Dharamshala is a stunning hill station in the Himalayas, known for its panoramic views of the Dhauladhar ranges, vibrant monasteries, colorful temples, sparkling waterfalls, and vintage forts & museums. As the residence of His Holiness – the Dalai Lama, it is a popular destination for spiritual seekers and religious travelers. The city is at an elevation of 1457 m above sea level and is a distinctive blend of Tibetan and Kangra culture. I along with my friends had a majestic experience in this city. Having a friend who has been to the city already helps even more.
Dharamshala has become a sought-after holiday destination for millennials, offering great weather during the summers and scenic views of the Dhauladhar mountain range. The hill station is well-connected to nearby towns and cities by air, road and rail, making it easily accessible. Kangra Airport and Pathankot Junction are the nearest options for air and rail travelers. It is a popular road trip destination for tourists from Punjab and Delhi.
The word Dharamshala traditionally referred to a shelter or rest house for spiritual pilgrims. The settlement took its name from one such pilgrims’ rest house on the site. Recently, Dharamshala was declared a ‘Smart City,’ and many young people from metropolitan cities like Delhi have settled in the area and are working from there.
So given your interest in visiting this city, lets explore the 11 best places to visit in Dharamshala among all.
Table of Contents
1: Triund Hill (Trek)
Triund Hill is a popular tourist destination in Dharamshala, surrounded by the Dhauladhar ranges on one side and rolling valleys on the other. The view from the summit is simply breathtaking with snow-capped mountain-ranges on one side and rolling green valleys on the other. March-May and September-December are the best months to visit as trekking is closed during January and February. Camping is not currently allowed at Triund, so trekkers must return to their stay the same day.
Triund is a paradise for trekkers and nature lovers. It offers amazing trails with scenic views of the entire Kangra Valley. A trek to Triund can be done from McLeodganj or Dharamkot, which is 2 km ahead of McLeodganj. The first half of the trek is a gradually inclined walk with the last 2 km from Snowline Cafe which involves a vertical climb all the way till Triund. The evening sky from Triund is a sight in itself and is a good excuse for camping here at night.
Triund Hill is a favourite among trekkers and adventure seekers. It is perched at a height of 2850 m above sea level and surrounded by rolling hills. The clean air and natural environment make Triund Hill a popular choice for a relaxing break from the city. You can enjoy picnics and camping here, and take in the mesmerizing beauty of the snow-capped mountains and pristine surroundings.
2: Dharamshala Cricket Stadium
The Dharamshala Cricket Stadium is a must-visit for cricket enthusiasts, and the administration is polite, making it a hassle-free visit. The stadium is situated at an altitude of 1,457 meters and is known for its scenic location amidst the stunning Dhauladhar Range. It is considered as one of the most boosted places by Dharamshala tourism. The stadium is also famous for being the highest international cricket stadium in the world, and its main stand is built with Tibetan architectural style.
The Dharamshala Cricket Stadium is open for tourists even when no matches are scheduled, and visitors can enjoy a view comparable to the Adelaide Oval or Newlands. The stadium can accommodate approximately 23,000 people and has several modern-day amenities for hosting national and international cricket matches. There is no fence in front of the seating area, providing an unobstructed view of the match.
The surroundings of the stadium add to the beauty of the place, and it is an excellent spot to catch a cricket match and enjoy the scenic views.
3: Kangra Valley
If you are looking to explore the western Himalayas in Punjab, the Kangra Valley is a must-visit destination. It is home to the famous Masrur temple, and the beauty of this place has made it a strong contender for the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The regional dialect spoken here is Kangri, and the famous towns of McLeodganj, Dharamshala, Sidhbari, and Tira Sujanpur are major highlights of this district.
The valley has a humid subtropical climate with summer peaking in May and winter lasting till late February. The monsoon season from June to mid-September brings in heavy rainfall. The valley also experiences occasional snowfall in the hills during winter. After winter, a short, pleasant spring follows.
While the Parvati Valley has become overpopulated, the Kangra Valley is a refreshing destination that offers an abundance of Deodar forests to rejuvenate your spirit. It is also home to a large community of Tibetan refugees who found solace in the peaceful mountains of Himachal. The valley has much to offer, including tea gardens in Palampur and Dharamshala, famous treks in the Dhauladhars, and adventure sports such as paragliding in Bir.
4: Tea Gardens – Dharamsala Tea Company
As a nature lover, you cannot miss visiting the tea gardens in Dharamshala, which are known for producing high-quality tea. It is a small tea region located close to the Kangra Valley, and you can purchase the tea from shops in Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj. Walking through the lush green tea estates will provide you with a serene experience and the aroma of fresh tea leaves.
The tea garden is a popular tourist destination in Dharamshala, and strolling through the narrow paths, you can witness some of the most beautiful birds. You can also relax by the lake that flows through the area before continuing your journey. Spending time with the tea planters will allow you to understand the difficulties involved in plucking tea leaves and give you an opportunity to examine the origins of your favourite chai.
As a nature lover, visiting the tea gardens in Dharamshala is an unmissable activity. Witnessing the lush greenery and the aroma of fresh tea leaves will rejuvenate you. Don’t forget to book a good hotel in Dharamshala before planning your visit to this beautiful place.
As a hill station lover, you should explore Dharamkot located in the Kangra district just above McLeod Ganj. Many foreigners have started living in the area and you can find public transport facilities to take you up there. The place is surrounded by greenery, and the famous trek to Triund starts from the main square of the village of Dharamkot.
