Dharamshala Tour, Tourist Places in Dharamshala, Attractions in Dharamshala, What to see in Dharamshala, How to Reach Dharamshala, Places to Visit in Dharamshala, Best time to visit Dharamshala.
Located in the state of Himachal Pradesh and famous as the city of Dalai Lama, there are many Places to visit in Dharamshala. It is a famous tourist spot as well as a spiritual center for Buddhists and Hindus alike. McLeod Ganj is the most frequented place by tourist; Masrur is full of rock temples having carvings of God and Goddess from Hindu scriptures.
Another feature at Dharamshala is the Kangra that is one of the oldest and dynasties that have been mentioned in Ramayana. Apart from these Dharamshala offer variety of other sightseeing and adventure sports as well.
Dharamshala is a scenic and panoramic hill station, tucked away in the Himalayas. With the Dhauladhar ranges and thick deodar forests in the background, Dharamshala has become an important highlight in most Himachal tour packages.
As the place of residence of His Holiness – the Dalai Lama – this picturesque destination is not only popular among tourists, but among spirituality seekers and religious travelers.
Dharamshala boasts of jaw-dropping backdrop, stunning lake, vibrant monasteries, colorful temples, sparkling waterfalls, and vintage forts & museums. To make your trip to Dharamshala more fascinating and organised, here is the list of places to visit in Dharamshala. And don’t just visit them; take time to explore and discover their real beauty and charm.
How to Reach
The nearest airport is at Gaggal, about 13 kilometres away from Dharamshala. Gaggal airport connects Dharamshala to Delhi via Air India and Spice Jet flights. Tourists from other parts of India would find it easier to take a flight till Chandigarh and book a taxi for their onward journey to Dharamshala, which is about 275 kilometres away.
Dharamshala is well-connected to Delhi and other parts of North India via a network of state operated buses as well as private tour operators. The journey is almost 520 kilometres from Delhi.
Most buses stop at the main bus terminal in Lower Dharamshala, but there are also some public Haryana Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) buses that go all the way to the main square of McLeod Ganj. An overnight journey from Delhi takes about 13 hours. You can book HRTC tickets online.
An overnight train journey is a good option to reach Dharamshala. The nearest major railway station is at Pathankot, 85 kilometres away. There are numerous trains that go to Jammu and Kashmir that stop by in Pathankot. You can take a taxi or bus from Pathankot to reach Dharamshala. There is also a smaller railway station, Kangra Mandir, just 22 kilometres from Dharamshala but none of the important trains halt here.
There are taxis available at the Gaggal airport as well as the Pathankot railway station for Dharamshala. From Pathankot, it takes around 3 hours to reach Dharamshala. The drive from Delhi via Chandigarh, Kiratpur and Bilaspur should take around 12-13 hours. From Delhi and Shimla, luxury buses ply to Dharamshala.
Best time to Visit
A hill station in Himachal, Dharamshala has pleasant weather conditions through the summer months, sees heavy rains during monsoon and snowfall in winters. Here’s a monthly break up of Dharamshala’s climatic conditions so you can plan when to go:
March to mid-July: If you are looking to beat the scorching summer heat, then March to about mid-July is just the time to go. Summer months are perfect for a trip to the hills when the temperatures range somewhere between 22°C and 35°C. It’s also the ideal time for trekking tours on scenic trails dotted with flowers in full bloom. Most tourists prefer going to Dharamshala at this time so it’s also the most crowded. It’s a good idea to plan your trip around the Buddhist Losar Festival that takes place in February or March.
Mid-July to mid-September: If you are keen to enjoy the romantic rainfall in the hills, then mid-July to September is the time for you when the mountains are at their greenest. But do remember that the terrain can get pretty tricky in the monsoon so you have to be prepared for road blocks due to continuous rainfall.
Mid-September to November: Rains stop around mid-September and the weather is pleasant for sightseeing as well as other adventure activities such as trekking. But keep in mind that the nights start getting chilly at this time so you must carry adequate layers to keep yourself warm.
