Dharamshala, Dharamshala Tour

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Dharamshala, also known as the Scotland of India, is one of the hill station which was established by the British between 1815 and 1847. This hill station is situated in the northern state of the Himachal Pradesh. Dharamshala offers great variations in altitudes, temperature and character, due to which it is a favourite destination among various tourists. The city of Dharamshala is divided into two different parts. One of the part is the Lower Dharamshala which consists of the Kotwali Bazaar and areas further down the valley. The other part is the Upper Dharamshala which comprises of the McLeodganj and surrounding areas.

History of Dharamshala

In 635 AD the Huien Tsang, the Chinese monk recorded fifty monasteries with around 2,000 monks in the Kangra valley. The Kangra Valley is rich in unexplored archaeological sites of Indian Buddhism. A century later, Buddhism and all its sites were eliminated from the valley during an upsurge of Brahminical revivalism. The original tribes in the Kangra valley were the Dasas, a warrior people, later assimilated by Aryans. In 1849 the British posted a regiment in Dharamshala, but the place doesn't remained as a military cantonment. By 1855 it becomes as a small but flourishing hill station and the administrative headquarters of Kangra district, which had been annexed by the British in 1848. The two main areas at that time were Mcleodgunj, named after Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, David McLeod, and Forsyth Gunj, named after a divisional commissioner. Lord Elgin, the Viceroy of British India and a former Governor-General of Canada, loved the forests of Dharamshala so much that, before dying here in 1863, he asked to be buried in the graveyard of St. John's Church in the Wilderness. In 1905 a severe earthquake changed the face of Dharamshala. Many buildings collapsed and the whole settlement was never reoccupied. The local officials advised residents to move to the Lower Dharamshala. The pine-clad hillsides continued to flourish as a quiet health resort for the people of British India but the visits was ended soon when India achieved independence. Mcleodgunj then quickly became a sleepy, undistinguished village until His Holiness the Dalai Lama made it his home in exile and moved the Central Tibetan Administration from Mussoorie to Dharamshala in 1960. Today, more than 8,000 Tibetan refugees consider Dharamshala their second home. In 1960, the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, offered this place to Tibetan exiles.

Geography of Dharamshala

Dharamshala is located very close to the perennial snowline and surrounded by deodar forests and the Dhauladhar range, the mighty snowy mountains of Dharamshala. These mountains rise about 4000 m above the floor of the valley, and follow you wherever you go. Their sides are covered with fields of mustard flowers and daisies, red roofed houses, garlands of colourful Tibetan prayer flags that wave to the heavens.

Cities in Dharamshala
Buddhist Monastery, Dharamshala

The city of Dharamshala is divided into two parts. The first part is the Lower Dharamshala. The Lower Dharamshala comprises of the Kotwali Bazaar and the areas further down the valley. This quieter part of the region is inhabited by the Gaddi people. The main attraction of the Lower Dharamshala is the Kunal Pathri and the market. The second part is the Upper Dharamshala. The Upper Dharamshala consists of the Mcleodganj and the surrounding areas.  Mcleodganj emerged as a major Buddhist centre. There are several signposts in the Mcleodganj and Forsythgnaj in Upper Dharamshala which reminds that Dharamshala was a quiet hill station for the British.

Tourist Attractions in Dharamshala

The major tourist attraction in Dharamshala is the St. John's Church and Triund. The snowline starts just 5 km. from Triund and affords a breathtaking view of the snows above and the valley below. It is a popular picnic and trekking spot. The St. John's Church has a monument dedicated to Lord Elgin, one of the viceroys of India, who was buried here in 1863 A.D. This Church has lovely spotted glass windows and there is a Christian cemetery around it. The Dal lake is another attraction in Dharamshala. This picturesque lake is situated amidst the hill and deodar trees and surrunded by the pine forests.  Dharamkot is situated on the crest of the hill. This favourite picnic spot offers a panoramic view of the Kanga valley and the surrounding Dhauladhar peaks.

Dharamshala Buddhist Monastery
How to reach here

By Air:
The nearest airport is located at Gaggal, about 15 kms. away from Dharamshala. Dharamshala is connected to various other cities by the regular flights of various airlines.

By Rail:
The nearest broad gauge railway station is located at Pathankot, about 95 kms. A narrow gauge railway line between Pathankot and Jogindernagar passes through Kangra.

By Road:
Dharamshala is connected to various important cities of the Himachal Pradesh. The Himachal Road Transport Corporation run its buses which covers the whole state.

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