Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh

Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh
Dharamshala” word is derived from Sanskrit which means a shelter or rest house for spiritual pilgrims. When the first permanent settlement was created here now called Dharamshala, there was already an old Hindu sanctuary or ‘Dharamshala’ existing on the site, and the settlement took its name from that Dharamshala

Dharamshala is also refered as ‘Queen of Hills’ one of the famous destinations for tourists in Himachal Pradesh. Hill station lying on the spur of the Dhauladhar mountains and is located in the Kangra Valley, and district headquarters of the Kangra District.

Dharamshala was formerly known as Bhagsu. Dharamshala was destroyed by the earthquake of April 4, 1905. After its reconstruction, Dharamshala flourished as a quiet health resort. It is well known for breathtaking views of Dhauladhar’s snowy peaks, tea gardens, calmness, and touches of Colonial lifestyle.
Dharamshala - Snow peaks

This hill station is divided into two – upper and lower towns. Upper Dharamshala with the suburbs of Mcleodganj and Forsythegan while Lower Dharamshala is a busy commercial centre with the suburbs of Kotwali Bazaar (the main market of the town), Kaccheri, Adda (Government offices such as the Court, Police, Post etc.), Dari, Ramnagar, Sidhpur and Sidhbari (where the Karmapa Lama is based)

How To Reach Dharamshala

Reaching here is not at all a Herculean task. The hill station is easily accessible through Air, Rail and Road transport. To know more on how to reach Dharamshala just have a look at the information below.

Dharamshala By Air

Gaggal airport (also identified as Dharamsala airport) in Kangra valley would be the nearest airport. The airport is 15 km away from Dharamsala, which costs about Rs 350 by Cab. Chandigarh is another principal city of north India which has a major airport and is situated at a distance of 239 km from Dharamshala. The capital city of India, Delhi is located at a distance of 514 km from the hill station.

Dharamshala By Train

Most adjacent railway station is Kangra Mandir at a distance of 22 km, all trains won’t stop here. Pathankot is the closest broad gauge railway terminal. From Pathankot there is a narrow gauge railway line up to Kangra (94 km) and from this point Dharamshala is 17 km by road. Another way is to go directly from Pathankot and it is situated at a distance of 85 km from the hill station. It takes a time span of about three hours by road.

Dharamshala By Road

Because of properly serviced highways, reaching Dharamshala by undertaking road journey is additionally an alternative tourists can consider. From Delhi and Simla especially you can certainly reach Dharamshala in an overnight bus journey. Direct and regular bus service from Delhi (520 km), Chandigarh (250 km), Jammu (210 km), Shimla (238 km), Chamba (185 km) and Manali (240 km).

Weather in Dharamshala – Himachal Pradesh

Dhauladhar Range Summer : March – June. The day time temperatures are quite pleaant despite the fact that it doesn’t get too cold. This is the best time to visit.
Monsoon : July-September. If you do not mind having your feet wet at the moment, Dharamshala presents some very panoramic views of the freshly cleaned forest around. An additional spin off will be great hotel costs due to minimal tourist traffic. Light Woolens are recomended.

Winter : November – February. It’s cold enough, so u have to carry lots of woolens.

Places To Visit in Dharamshala

Dharamshala Cricket Stadium

Dharamshala Cricket Stadium is positioned at a level of 1,457 m (4,780 ft 2 in) above sea level. The snow capped of Dhauladhar mountains to it’s natural background, Dharamshala Cricket Stadium is among the best eye-catching cricket stadiums in India. Recently a match among Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super kings organised here in which His Holiness the Dalai Lama graced the match of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Just behind the stadium is Govt. College of Dharamshala which was constructed during the British Empire.


Naddi has been established as picnic location at the height of 2,000 metres above the sea level and approximately two kilometers via Dal Lake and 13 kms from Dharamshala presenting a panoramic view of valley and Dhauladhar peaks Additionally, it’s a kick off point for a trek to Kareri lake, Guna Temple and Triund.

Dal lake Near Dharamshala

Around 11km from Dharamshala, near a village Tota Rani A miniature oval-shaped man made lake called Dal lake is small in area and overlooking the Deodar trees This is a natural lake whose resource for water is the Balan Dhar. On the bank of Dal Lake a popular Lord Shiva temple is situated, that is certainly considered to be very holy. The Dal fair, held at the Dal Lake in September is largely attended by Gaddis (tribe) and other Hindus. Taking a dip in the lake is considered sacred. Devotees believe that a bath in the lake fulfills any boon asked from Lord Shiva at that time. It is the starting point of excursions and trekking.


2,100 metres above the sea level , 11km from Dharamshala & 2 km from Mcleodganj, inhabited by the Gaddis (hill tribals) the village Dharamkot , picnic spot offering a panoramic view of the Kangra valley, Pong Dam lake and ranges of Dhauladhar mountain.

