Situated in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, Dharamshala stands at a height of almost 1,500 meters. This city has a lush green cover of trees and is surrounded by spectacular mountains. The city also holds major political significance because of the presence of a large number of Tibetan refugees as well as His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself.
There are countless reasons to visit Dharamsala, but here we will restrict ourselves to the 10 reasons why Dharamshala is a must visit for every traveler
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The Dalai Lama Temple is situated in McLeod Ganj and is the place to be if you are seeking peace and calm. The temple itself is very quiet and has an aura of serenity around it. The prayer wheels, flags, and the giant statue of the Buddha will transport you far away from the city and into a quiet meditative world.
2.The Kangra Museum of Art
Photo by Honolulu Academy of Arts, CC0 1.0
Housing cultural and historical artifacts dating as old as fifth century AD, the Kangra Museum of art is a must visit. The museum provides a look into the age-old cultures and traditions of the civilization in the Kangra Valley and should be visited whether you are a full-time history buff, an art lover, or just want to satisfy your curiosity.
Photo by Vssun, CC BY-SA 3.0
A day trip from Dharamshala to Kangra fort will lead you to perhaps the oldest fort in India. Its origins have been mentioned in the epic Mahabharata itself! This fort is situated at a distance of twenty kilometers from the town and has a rich past hidden in its well-preserved premises.
Photo by Adam Jones, CC BY-SA 2.0
A suburb in Dharamsala, McLeod Ganj is the headquarter of the Tibetan government in exile in India. The area is affectionately called Little Lhasa (Lhasa being the capital of Tibet), or Dhasa. A large number of Tibetan population in this area makes it an important political center. His Holiness the Dalai Lama also currently resides in this beautiful area. Due to these reasons, McLeod Ganj is a famous tourist attraction.
Photo by Sumit Mathur, CC BY-SA 4.0
Put on your favorite pair of trekking shoes and go on the trek to explore Triund, the spectacular mountain plateau. The breathtaking views of the Kangra valley and the spirit of adventure will keep you moving forward on these treks. The Kakeri Lake situated nearby is also one of the important trekking spots in Himachal Pradesh.
Photo by sobhan mohanty, CC BY 2.0
A stunning trail leading to Shri Gunna Devi Mandir leads to Bhagsunag Falls. The falls also house the famous Bhagsunath Temple of Lord Shiva. These beautiful falls make an incomparable tourist spot amidst nature. The cascading falls reach a rocky pool and are a marvel to the eyes.
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Mount Hanuman Tibba is situated in the Dauladhar range of mountains and is the highest peak in the area. It is situated right in front of McLeod Ganj and is a mesmerizing sight to look at. The mountain is surrounded by numerous glaciers and is one of the must visit spots for an adventure lover in India.
8. Dharmsala International Film Festival
Every year in the month of November, The Dharamshala International Film Festival, or DIFF, is organized for four days. It is one of the biggest festivals of India which attracts thousands of tourists every year to India. The festival has movie screenings, talks with experts, and workshops for interested visitors. The film festival has been graced by the presence of several eminent film personalities ever since its conception in the year 2012.
Photo by Kushal Goyal, CC BY-SA 3.0
Cuisine in Dharamshala revolves around steaming hot momos, thupka, and coffee. Though Tibetan food is an integral part of the local diet here in Dharamsala, it is by no means all that the tourists can get. Little Lhasa now has a number of Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Belgian restaurants to satisfy a variety of appetites. But it is highly recommended that when in Dharamsala, taste the local cuisine the way the locals do.
10. Kotwali Bazaar
Kotwali Bazaar is your one stop place for shopping in Dharamsala. You can feed the shopaholic in you by buying the authentic Tibetan handicrafts, jewelry, and some beautiful handwoven carpets. Kotwali Bazaar is located at the town center and is known to be one of the busiest places in Dharamsala. Come here to shop, eat, and to have an immersive experience of the local culture.
We hope that this list has inspired you enough to pack your bags and head to Dharamshala for your next trip. What other reasons do you have for visiting this place? March to mid-July is the best time to visit Dharamshala. Do let us know in the comments section below!
Rohit Agarwal is an architect who loves to travel. He works as a freelance travel writer for several online and print magazines. When not working, he writes for his website TransIndiaTravels.com and plays the guitar.