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Fast Facts
Location: North Indian state of Himachal Pradesh
Attractions: War Memorial, Kotwali Bazaar, Kangra Art Museum, St. John's Church, Dal Lake, McLeodganj etc.
Best Time To Visit: October to April

Introducing Dharamsala Himachal Pradesh
McLeodganjDharamsala is a small town and a municipal council in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Situated in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley, Dharamsala is better known as the home in exile of the Dalai Lama (in McLeodganj). Dharamsala is divided into two parts namely Upper Dharamsala or McLeod Ganj (retains a British colonial atmosphere) and Lower Dharamsala (busy commercial centre).

Dharamshala Tourism Although there is a difference of 9 km between Dharamsala and McLeodganj but the latter is considered the real heart of Dharamsala. With prayer flags fluttering and prayer wheels off the sidewalk, McLeodganj is also called the 'Little Lhasa', spreading the message of peace and harmony. One of Himachal's most charming destinations, Dharamshala is free of the noise and crowd of most India cities. The lofty snow clad Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalayas provides a picturesque backdrop to the hill station of Dharamsala India. Bestowed with thick pine and deodar forests, numerous shimmering streams, pleasant soothing air, spectacular surroundings, the nearby snowline, trip to Dharamasala offers everything that a tourist expects from a hill resort. Besides, the ancient temples like Jawalamukhi, Brijeshwari and Chamunda situated in and around the town add more to your vacationing experience.

How to Reach Dharamsala
By Air: Gaggal airport at a distance of 13 kms is the nearest airport. Jagson airlines operate flights to Dharamsala from Delhi and other cities of North India. From the airport you can hire a taxi to Dharamsala, Kangra, Palampur and other towns in the valley.

By Train: Nearest railhead is Kangra Mandir railway station at a distance of 22 kms. However the most convenient railhead in Pathankot railway station in Punjab that is 85 kms away. Panthankot is connected to Delhi and several other cities of India by super-fast and express trains. Frequent bus services is available for Dharamsala India, with the journey taking anywhere between three to four hours.
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By Road : Dharamsala is connected by good roads with other important destinations of Himachal Pradesh and neigbouring states. Direct buses are available from Delhi (510 km) via Chandigarh - Nangal - Una - Kangra. Distances of some of the important destinations from Dharamsala are : Delhi (510 km), Chandigarh (235 km), Manali (270 km), Shimla (252 km), Kangra (18 km) and Pathankot (90 km).

Local Transport : Hire taxis or auto-rickshaws to move in and around Dharamsala.

Delhi to Dharamshala : The enchanting hill station of Dharamsala can be easily accessed by undertaking an air journey. Kingfisher Red operate daily flights from Delhi to Dharamsala arriving at Gaggal DHM, also referred to as Kangra airport or Dharamsala airport.Dharamsala has no railway station and Pathankot is the nearest railhead connecting to Delhi. Taxis are available from Pathankot costing up to Rs 3,000.

Dharamshala Weather : (March to June) are warm with temperatures between 22 °C to 38 °C. Trekking enthusiasts prefer this season.(July to September) with heavy rainfalls are messy. The months of July and August witness heavy and are avoided by tourists. (December to February are chilly and freezing. During January the mercury dips below -4 °C. Snowfalls in winters (especially January) are a nightmare due to blocked roads and poor visibility.Best Season to visit Dharmasala is from September to June. Tourists may keep off January.

Places Where You Can Stay
Plenty of accommodation options are available in Dharamsala that includes HPTDC's hotels, private hotels, guest houses,Dharamshala resorts, PWD and forest rest houses. All the hotels in Dharamsala are equipped with contemporary facilities and provide a comfortable stay to guests.

Deluxe Hotels : Asia Health Resorts, Grace Cottage, Anand Palace, Surya Resort, Spring Valley Resort.

Heritage Hotels : WelcomHeritage Grace Cottage (Kotwali Bazaar), White Haven Estate (Chilgarhi).

Standard Hotels : Hotel Dhauladhar (Kotwali Bazaar), Hotel Bhagsu (McLeodganj), Hotel Kashmir House (Khara Danda Road), Chonor House (McLeodganj), Hotel Tibet (McLeodganj), Yatri Niwas, Clouds End Villa, Him Queen (McLeodganj), Banjara Camp (Bhagsu Valley) etc.

Places tO Visit in Dharamsala
War Memorial : War Memorial is situated at the start of the town. The memorial has been built to commemorate the post independence war heroes of the state of Himachal Pradesh. Set amidst the landscaped lawns and pine grove, the war memorial is one of the major attractions of Dharamsala.

Kotwali Bazaar, Kangra Art Museum : Kotwali Bazaar is the main shopping centre of Dharamsala where you will find a variety of items. Some of the notable items found at Kotwali Bazaar include shamianas, pandals, coins, jewellery etc. At Kangra Art Museum you will find Kangra valley's arts, crafts and rich past, displaying artifacts dating back to the 5th century. The museum has a gallery of Kangra's popular miniature paintings and a good collection of sculptures, pottery and anthropological items, manuscripts, dresses used by local royalty, old carved doors, jails and lintels. A section of the gallery houses the work of contemporary artists, sculptors and photographers. Just below the art gallery is the library.

