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Dharamshala :: City Information

Best Travel Duration

Mid-May to Mid-October

About Dharamshala

The colonial origin, the Tibetan influence and the Kangra air make an invigorating cocktail with a unique blend. Dharamshala stands out amongst the other hill-stations of India. It is also an archetypal getaway for the jaded city souls with thatched cottages nestling amidst thick coniferous forests. As one looks up, the green fringes merge with the snow-clad mountains and as your eyes shift downwards, the vast panorama of the Kangra valley embraces you. It is a no holds barred battle of the eye with the scenery and one wonders how much the eyes can behold this quiet rhapsody of the nature.

Is it a tale of two cities? The town is divided in flesh and soul into two halves, each with its own character. The lower Dharamshala is the main town at 1250 meters. The upper Dharamshala or McLeod Ganj from Dharamshala by road, it is a 10 kilometers drive, which takes almost the same time as you would, walking up the steep path. The only reason that you would like to visit lower Dharamshala would be to see the Kangra Art Museum, which has a treasure trove of the art and crafts of region.

The vestiges of the Raj dot the town - foremost is the church of St. John in the wilderness. There is a well-maintained, old graveyard. It reminds one of other old graveyards in hill-stations like Mussoorie and Shimla. These are perhaps the only peaceful places left in the hustle and bustle of these touristic places and your best bet if you are looking for peace!

Places to Visit at Dharamshala


Description: McLeodGanj

The Little Lhasa is thick with the Tibetan cultural feel. It is an altogether different world where the crisp breeze is broken by chanting of the hymns along with the tinkling of the prayer wheels. The place was once full of hippies who have since moved out with the crowds inundating the town. For a research scholar, McLeodGanj offers a host of possibilities and to the not-so-scholarly souls, a cultural bonanza awaits.

Abode of the Dalai Lama

Description: Abode of the Dalai Lama

Dharamshala is better known as Dalai Lama's abode and Tibet's Government-in-exile after the Chinese invasion of Lhasa in October 1959. Needless to say, a visit to Dharamshala would be considered irreverent without a peek into the various monasteries dotting the hillsides. A visit to the Namgyal Monastery, ensconcing the Center of Tibetan Studies is nothing short of mandatory. 'Tsuglagkhang', opposite the Dalai Lama's residence reminds one of Lhasa - it contains large gilded bronzes of the Buddha, Avalokiteswara and Padmasambhava.

St. John's Church

Description: 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.

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

How To Get To Dharamshala

By Air:


The nearest airport is at Gaggal, 13 km from the town. Indian Airlines flies to Dharamsala thrice a week from Delhi.

By Rail:


The nearest broad gauge railhead is at Pathankot and a railway booking office can be found close to the bus stand.

By Road:


National Highway 1 and National Highway 1A connect Dharamsala to Pathankot and Jalandhar. Dharamsala is also well connected by road to other places in Himachal. There are several buses a day to and from Mandi, Shimla, Chandigarh and Delhi. There is also a service to Dalhousie (which continues to Chamba) and to Dehradun.