December to February: Winters in Dharamshala are freezing, but if you enjoy the cold and snow-white mountains, then this is a beautiful time to visit. It snows here during this time and the temperature tends to dip below -1 °C. Remember to carry lots of woolens and protection against chilly winds.
1. McLeod Ganj
With an average elevation of 2,082 meters above sea level, McLeod Ganj is named after Sir Donald Friell McLeod who was the Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab under whom the area was developed. The place is known for its various attractions including the residence of the 14th Dalai Lama. The place is one of the most frequented spots in Dharamshala and is famous for its Tibetan culture, handicrafts and temples. The Hanuman Tibba is the highest peak at the height of 5,639 meters above sea level and can be viewed from McLeod Ganj.
Highlights: The major highlights of the area include the Tibetan sites and the famous Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF). Triund hill and Dal Lake are in close proximity which you can visit.
Best time to visit: You can visit the place during any time of the year and find it equally beautiful. However, most people prefer to visit the place in winters.
Famous for: Nature, Photography, Tibetan Culture, Viewpoints.
2. Kangra Valley
Famous Kangra Valley is home to the famous Masrur temple and is situated in the western Himalayas in Punjab. It is the best place to visit in Dharamshala and it is a strong contender for the UNESCO World Heritage Site which is a huge appreciation to the place and its beauty. The people in this area speak Kangri, which is a regional dialect of the place.
Location: It dominantly lies in the state of Himachal Pradesh and the famous town of Dharamshala is the headquarters of the Kangra district. Pathankot is the nearest railway network. Gaggal airport, which is also known as the Kangra airport is located here.
Highlights: The famous towns of McLeodganj, Dharamshala, Sidhbari, Tira Sujanpur and much more are the major highlights of the district.
Best time to visit: Most of the people prefer March to April as the best time to visit. This is due to the pleasant climate during this time which is otherwise freezing during the winters.
Dharamkot is a place for all the hill station lovers. It is a small hill station located in the Kangra district just above McLeod Ganj. The elevation of the hill station is around 2827m. One of the most interesting things about the place is that many foreigners have started living in the area because they liked it so much. This is truly fascinating because they live in village houses and guesthouses for many days.
Location: The hill station is around 4 km from Triund Trekking area, a famous place in the same district. You can easily find public transport facilities to take you up to there.
Highlights: The wide view of Kangra valley and Dhauladhar ranges is something which all the tourists enjoy. There is a snowline café which provides a breathtaking view and also has provisions for sleeping bags and tents.
Best time to visit: The best time would be during the months of April and May as it would be summer and the temperature would be decent.
4. Best of Dharamshala and Manali
Manali a popular Himalayan tourist destination is much known for adventure sports like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking.
Manali also offers hot springs, religious shrines and Tibetan Buddhist temples. This 10 Day trip will take one through the most popular destinations of Manali to leh and will also give a chance to go hand to hand with many adventure sports like Paragliding, Skiing, Zorbing and Trekking. One will spend time witnessing the historical temples and rejuvenating through the cold mountains of Himalayas.
This trip will also take one to the city full of Tibetan culture and their monasteries. Along with the pleasant climate, Dharamshala has much more to offer in Sightseeing and adventure tours. One can also go for the short paragliding and Trekking trips in Dharamshala if the time permits. The last of the trip brings the travelers back to New Delhi with the beautiful memories of Himachal and its Culture.
5. Dharamshala Sightseeing Tour
About the Activity: Enjoy a complete fun trip to Dharamshala, a scintillating beauty located in the valleys of Himalayas with freezing breeze and climate.
Firstly head toward to visit the beautiful tea gardens, the aroma will have a healing energy and enjoy the salubrious atmosphere.
Have a look at the cricket stadium, Kangra art museum, war memorial and Norbulingka Buddhist temple.
Stroll the famous streets of Dhranamshala forgetting all the worries in your life and end the crazy trip at Indrunag temple.
A group of 4 people are needed for this tour, so have a great time with your friends and family.
