The snow-laden paradise of India, Himachal Pradesh is one of the most beautiful mountainous regions that the country possesses. It is not only the breathtaking beauty of the marvellous range of flora and fauna that the state is proud of; the ever-so-glorious heritage and culture of Himachal Pradesh is quite enchanting too! The state houses a number of picturesque hill stations which happen to be some of the most preferred honeymoon destinations in Himachal Pradesh for the enchanting experience they have to offer. That being said, there are also some places in the state that afford you the inner peace you long for, far away from the chaos of city lights. One such place in the state where travellers go for a soulful vacation in Dharamshala.
A small yet beautiful town in the Kangra district, Dharamshala is the winter capital of Himachal Pradesh. Surrounded by coniferous forest and dense Deodar cedar trees, there are a lot of spectacular tourist places in Dharamshala. One of the proudest moments for the town was when it was selected as one of the hundred cities to be developed as a Smart City, under the Smart City Mission. Hemmed at the foothills of the great Himalayas, the adventurous sightseeing opportunities in Dharamshala is yet another reason why travellers love to spend their vacations here. The beauty, tourist spots, and activities that this enchanting town has to offer to make for an amazing vacation opportunity for all kinds of travellers. If you want to plan the perfect vacation to this little town in the Himalayas, here is a list of the top 12 places to visit in Dharamshala for a rejuvenating and adventurous experience: –
1. McLeod Ganj
The official residence of the Dalai Lama in India, McLeod Ganj is a picturesque suburb located in Dharamshala. Also known as ‘Little Lhasa’ or ‘Dhasa’, this place has been a favourite place in Dharamshala for people staying in and around Himachal Pradesh. To be specific, it is the Tsuglagkhang Complex in McLeod Ganj where the Dalai Lama resides. Touted to be one of the holiest places of worship, the complex sees visitors from all over the world.
Not only is the complex the Dalai Lama’s residence, but it also has the Tsuglagkhang Temple, Namgyal Monastery, and the Tibet Museum. There is a marvellous statue of Lord Buddha, and statues of Chenrezig and Guru Rinpoche, which are housed inside the complex. This place is definitely one of the best places to visit in Dharamshala because of the serenity it offers.
*Do note that the residence of Dalai Lama is not open for visits.
The way to Triund is via a magnificent trekking trail that is a part of the bucket list of travellers from all over the world. Truth be told, Triund is one of the most beautiful hidden treasures that the state of Himachal Pradesh has. The Triund trek will let you escape into the arms of the majestic Himalayas, making your visit to the city even more enthralling. Located just a few kilometres from the town of Dharamshala, the trekking trail begins from Dharamkot and takes you through the beautiful scenic views of the Kangra Valley. This simple yet beautiful location is definitely one of the best places to visit near Dharamshala. The trek can be started off from the picturesque suburb of McLeod Ganj as well, heading on to Dharamkot and then the trail. The evenings here are some of the most eye-pleasing experiences you’ll ever witness. With the sky twinkling with a blanket of the stars, the view of the snow-capped Himalayas, and the pleasant weather, this Dharamshala tourist spot should definitely be on your itinerary.
3. St. John in the Wilderness Church
There are a few places in India that have the same name but are located in two different cities or states. And this must-visit Dharamshala sightseeing spot is yet another example of the same. The St. John in the Wilderness Church is among the state’s most visited and important churches. Constructed in the year 1852, this is one of the famous places to visit near Dharamshala because of its neo-gothic architecture and the majestic Belgian stained glass window, which is very swiftly combined with the breathtaking backdrop that’s full of lush deodar trees. The church was built to honour John the Baptist and is called ‘St. John in the Wilderness Church’ as it is set amidst dense woods. A church of the same name is located in Nainital, Uttarakhand as well. It is said that this church is one of the oldest places in Dharmshala and a prime example of architectural beauty. This church was the final resting place of one of India’s Governor Generals and Viceroy, Lord Ergin.
4. The War Memorial
One of the best places to see in Dharamshala, the War Memorial will give you a sense of pride. The memorial is dedicated to the memory of those brave hearts who laid down their lives for the motherland during the Indo-China war of 1947-48, 1962 & 1965, the 1971 war, and UN Peace operations. The Kangra District has devoted many of its young valorous people into the service of the motherland. The War Memorial is located amidst the forests and the structure is beautifully crafted out of black stone which is divided into three huge panels, each of them being 24 feet high. The names of the fallen soldiers are etched on the black stone panels, so make sure you spare some time to pay homage. This wonderful place to visit in Dharamshala is surrounded by dense green beauty and a college nearby where you can go and enjoy some piping hot tea and snacks.
