Location: Himachal Pradesh
Established Between: 1852.
Places Of Interest: Kangra Art Museum, St. John's
Best Time To Visit: Mid-May to Mid-October
Queen Of The Hills
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 style.
The colorful 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 traditions.
Kangra Art Museum: 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.
War Memorial: 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. more...
Dal Lake: 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.
The 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.
Kunal Pathri: These are the rock temples from which the
place derives its name. Kunal pathri is a 3 kms flat
walk from Kotwali Bazaar.
Dharmkot: 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
Norbulinka Institute: 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
Chinmaya Tapovan: 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.
Andretta: 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