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Dharamshala – A Beautiful Hill City with a Religious Edge

Getting Familiar with the City
Dharamshala is a small hill city located amidst the dense coniferous forests in the upper reaches of Kangra valley in Himachal Pradesh. The city was previously known by the name of Bhagsu. The present name Dharamshala is basically a Hindi word, which means a place that provides shelter to pilgrims. The city got this name due to the fact that the city grew around such a resting place. The city and its surrounding areas were under the reign of Kangra’s Katoch Dynasty, up till the time the British took over. The native people of Dharamshala are known as Gaddis, who are primarily Hindu and lead a nomadic or semi-nomadic life.

The Natural Beauty of the Hills of Dharamshala
Dharamshala, like most other hill cities enables visitors to have a peaceful and quite tryst with nature. The natural beauty of the region and the wide variety of flora and fauna, attract millions of visitors to this hills city every year. Visitors like to participate in adventurous sports activities like mountain climbing and trekking and also explore the beauty of nature in the dense forests that surround the city. The city presents a real treat for environmentalists and nature lovers, who are able to travel around and discover the magnificence of nature as yet untouched an unpolluted by humans.

The Tibetan Settlement
Apart from being famous for its natural beauty, Dharamshala is also well-known for being the abode of Dalai Lama. The upper regions of Dharamshala, primarily the village of McLeod Ganj, is popular as the home of Tibetans exiled during the 1959 Tibet uprising.  At that time the 14th Dalai Lama took refuge in McLeod Ganj and since then Dharamshala has become a major settlement for exiled Tibetans in the region. Due to the huge number of Tibetans living in the village of McLeod Ganj, it has also come to be known as “Little Lahsa”, which refers to the capital city of Tibet.

Some important places of attraction in Dharamshala

St. John Church:  This Anglican Church  was constructed in the year 1852 and dedicated to Saint John. People visit this church to see the Neo-Gothic architectural style and the stain glass from Belgian used in the windows of the church.

Dal Lake: A Beautiful lake surrounded by rich forest of Deodarh tree is Dal Lake. It is located at a distance of almost 11 Km from the hill station of Dharamshala. This is a perfect spot for the camp trekkers.

Hanuman-ka-Tibba: This place is popular in the name of "White mountain". This path is mostly followed by the people who love trekking. This place is situated at a height of 15500 ft from the sea level.

Kangra Fort:  This historical fort is located in the banks of the river Banganga. There is one museum at the entrance of the Kangra Fort having historical collection of the period when this fort was made. Altogether there are 7 entrance of this fort and consist of 3 separate temples. The first One is Jain Temple, Lakshmi Narayan temple and another temple of Ambika.

Chamunda Devi Temple: A very old temple of Dharamshala of Goddess Durga also called Chamunda Devi. It is believed that those who visit this place can achieve Moksha with the blessings of God.

Bhagsu nag Temple: A Popular Hindu temple surrounded by Bhagsu Falls. Every year in month of September a fair is organized for attracting tourists from different parts of India.

Things to Shop For

Tibetan Handicrafts: Handcraft items consisting of beautifully carved wooden or bamboo artifacts are easily the most popular shopping items for people visiting Dharamshala. They are not only useful for decorating homes but can also be presented as gifts. Such items are found in abundance in the Kotwali Bazaar area of the city.

Tibetan Carpets: Tibetan carpets are woven in a style that is completely different from the Kashmiri or Persian style of carpet weaving. These carpets, woven in delicate and vibrant colors, generally display scenes from the traditional Tibetan folklore. .


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