A Visit to Dharamshala

Dharamshala is found in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh in Kangra District and is a hill station that immediately captures imagination with its picturesque beauty. It is a mixture of cultures i.e. Tibetan, Himanchali and British. The hill station has got several features that make it a worthwhile tourist destination. Apart from the wooded oak, there are conifer trees and snow capped mountains that enfold the three sides of the town. A valley stretches in front of all the beauty, making Dharamashala a perfect destination for both family outings and educational trips. Since the snow point is easy to access at Dharamashala than any other point, it is possible to make an early morning trek to the top of the mountain and be through by the time the sun is high up.

This town has never had it easy either. An earthquake struck it in 1905, leveling it almost to the ground. Before the quake, the upper part of the station that rises to 2,168meters, housed mainly European houses, a post office, public gardens, bazaars, a church, a temple, an officers’ mess and a beautiful landscape that stretched endlessly. More than 20,000 people lost their lives, with lots of property getting damaged. The Gurkhas rebuilt the temple plus the town. Although the British had planned to make Dharamshala the summer capital of India, the disaster made them change their mind to move to Shamla instead.

After the disaster, Dharmashala was divided into two namely; the Upper part comprising of names of personalities who know history of the place like Forsythe Ganj and McLeod Ganj, and the Lower part housing business establishments, hospitals, bus stations, civil offices and educational institutions. It became a temporary headquarter for His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1960. So far, it has gained its international reputation by being referred to as “The Little Lhasa in India”. Perched almost 1,500 meters above the sea level, it is a major Buddhist pilgrimage housing several monasteries and important Buddhist temples. The Dalai Lama resides in the Tsuglagkhang Complex, while the Namgyal Monastery is an important Buddhist temple in India.

There are plenty of places to visit here. The Kangra Art Museum at Kotwali Bazaar, Tea Gardens on the way to Kunal Pathri, the Cricket Stadium in the city which faces Dhauladhar, War Memorial; are just some appealing sites worth ones time. One could also enjoy the serenity of the Buddhist environment with the many monasteries that dot the town. While there is a huge influx of tourists, the town remains calm and tranquil, making it a perfect place for one who enjoys peace and quiet in a beautiful setting.

For educational purposes, Dharmashala is an ideal location. The numerous waterfalls in varied landscape, not to mention the snow capped mountains, make learning interesting and fun. Shoppers may also benefit here as there are plenty of malls and markets buzzing with activity. Being packed most part of the year, many hotels charge rather highly, but there are several hotels in the outcast of the town that could suit the pocket of middle income earners.

Dharamshala has a credible transportation network since it was inhabited by the British several years back. There are numerous buses and taxis plying the roads regularly. The nearest airport is only 14 km away and can be reached by good roads. The nearest railway terminal is Pathankot. From Pathankot to Kangara is 94km and from there to Dharamshala is 14km from where one can take a car. Having an own car has several advantages, but one could also enjoy taxi or bus rides while savoring the beauty of the landscapes.

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