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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Unforgettable Himachal : Dharamshala

Dharamshala

This is 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. Dharamshala is also the headquarter of the Kangra district.

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 McLeod Ganj 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 Kangra Art Museum at Kotwali bazar, War memorial, Kunal Pathri temple and tea gardens on way to Kunal Pathri. There is also a beautiful Cricket stadium in the city facing mighty Dhauladhar.

General information

Languages Spoken: Hindi, Punjabi, English and Pahari are understood and spoken by the people engaged in tourism trade
Shopping centres: Kotwali Bazar, a general shopping area, and McLeod Ganj for Tibetan handicrafts
Area: 5739 sq. km
Population: 13.39 lakh

Altitude: Between 1250 m to 1550 m (Dharamshala)
Temperature: Max. 38 C in June; Min. 0 C in Jan.
Annual rainfall: Varies between 290 cm to 380 cm second highest rainfall in the country.
Best season: January to June; September to December. July-August is rainy season. 
Clothing
  • Winter:    Heavy Woollens
  • Summer:  Light Woollens and tropical 

Approach



Air: The nearest airport at Gaggal is 14 km away after which it is accessible by road.

Rail: Pathankot is the nearest broad gauge railway terminal to Dharamshala. From Pathankot there is a narrow gauge railway line up to Kangra (94 km) and from here Dharamshala is 17 km by road.
Road: Direct and regular bus service from Delhi (520 km), Chandigarh (250 km), Jammu (210 km), Shimla (238 km), Chamba (185 km) and Manali (240 km).

PLACE OF INTREST

The variety Dharamsala offers for sightseeing ranges from temples, churches and monasteries to museums, ancient towns and places of natural beauty. Every season and every spot has its own special offering.


KANGRA ART MUSEUM, KOTWALI BAZARThis treasure trove of the Kangra Valley displays arts, crafts and rich past, artifacts that date back to the 5th century. It includes a gallery of Kangra's famous miniature painting and a representative collection of sculptures, pottery and anthropological items. Shamianas and dresses used by local royalty, old carved doors, jails, lintels and pandals are also on display Coins, jewelry and manuscripts are included. A section houses the work of contemporary artists, sculptures and photographers.

WAR MEMORIAL At there start of town, landscaped lawns and a web of narrow paths fill a pine grove where a monument has been raised to commemorate the post independence war heroes of Himachal Pradesh.

ST. JOHN'S CHURCH (8 Km) : 8 km from Dharamsala, between Forsythganj and Mcleodganj is the charming church of St. John in the Wilderness. Under the shade of deodar branches, a memorial has been erected over the body of the British Viceroy, Lord Elgin who died at Dharamsala in 1863. There is a well tended old graveyard on these grassy sloped.

MCLEODGANJ : Often called the Little Lhasa, at 1770m is the residence of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Government in exile has been head quartered here for over three decades. The impressive monastery has larger than life images of the Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avaloktwshwara. The large Tibetan community and the presence of traditional architectural designs drawn from Tibet have enhanced the area. Tibetian handicrafts and garments are available on sale every Sunday. The Tibetian Institute of Performing Arts is just a km away and organises a ten day festival from the second Saturday of April.

DAL LAKE (12 Km) : 12 km from Dharamsala and surrounded by deodar trees this is an enchanting and serene picnic spot.

BHAGSUNATH (11 Km) : Close to fresh springs, this ancient temple is 11 km from Dharamsala. It is a popular picnic spot and the famous slate quarries are close by.

CHINMAYA TAPOVAN : 10 km from Dharamsala on the banks of the rivulet Bindusaras, is an ashram complex established by the late Swami Chinmayananda, a noted exponent of the Gita. The complex includes a 9 meter high image of Lord Hanuman, a magnificent Rama Temple, a meditation hall, a school, and a health and recreation centre.

NURPUR : 66km from Dharamsala and 26 km from Pathankot, Nurpur is famous for old fort and a temple of Brijraj. Nurpur acquired its name in 1672, when Jahangir, the Mughal Emperor named it after his wife Nurjahan.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS : The temple of Jwalamukhi, Chamunda Devi and Brijeshwari Devi are other pilgrim centers close to Dharamsala. The fort of Kangra and Ma11ngarh are other attractions.

ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES AND SPORTS : Between May and October, the Dhauladhar ranges offer an enormous variety of trekking and rock climbing.

FISHING : The 20 km stretch of the river Beas between Nadaun and Pong Dam offers ample opportunities in angling for Mahaseer.

