Dharamshala Travel Guide
Dharamshala Travel Guide
Dharamshala literally means a ‘Spiritual Dwelling’. Generally speaking Dharamshala is place where pilgrims or travellers can stay for a night. This beautiful hill-station of Himachal Pradesh is one of the oldest Hill Stations in India. The place is surrounded by the snow-capped mountain with pine and oak trees which make this place a paradise for nature lovers. Apart from its natural beauty the place is also considered as the temporary of his holiness, the Dalai Lama. The blend of scenic surroundings and the presence of great Buddhism culture make this place popular among the travellers. The snowy chilling hill station is classified in two places Lower Dharamshala and Upper Dharamshala and both the regions are equally beautiful one gives you the real picture of the hustle city where as the other region offers a picturesque view of township, constructed in the British colonial style.
History of Dharamshala
Dharamshala has a rich and fascinating history. One can peak in to the charming history of the place which reveals interesting and often charming aspects of the life of people. The British moved to this city in late 1840s and made this place as the district headquarters. The town that you see today is not much as town when the earthquake of 7.8 magnitudes brought catastrophic disaster to this place on 4th April 1905. The hill station remained low profile until spiritual leader Dalai Lama along with Tibetan refugees came to Dharamshala in 1959. Ever since from his arrival the place has become one of the Popular Tourist Destination in India. Visitor from all over India and around the world visit this spiritual place every year which is making this place a vibrant tourist destination.
Culture, Traditions, Language and Festivals of Dharamshala
This beautiful hill-station of Dharamshala has a vibrant culture and is closely linked with the religious practices that are followed by the people of this city. The tradition of this place is religiously filled with Gaddis, Hinduism and Buddhism. When spiritual guru Dalai Lama came in Dharamshala in 1959 the he brought the rich Tibetan culture and traditions to this charming hill station. The culture and tradition of the place quite resembles the culture and tradition of Lhasa the capital of Tibet. The handmade garments and handicrafts are in the profusely supply in the city of Dharamshala. Talking about the music and dance of the place has its own identity. The folk dance of India which is performed here is linked with Hinduism. Even you can see a huge influence of Tibetan music in the music of Dharamshala. The theatrical traditions of Tibet are also preserved here where artist performs at Tibetan opera accompanied by drums, dance, music and specially being influenced by that to Tibet.
People of Dharamshala generally spoke in Hindi and Tibetan. As there’s a large influence of British Raj and tourism, English is also a major dialect that is widely understood here. One can hear other languages like Kangri/Pahari here which are the local Himachal dialects of Himachal spoken by the indigenous population of Dharamshala.
Travellers in Dharamshala can also witness various festivals and events which make this place the most happening hill station in India. Haldi Festival is celebrated in two days where family come together and sits around bonfire and dancing. The Losar Festival is also known as the Tibetan New Year is one of the main festivals in Dharamshala. To honor Lord Buddha, Dharamshala celebrate devotional Tibetan festivals Saka Dawa Festivals. Some other major festivals of this place are Prashar Fair, Dal Fair and International Himalayan Festival.
Cuisine of Dharamshala
Dharamshala or Dhasa ( in local dialect) is melting pot with the generation of Tibetan refugees, indigenous Gaddi folk, Kashmiri and Nepali business people, migrant workers from Bihar and thousands of tourist devotees from around the world. This diversity can easily be seen in the cuisine of Dharamshala. The travellers are served with the lip smacking Tibetan delicacies such as steamed or fried/stuffed spicy potato, cabbage and a mixture of spinach, radish/carrot with a dollop of chilly sauce on the side. Some other delicacies which you would like to savor are Tibetan Noodle’s, a turmeric pancake, The Korean Cafe RI and many more.
Shopping in Dharamshala
The city has many shopping area that offers travellers a great Tibetan handicraft, carpets and mats and that would be in a reasonable cost.
Some of the popular market that draws your attention are –
Kotwali Bazar – A perfect place to buy Tibetan accessories like trinkets, traditional jewelry, mandala paintings, woolen shawls payer flags and gift items.
Mcleodganj – It is a place for Tibetan handicrafts, local goods and carpets. Divine Buddha handicrafts are the main attraction of this market.
The Green Shop – The market is run by the Tibetan Welfare Office and it offers recycled goods.
Best Places to Visit Dharamshala
Naam Art Gallery:
This place is purely dedicated to artists and art lovers. One can enjoy numbers of art shows organize in this art gallery during the year. This art gallery’s motto is to promote new and young talents so that they get the desired opportunity to display their art work.
Triund Trek 9:
It is a peak in the Dhauladhar range of the majestic Himalayas. If you love camping then this is the perfect place for you. This unpolluted place is one of the few eco-friendly sites in India.
Kangra Art Museum:
This museum was designed to preserve, conserve and revive the rich cultural heritage of the Kangra region. The museum has grand display of Tibetan and Buddhist cultures.
Best Time to Visit Dharamshala
Being a hill-station the day time of Dharamshala is as pleasant as ever, the nights are cool and chilling. If you wish to visit this place then the best time visit Dharamshala will be the month between March and June. This is the time when the place doesn’t get too cold or too hot.
If you want to expect snow fall, winter is the right time for you to visit this place. The temperature drops to 0 degree C in the month between December and February and then you would be able to see snowfall.
How to Reach Dharamshala
This hill station can be approached by air from Delhi and from the nearest Airport Gaggla which merely 13 km from the town.
You can catch bus from Manali for this city. One can also drive from Delhi via Chandigarh, Kiratpur and Bilaspur which takes 8 hours to reach Dharamshala.
The nearest major railway station if of Pathankot which is 85 km from the place.
The place is boon with the natural beauty and is also been the temporary headquarters of Dalai Lama. If you ever visit this beautiful place you will not be able to resist yourself in falling in love with this peaceful, calm and charismatic hill station of Dharamshala.
List of Hotels in Dharamshala
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