The hill station offers a wide view of Kangra valley and Dhauladhar ranges, and the best time to visit is in April and May. You can expect spontaneous musical performances from musicians from all over the world, and many places are available for Yoga, meditation, and relaxation.
Dharamkot has made the whole region popular for tourism, and you can find homestay options, live music, and small cafes with an easy-going vibe. The snowline café provides a breathtaking view and also has provisions for sleeping bags and tents. So if you are looking for a quaint place near Dharamshala, Dharamkot is definitely worth exploring.
6: Tsuglag Khang
Tsuglag Khang Temple is a significant attraction in McLeod Ganj that appeals to pilgrims, monks, and tourists who are searching for serenity and natural surroundings. Located on Temple Road, the temple is easily accessible, and the major highlights include the Tsuglagkhang Temple, the Namgyal Gompa, and the Tibet Museum.
This temple is also known as the Dalai Lama Temple and is visited by individuals who want to experience a peaceful environment. The temple is home to a vast statue of Gautam Buddha, as well as other Buddhist monks like Padmasambhava and Avalokiteshvara. The Lamas spend their time reciting mantras and chanting on beads and prayer wheels.
Tourists can pay their respects, meditate in the prayer hall, visit the temple museum, and rotate the gold-plated prayer wheel that is situated in the centre of the temple. Tsuglag Khang is a tranquil location that highlights the rich Tibetan culture and the serene beauty of Dharamshala and McLeodganj.
7: St. John In The Wilderness Church
St. John in the Wilderness Church is a serene and famous place to visit in Dharamshala, located amidst verdant green deodar trees. This ancient Anglican church was built in 1852 and is dedicated to John the Baptist. It exhibits the stunning neo-gothic style of architecture and is famous for its Belgian stained-glass windows. This hidden gem is worth your time if you are looking for a peaceful place to delve into a session of rediscovery.
The church is located on the way to McLeod Ganj and is about 8 km from Dharamshala. It is a popular attraction among architecture lovers and tourists visit this church on their way to McLeodganj. The church is one of the oldest structures in the region, but its distinctive construction and peaceful vibes make it one of the most important churches in Himachal Pradesh.
8: The War Memorial
The War Memorial is a must-visit for all patriotic travelers who wish to pay homage to the valiant soldiers who fought for the country. Located at the entrance of the region, it is surrounded by dense pine forests that offer hidden trails for explorers. This memorial is dedicated to the martyrs of Kangra who lost their lives during the Indo-China War and is a popular tourist destination in Dharamshala.
The War Memorial is a fitting tribute to the brave soldiers of Kangra and features three black marble walls inscribed with the names of the fallen. You can also see replicas of guns, war tanks, and airplanes in the vicinity. The memorial’s lush green surroundings and pine forests add to its natural beauty, making it a must-visit for nature lovers and history buffs alike. Don’t forget to visit the nearby cafe for delicious snacks and beverages after paying your respects at the memorial.
9: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, located in Gangchen Kyishong, Dharamshala is a must-visit place. It houses over 80,000 manuscripts related to the history, culture, and spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism. The library is an excellent destination for those interested in history, offering an opportunity to learn and enhance their knowledge.
The library also has a museum that contains various artefacts and statues, making it an illuminating place for visitors. The majority of the preserved manuscripts from the great exile of 1959 are located here. Founded by Tenzin Gyatso, it is one of the most important libraries for Tibetan literature, making it one of the most popular Dharamshala tourist places.
10: Kangra Fort
Visit Kangra Fort, one of the most famous tourist places in Dharamshala, and witness the marvels of history and heritage. Constructed by the Katoch Empire in the 4th century BC, it is the largest fort in the Himalayas and also one of the oldest forts in India.
The ruins showcase the kind of historical events the fort has been a witness to. You can explore the ancient structures, including three temples, and the small museum that displays several interesting facts and installations from the Katoch Empire. From the watchtower, enjoy the mesmerizing views of the surrounding greenery, the Manjhi and Banganga rivers, and the Kangra village.
Located in Old Kangra, the Kangra Fort is a popular destination to discover ancient Indian history and heritage. The fort offers a close look at the ancient architecture and has survived many battles throughout the centuries. Though the earthquake of 1905 left the fort in ruins, it still attracts history buffs and architecture lovers from all over. Don’t miss the chance to explore this amazing fort and learn about its interesting past when you visit Dharamshala.
11: Bhagsunag Temple & Waterfalls
Bhagsunag Temple is a must-visit destination for travelers looking for spiritual experiences and scenic beauty in Dharamshala. The temple, located 3 kilometers from Mcleodganj, is surrounded by two sacred pools that are believed to have miraculous healing powers. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is highly revered by the local Gorkha and Hindu community. The temple is situated on the way to the famous Bhagsu Waterfalls, making it an ideal stop for tourists seeking blessings before continuing their journey.
The Bhagsu Waterfall is located near the Temple only and is an ideal place to visit for its scenic beauty and serene atmosphere. It is a popular destination for hikers and rock climbers who want to enjoy the trek amidst the surrounding foliage. The waterfall offers a stunning view of the entire city of Dharamshala from the top, making it a must-visit destination for travelers looking for an adventure and breathtaking views.
In summary, both are highly recommended for those who want to experience the rich culture and natural beauty of Dharamshala.