5. Dal Lake
A popular namesake, the Dal Lake in Dharamshala is another spot you can visit. Although not as famous as the Kashmir one, this Dharamshala Lake is still a place to see while you are in town. Quite the adventurous spot, the Dal Lake in Dharamshala is a medium-altitude lake that offers its visitors a pleasant experience. It also offers a trekking trail with an enchanting backdrop of the hills that is very well complemented by the cosy weather that the town has. The lake is located at a height of 1,775 metres. Surrounded by thick green Deodar trees, the lake also has a Shiv Mandir located on the banks of the lake, making it one of the best places in Dharamshala for a rejuvenating break.
6. Masroor Rock Cut Temple
The Masroor Rock Cut Temple is an archaeological site that has been carved out in the Nagara style from a single monolithic rock and is one of the most attractive tourist places in Dharamshala. With a combination of around 15 rock-cut temples which are built in the Indo-Aryan architectural style, the complex was built in the 8th century facing the North-East direction towards the Dhauladhar range. There are three entrances to the complex. However, it is believed that there was a fourth entrance as well which was left incomplete. Inspired by the Hindu texts, the temple’s complex houses a sacred pool of water and symmetric construction that is laid out in a square. Located 32 km from Kangra on the Nagrota-Surian Link Road, the Masroor Rock Cut Temple is one of the most beautiful places to see in Dharamshala. Offering amazing views and a deeply spiritual experience to visitors, you can definitely consider adding this temple to your list of places you need to see when you visit Dharamshala.
7. Bhagsu Falls
One of those places that your Dharamshala tour package must definitely have, Bhagsu Falls is a popular attraction in town. Also known as the Bhagsunag Waterfall, this place is the epitome of tranquility where you can spend some time in quietness while listening to the music of nature and the chirping of the birds. Near the waterfall, you can also visit the Bhagsunath Temple, which is another reason for this place being a famous sightseeing spot in Dharamshala. Starting at the base of the Dhauladhar Valley, the stream passes through the temple before pouring down in the beautiful cascade. The water falling from a height of 30 feet is an eye-pleasing sight.
If you are visiting the town during the monsoons, you are in for a majestic and glorious view of the cascading waterfalls which is enhanced by the touch of the vibrant greens. The trek to the waterfall will give you an unparalleled experience of adventure that you are seeking.
8. Dharamshala Cricket Stadium
Regardless of whether you are a cricket fan or not, visiting the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium is something that you shouldn’t miss out on. Elevated at a height of 1,457 metres above sea level, this cricket stadium is one of the highest sports grounds in the world and is, of course, a famous place to visit in Dharamshala. The beguiling picturesque backdrop of the Himalayan range, the splendorous beauty of the lush greens, and the cool winds dashing across the ground with the indigo skies ruling over the entire area make this one of the best places to visit in Dharamshala not only for cricket fans but for all travellers. The Dharamshala Cricket Stadium is definitely worth the time you spend here.
9. Kangra Art Museum
Located at the centre of Dharamshala, the Kangra Art Museum is next on the list of Dharamshala’s tourist places. This museum is dedicated to the brilliance and marvels of Tibetan artwork and heritage. Right from possessing a wide variety of Tibet’s authentic jewellery and rare coins to having a plethora of sculptures and paintings, a visit to this place will bring you face to face with the marvellous history of Tibet. This is the perfect place to see in Dharamshala if you seek to learn about a new culture.
10. Tea Garden
The beauty of the lush greens and the aromatic fragrance of tea leaves make for a fantastic combination! The Dharamshala Tea Gardens offer an experience that is incomparable. Known to be the smallest tea region in India, the tea garden is full of beautifully lined tea plants across the Kangra Valley, making it quite an attractive tourist spot in Dharamshala. You can visit the garden, click pictures, and experience the beauty that Himachal Pradesh possesses.
11. Hanuman Tibba
The list of adventurous places to visit in Dharamshala is incomplete with this destination. Elevated at a height of around 19626 feet above sea level, Hanuman Tibba is the highest mountain peak in the Dhauladhar Range. This place is a haven for all adventure zealots as it allows for activities like mountain climbing, trekking trails, or simply camping at the base while enjoying the splendid beauty of the mountain range.
12. Camping Sites
While you make the most of tourist places in Dharamshala, make sure you try camping here. Since the town is nestled amidst the scintillating Dhauladhar range, camping under the night sky with the glittering stars and misty yet cosy weather will make your trip even more amazing. That being said, you don’t have to worry about your stay. Right from Alpine and Swiss tents to cottages with comfortable beds, you will have a number of options to choose from.
The places to visit in Dharamshala are many and they are beautifully complemented by the spellbinding beauty of the mountains and dense green forests. You say an adventurous yet relaxing holiday, we say Dharamshala!