Situated at a wonderful location, Dharamsala / Dharamshala is beautiful and peaceful town, spread at different levels and surrounded by forests of pine. Accessible from broad gauge line at Pathankot, Dharamsala provides a range of interested activites for the visitors, with the lower end of the town at a height of 450m, acting as the busy commercial part of the city, while the uppers suburbs with charming old word names like Forystheganj and Macleodganj are not too far below the snow line. The massive snow capped peaks of the dhualdhars rise like giant waves of frozen oceans, providing the town with a breath taking view. Dharamsala is a hill station with great variations in altitudes, temperature and character, making it a hot favourite for many visitors.
Dharamsala is situated in Kangra Distict of Himachal Pradesh in Northern India. It is the winter seat of Government of the state of Himachal Pradesh and the district headquarters of the Kangra district. McleodGanj, a village within Dharamshala municipality, is the home of the Dalai Lama and the exiled Tibetan government. "Dharamshala" is a Hindi word (derived from Sanskrit) that is a compound of dharma and shala. English Translation of Dharamshala would be 'Spiritual Dwelling' or more loosely, 'Sanctuary'. In Hindi Language, the word Dharamshala refers to a shelter or rest house for spiritual pilgrims. Traditionally, such dharamshalas (pilgrims rest houses) were commonly made near pilgrimage destinations (often located in remote areas) to give visitors a place to sleep for the night. So dharamshala name was choosen for this hill station.
A faint colonial aura still lingers round the cottage of Forystheganj and in particular, at the Church of S
A Giant prayer wheel ornaments the main street and in the monastery, a serene statue of Lord Buddha presides over the gentle chanting of the monks. The Dalai Lama resides in Macleodganj, and this has turned Dharamsala into the Buddhist capital of the world. It has the school of tibetian studies with rare manuscripts and ancient texts, The Tibetian institutes for performing arts and handicrafts centre. A visit to the state museum is a must see for tourists interested in Kangra painitings.
Dharamshala city in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley and is surrounded by dense coniferous forest consisting mainly of stately Deodars. The suburbs of the town includes - McLeodGanj, Bhagsu Nath, Forsyth Ganj, Naddi, Kotwali Bazaar (the main market of the town), Kaccheri area (government offices such as the court, police, post etc.), Sidhpur and Sidhbari (where the Karmapa Lama lives). The village of McLeodGanj lying in the upper reaches is known worldwide for the presence of the Dalai Lama, where he has resided since fleeing Tibet in 1959. Dharamshala houses the headquarters of the Tibetan Government-in-exile about two kilometres below the town of McLeodGanj, led by the Prime Minister, Samdhong Rinpoche. It is the centre of the Tibetan exile world in India. Following the 1959 Tibetan uprising there was an influx of Tibetan refugees who followed the Dalai Lama. His presence and the Tibetan population has made Dharamshala a popular destination for Indian and foreign tourists, including students studying Tibet.
Dharamsala, a hill station lying on the spur of the Dhauladhar range about 17 kms north- east of Kangra town. This hill station is wooded with oak and conifer trees and snow capped mountains enfold three sides of the town while the valley stretches in front. The snowline is perhaps more easily accessible at Dharamshala than at any other hill resort and it is possible to make a day's trek to a snow-point after an early morning's start.
In 1905, tragedy struck Dharamshala when an earthquake levelled it completely. After its reconstruction, Dharamshala flourished as a quiet health resort. It is divided into two distinct parts. Lower Dharamshala has civil offices and business establishments with courts. Kotwali bazar and Upper Dharamshala comprise of places with names which bear witness to its history like McLeodGanj and Forsythe Ganj. Since 1960, when it became a temporary headquarter of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Dharamshala has risen to international fame as "The Little Lhasa in India". Mcleodganj is 9 km from Dharamshala.
In and around Dharamshala, one can visit the Nuddy, Macleodganj, Kangra Art museum at Kotwali bazar, War memorial, YOL Camp, Church of St. John in Wilderness, Bagsunath waterfall, Kunal Pathri temple and tea gardens on way to Kunal Pathri. There is also a beautiful Cricket stadium in the city facing mighty Dhauladhar. Recently IPL (Indian Premier League) matches has been organised here.