6. Triund Hill
Triund hills are also known as the crown jewel of Dharamshala. It is situated in the midst of Dhauladhar mountains and gives a stunning view. Triund is one of the most popular trekking spots in India which attracts a lot of tourists.
Location: You can simply opt for a taxi from Mcleod Ganj till Galu or you can start the trek right from Mcleod Ganj itself. You can also hire a horse/pony to take you to the top if you are not willing to hike for a long distance.
Highlights: The beautiful forest of oak, deodar and rhododendron lines up the way for the trek which looks stunning and gives you a nice journey through the hills.
Best time to visit: As the place is close for trekking during the months of January and February, the best time to visit is from March to May and September to December.
7. Dalai Lama Temple Complex
The Dalai Lama temple complex is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places you must have visited. The whole vicinity is decorated with colorful prayer flags and this makes it perfect for long serene walks. You will find a lot of good statues and the atmosphere is something which lures people to come back again and again.
Location: It is just a short walk from the McLeod Ganj bus stand and is quite accessible from the major parts of the district.
Highlights: The sight of monks meditating peacefully and chanting verses is something that everyone must experience. You can be a part of it, if you want to.
Best time to visit: If you love chilling winters, the best time would be to have a visit at this place during the months of December to February. But be aware of the dipping temperatures which can reach as low as –1 degree Celsius.
8. Bhagsu Waterfall
For those who love waterfalls, Bhagsu waterfall has to be one of the most beautiful locations in Dharamshala. Most of the tourists that visit the place make sure they spend some time here. It is peaceful, serene and gives you a nice feel of nature throughout. The place is also recommended by Lonely Planet.
Location: It is at a 20 KM distance from the famous Bhagsunath temple which attracts many visitors. The town of Bhagsu is mere 2 KM from Dharamshala, which is a major town in Himachal Pradesh.
Highlights: The water in itself is the highlight of the place which attracts a lot of tourists to the place. The water comes from the Dauladhar ranges which are quite cool and crystal clear.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit the place is probably in the months of October-November when the days are sunny and the nights are pleasant.
9. Gyuto Monastery
Gyuto Monastery is the residence of Karmapa – the Head of the Kagyu Tibetan Buddhism. It is quite popular for its research on Buddhist Philosophy, Tantric rituals, and Tantric meditation. This famous monastery was built in the memory of soldiers who devoted their lives to Tibet Freedom War.
The monastery complex is serene and beautiful and its décor, style and architecture look amazing. The monastery with the mesmerising Dhauladhar in its background is one of the finest tourist places in Dharamshala.
Don’t miss: The Image of Sakyamuni Buddha. Also, Karmapa’s speech on every Wednesday and Saturday is not to be missed.
Opening hours: 8 am to 11 pm
Highlights: You can find majestic statues of Buddha with a backdrop of snow clad mountains covering it. If you want to have a nice afternoon, it is the most peaceful and serene place to be at.
10. Bhagsunath Temple
Bhagsunath Temple is located in the village of Bhagsu which is now a tourist place given its attractions. Most of the people here are into tourism and make a living out of it. Due to this, the village has a lot of restaurants and guesthouses which earns a lot of money for the village.
Location: It is located at a 1 KM distance from the famous McLeod Ganj. You will find many means of transportation to the temple. If you have reached McLeod Ganj, you can also have a walk and reach the temple.
Highlights: There is a waterfall nearby which a lot of people visit to freshen up and revitalize. The village has Gaddi tribal people who are nice to interact with.
Best time to visit: The northern part of India is best in winters. However, if you like a warm weather, you must visit the place during summers.
11. Dal Lake
Spread over 1 sq km, Kareri Dal Lake is named after its marvellous counterpart of Kashmir. Its spell-binding beauty and calm setting make it one of the most popular places to see in Dharamshala. The stunning lake is surrounded by plush green deodar vegetation and snow-capped mountains.
The lake is located at an elevation of 1775 m and its serenity and charm attract a lot of travelers. It is also a site of base camp for trekkers leading to expeditions on nearby hills.
Don’t miss: Boating, picnic, and the Kali-Shiva temple located on the banks. You may be lucky to experience the gala annual fair held there.