Bhagsunath TempleTourist Attractions Around Dharamsala Tours
St. John's Church : St. John's Church lies 7 km upward from Dharamsala, between Forsythganj and Mcleodganj. The church has been built with dressed stone and having beautiful stained glass window, popularly called the church of St. John in Wilderness. A memorial of Lord Elgin, the then British Viceroy of India has been erected here, who died in Dharamsala in 1863. Besides the memorial, there is a old graveyard on the grassy slopes of the church.

Dal Lake : Just 11 kms from Dharamsala is the pretty Dal Lake. A scenic and serene picnic spot, Dal Lake is fringed by forests of Deodar. Dal Lake also makes an a good base for trekkers. A colourful fair is held here every September.

McLeodganj : McLeodganj also called the 'Little Lahasa' is situated 9 km up from Kotwali Bazaar, Dharamsala. Set at an altitude of 1,770 mts above sea level, McLeodganj is the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile. Here you will see the monastery which larger than-life images of Lord Buddha, Padmasabhava and Avalokteshwara. Charm of McLeodganj has been enhanced by the presence of a large Tibetan community and the traditional architectural designs drawn from Tibet. Visit the market to buy a variety of Tibetan handicrafts, curious and garments. From the second Saturday of April every year, the Tibetan Institute of Performing arts organises a 10-day festival here.

Bhagsunath Temple / Waterfall : Just two kms from Mcleodganj is the temple of Bhagsunath having a fresh water spring. Move further 0.5 km to see the beautiful Bhagsunath waterfall which will sooth your eyes and mind.
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Kunal Pathri : Kunal Pathri, a small rock temple is located 3 km away from Kotwali bazaar. The temple is dedicated to a local goddess.

Dharmkot : A picnic spot, Dharmkot is situated on the crest of hill, 3 km away from Mcleodganj and 11 kms from Dharamsala. From here you will get the spectacular view of Kangra Valley, Pong Dam and Dhauladhar ranges.

Triund : Triund is situated 17 km away from Dharamsala, at a height of 2,975 mtr. Mcleodganj to Triund is a 9 km gradual trek which passes through Dharamkot and Rakkar villages. Triund is a famous picnic and trekking spot at the feet of the snow clad Dhauladhar range. Route guidance, maps, equipment etc. may be hired from the Regional Mountaineering Centre located 500 mts upward from Mcleodganj. A beautiful forest rest house is also situated at Triund. The snow line starts at Illaqa (3,350 mt) - 5 km ahead of Triund.

Kangra: Kangra is 18 kms from Dharamshala and also one of the popular destinations of Himachal Pradesh. The town was the first seat of Raja Sansar Chand II (1775 - 1823 AD). Some of the popular attractions of the town are Fort of Nagarkot, Bajreshwari Devi Temple, Old Jain Temple and Gupt Ganga.

Kareri : Kareri is located at a distance of 22 km from Kotwali Bazaar, amidst picturesque surroundings. A 13 km trek from Mcleodganj passing through Dal Lake, Satobri and Ghera lead to Kareri. A small village Kareri overlooks the flat and fertile lands of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Kareri has a lovely forest rest house, surrounded by lust green surroundings. 13 km further is the Kareri Lake which has beautiful high altitude meadows, extensive pasture lands and undulating slopes. You can experience the pleasure of cold bath in the icy waters of Kareri Lake.

Chinmaya Tapovan : Chinmaya Tapovan is 9 km from Dharamsala. A tranquil Ashram complex, Chinmaya Tapovan was founded in 1978 by the Gita-Swami Chinmayananda. Chinmaya Tapovan has a 9 mtr high image of Lord Hanuman, a massive Rama Temple, a mediation hall, a school and a health and recreational centre.

Palampur : Situated at a distance of 35 km from Dharamsala, Palampur town is famous for its tea gardens, Bundla valley, pleasant walks and trails.

Andretta: Andretta is 13 kms away from Palampur and it is the place where the noted artist Sardar Sobha Singh created most of his famous works like Sohni Mahiwal, Heer Ranjha and a number of religious paintings. Further Andretta became popular due to Ms Norah Richards, the famous writer and dramatist who stay in the town.

Trilokpur : Trilokpur lies 41 km away from Dharamsala on Pathankot road. At Trilokpur there is a cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is known for its stalactite and stalagmite formations.

Other Attractions
Adventure Activities: Dharamsala and the area around provide an ideal base for a variety of adventure sports. Himachal's Mountaineering Institute has a branch at Dharamsala, which offer mountaineering equipments and training courses as well. The Dhauladhar ranges located close to Dharamsala offer a huge variety of trekking options and rock climbing.

Fishing: Fishing or angling remains a favourite leisure activity of those who visit Dharamsala. Visit the 20 km stretch of the river Beas between Nadaun and the Pong Dam to enjoy the fishing.

Shopping in Dharamsala
Shopping in Dharamsala is a delightful experience for tourists. Among the variety of items, the local handicrafts of Dharamsala are very popular. Visit the town's famous Kotwali Bazaar for local handicrafts, Tibetan handicrafts, carpets and several other items.

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