Kangra, one of Himachal’s most beautiful valley, rolls down the southern edge of the magnificent Dhauladhar range, in gentle slopes that are covered with lush green forests of Pine, Orchards, Tea Gardens and terraced fields. Dhauladhars, the white ranges. rise up to 14,000 ft from the valley floor, much like a massive wall providing a dramatic back drop to the soothing panoramic landscape.
Dharamsala is most picturesque area, thousands of streams flow through its enchanting valleys. Dharamsala is the district headquarters of Kangra.
Dharamsala and McLeodganj sites before the backdrop of the snow-draped Dhauladhar mountains, which are a sub-system of Himalayas. The town is surrounded by woods of pine and deodar and below it, is the wide expanse of the plains. This is the base for a variety of excursions and centre of pilgrimage.
McLeodganj is Dharamsala’s twin town. This is the seat of His Holiness the “Dalai Lama”. The Namgyal is based here and there is a large Tibetan community. McLeodganj also retains a British colonial flavor that dates back to the 19th Century. The colorful temple and Gompas, which reflect the culture of Tibet, adds attraction for the visitor. The Kangra museum gives an overview of the rich past of the region and on the other hand there are institutes that have been established to preserve the Tibetan art, cultures and traditions.
Dharamsala the Little Lhasa of Tibet know to world is Popular in Tibetan Culture and Buddhist Philosophy, where all tourist comes for its Magnificent Himalayan Mountain, come with us to explore the wonder of Dharamsala with Tibetan Hospitality
Lord Elgin, the British Viceroy of India (1862-63) was thoroughly enchanted with the natural beauty of Dharamshala because of its similarity with Scotland, his home in England. Lord Elgin died in 1863 while on a tour. He now lies buried in the graveyard of St. John’s Church-in-Wilderness, which stands in a pine grove between McLeodganj and Forsythganj.
By 1904, Forsythganj and McLeodganj had become the hub of trade, business and official work of Kangra District. But after a severe earthquake in 1905, the British government shifted the district headquarters to the lower reaches of the spur.
Tsuglagkhang Temple :
The Tsuglagkhang Temple is the most renowned Buddhist monument in McLeodganj. There are three magnificent images of Buddha, including a gilded statue of Shakyamuni, statues of Valokitesvara and Padamasambhava.
Situated next to the Tsuglagkhang Temple, the Kalachakra Temple is open to the public. The Dalai Lama uses this temple as his base for public teaching. The centre of the main Northern mural is a large painting of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni surrounded by all 722 deities of the Mandala.
The Namgyal Monastery was founded by the Third Dalai Lama, and serves exclusively the Dalai Lamas. 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.
Just 4-kms from Dharamsala, Norbulinka was established to preserve and teach the ancient Tibetan arts. The shady paths, wooden bridges, small streams tiny water falls make this place look like heaven. Here one can watch the wooden carvings and the tangka paintings, golsithing and embroidery being done. The nunnery close to the institute is a place where women are taught the advanced levels of Buddhist philosophy.
St. John’s Church:
One of the most poignant memories of the British Raj is the church of St. John, situated in the wilderness. This charmingly dressed stone church is located just 8-kms from Dharamsala on the way to McLeod Ganj. Under the shade of Doedar branches, a memorial has been made over the body of the British Viceroy, Lord Elgin who died at Dharamsala in 1863.
About 11 kms from Dharamsala and 2 kms from Mcleodganj is the picturesque Dal Lake lying amidst the hills and sourrounded by dense Fir trees. This lake is a sacred lake and regraded equivalent to the holy lake of Manimesh.
The temple of Bhagsunag – dedicated to Lord Shiva, some 2 kms fromMcleodganj, is a beautiful village full of natural scenes. Their situated is a famous ancient tample of Lord Shiva, a cold running water tank and springs. Not far from there is a natural build waterfall with chilling water. The place is both visited by pilgrimages and tourists.
A high point beyond the Dal lake, Naddi village is a beautiful village with magnificient view of the Dhauladhar mountains. It is also declared as the closest point to the mountains and one can see the huge mountain ranges just in fornt of their eyes.
Triund is a popular picnic spot at an height of 2827 m. The area is on the foothills of Dhauladhar range and is 17-kms from Dharamsala. The snow line starts at Ilaqua, which is five kms from Triund. The breathtaking views of the mountains and the valleys makes Triund an ideal picnic spot and trekking spot.
Fifteen richly carved monolithic rock temples sculpted in the splendid style of the Kailash temple at Ellora and dating back to the 8th century are to be found at Masrur, just 15-kms south of Kangra. Images of Lord Ram, Goddess Sita and Lakhsman can be found in the sanctum of the main temple.
Maharana Partap Sagar (Pong Wetland):
Pong Dam is some 90 kms from Dharamsala. This is a huge man made reservior created in 1975 – 76 with the construction of a dam in the river Beas. The reserviour is now home of millions of migratory birds, and hence this place was designated as an International Wetland (Ramsar site). The muddy shores and feilds are winter home for up to 10,000 Bar-headed Geese, Great Cormorant, Ducks from Russia and Siberia such as Northern Pintail, Common teal, Eurasian Wigeon etc.
The addition of various exotic species such as Ferruginous Duck, red-Crested Pochard and Purple Swamphen, make this scenic wetland a paradise both for birds and nature lovers. Now this place is also famous for it’s water sports activities held on timely basis.
Founded in 1978 by one of the finest proponents of the Bhagwat Gita and the philosophy of vedanta – swami Chinmaya, this is a place that exudes an aura of abiding peace. It is 20 kms from Dharamsala.
Set amidst beautiful surroundings of Chir forests and a place to stroll in evenings, the place commemorates the memory of those soldiers who fought valiantly for the defence and freedom if motherland India.
Andretta Art Gallery :
Andretta is 13kms south of Palampur. Nestling in the rolling plains of Kangra avlley, with a wide panorama of snowy mountains backdrop. Andretta atracted many artists. The village became famous due to presence of Ms Norah Richards, the famouns writer and dramatist. One another very famous artists, Sir Sobha Singh created thw most famous paintings of “Heer-Ranjha”. The Sobha Singh Art Gallery still reminds of the memorable paintings done by this great artist.
Set amidst a sylvan surrounding is a rest house, located in the cool depths of the pine grove. Surrounded by green open meadows and forests of tall oak & pine at a height of 3250m is situated the picturesque Kareri Lake, which is just 13-km from the rest house and 22- kms from Dharamsala.
Machhrial and Tatwani:
Abounding in pleasent picnic areas, one better than the other, Dharamsala is full of surprises. There are hot springs situated in Tatwani, 25 kms from Dharamsala. On the way to Tatwani is a huge waterfall twice as big as the Bhagsu falls.