Dharamshala - The Destination
Dharamshala, where the celebrated Dalai Lama has settled in exile is a spectacular Tibetan township, which
is the center for scholars, pilgrims and tourists. Blessed with marvelous landscapes, Dharamshala is a travelers paradise—lofty
snow peaks, deep gorges, lush green valleys, gushing rivers, enchanting mountain lakes, flower-adorned meadows, beautiful temples and
striking monasteries, it feels like you have stepped back in time.
Set against the snow-clad Dhauladhar mountains , Dharamshala
nestles on the high slopes in the upper ranges of Kangra valley. It is
a picturesque town set among thick conifer forests and is divided into two major areas, namely Lower Dharamshala (1250 m) and Upper
Dharamshala (1982 m). While Lower Dharamshala is a busy commercial area with the government offices, the bazaar and the bus stand,
Upper Dharamshala is bordered by the tiny dwellings as Forsythganj and McLeodganj, which have retained the British flavour
and colonial lifestyle.
Dharamshala is home to many Buddhist temples and stupas. Among the most popular ones is the Namgalaya Stupa, which has
the complete teachings of the Buddha complied in 100 volumes. The Kangra Valley at the base of the Dhauladhar mountains
is said to have some 600 temples tucked away in this tranquil valley, all of which are reflections to the Tibetan culture at
You can pass your entire day sitting in one of the roadside restaurants, where you will unfailingly find momos and thukpa, the traditional
and absolutely delicious Tibetan dishes. If you want to breathe in the fresh air, then no better place than walking past the meadows
and green fields.
So if its peace and serenity that you are looking for, away from the crowd, some time with yourself, then Dharamshala is undoubtedly
the place to be at.
Dharamshala - Facts at a Glance
History of Dharamshala
||28.81 sq kms|
||1889 m above sea level|
||22°C - 33°C (Summers) |
8°C - 15°C (Winters)
||Hindi English, Pahari|
|Best Season :
Lord Elgin, the British Viceroy of India (1862-63) was thoroughly enchanted with the natural beauty of
Dharamshala because of its similarity with Scotland, his home in England. Lord Elgin died in 1863 while on a tour. He now lies buried in the graveyard
of St. John's Church-in-Wilderness, which stands in a comfortable pine grove between McLeodganj and Forsythganj.
Legend has it that Lord Elgin liked Dharamshala so much that he had suggested to the British monarch to make Dharamshala
the summer capital of India. However, the proposal was ignored. By 1904, Forsythganj and McLeodganj had become the hub of trade, business and
official work of Kangra District. But on April 4, 1905, as a consequence of a severe earthquake, the entire area was devastated. Shocked at the
enormous damage, the British government decided to shift the district headquarter offices to the lower reaches of spur. As a result, the present-day
district courts and kotwali
bazaar areas came into being which earlier had only a jail, a police station and cobbler's shop to speak of. Till
1947 McLeodganj and Forsythganj served as health resorts and resting places for the British Rulers. But all this changed when the government
of India decided to grant political asylum to the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatsho, in 1959. In 1960, he was allowed to make McLeod Ganj his headquarters.
After his arrival, trade, commerce and tourism picked up afresh. This happened because with the Dalai Lama came thousands of Tibetan refugees,
who steadily settled in Mcleodganj. In the last three decades, the Tibetans have built many religious, educational and cultural institutions in
and around McLeodganj, for the preservation of their culture.