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Travel Destinations for this August – Dharamshala, India


Dharamshala – India (Photo by: tylerbell)

The Indian hill town of Dharamshala started its life as a British hill resort at the beginning of the 19th century, its name literally meaning ‘inn attached to a temple’. It remained a rather unimportant spot on the map till it was virtually taken over by Tibetan refugees following their spiritual leader.

Nowadays the town is probably best knows as the home of His Holiness The Dalai Lama and of the Tibetan Government in Exile. The Indian government welcomed the arrival of the religious leader and offered him sanctuary and since that moment there’s been an ever-flowing stream of refugees and visitors to the town.

This once small and quiet town located on a narrow ridge-line along the Dhauladhar range has become a point of pilgrimage for foreigners and students of Buddhism, turning into a sort of mini Tibet featuring Buddhist temples and schools, Tibetan crafts organisations, meditation centers and more, however that is not all that the place has to offer.

The town is basically surrounded by the Dhauladhar ranges and their thick pine forests, and these make a great setting for the intrepid and adventurous tourist but there are also the usual attractions and sights that one can expect from any other tourist spot in the world.

The present-day town of Dharamshala is separated into two districts, one situated at 1,250 meters while the other at 1,770, the two being connected by a rather steep ten kilometre road. The lower of the two is Dharamshala itself, a very typical small Indian town which doesn’t pose much of an interest from the touristic standpoint; the higher district is called McLeod Ganj and this is where the Tibetan community resides and where all the tourist attractions can be found.

This is where you can find the largest Tibetan temple outside Tibet, the Tsuglagkhang Complex which features a large meditation hall which also contains beautiful statues and thangkas. This is the monastery of the Dalai Lama and in fact his residence is located in front of the Complex. You can also visit the Tibet Museum, the Tibetan Library as well as the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts while there.

There are many other things that you can see and do while visiting Dharamshala such as visiting the Bhagsu Waterfalls or going for a picnic in Dharamkot, it all depends on what you want to do in this once small and quiet town in the hills of India.

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