SHOPPING : For local handicrafts visit Kotwali Bazar, Tibetan handicrafts and carpets are available at Mcleodganj.

Masrur (or Masroor) (42 Km): The major attraction of this place is the fifteen exquisitely carved monolithic rock temples dating back to 8th century. The carvings of these temples are similar to Kailash temple at Ellora. In the sanctum of the main temple, one can find images of Lord Ram, and the Goddesses Sita and Lakshmi. Masrur is 15 km south of Kangra, Himachal Pradesh.
Bhagsu Waterfall (11 Km): This waterfall is in Bhagsu, 2 km from McLeodGanj. It lies behind the Bhagsunag Temple. During Monsoon, the fall turns into a 30 feet cascade.
Bhagsunag Temple: Temple of god Shiva situated around 2 km from McLeodGanj Bazaar. Constructed by 1 GR by around 1800 century and then worshipped majorly by 14 Gukha platoon villages in Dharamshala. Very next to Bhagsunag temple is a water fall, one of the major tourist attraction spot in Dharamshala.
Art Gallery: Naam Art Gallery is a popular tourist spot in McLeodGanj. There are paintings and exhibitions on display. These paintings are works of the renowned German painter Elsbeth Buschmann and English painter A.W. Hallett. It is in Sidhbari village, which is on the main Dalhousie-Chamunda Road.
Kangra Museum: Situated close to the bus stand, Kangra Art Museum is a unique museum displaying the artifacts of Tibetan and Buddhist cultures. This is a treasure of Kangra valley’s cultural past, crafts, arts and other ancient artifacts. Some of the displayed items in the museum are dating back to 5th century.
Kangra Museum encloses a gallery consisting of miniature paintings of Kangra’s rich past, pottery, rare coin memorabilia, sculptures and anthropological materials. It has a varied collection of tribal jewelry, embroidered costumes and wood carvings. A section dedicated to contemporary artworks adds the attraction to the museum.
Tourists can easily reach by bus or taxi and it will take 30 mins to one hour to see the museum. While visiting the museum, never miss to explore the Kotwali bazar
Kunal Pathri Temple (3 Km): This temple is dedicated to Goddess Kalpeshwari and is located 3 km from the Kotwali Bazaar. It's believed that a part of Goddess Sati's skull fell here when Lord Shiva was carrying the charred body of the Goddess; hence the name of the temple.
Chamunda Temple: This temple is around 15 km from Dharamshala on the right bank of river Baner on the Mandi-Pathankot highway. According to mythology, Goddess Kali killed the demons Chand and Mund at this place.
Dal Lake (12 Km): The Lake is spread in an area of 1 km and is bounded by rhododendrons, deodars, and junipers forest. Annually, a fair is held at the Kali Temple near the Lake. There is another temple close to the lake that is dedicated to sage Durvasa. Dal Lake is 2 km walk westwards from McLeodGanj bazaar.
Triund: Triund is nestled in the foothills of Dhauladhar and is around 17 km from Dharamshala. It's a trekking destination from McLeodGanj, and offers magnificent vistas of the mountains and valleys. The nightstays are in the hoods, small time caves, that local gaddis with their goat herds use as shelters from rains during the daytime.
Naddi: This scenic picnic spot is located 5 km northwest of McLeodGanj. Naddi offers a spectacular view of the Kangra valley. You can trek to Kareri Lake, Triund, and Guna Devi from here. It's becoming a popular destination for nature lovers.
Jama Masjid: Built in 1719 AD near Old bus stand, main Kotwali bazaar.
Thaneek Pura: or Thanik Pura is a hill station village (hamlet) in Chintpurni in the Una district of the state of Himachal Pradesh in India. It is near the Chintpurni Temple, which is a place of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Sikhs. The area is surrounded by the western Himalaya in the north and east in the smaller Shiwalik (or Shivalik) range bordering the state of Punjab.
McLeodGanj: is around 9 km from Dharamshala. This place is famous for its markets from where one can shop for handicraft items, eat Tibetan food and visit statue of Lord Buddha.[18]
Sidhbari: A village located 6km from Dharamshala near Yol Cantonment and a place of historical spiritual significance. Attractions around Sidhbari include the Kapila Muni Cave, Chinmaya Ashram, Gyuto monastery, Aganjar Mahadev Temple and the newly constructed State legislature. The agricultural hamlet of Rakkar nearby is an ideal base to explore the rest of the Kangra district and experience the traditional lifestyle and mud architecture of the Gaddi community.



Dharamshala
Dharamshala: Dhauldar Mountain