Dharamsala — A walk in the nature’s lap
Little Lhasa, the famous McLeod Ganj is a suburb of Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.The beauty of this blessed place knows no bounds. Surrounded by the Dhauladhar Range, the landscape is painted white with snow & the tall trees leave a tint of greenish grey on the vast blue skies. No wonder Dalai Lama set his adobe here, in the nature’s lap.
Dharamsala city attracts millions of tourists round the year, McLeod Ganj being one of the top destinations. The dense coniferous forests engulf Dharamsala and the surrounding suburbs providing a big play ground for adventure sports and wild life exploration. The Tibetan refugees have found their home here in Dharamsala after 1960.
From spas to scenic sets of nature, temple complexes and meditation centers, churches, valleys and homesteads, Dharamsala has it all to let the tourists forget the world outside. The buildings and traditions are strongly influenced by Tibetan customs and traditions.With many option around often tourists miss out on few very important places during the trip, here is a list to make the trips better.
McLeod Ganj offers quality rooms at very affordable prices. Some high rated places being Bella Heights, Dev Cottages and Chonor House.
Religious places -
Dal lake is one of the most visited places here. With countless Deodar trees on the banks, the water is greenish in color. The Shiva temple near the lake adds to the energy in the air.
Tsuglagkhang Complex has a residence for Dalai Lama along with state of the art Tibetan museum, Tsuglagkhang temple and Namgyal Gompa the monastery.
Bhagsunag temple and Bhagsunag waterfalls are very close to each other. Bhagsunag is a 16th century Shiva temple. Inside the temple premises is a swimming pool and a scared pool with fresh water from the perennial spring. The water here is said to taste even better than mineral water. The waterfall is about a mile from the temple. A evening walk to the falls offers a great view of the sunset.
The Chamunda Devi Temple houses a cave like structure with Shiva lingam. The statues of Lord Shiva and Saraswathi are carefully carved, don’t miss a chance to see them.
Shakti Peet Jwalamukhi Temple is a 2 hour drive form Dharamsala. The uniqueness of the temple is the idol free worship. An eternal blue flame is emanated from the sanctum sanctorum. The flame is the manifestation of the goddess.
The Church of St. John in the Wilderness is the result of highly skilled Dutch artists where Lord Elgin rests in peace. An obelisk and a cemetery are right behind the church protected by an iron railing that runs along the cement road.
Historical places -
Kangra Fort’s strategically location at the sangam of rivers Banganga and Majhi keep it safe from enemies. The entrance through Ranjit Singh gate, the walk through the long narrow passages lead up to the top of the fort. Ahani, Amiri, Jehangiri and Darsani Darwaza (gate) are the gateways in the fort at different locations. Atop the fort are the shrines of Lakshmi-Narayana Sitala and Ambika Devi. Kangra Fort is one of the most beautiful fort’s in India.
The Dip Tse Chok Ling Monastery is famous for it’s 385 steps which take you to the monastery’s threshold and the road at the next level. Solitude and peace is a gift to the visitors. Look around for the beautiful paintings decorating the walls. Sit down in one of the corners and enjoy the gentle magic in the air.
War Memorial is dedicated to the brave Himachali men who laid down their lives while serving the mother nation. The plaque on the right has a few lines of great value, do read it before you enjoy the beautiful War memorial.
The coffee trek to Shiva cafe is as amazing as it sounds! A 3 hour trek from Bhagsu temple along the twists and turns of muddy tracks midst the dense Himalayan flora is trek of life time. You walk through the slippery slopes and gushing waterfalls with water as beautiful as pearls. Not a piece of cake but the air is so refreshing that with every breathe fills you with joy, you don’t want to stop. And when you reach the cafe, you don’t wanna go. Get comfortable on the mattresses laid on the floor, order food and relax.
Tibetan Handicraft Center is home to the local craftsmen who spend their day carving and shaping the wood into brilliant masterpieces. Right next to them are the ladies weaving carpets and rugs, the Tibetan artisans at their best.
Now what if you can get your hands on some Tibetan costumes yourself? Tibetan Institute of Performing Art is right next to the Handicraft center. Make sure you reach before noon or early in the evening.
Reaching Dharamsala -
The nearest airport is Gaggal, a good 10 miles from Dharamsala. HRTC and other private agents offer buses to reach Dharamsala. The most convenient option to reach Dharamsala from Delhi is taking a cab. InstaCab offers cabs at the best prices. Avail special discounts on booking via Roder this weekend!