Dharamsala is located in the Kangra Valley, in the Dhauladhar Mountains in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is synonymous with the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Government in Exile and starting point of some exhilarating treks into the high Himalayas. The actual headquarters is about 4km above Dharamsala at Gangchen Kyishong, whilst most visitors head to McLeod Ganj (Upper Dharamsala), strung along a ridge 10km above Dharamsala. Dharamsala is of little interest to visitors, except perhaps the colourful Kotwali Bazaar at the foot of the roads leading to McLeod Ganj and the Museum of Kangra.
Named after David McLeod, the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab when the hill station was founded in 1848, little evidence of the British occupation remains. An earthquake in 1905 forced the British to move downhill to Shimla.
McLeod Ganj has been transformed by the influx of Tibetan refugees fleeing Chinese oppression in their homeland. The Tibetan influence is very strong here. Temples, monasteries, meditation centres and schools abound. Tsuglagkhang Complex comprises the official residence of the Dalai Lama, as well as a monastery and the Tsuglagkhang, or Central Chapel, which is the exiled government’s equivalent of the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa and as such, the most revered Buddhist monument in McLeod Ganj. Next to the Namgyal monastery is the Tibet Museum, which displays in graphic detail the plight of the Tibetan people since China invaded Tibet in 1949.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Dharamsala, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to India
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