Dharamsala is a special place in India. It is where the Dalai Lama calls home after fleeing from Tibet. There are Tibetan people that settled here on the upper part of Dharamsala, also known as McLeod Ganj. On the lower part, it is mainly Indian people. With such diversity, there is much to see here. The history, the natural surroundings, and the deep spiritual experience are all very special here. If you’re looking for some peace, come to Dharamsala. It is a deeply moving place to visit and a very real place. If you’re doing yoga teacher training in Dharamsala, you’ll likely be immersed for at least a month. That gives you plenty of opportunities to see all the amazing sites here.
The first time the Dalai Lama came to India in the 50’s, they decided to create this complex in commemoration of him. It was built on Temple Road which is an amazing feat in itself. It sits perched on a mountain peak. Even just to step into the impressive halls of the temple and feel the indescribable energy is well worth the visit. You can also visit the museum, library and café here. There are beautiful stupas within the complex.
Kangra Valley is a special place to visit. You will have to trek to get here. When you do so, you’ll walk through the gorge with the mountain peaks towering above you. This in itself is a spiritual experience. The trek is mostly in the Himachal Pradesh state but can be accessed from Dharamsala. You’ll get the opportunity to see the Masroor Rock Temples on your way through which is of historical relevance.
The Dharamsala Tea Company
Even if you don’t love tea, it’s worth visiting this special place. This same family has been growing this rare tea for generations. It is the highest growing tea in the world and has a special taste. You can just spend time here in contemplation as it’s very peaceful. This tea plantation has been here for many generations and their Kangra tea is famous. The leaves here to make the tea are the highest growing in the world. Even if tea isn’t your thing, the history is interesting and the love the family has for their plantation is inspiring. It’s also a very peaceful place to come and just relax.
Namgyal Monastery is currently located in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala and it is the personal monastery of the Dalai Lama. This monastery was built specifically for him to do his rituals in. It is also called the Namygal Tantric College. It is a very peaceful place to visit.
Kareri Dal Lake
This lake is a wonderful place to visit and the significance of the name is because it has a counterpart in Kashmir. The setting is peaceful and it’s just a wonderful spot to spend time in. There are deodar trees that surround it and you can see the stunning mountains in the background. The lake itself sits at 1775 meters. The Kali Shiva temple is here also. How many lakes do you know that have a temple attached to them?.
The Kangra Fort
There are ancient structures in this fort that are from the 4th century. It is one of the oldest forts in India and the largest fort in the Himalayas. This is a place that is very ancient should not be missed.
The temple here is dedicated to Lord Shiva which brings thousands of pilgrims here annually. The temple sits in the hills so it’s very peaceful here in natural surroundings. There is a pool you can dip into here that has holy water in it.
There are stunning waterfalls a few kilometers past the temple. If you’re already in the area, check them out. They are stunning as the falls itself is 20 meters high. The water is a milky white you can swim in the pool below. It’s chilly though. On a hot day, quite refreshing.
This is a tantric based Buddhist philosophy taught here. If it’s foreign to you, you may find it adventurous to visit. Karmapa lives here and he is head of Kagyu Tibet Buddhism. There is a focus of modern Buddhist philosophy here. The monastery was originally built to honor the soldiers in the Tibet Freedom War.
Masroor Rock Cut Temple
This rock temple that dates back to the 8th century is on the route you’d take when you’re going into the Kangra Valley. There are 15 monolithic temples that were all hand-carved and they each tell a story of an Indian character. For those who love art and history, this is a must-see attraction.
There is a village that is charming here. It is up to the hill from Dharamsala and is only recently being recognized as a great place to visit while in the area. If you’re there on a clear day, you can see the snow-capped mountain ranges. It’s worth staying a night here too for the sunrise that gives you an amazing panoramic view.
Get Some Culture:
- Kangra Art Museum – The Kangra Art Museum is a special place that houses important artifacts, scripts, sculptures, and art. The Tibetans managed to salvage some of their things when they fleed their home country. Those things are now preserved in this museum. This will give you a good insight into what their lifestyle was like