7 great getaways from Dharamshala!


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Photo of 7 great getaways from Dharamshala! by Mohini Chauhan

“Once a year go some place you've never been before. ”- ― Dalai Lama

Now that's a mantra to live by. Period.

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Photo of Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India by Mohini Chauhan

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Photo of Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, India by Mohini Chauhan

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Photo of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Mohini Chauhan

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Photo of Barot, Himachal Pradesh, India by Mohini Chauhan

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Photo of Parashar Lake, D.P.F. Parashar Dhar, Himachal Pradesh, India by Mohini Chauhan

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Photo of Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh, India by Mohini Chauhan
Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Mohini Chauhan

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Photo of Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India by Mohini Chauhan

Dharamshala is set amidst lush greenery and dreamy sceneries. Wonderfully tucked in the Dhauladhar ranges, Dharamshala is packed with magnificent monasteries, museums, temples, lakes.. (you name it!) and is a visual as well as a spiritual delight to travelers from all around the world. Well, the good news is Dharamshala offers escape to great places . If there's another word which can evoke the same emotion and excitement as vacations is 'getaway.' Light on pockets and rich in experience, getaways are the ultimate way to break-free from 9 to 5 commitments, office deadlines and daily hassles.

Here are 7 great getaways from Dharamshala under 200Km that will ensure you return back feeling alive and awesome. (And with tons of memories!)

So, Get, set, getaway!

1. Mcleod Ganj

Also known as Little Lhasa and abode of the famous Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, this beautiful suburb is located 3km north of Dharamshala. Mcleod Ganj captivates us with its picturesque views, magnificent monasteries, maroon- robed monks and nuns, the best Tibetan food selling cafes and pretty stuff dangling up the stores for sale, making it the number one choice among travelers seeking pleasure and spirituality.

Top things to do: Trek to Triund; visit Bhagsu Falls, Dharamkot and Dal lake; visit HPCA International Cricket Stadium; Popular monasteries and temples includes: Tsuglagkhang, Namgyal, Monastery, Bhagsunath Temple, Church of St. Johns; go souvenir shopping!

Best time to visit: October-March

2. Palampur

Loacted 30 km from Dharamshala is the the tea capital of northwest India. Palampur is surrounded by tea- gardens and pine forests at the foot of the Dhauladhar range. Palampur got its name from the word pulum which means abundant water. The place is best suited for the lovers of tranquility and offers trekking/camping sites and quaint monasteries.

Things to do: Visit Tashi Jong Monastery, Neugal Khad, go hiking at the Dhauladhar range; stroll around the tea gardens.

Best time to visit: March to June and mid-September to November

3. Bir-Billing

A two hour drive from Dharamshala, transits you to the Paragliding capital of India- Bir Billing. Come, satiate your love for adventure here! What's more mesmerizing than wandering in the clouds is the view that awaits you from feet below. In the recent years, Bir Billing has also emerged as a hub of eco-tourism, spiritual studies and meditation.

Things to do: Paragliding; camping; visit the Bir Tea factory, the Sherab Ling Monastery and the Chokling Monastery; the Deer Park Institute; watch sunsets and go stargazing.

Best time to visit: March-May and then October to November as the winds are favorable.

4. Barot

If your idea of an ideal getaway is to escape from everything and embrace the unknown, there lies a tiny unexplored hamlet some 100 km from Dharamshala. Adorned with thick deodar trees and terraced fields, Barot is the perfect offbeat destination for backpackers. The crystal-clear water of the Uhl river located next to the Barot village is great for Trout fishing, making Barot turn into an attractive destination for anglers.

Things to do: Visit the Nargu wildlife sanctuary; hike; Trek; Grab a fish, go fishing; set some time aside to visit Multhan and Jogindernagar.

Best time to visit: March to October

5. Parashar lake, Mandi

Prashar is located in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. This splendid place is known for its 2 jewels (lake and temple with the same name). Lying 49km north of Mandi, it is the most famous trekking destination of Himachal Pradesh. The 13th century Pagoda Temple is dedicated to the Sage Parashar who once meditated there. The trek to this place will take your breath away.

Things to do: Perfect for trekking/camping and stargazing; visit Baggi village and Mandi.

Best time to visit: Anytime is good. Avoid July-early September as the monsoon makes the routes accident prone.

6. Dalhousie

Named after the British Governor-General of India (1848), Lord Dalhousie, the mini switzerland of India is situated 3 hours from Dharamshala. The hill town is a perfect blend of colonial flavor and scenic beauty. The sprawling bungalows, cottages and dainty churches against the backdrop of ice-caped peaks and pine trees exudes an image you usually see on Visit Europe brochures. Whether you're an nature lover, adventure buff, an avid trekker or a wildlife enthusiast, Dalhousie has a room for everyone.

Things to do: Visit Panchpula, ancient sites of British era St. John's Church, or the Rang Mahal; head to Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary; trek to Dainkund; boating at Chamera lake and the Tibetan market.

Best time to visit: March to May

7. Amritsar

And.. when you see XXL size of Lassi de glass, parathas overflowing with desi ghee, excessive Adenosine triphosphate in the air, know my friend you're in Punjab! Primarily known for its contribution to Indian history, the city has an air of spirituality and a heart to it. Not just the wonderful architecture, the people here are going to leave you spellbound too. Hence, your trip and time here is totally going to be worth it.

Things to do: Seek blessings of Waheguru at the Golden Temple; visit Jallianwala Bagh, Wagah border, Bibeksar Sahib and burp to butter-chicken.

Best time to visit: November to March

So, with these great options, do you still wanna Netflix and chill?

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