Famous as the Little Lhasa Of India, Dharamshala is one of the most vibrant place to visit in Himachal. It is headquarter of Kangra district and major hub of Tibetan community and activities since 1959. Besides being a centre of cultural confluence, Dharamshala is a great travel destination with breathtaking places to explore.
Here is our pick for the must visit places for you in Dharamshala.
Dal Lake, which lies on the Naddi road, evoked similar image as that of Dal Lake in Kashmir. Hence this lake was dubbed as Dal and is counted among the most picturesque spots in Dharamshala. You can even worship at the Shiv temple, situated by the banks of this lake. You can even witness the local festival celebrated in the glory of Lord Shiva each year, if you happen to be here in the month of September.
Tsuglagkhang complex is a revered pilgrimage site for Tibetans in exile as it is home His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The complex lies in the southern most part of this town and is designed to house Photang, Tibet Museum, Tsuglagkhang Temple, and Namgyal Gompa. Photang is the official residence of Dalai Lama. This complex has lot to offer to keep visitors occupied. Sip hot coffee at the in-house café, buy books at the bookshop or observe the rich Tibetan culture at the Tibet Museum. All parts of the complex, except the quarters of monks are open for public visit.
After the Chinese invasion in Tibet, the Namgyal Monastery was established again in Mcleodganj near the very residence of His Holiness. It is a very pious place for Tibetans as it preserves and maintains their ancient culture, artistry, Holy Scriptures, traditions and things of religious importance. Namgyal Monastery also offers extensive courses in secret sutra and tantra typical of Tibetan traditions. The curriculum is quite stringent and young monks only gain entrance into these courses if they successfully pass the rigorous series of entrance tests.
Norbulingka, translates into ‘Jewel Garden’ in Tibetan language. This institute has made its mission to keep Tibetan culture and values alive for generations to come. It was founded by Kelsang and Kim Yeshi in the year 1988. The institute offers free guided tours and workshops explaining Tibetan art. The tours are scheduled on all days, except Sunday. You can even stay at the Norling and Chonor House, which are the two guesthouses that are housed by the institute.
It is one of the chief attractions here and is located 11 km from Dharamshala. It is one of the stopovers for trekkers’ en-route to Triund. The waterfall has humble presence round the year, but during Monsoon it is refilled and flows as a perfectly white cascade. After having a good time at the fall you can head to the Bhagsunath temple, just 0.5 km from the fall.
War Memorial commemorates the ultimate sacrifice done by the war heroes. Imbibing a patriotic feeling, this memorial serves as the right place to pay homage and keep the remembrance of soldiers eternal. The inscriptions on the memorial date back to 1046. Architecturally this memorial has been created using fine detailing and creativity. This landmark is surrounded by scenic landscape, lofty hills, serene ambiance and a cafe. The cafe serves light refreshments and snacks.
HPCA Stadium has become very popular for its stunning locale. It is poised against the stunning locale of Kangra valley. It has even hosted couple of domestic cricket matches, IPL and international matches as well.
Kotwali Bazaar and Mcleodganj are the two primary shopping areas of Dharamshala. Such markets are full of Tibetan handcrafts, jewellery, paintings, woodcraft, carpets and traditional things typical to this culture. You can even buy silk and woolen woven scarves exhibiting stylish designs at very reasonable rate here. The local food is delectable and you have the option to shop for local pickles, squashes and jams as well. You can head to Jogiwara Road to enjoy the popular street side stalls. Tibet Quality Shop, Norsang Handicrafts and TCV Handicrafts are other popular shopping spots here.