One of the most picturesque hill towns, Dharamshala stands high in the Kangra Valley with a blanket of thick coniferous and Deodar cedar trees flanked on all sides. The population here is primarily dominated by Tibetans. The winter capital of Himachal Pradesh, this perfectly landscaped mountain town has visitors all year around.
Surrounded by snow-clad mountains, McLeod Ganj compliments the essence of Dharamashala. Sitting on a lofty mountain, this quaint city was named after Sir Donald Friell, the Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab who was instrumental in its development. The official residence of the 14th Dalai Lama, this charming hill station has a lot of Tibetan influence – Tibetan culture and religion. From religion to adventure, Dharamshala caters to the spiritual and the daring spirit. It is a must to explore Tibetan food, handicrafts and souvenirs when one visits the place.
Kangra Fort and Kangra Museum
The Kangra Fort in the Kangra Valley has an ancient history attached to it – as ancient as the Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is said it was ruled by the Katoch rulers who belonged to this mythological period. Like any other forts, this fort too has watch towers and temples. All the rich artifacts of the bygone eras are well preserved in the Kangra Art Museum. It is fascinating to go back in time to have a visual display of the attires, jewellery, carvings, furniture, sculptures and manuscripts of the royalty.
The unparalleled treasure of Dharamshala, Triund is situated on the foothills of the eternally snow clad Dauladhar mountain range. On one side are the tall mountains and on the other is the Kangra Valley. This makes Triund a very favoured place by people of all ages groups. The trek here is very pastoral. Passing through the foliage of oaks, deodar and rhododendrons, any nature enthusiast will be delighted to spot many birds and animals.
Following the Tibetan Revolution in 1959, the Namgyal Monastery which was established by the 3rd Dalai Lama, in 1575 was moved to Dharamshala. One of the finest seats of learning and a centre for Tibetan culture, the monastery supports 200 monks. Another prominent feature about this place is the magnanimous image of Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avaloktwshwara. The monastery is a part of many other structures in the Dalai Lama Temple complex which is open to visitors. The residence of the Dalai Lama is also within the same complex.