Dharamsala is a charming little hill station town located in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Situated at an height of 4000 meters of the Kangra valley, Dharamsala is one of the major hill stations developed in the seventeenth century by the British. Literally Dharamsala means the Holy Refuge, as it is the place where a large number of Tibetan people migrated here after the annexation of Tibet by China in 1959. Since then it became a major spiritual centre for Tibetan people and the Buddhist community. Its a salubrious climate with a magnificent backdrop of the Dhauladhar ranges makes it one of the popular hill stations in India.
Climate of Dharamsala :
As located on the Himalayas, the climate of Dharamsala is pleasant during summer and very cold in winters. The summer months from May to October is pleasant and is the ideal time to visit the hill station. During winters the temperature can drop below the freezing point and heavy woolen clothes are required. It is better to avoid the monsoons, as there is landslides.
Tourist Attractions in Dharamsala :
The hill station of Dharamsala offers various tourist attractions that are worth visiting. Some of the major ones are :
Macleodganj - It is main place for Tibetan settlement and the residence for Dalai Lama. It is popular for its colourful Tibetan bazaars and delicious cuisines showing all aspects of Tibetan culture. It also has the school of Tibetan studies and an Institute of Performing Art. It is now one of the major centre for Tibetan Culture.
Namgyal Monastery - This was founded by the third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso in 1575 and later called the Namgyal monastery or the victorious monastery. It is now an important centre for Tibetan studies in Dharamsala.
The Kangra Art Museum - It has a large collection of miniature paintings from the Kangra School of Art. It also has a collection of jewellery, woodcarving objects and traditional embroidered Kangra costumes.
Library of Tibetan Works and Archives - Located at the central administrative compound of the southern end of McLeod Ganj, the library has a good collection of original Tibetan manuscripts including some ancient texts and photographs.
Accommodation in Dharamsala:
As a popular hill station in India, excellent accommodation options are available in various hotels and hill resorts. Hotels of all categories offers luxurious accommodation with all kinds of facilities. Most of the hotels are strategically located in the most picturesque locations offering excellent views of the mountain range. Some of the major ones are : Anupam Resort, Nishad Resort, Grace Cottage, Snow Hermitage Resorts, Asia Health Resort etc. Also Himachal Pradesh Tourist Development Corporation(HPTDC) run hotels and PWD and forest rest houses are available at a very reasonable price.
Getting to Dharamsala :
By Air - Dharamsala does not have an airport of its own. Gaggal Airport is the nearest one and at a distance of 13 km.
By Rail - The nearest railhead is at Pathankot, which is connected to all the major north Indian cities by regular train services.
By Road - The hill station is well connected to all parts of Himachal Pradesh by a good motorable road network. The NH1 links it with Pathankot and Jalandhar.