Dharamsala is India’s top tourist destination bringing in thousands of visitors each spring, summer and fall from all over the world. It is the main hill station of The Kangra Valley – a fertile undulating valley lying between the gentle Shivalik Hills and the mighty Dhauladhars.
Originally a little hill resort built by the British, The Horizon Villa Penthouse rambles up in levels to the snow line. While lower Dharamshala (1,250 m) is the busy commercial area with government buildings, a hustling bustling bazaar and a bus Terminal; Upper Dharamshala (1,982 m) has suburbs with British name like Forsythganj and Mcleodganj which are quite fascinating.
Dharamshala is the headquarters of The Kangra District. The Chinese invaded Tibet in 1959 causing the exodus of the Tibetan people. They came to Dharamshala and it became the seat of His Holiness The Dalai Lama and is also often referred to as The Little Lhasa in India.
What is a perfect trip to The Kangra Valley?
Private driver, guided personal tours showing you the best of the valley with its fascinating history and traditions.
Tour Option I
After breakfast at The Horizon Villa, start your day by taking a trip to the Norbulingka Institute, which is dedicated towards the preservation of Tibetan culture in both literary and artistic forms. Then proceed to visit the remains of the fort of the rulers of Kangra, which is situated on a strategic height on a windswept ridge overlooking the confluence of The Baner and Majhi rivers.
Tour Option II
After breakfast at The Horizon Villa, take a trip to visit the historical Kangra fort. Later in the afternoon, you may travel along the scenic winding mountain roads to see the beautiful richly carved monolithic rock-cut Masroor temples located on a hillock that resides above a well watered and fertile tract of considerable natural beauty – they are framed by the white mountains. Spend time viewing the ancient ruins of these rock temples as you absorb their breathtaking elegance and beauty.
A list of must visit places around
Tourist Destinations around us
Mcleodganj is a quaint town of mixed cultures - Indians, Tibetans and people from all over the world live and mingle here. The cuisine is global. The aromas of Japanese, Indian, Tibetan, Italian, Mexican and Continental food waft through the streets. A temple with colourful prayer wheels ornaments the main street. In The Dalai Lama's monastery, a serene statue of Lord Buddha presides over the gentle chanting of the monks. Mcleodganj has a school of Tibetan Studies (with rare manuscripts and ancient texts), The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts and Handicrafts centre.
The Tsuglagkhang Temple is the most renowned Buddhist monument in McLeodganj. There are three magnificent images of Buddha, including a statue of Shakyamuni, Valokitesvara and Padamasambhava. The Namgyal Monastery which is a part of the temple was founded by the Third Dalai Lama, and serves the Dalai Lamas exclusively. A unique feature of this monastery is its diversity of practice. Namgyal monks perform prayers and rituals of all the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Norbulingka Institute functions under the guidance of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. The institute promotes the traditional art and literary studies of Tibet and comprises of - The Center for Arts, The Academy of Tibetan Culture & The Literary and Culture Research Center. Traditional Tibetan art such as wood carving, thangka painting (rectangular painting on cloth), goldsmithery & embroidery has been preserved beautifully by the institute. Landmarks include the seat of Happiness Temple and The Losel Doll Museum.
Gyuto Monastery Sidhbari
The Karmapa (Ogyen Trinley Dorje)'s resides at The Gyuto Monastery at Sidhbari about six kilometers from Dharamsala. "Karmapa" denotes "the one who carries out buddha-activity" or "the embodiment of all the activities of the buddha." In the Tibetan tradition, great enlightened teachers are said to be able to consciously arrange to be reborn as a teacher who can carry on the teachings of a predecessor in a prior life.
St. John's Church
Just a kilometer away from Mcleodganj, "St, John's Church in The Wilderness" is one of the most poignant memories of the British Raj. It is a stone church with delicate stained glass window panes and the grave of Lorg Elgin, the then British viceroy of India who died in Dharamshala in 1863.
8 kms uphill to the north-east of Mcleodganj, Triund is a trekkers delight. It is a saddle of snow with a spectacular view of the virgin snow mountains and a pleasant forest rest house. From Triund it's another 5 kms trek upto the snowline.
Bhagsu Temple and The Water fall
About two kilometers from McLeod is a holy shrine of the Hindus. Bhagsu is better known after an ancient Shiv temple. It also has a fresh water public pool used for swimming which is a treat for tourists making it to Dharamsala during the hot months.
Naddi & The Dal lake
Just 2 km from Mcleodganj is the sacred Dal Lake known for its religious waters. The lake is regarded as the lake of Lord Shiva. At the heights of Naddi, The Mighty Dhauladhars are just a touch away! You shall be awe struck to see the magnificent views and the sunset.
Masroor Rock Cut Temples
The beautiful Indo-Aryan style rock-cut temples at Masroor carved out of monolithic rocks in the style of The Kailash Temple at Ellora in Maharashtra, date to the 8th century AD. Masroor is just 30 km south of Kangra. These are the only monuments of this style in Northern India. Images of Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman are installed in the central shrine.
The Kangra city & The Kangra Fort
The Kangra city is 17 km from Dharamshala and is known for its beautiful temples and artistic heritage. It is home to the exquisite Kangra miniature paintings which flourished under the patronage of King Sansar Chand from 1775 to 1823. The ruins of The Kangra Fort still dominate the Kangra valley. Mohd. Ghazani conquered it in 1009 A.D and at the time the place was known as Bhima Nagar. Thereafter Mod. Tughlaq conquered the fort in 1337 but could not hold it for long. Feroz Tughlaq also plundered the Kangra fort in 1365 AD. The British took possession of this ancient fort of Kangra and established a garrison, but abandoned it after a disastrous earthquake in 1905.
Char Dham Devi Darshan
The 4 Devi Dham (char Dham Devi darshan) are visited by many devotees. These includes Chintapurni Mata, Jawala ji Mata, Chamunda Mata and Brijeshwari Mata.
Tea Gardens at Palampur
Situated in the lap of the snow clad Dhauladhar ranges with imposing sky-high peaks, is the small picturesque town of Palampur. It is bejewelled with lush green terrace fields, majestic deodar trees, beautiful tea gardens and dense Pine forests. It has a moderate climate which is loved by all visitors. The renowned Agricultural University is located here. Many short and long trekking routes start from Palampur. A visit to the art gallery of the famous painter Late Sardar Shobha Singh and Andretta Pottery factory is a must.