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Plan an Unforgettable Trip to Dharamshala

9 mins. read

Nestled in the higher reaches of Kangra distinct, stretching across the Dhauladhar Range, lies the peaceful little town of Dharamshala. There’s a lot you can do in Dharamshala. From adventure activities and tourist attractions to visiting McLeod Ganj for a spiritual pursuit of enlightenment, there is a lot on offer. With something for everyone to enjoy, there are several things to see and do in Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj, as long as you know where to look.

Little Lhasa

From being a part of the Katoch Dynasty to being under the jurisdiction of the province of Punjab during British Raj, Dharamshala saw many ups and downs, and even though it used to be a summer retreat for the British, it did not gain any popularity until 1959. The 14th Dalai Lama had to flee from Tibet with his family and his government to escape Chinese authorities. The Dalai Lama and his entourage reached India, where the Tibetan Government in Exile was granted sanctuary by Prime Minister Nehru. Today, all the best places to visit in Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj showcase a shared heritage of both Indians and Tibetans who call the place home.

The Experience

Whenever one thinks about the things to do in Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj is a name that automatically springs to mind. Dharamshala is divided into two distinct halves, with McLeod Ganj forming the upper part, covered by thick forests of Himalayan oak, pine, and cedar, and the capital of the Tibetan Government in Exile. The lower part of Dharamshala on the other hand includes the Kotwali Bazar and other markets around it and is generally a little warmer compared to the upper half. Your itinerary of places to visit and things to do in Dharamshala will vary based on where you plan to spend most of your vacation.

The Best Things to See in Dharamshala

Dharamshala Stadium

For the perfect vacation plan, you should make a list of the best things to do in Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj based on your preferences, so you can create an itinerary where you cover everything of interest. Some of the most popular things to see in Dharamshala include:

Cricket Stadium

One of the highest sports grounds in the world (1457m above sea level), the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium has hosted several domestic, international, and IPL matches. Visiting the stadium is not just a great thing to do in Dharamshala for cricket lovers as an afternoon spent here is quite pleasant.

Namgyal Monastery

One of the top things to do in McLeod Ganj, Dharmshala is pay a visit to the Namgyal Monastery, the foundation of which was laid in the 16th century by the 2nd Dalai Lama, and which today is the abode of the 14th Dalai Lama. Serenity and peace permeate the ambience of this centre of learning and meditation, calming the turmoil of any soul that walks in.

St. John’s Church in the Wilderness

Built in 1852, this is one of the most important churches in Himachal Pradesh and should make it onto your list of things to do. In dense woods, on the way to McLeod Ganj from Dharamshala, this neo-gothic edifice was built, dedicated to John the Baptist. Known for its Belgian-stained windows, it is also the last resting place of one of India’s Governor-Generals, Lord Ergin.

Kunal Pathri Temple

On an afternoon in Dharamshala, a popular thing to do that you can consider is walking to the Kunal Pathri Temple. Dedicated to Goddess Durga, the temple is located about 3km from Dharamshala, amidst some beautiful, dense tea gardens.

Library of Tibetan Works and Archives

One of the most interesting things to do in Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj is visiting this library that houses almost 80,000 manuscripts and 600 Buddhist artefacts, which allow you a unique glimpse into Buddhist culture and traditions.

War Memorial

The Indo-China war of 1947, 1962, 1965, and 1971, and the UN Peace Operations had many war heroes, and their sacrifice has been commemorated at the War Memorial, where huge panels of black stone preserve their memories in stone. This is a very important stop for your list of things to visit in Dharamshala.


If you want to step off the beaten track after a day of covering the best of the things to do in Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj, you should consider visiting Dharamkot. Uphill from McLeod, lies the sleepy village of Dharamkot, which is untouched by tourist crowds and offers the perfect destination for a calm vacation.

Bhagsunag Waterfall

One of the most popular things to do in Dharamshala is picnicking at the Bhagsu Falls. Falling through the Bhagsunath Temple, from a height of 30ft, a cascade of freezing cold water mesmerises onlookers. The falls make for a captivating sight that you must not miss.

Shiva Café

Today, there are several hill stations that boast of a ‘Shiva Café’ but the original café, which apart from its legacy, boasts of the most enchanting views and experience is one of the top attractions in Dharamshala. A popular place among youngsters, Shiva Café is nothing less than a hidden gem where you won’t even notice time passing as you enjoy the amazing food and gaze at the mesmerising mountains.

Kangra Fort

The largest fort in the Himalayas, probably one of the oldest forts in India, the origins of Kangra Fort can be traced to the Trigarta Kingdom, which finds mention in the Mahabharat. Although it lies in ruins today, visiting the remains of this architectural marvel is still one of the most popular things to do in Dharamshala.

The Best Things to Do in Dharamshala

The attractions in Dharamshala are not the only reason to plan a visit to this hill station as it has a lot more to offer. There are an ample number of things to do in Dharamshala, from adventure activities to the best shopping opportunities.


With ample hilly terrain, paragliding has become one of the most significant adventure activities in Dharamshala. Indrunag and Bir Billing are two popular spots you can head to if you want to try flying through the air, surrounded by mountain ranges and tea gardens.


Trekking is another one of the most popular things to do in Dharamshala, with a number of amazing tracks starting from the hill station and its surrounding areas. Some amazing treks that you can add to your itinerary include:

  • Triund: This is an easy, 7 km trek that starts from Dharamkot. With a gently inclined walk for the first half and a vertical climb over the last 2km, Triund offers views that alone are more than worth it. Plus, the evening sky is such a breathtaking sight that it makes for the perfect excuse to spend a night camping in Triund.
  • Indrahar Pass: Another fairly easy trek, this is one of the things to do in Dharamshala that should definitely consider as the route also covers another popular trek to Lahesh and Triund Caves. The 14km trek begins from McLeod and is so picturesque that even the journey will leave you spellbound.
  • Kareri Lake: About 9km away from Dharamshala is the beautiful Kareri Lake, which is named after the Kareri Village (9km further away from the lake). Towards the end of November, the lake’s waters start freezing and remain frozen till April, or sometimes even till May.
  • Laka Glacier: Also called the Snow-Line Trek, this is a 3-day experience that is one of the best things to do in Dharamshala for trekking beginners. The trek will take you farther than Triund and at the end of the 26km journey, magnificent views of the Dhauladhar Range and amazing sunsets over the Kangra Valley await. Given the distance and time being covered, the trek also includes a camping experience.

Other things to do in Dharamshala that you can consider include cycling across the villages, camping underneath the stars, spending lazy afternoons at the many cafés, shopping at the Tibetan Mini Market, walking through the fragrant tea gardens, and much more.

Regardless of how long your vacation is going to be or what you plan to do, a Dharamshala tour package has everything you need for the perfect vacation!

February 13, 2023


Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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