation has helped in its preservation. This location also serves as a base camp for trekkers moving towards Dhauladhar range.

  • Camping.
  • Trekking.
  • Visit an ancient Shiva Shakti Temple here.

6. Gyuto Monastery

Gyuto Monastery
Photo by John Hill, CC BY-SA 3.0
Visitor Information
  • Famous for: Tibetan Culture, History, Pilgrimage.
  • Tickets: No entry fee.
  • Opening Timings: Open all days (5am to 8pm).
  • Duration: 1 hour.
  • Distance from Dharamshala: 42 min (20.8 km).

One of the oldest and important monastery, Gyuto Monastery was established by the disciple of the first Dalai Lama in 1474 in eastern Tibet. It was re established near Dharamsala after Chinese invaded Tibet and forced Tibetans to flee to India. It now houses over five hundred monks who reside here spending their time in meditation and learning Buddhism philosophy. Dedicated to handing down the teachings of its founder, Gyuto Monastery is a must visit for people wanting a glimpse into Buddhism philosophy and Tantric meditation.

  • Meditate.
  • Visit the nearby Norbulingka Institute.

7. Kangra Museum

Kangra Art Museum
Photo by Anilbhardwajnoida, CC BY-SA 3.0
Visitor Information
  • Famous for: History, Miniature Paintings, Culture and Society.
  • Tickets: 10 INR for Indians and 50 INR for foreigners.
  • Opening Timings: Open daily (Except Mondays and Public Holidays)10 am to 1.30 pm & 2 pm to 5pm.
  • Duration: 1 hour.

Kangra Museum houses various articles and artifacts that are significant to the Tibetan Buddhists and the Kangra Valley culture. The various manuscripts, handicrafts, pottery place here date back to the 5th century and the facility also contains a library.

  • Visit the gallery.
  • Shop for souvenirs.
  • Take a look at the library.

8. Kangra Fort

Kangra Fort Dharamshala
Photo by John Hill, CC BY-SA 3.0
Visitor Information
  • Famous for: Architecture, Photography, History, Religion.
  • Tickets: 150 INR for Indians and 300 INR for foreigners.
  • Opening Timings: Open all days from 9am to 6pm.
  • Duration: 1-2 hours.

Kangra Fort was the seat and residence of the one of the oldest existing dynasties in the World. The Katoch rulers of Kangra belong to the lineage of the rulers of Trigarta mentioned in the Hindu Epics Ramayana and Mahabharata and also in Alexander the Great’s war records. The fort complex contains several well detailed halls and watchtowers along with a couple of temples that date back to the 9th century AD.

  • Visit the many temples.
  • Eat at the restaurants.
  • Pay a visit to the Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch Museum.

9. Dal Lake (of Dharamshala)

Dal Lake Dharamshala
Photo by Officialkt, CC BY-SA 4.0
Visitor Information
  • Famous for: Nature, Photography.
  • Tickets: No entry fee.
  • Opening Timings: Open all days from sunrise to sunset.
  • Duration: 30 mins.

The Dal Lake in Dharamshala is named after its eponymous counterpart in Jammu and Kashmir. The lake is spread across 1 square kilometer and resembles the lake at Kashmir. It is one of the popular picnic spot and is surrounded by the thick deodar and juniper forests. The Kali temple located near the banks is home to a marvelous annual fair.

  • Trekking.
  • Boat Riding.
  • Pay your respects at Shiva's shrine.

10. Naddi Village

Naddi Village
Photo by Arnav Gupta, CC BY 2.0
Visitor Information
  • Famous for: Nature, Adventure, Serenity.
  • Tickets: No entry fee.
  • Opening Timings: Open all days.
  • Duration: upto 8 hours for trekkers.

This quaint and serene village provides some of the best views of the nearby terrain. Naddi Village is mostly visited by trekkers going towards Mcleodganj but recently it has also become popular among other tourists. Its serenic beauty, favourable climate and the many fairs have attracted many who come here to relax in the lap of nature.

  • Trekking.
  • Backpacking.
  • Visit the echo point.
  • Take a trip to Dal Lake nearby.
  • Witness the many fairs ( April-June).

Other attractions in and around Dharamshala include Gyuto Monastery, Bhagsunag Temple, Jwalamukhi Devi Temple, Norbulingka Institute and Tea gardens.
Being renowned in the world for its distinctive blend of the Kangra and Tibetan culture, Dharamshala is one of the most frequented tourist places in India. The place is also famous for its amazing views it is also nicknamed as ‘Little Lhasa’ due to the huge number of Tibetan settlements located here. The above-mentioned places are few of the most popular tourist places in Dharamshala and are a must visit.

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One comment

  1. How to organise the meeting with H.H.Dalai Lama?
    I have a group of French Tourists.
    Regards.

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