Nestled on the spur of the Dhauladhar range, about 17 Kms north, Dharamshala is best known as the home to Dalai Lama. “Dharamsala” literally means an ‘inn attached to a temple’, and it was so until the district headquarters in Kangra became too crowded and the British moved 2 of their regiments in to what is now Dharamshala. The quiet hill resort is filled with oak and conifer trees; snow-clad mountains surround three sides of the town while the valley stretches in front. It is divided into two distinct parts: Lower Dharamshala and upper Dharamshala.
Since 1960, when it became a temporary home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, it has risen to an international fame as ‘The Little Lhasa in India’.
Places to Visit:
Constructed by the royal family of Kangra around 4th Century B.C, the Kangra Fort is a majestic sample of architecture. It is considered to be the largest fort in the Himalayas and is one of the oldest forts in India. This ancient fort is located about 20 kms from Dharamshala and houses a few temples that can be accessed through seven gates. A major tourist attraction is the spectacular view of the Manjhi and Banganga rivers from here.
Right next to the Fort is the Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch Museum, which is run by the Royal Family of Kangra.
Also known as Bhagsu Falls, this site is home to the famous Bhagsunath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is a famous tourist destination and an important place for Hindu pilgrims. About 20 metres in height, the descending falls are a sight to behold, especially during the monsoons. Bhagsunag Falls are located about 2 kilometres away from McLeodganj and are best visited while on a trek, although you can also drive up to Bhagsu village.
Dharamkot is a popular location situated on the crest of the Dharamkot hill, about 11 kms from Dharamshala. This picnic spot offers a panoramic view of the Kangra valley, Pong Dam lake and surrounding Dhauladhar peaks. One can reach there by a simple trek from Bhagsu. The scenery from Dharamkot is simply awesome and here you can also meet the Gaddi folks.
WAR MEMORIAL: Set amidst beautiful surroundings, a monument has been raised at the entry point to Dharamshala to commemorate the post independence war heroes of Himachal Pradesh.
St. John’s Church:
The St. John’s Church lies on a motorable road between McLeod Ganj and Forsythe Ganj, 8 kms from lower Dharamshala. Under the shade of deodar branches, a memorial has been erected over the body of the British Viceroy, Lord Elgin. There is a Christian cemetery around it where various other British soldiers were buried.
A number of residential buildings, restaurants, antique and curio shops, together with famous Tibetan institutions have lent importance to McLeodganj. Often called the ‘Little Lhasa’ because of its large population of Tibetans, it also houses the residence of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama. The Buddha temple is situated opposite to it. The Tibetan Government in exile has been head quartered here for over three decades.
66km from Dharamsala, Nurpur is famous for old fort and temple of Brijraj. Nurpur got its name in 1672, when the Mughal Emperor Jahangir named it after his wife Nurjahan.
Kunal Pathri is located not too far from the Kotwali bazaar, in the lap of the Dhauladhar range. A 3 km walk from Kotwali Bazaar leads up-to the rock temple of the local goddess, Kapaleshwari. Kunal Pathri is a little rock temple dedicated to the local goddess, Kapaleshwari.