Dharamshala, also known as Bhagsu, is the municipal district of Kangra Valley in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Situated in the backdrop of snow covered Himalayan range, Dharamshala is divided into two parts; the upper town and lower town. The upper town has kept the British Colonial architecture and lifestyle intact and places like Mcleodganj and Forsythganj are the epitome of the same. The lower town is more of a commercial and civil centre making it more crowded than the upper town. In 1905, Dharamshala became a victim to a massive earthquake which destroyed a major area of the city, however post earthquake the city was reconstructed and became a health centre. Internationally known as ‘The Little Lhasa in India’, the city is famous for churches, monasteries, nunneries, and other religious centres. It is covered with thick woods of oak and coniferous forests. The best time to visit Dharamshala is from September to October and from March to June.
Nearest Airport – Gaggal, in Kangra Valley, 15 kilometers away
Nearest railhead – Kangra Mandir, 22 kilometers away.
Dharamsala is well connected to Pathankot and many other cities.
It can be visited all year around.
Dharamsala is all year round destination for tourists. Hill stations are a haven in summers but for romantic couples the rainy season is perfect reason to roam in misty environs. It snows occasionally in winters making it more charming. It depends what you are looking for and choose your time period.
Winters here are extremely cold accompanied with occasional snowfalls; however, this downpour makes the valley look much more beautiful. Summers are pleasant with maximum temperature around 25 degrees. Monsoons could be given a miss as it might hamper your travel plans, but this place does not receive very heavy rainfall unlike other parts of Himachal and Uttarakhand.
From April to June the sum... read more...
The Losar Festival or the Tibetan New Year is one of the main festivals Dharamshala, celebrated in the months of February and March. Tourists can visit this place during this time, when people in McLeodganj are in a festive mood.
Another major Tibetan festival that is celebrated with lots of devotion is Saka Dawa Festival, which is celebrated to honour Lord Buddha. Apprise yourself with the rich culture and tradition of Tibet at a 10-day opera that is organised by Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) in the month of April. Various folk dances and performances are also organised during this period.
Another important festival is the Prashar Fair held on the banks of Prashar Lake to welcome the season of summer. Every year, this festival is celebrated in June. It is usually a two-day long festival that commences on the 15th of June. The cultural extravaganza of the fair highlights the cultural heritage of Himachal Pradesh.
Dal Fair is yet another important festival in Dharamshala celebrated on the banks of Dal Lake in August or September. During this festival, devotees take dips in the holy water of Dal Lake.
In September, an animal fair and Shaivite festival is also organised near Dal lake.
The International Himalayan Festival is celebrated for three days in December, in the honour of divine Dalai Lama. The festival is celebrated to honour the day the Dalai Lama was rewarded with the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1985. Various cultural programmes are performed by local and neighbourhood artists and Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts.
The main shopping area in Dharamshala is in McLeodganj, offering range of handicraft items including woollens, carpets, metal ware, Thangkas, and jewellery. The handicraft items sold in Dharamshala are created by the local artisans; these products reflect excellent craftsmanship and artistic calibre of the people. The Kotwali Bazaar is the prime shopping destination. The Tibetan carpets and rugs sold in this market are worth buying. The vivid colours, traditional motifs and unique artwork on the carpets depict the Tibetan culture. Easily available in almost all the shops in Dharamshala, Thangkas are brightly coloured cloth paintings depicting Buddhist culture, fair and festivals. Kangra Style of paintings depicting the court scenes or the love story between Radha and Krishna of the mythological era, are other must-buy items in Dharamshala.
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