Dharamsala, a town in Kangra District
of Himachal Pradesh
is a beautiful spot in the upper reaches of
on the Himalayas
. The town is divided into the upper Dharamsala called Mcleodganj
, the middle Kotwali Bazar
and lower Kaccheri area that vary by a few hundred m in altitude. The place is encircled with dense pine and deodar forests, tea gardens and beautiful hills. Dharamsala covers over 28 sq km at an altitude varying from 1250 to 1982 m. This busy trading center is one of the established base camps for travelers to the upper reaches of Himalayas. The climate here is very pleasant during summer, but in winter the temperature could drop below freezing point.
Upper Dharamsala or McLeodganj is the seat of the Tibetan Government in exile and the residence of their spiritual head, the Dalai Lama. It is an important learning center for Tibetan Buddhism. The whole area displays Tibetan culture and crafts at its finest. This has earned it fame as the 'Little Lhasa.'
The prime attraction of Dharmsala is the Tsuglagkhang Complex at Macleodganj that houses the official residence of the Dalai Lama, the Namgyal Monastery and the Kalchakra Temple. Other sites of interest are St John's Church, Chamunda Devi Temple, Maharana Partap Sagar, Norbulingka Institute, Nurpur Fort, the
Dal Lake, and Dharamkot. This area is well suited for trekking. Fishing in the river Beas between Nadaun and the
Pong dam is also a good prospect.
The nearest airport is Gaggal Airport (13 km) and the railhead Pathankot Railway Station at Pathankot is a 3-hour drive. HPTDC and private hotels, guest houses, PWD and forest rest houses located in and around the place offer accommodation at reasonable cost. The best time to visit Dharamsala is from May to October.