For centuries, Dharamshala lived up to its name, providing a resting place for Hindu and Buddhist spiritual seekers before the snow-clad Dhauladhar Range. Located in the heart of Himachal Pradesh in the Kangra district, Dharamsala has become a major tourist attraction in the last few years. Flanked by Dhauladhar Mountains, Dharamshala is an exemplary hill station which has retained its scenic beauty, despite the increasing amount of interest it has been drawing to itself. The small town has become famous for being the base of Tibetan settlement in India. After the Dalai Lama sought political exile in India, he and his followers settled down in Dharamshala, and over the course of time, Tibetan culture has become a distinguishing feature of this hill-station. Filled with beautiful monasteries and temples and gifted with striking natural beauty, Dharamshala caters to those who love natural exploration as well as those who take avid interest in cultures and religion.
Located in Upper Dharamshala, McLeodganj might have been named after the British David McLeod, but today, it is famous for being the Dalai Lama’s abode. Tibetan culture and communities blossomed at McLeodganj after the Dalai Lama and his followers settled there, and it is a small cultural experience unto itself. If you want to explore Tibetan and Buddhist culture, McLeodganj cannot be given a miss. Over the years, it has thrived culturally, and various aspects of the Tibetan culture as well as Buddhism have been preserved in the form of museums, monasteries, performing arts and artifacts. A visit to the Tibetan Institute of performing Arts is a must. Every year, during April, they hold a ten day folk opera festival, which is a very enriching experience. You must also visit the main shrine, Tsuglagkhang. The Namgyal Monastery is also an important attraction in McLeodganj, as is the Sunday market, where an assorted collection of Tibetan and Buddhist artifacts can be picked up for your loved ones.
The ambience of Dharamshala, including McLeodganj resonates with peace and culture, and the town is a treasure trove for nature lovers, anthropologists, and just about anyone who loves experiencing beauty and vibrancy. The Chamunda Temple as well as the Bhagsunag Temple, are important sites to visit.