St. John’s Church Near Dharamshala

7 km from Dharamshala and fifteen minutes’ walk from McLeod Gunj, the Anglican church lies in the forest between Forsyth Ganj and Mcleod Ganj It was built in 1852 and is dressed in grey stone with some fine Belgian stained glass windows.. A memorial to Viceroy Lord Elgin then British Victory of India, who was buried here in 1863 A.D. The church is surrounded by Deodar trees.

McLeod Ganj

At 2,000 metres above sea level, McLeodganj is in the upper part of Dharamshala and is at about 9 Kms from Dharamshala. . McLeodganj was founded in 1848 and named after David McLeod, the Governor of Punjab.
Dharamshala has risen to international fame as “The Little Lhasa in India” when the Indian Government offered Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and current His Holiness Dalai Lama refuge in 1960 where he set up the Government of Tibet in exile. McLeod Ganj, became his official residence. Several thousand Tibetan exiles have now settled in and around McLeod Ganj, where they have built monasteries, temples and schools. Tibetan architecture example is the Tsuglagkhang or the Dalai Lama’s temple. Tsuglagkhang, the magnificent images of Shayamuni, Padmasambhava and Avaloktesvara, all sitting in meditation postures.

The Tibetan Institute of performing Arts (TIPA) is 1 km. walk from McLeod Ganj and preserves a number of musical dance and theatrical traditions of Tibet. It holds an annual 10-day festival which includes the traditional plays, dances & many more such events on the second Saturday of April. There is also a Tibetan handicraft centre situated at McLeod Ganj and a Sunday market is organized at about 10 minutes walk from here.


Bhagsunag which is known for ancient temple of Nag dedicated to lord Shiva, was built by the Raja of Kangra in the 16th century just 02 km from Mcleodganj with spring water .

Bhagsu Waterfall

About 1.5 km from Bhagsunag Temple, there is a small waterfall, During monsoon the water falls turns into a glorious 30 ft cascade. One can enjoy light drizzling as a result of water fall. Near the waterfall, the mountain side has a lot of slate quarries.


Trek to Triund also known as trekkers paradise. Triund is 9 kms trek from Mcleod Gan passing through Dharamkot and Rakkar Villages via Gulu Devi , a small Temple and water point. The area was initially used by local Gaddi shepherds too across the Dhauladhar into Chamba district during summers with their sheeps. Triund lies in the foothills of the snow clad Dhauladhar mountains and is at a height of about 3500 m above the sea level.. The snow line starts from Laka 5km from Triund, offering a breath-taking views of the mountains and the Kangra valley. On the way one can find wild flowers, many birds and wild animals.
Accommodation is available in the rest house of Forest Department which was built about 100 years ago by British One private hotel has also come up there. While trekking it is a must for you to carry your own food and water.

Kunal Pathri

This is a rock temple dedicated to Goddess Kalpeshwari and is located 3 km from the Kotwali Bazaar. It is mentioned in the Shiv Maha Puran that once King Daksh Prajapati, the father of Bhagwati Sati, organized a yajna and did not invite Lord Shiva. Unable to withstand the insult to Lord Shiva, she immolated herself by jumping into the holy fire of the Yajna. Lord Shiva could not bear her death and started roaming aimlessly with her body on his back. Lord Vishnu had to use his Sudarshan Chakra to decimate the body of Sati into fifty-one pieces, to stop the ferocious dance, Tandava Nritya,. It is believed that a part of Sati’s Skull fell at this place and since then the local people have been worshipping this place as a sacred one.
The road to Kunal Pathri passes through Mann Tea Estate, biggest tea garden in the vicinity of Dharamshala. To enjoy cool breeze and scenery, walk down to Kunal Pathri .

War Memorial

The memorial was built in 1972, near the entry point to Dharamshala in Civil Lines to commemorate the memory of soldiers and officiers of Kangra district who fought valiantly for the defence of Motherland in INDO-CHINA(1962) and INDO-PAK wars(1947-48,1965 & 1971) and in various peacekeeping missions.
Features of the memorial are its three curved walls in black marble each 20 feet long and 24 feet high bearing the names of 1042 martyrs on five of its faces with a mural on the sixth.
Outside the gate of the memorial are a disused Pattan Tank captured in 1971, INDO-PAK war and a Gnat, a light jet aeroplane.

The Kangara Art Museum

Situated on the main road in Kotwali Bazar, Dharamshala exhibits Kangra valley’s arts, crafts, culture and lifestyle that date back to the 5th century, collection of sculptures, pottery and anthropological items, miniature paintings from the Kangra school etc. The museum also has a section dedicated to the contemporary artists, sculptures and photographers. A library is just below the museum. This art museum was inaugurated in 1990.
.Indru Nag Temple
This Temple is located on way to Khaniyara Village about 3 kms from Kotwali Bazaar. and 1 km trek route to the Indrunag temple which is situated on the top of hill.. This temple is dedicated to Nag, the Lord of Snakes, and the Lord of Rains. In the Month of July many devotees of the local areas visit the Temple.

