Dharamshala Tourism holds greater importance in Himachal Pradesh, attracting tourists to explore its exquisite natural scenic beauty, Tibetan culture, monasteries, & various other tourist attractions. Due to its Tibetan influence, it is also called Little Tibet or Little Lhasa. But mostly, it is considered the home to the 14th Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual master.
Set against the backdrops of the lofty Dhauladhar Ranges, at a peak of 4,000 m, this holy hill station lies on top of the Kangra Valley. Dharamshala always tops among the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh, making your travel journey exciting. Before we begin our list of top tourist spots to explore, let us have a quick overview of its history.
Dharamshala Tourism: A Glance To Its Brief History
Dharamshala, popularly called the Winter Capital of Himachal Pradesh, was founded in 1855 during the 19th century during British reign. During that time, this place was an army subsidiary cantonment for troops positioned at Kangra. Moreover, it was a retreat for the Britishers to escape the summer heat. Later on, it became a major centre for trade, commerce, & official commitments of the British in Kangra district by 1904.
The hilly city was so enticing, with alluring gardens added with imported plants that multiplied its aura. But in 1905, the city was doomed by a devastating earthquake of 7.8 magnitude, losing all its charm as many people, including Britishers, were killed & injured. The strike was so fatal that it destroyed many buildings in Dharamshala. Even the Bhagsunag Temple of the Gurkhas also came into its radar. When the city was revamped, with the operating force of the 1st Gurkha Rifles, the district headquarters shifted to Shimla.
Why Dharamshala Is Known As Abode Of Dalai Lama
There is a history behind why Dharamshala is popularly called the abode of the Tibetan spiritual master Dalai Lama. After the end of British influence, the city was about to witness other recordable events in its history. It all happened when, in March 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama took refuge in India after the failure of the uprising against the Communist Party of China in Tibet. He was allowed to settle in Dharamshala by the Indian government. In 1960, the Government of Tibet in Exile in Dharamshala was established by him. It became an official refuge for all Tibetans in India.
Top Tourist Attractions To Explore In Dharamshala
When we talk about Dharamshala Tourism, below are some best places to visit in Dharamshala.
Gyuto Monastery is one of the famous Dharamshala tourist attractions. Established in Tibet in 1474, it is known for tantric teachings & meditation. It was rebuilt by Tibetan monks in Dharamshala after the communist Chinese invasion in 1959. It was when the Dalai Lama, & the monks of Gyuto Monastery took refuge in India. Here, they started promoting the tantric teachings of their great teacher, Tsongkhapa, with the motive of the wellbeing of people. The monastery houses a gold-plated statue of Lord Buddha that radiates when touched with morning sunlight.
Tsuglagkhang Temple is among the top Dharamshala tourist attractions because of its peaceful environment & rich Tibetan culture. Popularly called the Dalai Lama Temple, it attracts tourists, pilgrims,& monks. Inside the temple, you will see the massive idol of Lord Buddha, along with statues of Padmasambhava, Avalokiteshvara, and other Buddhist monks. In this temple, you will notice Lamas chanting mantras on beads & prayer wheels. At the central point, you will also see a gold-plated prayer wheel that reads the mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’. You can pay your respects while rotating it.
As the name suggests, Kalachakra means Wheel of Time. It is a temple that attracts tourists from all parts of the country with its captivating architecture, divine aura, & tranquil surroundings. The temple houses a Kalachakra image at the centre, a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha, & mural paintings depicting 722 mandala deities. You can also admire the finest Tibetan Thangka art painted on the temple walls. The sacred shrine also welcomes book lovers at its book shop who can also dine out at a small cafe nearby.
Bhagsunag Temple is a famous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It attracts many Hindu pilgrims & local Gorkha community. It is said that after taking the blessings of the deity, devotees must dip in its sacred pond since the water of this pond has the magical power to heal diseases. After paying much respect to the lord, you can have a good time at Bhagsunag Waterfalls.
Jwala Devi Temple
Jwala Devi Temple is another top pilgrimage site for most Hindus. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Jwala. Unlike other temples, where you worship idols of gods, there is no idol of the goddess, as she is worshipped in the fire form. This temple is included among the 51 Shakti Peethas. As per Hindu mythology, it is that place where the tongue of Sati fell at the time when Lord Vishnu was cutting her lifeless body to stop the agony of wailing Shiva.
Dharamshala Cricket Stadium
Dharamshala Cricket Stadium is an excellent retreat for cricket buffs, who can avail the best opportunity to watch live cricket matches here amidst the breathtaking view of mountains. Also known as HPCA Stadium, it attracts tourists to admire its Tibetan style of architecture, & its scenic location. Book your tickets to watch the upcoming World Cup 2023 matches at Dharamshala Cricket Stadium in October 2023.
Kareri Dal Lake
The famous Dal Lake of Kashmir inspires Kareri Dal Lake. This place is surrounded by lush greenery & rugged mountains, which makes a perfect stopover for adventure seekers for trekking, honeymooners, & people who wish to spend some peaceful time in the lap of nature, tucked away from bustling city life. You can enjoy boat rides with your beloved partner and pray at a small Shiva temple on its banks.
Activities To Explore In Dharamshala
The best activities to do in Dharamshala include sightseeing the religious Buddhist monasteries, & Hindu temples like Bhagsunag Temple, & Jwala Devi Temple; there are adventure activities like paragliding, camping, trekking, boating, & visiting the tea gardens. Don’t forget to explore Kangra Fort & visit the War Memorial to commemorate the soldiers who laid their lives during Indo-China wars in 1947-48, 1962, 1965 and 1971.
Where To Plan Your Comfy Staycation In Dharamshala
When planning for your staycation in Dharamshala, there is a long list of hotels & resorts that boast about their hospitality services. But why spend time scrolling for multiple options when you can book jüSTa Birding Resort & Spa? It is a 5-star luxury resort in Dharamshala providing all modern amenities to its visitors, including 22 rooms with third occupancy, bathtubs, Sabor restaurant, AIR Bar, banquet hall, gymnasium, & spa.
Dharamshala Tourism attracts tourists from all over India to experience the serene environment & top tourist spots of this picturesque hill station of Himachal Pradesh. The place showcases Tibetan culture with Buddhist monasteries. Besides this, it is also a haven for adventure activities like trekking, camping, paragliding, & boating. To make your journey reminiscing, you can shop for Tibetan carpets, brass statues, handicrafts, shawls, & more. Overall, your travel journey to Dharamshala will turn out to be a memorable trip.