Highlights: You will find a wide variety of fishes in the lake. Something that amazes a lot of people is the fact that the lake has greenish water. On the bank of the lake, there is a temple of Lord Shiva. The complete place is surrounded by Deodar trees which make the place look beautiful.
Best time to visit: The lakes almost freeze during winters so to enjoy a boat ride in the lake you can plan a visit during the months of April and May which ensures a pleasant climate.
12. Kangra Fort
It is a famous fort located in the outskirts of the famous place Kangra near Dharamshala. This fort was built by the Royal Rajput family of the state of Kangra in the 15th Century. However, the fort was heavily damaged by an earthquake in the year 1905. Still, it has a good structure which attracts a lot of tourists.
Location: The distance of the fort from Dharamshala is around 20 km but it has proper connectivity to roadways which makes it easier to get there.
Highlights: The beautiful entrance is something what people love. The way the whole fort is built is completely marvelous. Inside the fort, you will find defaced statues of many lords that these people worship. This fort is considered as one of the most beautiful forts in India and people love it for the built structure.
13. Kangra Art Museum
Located near Dharamshala bus stand, Kangra Art Museum is a magnificent hub that displays the objects of Tibetan and Buddhist culture, dating back to many centuries. Due to its heritage value, it is one of the most popular places to visit in Dharamshala. The museum started its operation in 1990 and is now considered as one of the not-to-miss sightseeing places in Dharamshala.
The museum is known for preserving ancient traits and ethos of Kangra valley in the form of paintings, statues, fabrics, weaponries, utensils, and temple figurines. The museum has one dedicated section for modern painters and sculptures as well.
Don’t miss: Rare collection of coins, anthropological items, pottery, and tribal ornaments.
Opening hours: 10 am to 1.30 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm. The museum is closed on Monday and on every public holidays.
Entry fee: INR 10 per person for Indians and INR 100 per person for foreigners.
Highlights: You can have a look at the fine miniature painting made by some of the most dedicated artists who love to paint. The museum is also home to the best embroideries.
Best time to visit: The museum stays open from 10 in the morning to 1:30 in the noon and then reopens again from 2 to 5 in the evening. It will be a waste of time if you visit on any other time because the museum will be closed by then.
14. Tsuglag Khang
This is one of the temples which are the main focus of visiting pilgrims, monks and a lot of tourists. Tsulag khang is loved by people owing to its beautiful aura and the natural surroundings.
Location: Tsuglag khang is located in the town of McLeod Ganj which has good accessibility and transport facilities. You will find the place on the Temple Road.
Highlights: The major highlight of the place is the main temple, the Tsuglagkhang itself. Another famous thing about it is the Namgyal Gompa and finally the Tibet Museum, which is famous for many ancient things worth seeing.
Best time to visit: You will have to take proper considerations while visiting the place due to different timings in different months. If you are going during April to October months, the place is open from 5 am – 8pm. For the months of November to March, the place is open for 6am-6pm.
15. Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
It is a Tibetan library situated in Dharamshala in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The library exists from 1970 and was founded by the 14th Dalai Lama named Tenzin Gyatso. The Library of Tibetan works and archives is one of the most important libraries of Tibetan work in the world.
Highlights: You will find a lot of Buddhist manuscripts and archives for the subjects relating to Tibetan history, politics, culture and art. There are around 80,000 manuscripts and documents in the library. The library exists as a resource to provide knowledge about the rich culture and heritage.
Location: The library is located in the city of Dharamshala and you can easily reach there through road vehicles as it is quite close from the city.
Price: For a membership of the library, the fee is around Rs. 300 INR per month and the registration cost is Rs. 50. For tourists, there is no additional price but for those who want memberships will have to pay the monthly price.
16. Naam Art Gallery
Naam art gallery is the best place for everyone who loves art and appreciates it. The gallery has a huge collection of paintings by Elizabeth Buschmann who belongs to Germany, who is also the founder of the gallery. It also has paintings from A.W. Hallett, who is an English painter.
