The high snow clad Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalayas form a magnificent backdrop to the hill resort of Dharamshala. This is the principal township of Kangra and overlooks the wide spread of the plains. With dense pine and deodar forests, numerous streams, cool healthy air, attractive surroundings and the nearby snowline, Dharamshala has everything for a perfect holiday. It is full of life and yet peaceful. And not surprisingly, the headquarters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is here. Covering a wide area in the form of a twin settlement, Lower Dharamshala (1380 m) is a busy commercial center, while Upper Dharamshala (1830 m) with the suburbs of McLeodganj and Forsythganj, retains a British flavour and colonial lifestyle.
The charming church of St. John in the wilderness is situated here and this is final resting place of Lord Elgin, a British Viceroy of lndia during the l9th century. There is also a large Tibetan community who have made this their home. Numerous ancient temples like Jawalamukhi, Brijeshwari and Chamunda lie on the plains below Dharamshala.
Places to visit
The variety Dharamshala offers ranges from temples, churches and monasteries to museums, ancient towns and places of natural beauty. Every season and every spot has its own offering
At the very start of town, landscaped lawns fill a pine grove where a monument hasÂ been raised to commemorate the post independence war heroes of Himachal Pradesh. Kangra Art Museum.
11 km from Dharamshala and surrounded by deodar trees, the lake fills a mountain bowl, On the motor - road, this is an enchanting and serene picnic spot.)
St. John's Church
8 km from Dharamshala, between Forsythganj and McLeodganj is the charming dressed- stone church of St. John in the wildness. Under the shade of deodar branches, a memorial has been erected over the body of the British viceroy, Lord Elgin who died at Dharamshala in 1863. There is a wall tended old graveyard on these grassy slopes.
Often called the' Little Lhasa' at 1770 m, this is the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan government-in-exile has been here for over three decades. The impressive monastery has larger than life images of the Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avalokteshwara. The large Tibetan community and the presence of traditional architectural designs drawn from Tibet have enhanced the area. A host of Tibetan handicrafts, curios and garments are available on sale and every Sunday, a flea-market appears.
Close to fresh water springs, this ancient temple is 11 km from Dharamshala. It is a popular picnic spot and the famous slate quarries are close by.
A 3 km level walk from the Kotwali Bazaar leads up to this rock temple.
On the crest of a hill this attractive picnic spot presents a panoramic view of the Kangra valley and the Dhauladhar ranges. This is 11 km from Dharamshala.
Based at the root of the Dhauladhar ranges,Triund is at a height of 2827m and is 17 km from Dharamshala. The snowline starts at llaqua 5 km from here. This is a popular picnic spot and trek route, with spectacular views of the mountains and valleys. There is a lovely forest rest house here.
22 km from Kotwali Baazar, amidst sylvan surroundings, there is a rest house here. Surrounded by open meadows and thick woods,the Kareri lake is 13 km ahead.
10 km from Dharamshala on the banks of the rivulet Bindu Saras, is an ashram complex established by the late Swami Chinmayananda, a noted exponent of the Gita. The complex includes aÂ 9m high image of Lord Hanuman, a magnificent Ragunath Temple, a meditation hall, a school, and a health and recreation center.
13 km south of Kangra is this large, monolithic temple, similar to the temples of Ellora. With rich ornamentation, this is the only shrine carved out of live rock in north India. Images of Lord Rama, Laxman and Sita are installed here.
41 km from Dharamshala,on the highway to Pathankot, there is a cave temple with a stalactite and stalagmite dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Tira 80 km from Dharamshala, this historic town is famous for its wall paintings, temples and fort. Here, the festival of holiday a major event.
13 km from Palampur, the famous artist S. Sobha Singh lived here for several years. A gallery houses some of his major works. Also, there is a pottery centre at Andretta