Aganjar Mahadev Temple (Khanyara)

This temple is 8.5 km from Dharamshala and just a few meters from the Khaniyara village. The old Shiva Temple (Aganjar Mahadev Temple) is situated near the bank of the River Manjhi. The temple is situated inside a cave near river stream. At this place Baba Ganga Bharati has fired “Akhand Dhuni” (Sacred Fire).
Khaniyara is the starting point of the trek route to Bharmour and is also well connected by roads from Norbulingka, Chinmaya Tapovan and Dharamshala. Khanyara was also famous for slate quarries

Yol (Yol Cantt)

Yol is about 6 kms from Dharamshala. Yol is a cantonment town . The town gets its name from YOL (Young Officers Leave camp), a small town established by British Indian Army around 1849 is a cantonment area.


Sodjbaro is situated on the banks of river Bindus and about 10 km from Dharamshala It derived its name from a sage, Baba Sidh. This small town is very near to this village is Chinmaya Ashram. In this Ashram, is the Samadhi of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, founder of Chinmaya Mission. a noted exponent of the Gita. The complex includes a 9 meter high image of Lord Hanuman, a magnificent Rama Temple, a meditation hall, a school, and a health and recreation centre.

Sidhbari is also temporary residence of the Karmapa (Ogyen Trinley Dorje), at Gyuto Monastery Sidhbari is about six kilometers from Dharamshala, and about 15 kilometers from McLeodgunj, where the 14th Dalai Lama lives.

It is believed by the locals that the dhuni (burning piece of wooden log) has been burning for centuries & has never been extinguished even once. Hence the vibhuti(ash)is said to have the sacred blessings of the Sidh Baba.

Legislative Assembly building is very near to Chinmaya Mission The Secretariat is at Sidhbari,
Recently added attraction for tourist in Sidhbari is Naam Art Gallery

Chamunda Temple:

Chamunda temple famous temple of goddess Chamunda Devi (Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham) is located in the village of Dadh , 15 kms from Dharamshala on the right bank of river Baner Khud. This place also has a beautiful bathing ghat and a small temple across the bridge joining the ghat. There are ample arrangements to stay in the temple sarai and the rest house at Dadh. At the back of the temple is a cave-like scoop where a stone “Lingam” under a boulder represents Nandikeshwar (Shiva).
Chronicled in the Durga Sapt-Shati, the story goes that on the orders of Shamb and Ni-Shamb, two demons tried to harass the goddess Ambika. Enraged, Ambika knitted her brows and from the folds a horrifying from of Kali emerged. After a great battle, the goddess Kali slew the two demons, Chand and Mund. Delighted by Kali’s achievement, Ambika declared that she would now be worshipped here as Chamunda a combination of the demons names. Chamunda Devi temple is at height of 1000m.

Tatwani & Machhial (500 mt)

20 km fro Dharamsala and 4 km from Rait (on Dharamsala-Pathankot Road) is definitely the amazing waterfall. 5 km down lays the hot spring of Tatwani (a contraction of Tatta pani) on the bank of Gaj rivulet, a tributory of Beas. The hot spring issues at a height of about five feet from the side of the hill.

Kareri Lake

Situated at a distance of 33 km from Dharamshala and at an altitude of 2,166 metres. Kareri lake is surrounded by green meadows, Oak and Pine trees, creating it an perfect spot to explore. At Kareri the tourists can reside in the forest rest house, for which prior booking is required from the Divisional Forest Officer.


It’s nestled 41 kms. from Dharamshala and can be approached through road the natural cave temple of Trilokpur includes a stalactite and stalagamite is devoted to Shiva. High on the ridge of the cave are ruins of a palace and baradari (audience hall) of Lehna Singh Majitha, Governor of Kangra hills during the Sikh rule.

Other Attractions

The temple of Jwalamukhi, Brijeshwari Devi and Masroor Rock-cut Temples are other pilgrim centers close to Dharamsala. The fort of Kangra, Palampur are other attractions

Trekking in Dharamshala

Dharamshala is a base for trekking in the forested Dhauladhar into the upper Ravi Valley and Chamba district.

Other trekking trails that lead you to Chamba from Dharamshala are:
• Toral Pass (4575m) – begins from Tang Narwana (1150m) located nearly 10 km from Dharamshala
• Across Bhimghasutri Pass (4580m) a highly difficult level trek.
• Dharamshala—Bleni Pass (3710m) – Dunali.

Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh