Top 5 Places in Dharamshala, Temperature, Best Time to Visit, Hotels etc. – A Complete Guide
Dharamshala is a popular hill town, located at an elevation of 1,457 meters above sea level in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is situated in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley. Since ancient times the region surrounding Dharamshala has been ruled by the Katoch Dynasty of Kangra.
Founded by the Britishers between 1815 and 1847, Dharamshala remained a low-profile hill town till the influx of Tibetan refugees along with the Dalai Lama in 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 organizations, meditation centers, libraries, and medical centers.
Why to visit?
Now there are many reasons to visit Dharamshala It’s not often we come across nature’s beauty. Living in concrete jungles, we often tend to forget the sublime power of nature. But when we do find ourselves once again surrounded by luscious trees, mesmerizing mountains, and gushing waters, the majesty of it all takes our breath away.
Living in India you know how difficult it can get to find a pleasant climate. It’s either too hot or too humid and never just right. Being a tropical country, snowfall is not a common sight for most of us, that is unless you’re living in Dharamshala. Snow and sleet is a common phenomenon in upper Dharamshala between the months of December and February.
An Awesome reason to visit Dharamshala
An ideal destination for trekkers, there are many trekking trails that set off from Dharamshala. Dense forests of pine, oak, rhododendron with the occasional lake waterfall and glaciers make it a scenic choice for a trek.
Many treks begin from Dharamshala and lead you all the way to the Chamba district. The Kareri Lake near the Kareri village is a spot well known in the trekking circuits. Dharamshala is also an ideal destination for rock climbing.
If you’re a film enthusiast and have always wanted to attend a film festival, then you can not dare to skip Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF), hosted annually. Organized for the first time in the year 2012, it has since then become an annual event.
It generally takes place in the first four days of November. Filmmakers both Indian and international, film critics, media personnel all make their way to Dharamshala. If you’re a movie buff the DIFF is your place to be.
How to reach?
Getting to and getting in and around Dharamshala requires a combination of modes if you are arriving from a long distance. Here are some fuss-free leads on how to reach Dharamshala in the most effective way.
For those who want to explore the picturesque countryside, the interlinked national and state highways offer an excellent road trip. It is an awesome and breathtaking drive to the peaks. Dharamshala by road is a fantastic idea if you are up to it. A self-drive rental or a hired cab with a driver are acceptable options.
Alternatively, you can take the state transport buses, or the luxury Volvo’s semi-sleeper and sleeper buses being run by private operators. Dharamshala is about 475 kilometers from the national capital. The journey may consume about half a day. A drive from Chandigarh will take a quarter of a day or six hours as it is about 235 kilometers away.
Pathankot railway station in Punjab is the nearest railway station. It is 85-90 km away from Dharamshala. You can take the overnight train from Delhi to Pathankot if you wish to avoid daytime travel. You will find many taxis waiting to ferry you to Dharamshala.
Gaggal Airport, about 15 km away from the city center, is the main domestic airport serving Dharamshala. Airlines such as Jagson Airlines, Air India Regional, and SpiceJet offer regular flight services from places like Delhi and Chandigarh. Travelers can easily get taxis and cabs or even buses from the airport.
Where to Visit?
Dharamshala is surrounded by a thick cover of deodar cedar trees and is one of the major strongholds for the Tibetan refugees and the seat of the 14th Dalai lama of the Tibetan sect of Buddhism. The town due to its picturesque surroundings and the presence of the Dalai Lama has made the town a popular tourist destination.
1.Dalai Lama Temple
This is a very peaceful temple to visit for sightseeing and meditation. This temple is also called Tsuglagkhang Temple. The temple is famous for its beauty. There are many large statues of Buddha, Avaloktwshwara, Padmasambhava, and others. You can also find numerous ancient texts. People visit this temple for meditation and rituals.
It was established by the 3rd Dalai Lama in 1575 and was relocated to Dharamshala following the 1959 Tibetan uprising. The monastery is one of the major learning and cultural centers of the Tibetan population in Dharamsala.
Masrur is famous for its various rock-cut temples that date back to the 8th century. The carvings in the temples are finely detailed and are similar to that of the Ellora caves in Maharashtra and contain various images of the Hindu deities like Lord Ram, Sita, and Lakshmana from the oldest Hindu epic, Ramayana.
4. Trek to Triund
Triund is the ideal destination for those seeking a hassle-free taste of trekking in the Himalayas. The trek can easily be done over a weekend. The trail to Triund is short but steep. There are also various songbirds in the forests along the trail which make it a birdwatcher’s delight.
A small piece of advice: Considering it’s an easy trek and with the effortless accessibility from Dharamshala there are a large number of trekkers who go this trek, making it difficult to enjoy the serenity of the place and can get crowded on top during the weekends or holiday season. It is better to experience the beauty of this trek during the weekdays.
5. HPCA Stadium
HPCA Cricket Stadium, located at the backdrop of the snow-clad mountains, is perched on the high slopes in the upper part of Kangra Valley. It is the highest international cricket ground in the world, sitting at 1457 meters above sea level. It is amongst the most picturesque cricket stadiums in the world.
Head straight to this stadium and enjoy the cool salubrious air, stunning mountain scenery, serene ambiance, and spellbinding views. With the first appearance of international cricket here in 2013, the HPCA stadium has already established itself as a world-class cricket destination in a very short time.
Where to stay?
Being an eye-catching tourist spot, Dharamshala has no shortage of accommodation facilities from luxury resorts to budget lounges and inns. You can easily manage accommodation according to your budget. There are several Buddhist meditation centers that provide both food and lodging to the visitors for 5-30 days of meditation courses.
When to go?
The climate in Dharamshala stays pleasant throughout the year. The summer months from April till June see maximum temperatures that rarely go beyond 30 degrees Celsius. Between March to June, the weather at Dharamsala is pretty comfortable and remains quite pleasant throughout.
Maximum precipitation is experienced during the monsoon months between July and September, making Dharamshala one of the wettest places in the state. Dharamshala can be visited during all times of the year except for monsoons which can experience rainfall up to 120 inches.
The autumn months of October and November see the most pleasant climates that range between 16-17 degrees with occasional showers, making it the best time to visit the town. Summers, too, are the best months if you want to simply nurture your eyes with the beauty of the place.
The winter months from December till February see a sudden drop in temperatures to being 7-5 degrees Celsius. Snow is common in the upper reaches of the town which also attracts several tourists during the winters. Winters in this region experience heavy snowfall due to which it is impossible to explore or even visit the place.
Things to Remember
Keep light jackets, even if you are visiting in the summer months. Heavy woolens and jackets are to be worn in the winter months. Keep comfortable shoes and footwear for you. Sunscreen is not to be forgotten. Do Carry with you a necessary first aid kit. Always carry with you a copy of your necessary documents like ID, passport, or license.