June 2012
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Dharamsala – The District Headquarters of Kangra District in Himachal Pradesh.

Dharamshala or Dharamsala is the winter seat of government of the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is the district headquarters of the Kangra district. It was formerly known as Bhagsu. Dharamshala is a city in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley. It is surrounded by dense coniferous forest consisting mainly of stately Deodars.

The suburbs of the town includes:
– McLeodGanj
– Bhagsunath
– ForsythGanj
– Naddi
– Kotwali Bazaar
– Kaccheri Adda
– Dari
– Ramnagar
– Sidhpur
– Sidhbari

The village of McLeodGanj lying in the upper reaches is known worldwide for the presence of the Tenzin Gyatso. Dharamshala is the centre of the Tibetan exile world in India. One of the main attractions of Dharamshala is Triund hill. It is the jewel of Dharamshala.
Triund is one day trek at the upper reaches of McLeodGanj. It is located at a distance of about 9 kilometres from McLeodGanj. Dharamshala has an average elevation of 1457 metres (4780 feet). It covers an area of almost 8.51 km².
Dharamshala is located in the Kangra Valley, in the shadow of the Dhauladhar mountains. The city is divided into two distinct sections. Kotwali Bazaar and “Lower Dharamshala” or just “Dharamshala”.

McLeodGanj is separated in between by the village of Ganchen Kyishong. A steep, narrow road connects McLeodGanj from Dharamshala. It is only accessible to taxis and small cars. McLeodGanj is surrounded by pine, Himalayan oak, and rhododendron. The main crops grown in the valleys below are rice, wheat and tea.

Trekking in Himalayas
• Dharamshala is a starting point to a number of trekking trails.
• Trekkers go across Dhauladhar into the upper Ravi Valley and Chamba district.
• While trekking one can cross through forests of deodar, pine, oak and rhododendron, and pass streams and rivers and wind along vertiginous cliff tracks.
• One might come across an occasional lake waterfall and glacier.
• A 2-km amble takes one to Bhagsu.
• A further 3-km walk will lead the trekkers to Dharamkot.
• The snow line of Ilaqa Got is just a 5-km walk.

Other trekking trails that lead you to Chamba from Dharamshala are:
• Toral Pass (4575m)
• Across Bhimghasutri Pass (4580m)
• Dharamshala—Bleni Pass (3710m) – Dunali

Other places of interest

• Dharamshala Cricket Stadium (DCS)
• Masrur (or Masroor)
• Bhagsu Waterfall
• Bhagsunag Temple
• Naam Art Gallery
• Kangra Museum
• Kunal Pathri Temple
• Chamunda Temple
• Dal Lake
• Triund
• Naddi
• Tsuglagkhang Complex
• Tibet Museum
• Tibetan Library
• Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA)
• Bhagsunag Fall
• Kunal Pathari
• Dharamkot
• Peak Art Gallery
• Adi Shakti Temple, Naddi
• Aghanjar Mahadev
• Bhagsunath
• Bir – Popular destination for ecotourism, meditation studies, volunteering, and paragliding at Billing.
• Brajeshwari Temple
• Chamunda Mandir
• Chinmaya Tapovan
• Chime Gyatsarling Monastery, just behind of Norbulingka Institute, upper Sidhpur. 6 km from Dharmshala and 14 km from Gagal airport.
• Dal Lake
• Dari
• Dehra Gopipur
• Dharamkot (2100 m)
• Guna Devi Mandir amidst dense forest
• Haripur Village (near Guler)
• Pong Dam Lake
• Indru Nag Temple
• Kareri Lake
• Khaniyara
• Kunal Pathri
• Lam Dal Lake
• Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
• Masrur (rock temple)
• Namgyal Monastery
• Narghota
• Norbulingka Institute
• Nurpur[18]
• Sidhbari
• Church of St. John in the Wilderness
• Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts
• Tatwani and Machhrial
• Trilokpur

Best time to visit / climate

• Dharamshala has a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate.
• Summer starts in early April and peaks in early June.
• Temperatures can reach 36 °C.
• Summers last till mid of June.
• From July to mid September, is the monsoon season.
• Up to 3000 mm (120 inches) of rain can fall.
• Autumn is mild and lasts from October to end of November.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get there?

1. By plane
• Gaggal Airport is at Gaggal near Kangra.
• It is at a distance of 15 km from McLeodganj by road on MDR44 and NH20.
• The airport has been recently upgraded and provides twice daily flights from Delhi by Kingfisher.

2. By Bus
• Most people come to Dharamsala by bus.
• It has good connections with other parts of North India.
• The main bus terminal is in Lower Dharamsala.
• Some public HRTC buses to Delhi and Pathankot go all the way to the main square of McLeod Ganj.
• Private bus companies are available for travel from Manali, Dehradun and Delhi.
• Overnight buses operate from Delhi with many leaving from the Tibetan colony of Majnu ka Tilla.
• These services take upwards of 13 hr and cost from Rs 450 for a basic bus to Rs 940 for a plusher Volvo. Chandigarh, 236 km distant from McLeodganj, is a gruelling 8-9 hr trip in an ordinary bus.

3. By Train
• The nearest broad gauge railhead is at Pathankot.
• The neighboring small station of Chakki Bank.
• Train buffs can take the pretty Kangra Valley Railway to Kangra, a journey that easily takes up to 6 hours and still leaves you 18 km from McLeod Ganj.
• Many travellers choose to continue by bus or taxi instead.

4. By Taxi
• A taxi from Pathankot to McLeod Ganj, a distance of 88 km, takes about 3 hours.
• The official fare from Pathankot is Rs 1,300 (return).

Some travel books from Amazon about Dharamsala

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: India Lonely Planet Indian Himalaya Lonely Planet Trekking in the Indian Himalaya

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at wikitravel.org
Hotels at luxurycamping.in
Hotels at holidayiq.com

Blogs / Sites about Dharamshala

Blogs and reviews at travelblog.org
Blogs at travbuddy.com
Blogs and reviews at oktatabyebye.com

Images and photos of Dharamshala

Images at google.com
Images at oktatabyebye.com
Images at tripadvisor.in

Videos of Dharamsala

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