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Dharamsala: Why you should visit this backpacker’s paradise

Also referred to as 'Dharamshala', this backpacker's heaven is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh.

The Dharamshala Cricket Stadium — one of the highest sports grounds in the world — can be visited for its sheer beauty. (Source: Instagram @dharamshalalocal)

You do not need an excuse to visit the mountains. The colossal beauty of the Himalayas should be reason enough to plan a trip, pronto. And, to ease the process and fuel your wanderlust, we bring you the destination of the week — Dharamsala (and onward).

About the place

Also referred to as ‘Dharamshala’, this backpacker’s heaven is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh. ‘Dharamsala’ literally means a resting place for pilgrims and travellers. For years now, this picturesque city has been home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile.

How to reach

Dharamsala is well-connected to Delhi, and getting here is not a problem. It is almost 500 km away from the national capital. For lovers of road trips, the place is a bus ride away. You can also drive down on your own. Though, if you are seeking comfort, Dharamsala can be reached via Pathankot — which is an overnight train journey from Delhi. Taxis available at the Pathankot railway station take travellers to Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj. The journey is beyond-beautiful.

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Best time to visit

That would be whenever you are looking to get away from the scorching northern heat. The ideal time to visit the place would be between February and June. Goes without saying, the winter months would be frigid, but if you want to watch the beautiful snowfall, you can give it a try. It is best to avoid the monsoon months of July-September.

Dharamshala International Film Festival

Has been happening every year since 2012. The festival celebrates the best of recent Indian and world cinema. This year, it will take place between November 7 and 10.

Surrounded by trees, St John in the Wilderness exists in isolation and has an eerie vibe to it. (Source: Instagram @dharamshalalocal)

Things to see

After Dharamsala, McLeod Ganj is the next most-visited place. The distance between the two is roughly that of 6.2 km. Start your day early and visit the beautiful Bhagsunag waterfall that is surrounded by lush vegetation. There are several small cafes and restaurants where you can grab a quick bite.

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Next, you can head out to St John in the Wilderness, which is a gothic church located in the…wilderness. Surrounded by trees, the church exists in isolation and has an eerie vibe to it. But, it also is hauntingly beautiful and cannot be missed.

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The Namgyal Monastery is located near the main marketplace, and is the personal monastery of the Dalai Lama. It accommodates nearly 200 monks.

Visit the Norbulingka Institute that is situated 6km southeast of Dharamsala. The institute is famous for teaching and preserving Tibetan culture and art forms.

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The Dharamshala Cricket Stadium — one of the highest sports grounds in the world — can be visited for its sheer beauty.

And, if you are a fan of trekking, then the breathtaking views of the mountains, followed by the Triund trek, cannot be missed.

In McLeod Ganj, you and shop and eat to your heart’s content. (Source: Instagram @dharamshalalocal)

Where and what to eat 

Almost anywhere. You get all kinds of food here. But quaint cafes located in and near the main market provide authentic Tibetan food at reasonable prices. You will never run out of options.

Where to shop

Almost all shops are located near the main market and the alley leading up to it. You can buy souvenirs and local Tibetan handicrafts here.

First published on: 13-09-2019 at 09:01:12 am
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