Dharamshala: The Abode of the Dalai Lama


As the sun was sneaking through the canopy of deodar trees, the majestic Dhauladhar ranges were standing surrounding the Kangra valley, I was having a cup of hot chocolate in one of the pretty, old cafes in Mcleodganj. Smell of the buttery momos was making its way from the thin Himalyan air right into my heart. The Tibetan markets in these regions are always very endearing and are great to have a nice evening stroll and have a quick bite at one of the bakeries along the way to make your evening perfect. The Kalchakra temple is at the heart of the town of Mcleodganj, Upper Dharamshala, where most Tibetan settlers here come to pray and meditate. Tsuglakhang temple is the temple where the Dalai Lama has been staying in since his exile from Tibet. Namgyal monastery is the personal monastery of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. Dharamshala is the headquarter of Central Tibetan Administration, as the Indian Government provided home to lakhs of Tibetans who had flee their homes to escape the Chinese oppression in the suburb of Mcleodganj of Dharamshala.

Photo of Dharamshala: The Abode of the Dalai Lama 1/6 by Mihir Desai
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Gyuto Monastery

The Dharamkot suburb of Dharamshala is very much the hippie part of the city, dominated by the Israelis, probably because it is the base camp for treking trails in the region and Himachal is among the more popular destinations that the Israelis go to after completion of their Military training in Israel. It is lot less populated than the lower Dharamshala and Mcleodganj, hence the place has its own quaint charm. This village doesn't have any proper roads, this is purely a spot for trekkers and explorers. There is just one road in the village which leads you to a cafe called Trek and Dine, the pathway after that leads you to plenty of trekking trails with gorgeous lakes, waterfalls, views and unadulterated nature.

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Kareri lake

The Kangra fort in Kangra is the largest fort in the Himalyan region built by the Royal Katoch family of the Kangra region. It is amazing how this fortress managed to withstand plenty of attacks by invaders and still is very much in its old shape. The fragrance of the Kangra tea just spreads across the region in the rainy season especially.

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Gyuto Monastery is one amazing monastery on the outskirts of the town, which was re-established here from Tibet. Located amidst serene and peaceful surroundings, the monastery boasts of a rich history, being the exile home of the 17th Karampa, head of the main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. What I love about most of these monasteries in Dharamshala is that they carry out lots of activities, which contribute towards protecting the environment.

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Dharamshala Cricket stadium

In the architecturally and culturally diverse region, there are so many things that one can do. It is a great place to get adrenaline rush with trekking, paragliding, bungee jumping, river rafting etc. It is culturally very diverse place and you can explore a variety of cuisines from all over the world here. This place does not only attract Buddhist devotees but also Hindu and Christian devotees. Bhagsu Nag is a beautiful Shiva temple located in the Bhagsu village with serene surrounding and a beautiful 30 feet waterfall. St. John in the wilderness is a British age church, located right amidst dense Deodar forest and is a great place for a photo shoot. The structure is strong that it survived the 1905 Kangra earthquake, that killed thousands of people.

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This place is very budget friendly, hence this is a great place for people from all strands of society to have a time off from the daily work load and stress and get absorbed in the vibes of beautiful Dharamshala.