A faint colonial aura still lingers around the cottages of Forsythganj and in particular, at the church of St. John, where a former Viceroy to India, Lord Elgin is buried. The colonial aura of Forsythganj is in sharp contrast to Mcleodganj, a charming Tibetan settlement with bustling bazaars that sell carpets, handicrafts and delicious Tibetan food.
A giant prayer wheel ornaments the main street and in the monastery, a serene statue of the Lord Buddha presides over the gentle chanting of the monks. The Spiritual & Temporal head of Tibetans, the Dalai Lama resides in Mcleodganj, and this has turned Dharamshala into the ‘Buddhist Capital’ of the world. It has the School of Tibetan Studies with rare manuscripts and ancient texts, the Tibetan Institute for the Performing Arts and Handicrafts Centre. A visit to the museum in Dharamshala is a must-see for tourists interested in Kangra Paintings.
Dharamshala can be reached by road only. The nearest airport and narrow gauge train station is at Kangra and the closest broad gauge train station is at Pathankot.
Language: Hindi, Punjabi, English are understood and spoken by the people engaged in tourism trade.
Temperature: Max 38 o C in June Min 0 o C in january.
Clothing: Light woolens in Summer and heavy woolens in winter.
Where to stay: HPTDC hotels private hotels and guesthouses, PWD and Forest Rest Houses, are there in and around Dharamsala. Details are available from local tourist offices.
By Rail: Pathankot is the nearest broad gauge railway terminal to Dharamsala. From Pathankot there is a narrow gauge railway line up to Kangra (94 Km) and from here Dharamshala is 17 Km by road.
By Air: Nearest airport is at Gaggal
How To Get Around: Local buses operate regularly. Taxis are also available
|Places to visit||Km|
|Baijnath Shiv temple||54|
|St. John’s Church||8|
- Enjoy trekking at Kareri.
- Watch beautiful paintings of Ancient Indian mythology Characters at Nurpur.
- Explore a glorious past at Kotla Fort.
- Go sight-seeing at Kunal Pathri.
- Discover your spiritual side at St. John’s Church.
- Be a part of prayer and religious festivals Baijnath Shiv Temple.
- Go on a shopping spree at the Kotwali Bazar for general shopping and McLeod Ganj for Tibetan handicrafts.
During the Chaitra Navratra in March/April and Ashiwin Navratra’s in September/October, large number of Pilgrims visits the temples to seek the blessings of the Goddess Durga.
|Tourist Information Centre, Shimla||0177-2654589, 2654589, 2832498|
|Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Shimla||0177-2625924, 2625864, 2625511|
|HPTDC’s Marketing Office, Shimla||0177-2652561/2658302|
Situated above Mcleodganj, to get to Triund, one must overcome the steep gradient. Just below the snow line is Triund (9 km from Mcleodganj), a popular picnic and trekking spot with a breathtaking view and a lovely forest rest house.
The Regional Mountaineering Centre (RMC) at Mcleodganj (Dharamshala) with a branch at Bharmaur, provides information on trek routes, maps, technical know-how and equipment. They also organize adventure courses.
Contact: Mountaineering Supervisor, RMC, Dharamshala.
Phone: 01892 -221787.
Dal Lake (1900m)
About 4 km from Mcleodganj is the Dal Lake a natural water body. The lake is a scenic picnic spot surrounded by Deodar forests. It is a good base for trekkers. There is a temple of Durveshwar Mahadev by the side of the lake. A colorful annual fair is held every September on the day of Radhashtmi.
Naddi & Talnoo (2000m)
1.5 km from Dal Lake is the scenic spot of Naddi offering a clear view of Kangra Valley and Dhauladhar peaks. It is connected by road and is famous as a sunset point. It is also a starting point for a trek to Kareri Lake, Guna Devi Temple ( Naddi to Guna Devi 5 Km ) and Triund.
Dharamkot (2100 m)
This view point located on the Dharamkot hills offers a panoramic view of the Kangra valley and surrounding Dhauladhar peaks. Dharmakot has many meditation and yoga centres (11km).
Bhagsu Nag Temple/Waterfall (1750 m)
Just 2 km from Mcleodganj is the ancient Bhagsu Nag temple dedicated to Shiva with a fresh water spring. Further, a 1.5 km path leads to a waterfall, which is at its pristine glory during monsoons. The view of unsullied water gushing out of the waterfall and the mist emanating from the fall is indeed a delighting experience.
Martyrs Memorial (1200m)
At the entry point of the town of Dharamshala, a monument has been built to commemorate the war heroes. Three huge panels of black marble are etched with the names of those martyrs who laid down their lives guarding the country in the wars of 1947-48, 1962, 1965, 1971 and in various peacekeeping missions.
Gyuto Tantrik Monastery is located at Sidhwari, 6 km from Dharamshala on the Palampur road. The Karmapa Lama resides here. The Karmapa is considered the third most revered spiritual guru amongst Tibetans after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.
Chamunda Devi Temple
Not far from the town is a famous temple with the Dhauladhars forming a majestic backdrop. It is an enchanting spot with a glorious view of the mountains, the Baner Khud, Pathiar and Lahla forests. The temple of Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham is 15km from Dharamshala and Chamunda to Jia is 3Km -Jia to Adi Himani Chamunda is 7Km. Himachal Tourism’s hotel ‘Yatri Niwas’ is available at Chamunda.
Not far from the Kotwali bazaar, there is a temple dedicated to the local goddess. This is called the Kunal Pathri (3km).
A tranquil meditation complex set up by the great exponent of the Gita Swami Chinmayananda (10 km).
Naddi & Talnoo (2000m): 1.5 km from Dal Lake is the scenic spot of Naddi offering a clear view of Kangra Valley and Dhauladhar peaks. It is connected by road and is famous as a sunset point. It is also a starting point for a trek to Kareri Lake, Guna Devi Temple and Triund.
Kangra Art Museum
The museum is located at Kotwali Bazaar and one can see Kangra valley’s arts, crafts and rich past, displaying artefacts dating back to 5th century. It includes a gallery of Kangra’s famous miniature paintings and a representative collection of sculptures, pottery and anthropological items. A section houses the work of contemporary artists, Sculptors and photographers. It remains closed on Mondays & gazetted holidays.
7 km from Dharamshala, the Norbulingka institute was established to keep alive the traditional arts and crafts of Tibet. It includes a Statue, Thangka paintings, woodcarvings, carpentry and metal crafts. This has a beautiful Buddha temple, a dolls museum, crafts centre and a garden.
Indru Nag Temple: 5km from Dharamshala, is the temple of Indru Nag, the snake deity. This place offers nice views of the Kangra valley and Dhauladhar ranges.
Tatwani & Machhial
This is a religious place 25 km from Dharamshala and 6 km further are the hot springs of Tatwani on the banks of Gaj stream. It is both a religious and an attractive picnic spot. It can be approached from Salol village.
Kareri (1983 m)
A scenic spot with a rest house located in the cool depths of a pine grove (22km). The beautiful Kareri lake, is 13km from the spot. Set amidst green meadows and forests of tall oak & pine, at an altitude of 3250m.