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Dharamshala Tourism and Travel Guide

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History - The story so far
Founded by the British between 1815 and 1847, Dharamshala remained a low-profile hill town till the influx of TibetanDharamshala refugees along with the Dalai Lama since October 1959. India welcomed the religious leader and offered him and his people sanctuary and a place to stay in Dharamshala. Ever since, a continuous flow of refugees has transformed the town into a miniature Tibet with Buddhist temples, schools, crafts organisations, meditation centres, library and medical centre. The upper area of McLeodganj was founded in 1848 and named after David McLeod, the Governor of Punjab. Today though, there is little that remains as reminder of its British association.

Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh: Dharamshala is the district hqr. of Kangra district. This is a hill station lying on the spur of the Dhauladhar range about 18kms. north east of Kangra town. Hill station is wooded with oak and conifer trees and snow capped mountains enfold three sides of the town while the valley stretches in front. The snow line is perhaps more easily accessible at Dharamshala than at any other hill resort and it is possible to trek to snow point after an early morning's start.

Culture of 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.

Dharamshala like little Lhasa - Mc LeodGanj - That tourist place is located just 15 km from main town of Dharamshala Mc-Leod Gunj is 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, McLeod Ganj offers a host of possibilities and to the not-so-scholarly souls, a cultural bonanza awaits.

First lets look at what has Mc Leod Ganj got to offer to the hungry palette and then we will look into spiritual stuff! The Tibetan run restaurants give you an ample respite from dal, chapatti and rice that you get in most other places. If you are fond of momos, thukpa, and the likes, you have come to the right place. Tsongkha Restaurant, Yak Restaurant, DharamshalaSnowland and Shangrila are some of the place, which serve excellent food. A constant flow of Westerners has brought in its wake a number of restaurants and eateries, which offer the kind of food that is not so commonly available in India.

Abode of the Dalai Lama - But 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.

Walking Around: Walking Around - From McLeodganj there are a number of interesting walks like the 2 km stroll to Bhagsunag which has a spring and a temple or to Dharamkot, 3 kms., has very fine views. If you feel energetic enough, you can continue on towards the snow line. 10 kms. From the McLeodganj bus stand is Dal Lake, the site of an annual fair held in September. It is a pleasant walk to the lake. At the foot of the dhaula Dhar is Triund which is an 8 km trek. A further 5 kms. is the snowline where a

How to Reach Dharamsala by Air: There is no airport within the city of Dharamsala. The most convenient airport is Amritsar (200kms). Although Dharamsala is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh it is actually close to the state border of Punjab. Several airlines operate regular flights to Amritsar from cities like Delhi, Mumbai and so on.

How to Reach Dharamsala by Road: A god network of roads connects Dharamsala with many prominent cities and tourist destinations such as: Chandigarh (239kms), Amritsar (200kms), Delhi (514kms), Shimla (322kms), Dalhousie (55kms) etc. From Dharamsala, one can also reach the Himalayan wilderness in the states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

How to reach Dharamsala by Rail: Pathankot (90kms) is the nearest railway station from Dharamsala. Another convenient railhead is Amritsar. Both the railway stations are linked to various important cities by a well laid-out rail network.