Attractions in Dharamshala
Aghanjar Mahadev Temple
The five centuries-old Aghanjar Mahadev temple is one of the busiest pilgrim and tourist attractions in all of Dharamshala. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the shrine is located in the foothills of Dhauladhar, nestled between high mountain peaks. Nature lovers would find it difficult to tear themselves away from the exquisite natural beauty of the land. The cool climate, awe-inspiring view, and the small cascade nearby create a uniquely serene atmosphere. Tourists will feel rejuvenated even if they do not believe in the divinity of the deity in the temple.
Bhagsu Nath temple
Located at an elevation of 1770 meters above sea level, the Bhagsu Nath temple is another prominent shrine in Dharamshala. What makes the place unique is the awe-inspiring view from the temple. The lush greenery surrounding the shrine has an effect on the soul that is equal parts mesmerizing and calming. Most people prefer to visit the temple during the morning as the sunrise from the point is an otherworldly experience. The first rays appear from beyond the snowcapped mountains and slowly move the veil of mist. Those who can stand the cold, take a bath in the sacred pool here and purify their body and soul to imbibe the serene view. Hence the Bhagsu temple is the favorite point of tourists in Dharamshala.
Located in the main road connecting Mcleadganj and Dharamshala, Bhagsu or Bhagsunag waterfall is a great location for picnicking. The cascade falls from a height of 30 feet and the silvery water, though less during the summer season, attains its full glory during the monsoon. The view of the fall is as riveting as the environment is relaxing. Tourists who have visited the Bhagsu fall vouch for the rejuvenating power of the place. Hence most visiting Dharamshala make sure to spend some time in the calming natural beauty of the place.
Located in the Kangra District, 11 kilometers from Dharamsala, is the famous Dal lake. This mid-latitude water body is arguably the most beautiful lake in Himachal Pradesh, if not India. With the clear water mirroring the deodar trees that border it, and the blue sky above, the place is enchanting. The small Shiva temple nearby adds a meditative undertone to the place. The poetic beauty of the lake and the surrounding mountain ranges is enough to make nature lovers at once mesmerized and meditative. Hence Dal is one of the most visited tourist places in Dharamshala.
Dharamshala Cricket Stadium
Cricket is unquestionably the most popular sport in India. The international stadium at Dharamshala has witnessed many historic moments in Indian Cricket. Otherwise known as Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), the stadium is 1457 m above sea level and is watched over by snowcapped Himalayan ranges on all sides. The stadium is famous since its establishment in 2003 and is a tourist destination in Dharamshala because of its history and picturesque sights. As the Kangra airport is merely 8 kilometers away, the place is easily accessible to tourists.
Founded in 1959, the Gyuto monastery preserves the Tantric tradition of Buddhism in India. Many aspiring students visit the place in the hope of learning the so-called black magic developed under the lineage of the great teacher Tsongkhapa. Tourists find the destination one of the best places to visit in Dharamshala not only for the panoramic beauty of the surroundings but for its quiet and meditative atmosphere. Constructed on a hilltop, the monastery has the best view of the Dhauladhar Ranges and the Beas river. If not for these exquisite sights, tourists are attracted by the gold plated statue of Lord Buddha. Thus the place is worth a visit for art lovers too.
Jwala Ji or Jwala Mukhi is one of the most ancient temples and an important destination in India. Finding mention in Mahabharatha and other historical scriptures, the temple attracts pilgrims from far and wide. The uniqueness of the religious place is the natural cave with eternal flames burning in it. Many legends are associated with these flames, most of which are connected to the Sati Devi, Adishakthi, and so on. With four-cornered walls, and a small dome the architecture of the temple is curious. Inside the square pit in the center, the eternal flame burns. The library nearby has some rare Hindu scriptures.
Kangra Art Museum
Art and history lovers cannot miss the Kangra art museum located in Kotwali Bazaar. It is aptly stated as the hub of art and culture as some of the best exhibits are kept here. The museum displays a collection of sculptures, pottery, and paintings. Some of the artifacts in the museum are as old as the 5th century. A rich collection of old coins, carvings, manuscripts, and jewelry will make the visitors enthralled. Apart from these, there are many royal robes, shamiana, and such rare exhibits that make the visit to the museum worthwhile.
Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
Considered the most authentic source of Tibetan works in the world, the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives is a must-visit tourist destination in Dharamshala. It has an exhaustive collection of manuscripts that were moved from Tibet during the 1959 escape. Nearly 80,000 manuscripts on a range of topics from Tibetan Buddhism to its history, politics, and culture are preserved here. The art collection of the museum is as enchanting as the manuscript collections are enthralling. It contains over 600 paintings and 10,000 rare photographs and many other precious artifacts, some of which date back to the twelfth century.
A stunning 8th-century temple of Masrur, located almost 45 kilometers from Dharamshala, is an important tourist destination in Himachal Pradesh. The architectural brilliance of the rock-cut temple is enthralling and follows the North Indian Nagara architectural style. Symmetrically laid out in a square plan, the main shrine is surrounded by smaller temples. The reliefs in the complex depict Vedic Gods and the various tales from the ancient scriptures. As it is situated almost 2500 feet above sea level, the temple commands a breathtaking view of the Himalayan ranges that allure tourists to the spot. Thus the Masrur rock-cut temple is the best place to learn the history and ancient culture of India.
Shopping and Entertainment
Dharamshala is not just an ancient town with a lot of natural beauty. It also proves as a great shopping destination for tourists. The traditional commercial center, the Kotwali Bazaar, is where travelers can collect souvenirs and enjoy a great shopping experience. The Maximus Mall and the Gold Multiplex cinema are the two huge malls in the area which contain outlets of most of the international brands. Pizza Hut, Café Coffee Day, Moti Mahal Food Chain, and similar eateries await the tourists traveling from different parts of the world. Thus a tour to Dharamshala will not be a total cut off from the modern world.
St. John in the Wilderness Church
A famous tourist attraction in Dharamshala is the historical church of St. John in the Wilderness. Constructed in 1852, the church is one of the oldest in the region. It is located amidst the breathtakingly beautiful deodar forest, which makes it more popular among travelers. The enthralling Neo-Gothic style architecture and Belgian-stained glass windows, donated by Lady Elgin, adds to the attractiveness of the shrine. The churchyard is also the final resting place of Lord Elgin, who served as Governor-General and Viceroy of India from 1861 until his demise in 1863.
Tourists love to visit the lush tea gardens of Dharamshala that produces the famous Kangra tea. Dharamshala tea company is the best place to see the tea plantations. The hills in the region are covered with a thick green blanket of tea plants. Travelers take a guided tour and walk through the mist-filled garden enjoying the cool breeze. After the trek, tea tasting is customary, where tourists can taste different flavors of tea. Though traditionally Kangra is known for green tea, many varieties like black, oolong, white, Masala, and Kashmiri Kahwa teas are available here.
For those who enjoy a trek through the mountains, Triund is the best place. The trail is bordered with snow-clad mountains with huge boulders dotting its slopes. Plodding through the thick snow enjoying the exquisite views is once in a lifetime experience. Hence it is the best tourist spot near Dharamshala for adventure lovers. A journey through the trail is at once enjoyable and purifying to the soul. Those who are not interested in walking such a long distance can enjoy a picnic in the pristine spot.
Home to the Dalai Lama since his exile from Tibet in 1959, Tsuglagkhang is a serene place to visit in Dharamshala. No one can ignore the meditative atmosphere of the monastic village, however non-spiritual he is. The complex has two colorful temple rooms, a Kalachakra (Wheel of life) temple, and some beautiful mandalas and statues. Many monks actively participate in the heated discussions in the debating area. Another tourist attraction is the temple room with Dalai Lama’s throne in it. These rarities make Tsuglagkhang a favorite destination for tourists in Dharamshala.
Situated amidst the pine forests of Dharamshala, the War Memorial stands tall commemorating the fallen heroes of the war. It is dedicated to the martyrs of the Indo-China war of 1947-48, 1962, 1965, and 1971. Names of these brave men are etched on two black stones, each 24 feet high. At the unique destination of Dharamshala, one can feel equal parts gloom and revere — gloomy at the lives lost in war; reverence at the self-sacrifice of the valiant men. Hence the place is top among the tourist attractions in the land.