Location: It is located around 32 km from the town of Dharamshala and takes just about an hour with public or private transportation.
Highlights: The major highlights of the gallery are of course the beautiful paintings hung on its wall. More than that, if you like a painting, you can buy it for yourself, this is a great way to show appreciation to someone’s art.
Best time to visit: The art gallery is open on all days from morning 10 to 7 in the evening. So you can have a visit at these times and enjoy the art work displayed here.
Masrur is famous for its various rock-cut temples that date back to the 8th century AD. The carvings in the temples are finely detailed and are similar to that of the Ellora caves in Maharashtra and contain various images of the Hindu deities like Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshmana from the oldest Hindu epic, Ramayana.
Famous for: Architecture, Photography, History, Religion.
Tickets: No entry fee.
Opening Timings: Open all days from 6am to 6pm.
Highlights: Masrur is quite famous for its rock cut temple which is also known as Himalayan Pyramid. They are a set of complex temples known for their classic Indian architectural style. These temples are around 6-8 centuries old which makes them more special.
Best time to visit: Usually people love to visit the place during winter season given the nice climate in North India.
18. Namgyal Monastery
As a major learning centre, Namgyal Monastery is one of the most popular tourist places to visit in Dharamshala. With almost 200 monks, the famous monastery is the largest Tibetan temple outside the geographical boundary of Tibet. This monastery looks vibrant and pulls crowd round the year. The prayer wheels, the décor, the Tibetan-style architecture, and overall colour scheme is visually appealing and mesmerising.
Don’t miss: The prayer room and meditation sessions of monks
Opening hours: The monastery is open from 6 am to 7 pm and the café is open from 10 am till 10 pm, daily
19. Bhagsunag Temple
Bhagsunag temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the most ancient temples and one of the most frequented tourist places to see in Dharamshala. Every year thousands of pilgrims flock to this temple, nestled in lofty hills and winding trails. The surrounding beauty of this temple has made it one of the most mesmerising tourist attractions in Dharamshala.
Don’t miss: A holy dip in the freshwater man-made pool. If you happen to be there in September, do not miss the annual fair held in the Bhagsunag Temple.
Opening hours: 6 am to 7 pm
20. Bhagsunag Waterfalls
Popularly known as the Bhagsu Falls, this scenic cascade is located few kilometers upslope from the Bhagsunag Temple. It is one of the most important Dharamshala sightseeing destinations. The waterfall is 20 m in height and surrounded by pristine natural beauty. The sparkling cascade of milky white water looks most charming during monsoon.
Also, Bhagsunag is a popular trekking stretch and one of the splendid places to visit in Dharamshala.
Don’t miss: The mesmerising natural beauty which surrounds the falls. Take a dip in the chilled water and refresh your mind and soul. You can enjoy small picnic near the torrent and also try some munchies from the café located right next to it.
21. Masroor Rock Cut Temple
A historical site, Masroor is known for age old rock cut temples that date back to 8th century AD. This is an upcoming and one of the most liked tourist spots in Dharamshala. There are 15 monolithic temples depicting Indo-Aryan style architecture, depicting various tales of great Indian epics.
One of the famous Dharamshala tourist places is mostly frequented by history lovers, art enthusiasts, painters, solo travellers, and nature admirers. The temple carvings are excellent and superbly detailed. They make the place a glorious site of Indian art and of course one of the major Dharamshala points of interest.
Don’t miss: Carvings depicting scenes from the Ramayana displaying Ram, Lakshman and Sita
23. Naddi Village
Naddi is a serene and absolutely charming village, located up the hill, far away from the chatter of the main town. One of most picturesque places to visit near Dharamshala. Naddi is a remote village that offers a mesmerising view of the lofty mountains, deep plush Kangra valley, and luxuriant deodar forests. On a clear day you can also view snowy peaks of the Dhauladhar ranges.
Don’t miss: The panoramic view of the surrounding – that is what makes it a perfect place to relax and rejuvenate for families and friends. Stay overnight to experience the most photogenic sunrise.