Dharamshala Tips: Dharamshala Travel Guide
HIMACHAL PRADESH STATE: Tips for Travel to Dharamshala in India / Dharamshala Tips
Dharamshala is a place of longing for many Buddhists and some yogis. Our author Anna Wengel (today Chiodo) was there and wrote down for TRAVELBOOK what is worthwhile in Dharamshala and the surrounding area
The mountains stand majestically in the distance, watching over the hustle and bustle on the streets. Prayer flags flutter in the wind, monks in saffron robes bustle about, interspersed with travelers wrapped in thick Tibetan wool scarves. Above all the traffic noise, the babble of voices and still peaceful silence in many places: This is Dharamshala in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
6 tips for Dharamshala: Head to the suburb of McLeod Ganj
A highlight is Mcleod Ganj, a suburb of Dharamshala in the north, which is particularly Tibetan. Many Tibetans have found exile here, there are numerous shops with clothing, handicrafts and many restaurants with Tibetan cuisine. Last but not least, McLeod Ganj is the home of the 14th Dalai Lama, so the suburb, like all of Dharamshala, is full of Buddhist believers, which creates a very special atmosphere.
Sample Indian and Tibetan cuisine
There were many great restaurants in McLeod Ganj: In addition to many restaurants that offer typical Indian and Tibetan cuisine, there are also very nice cafes. Many offer a dream view of the mountains.
Visit the Dalai Lama Temple
The Tsuglagkhang Complex is the official home of the current Dalai Lama – and for many pilgrims and travelers the reason for visiting Dharamshala or McLeod Ganj. The Tsuglagkhang Dalai Lama Temple is a must-see when you travel. A visit is very impressive, also because the temple is often full of Buddhist believers, who in turn bring a special atmosphere. It is even possible to see the Dalai Lama in this place when he is there.
Drive to Bhagsu
Bhagsu is a small place above McLeod Ganj and is worthwhile if you are in Dharamshala anyway. As small as Bhagsu is, it’s a nice place. There are also some nice restaurants and yoga schools here. Above all, Bhagsu is worthwhile because of its great view of the mountains and Dharamshala. The sunrises are especially beautiful here.
But beware: Don’t take on too much at the beginning and give yourself time to get used to the altitude. Depending on where you are, it can get to you. In Bhagsu at about 2100 meters I was not doing so well the first few days.
Hiking in the Himalayas
From Dharamshala or McLeod Ganj and Bhagsu, one can hike into the Himalayas – and should do so if the desire and time are there. As a side note, the mountains are also by far the best place to catch incredible sunrises in the area.
If you feel like doing yoga, you will find very original yoga schools in Dharamshala and the surrounding area. Especially those who are planning a yoga training can get a very classic Indian training here.
How much money do you need in Dharamshala?
If you want to go shopping, you should plan a little money – and by the way, it’s not only worth it, depending on the season it’s simply necessary because it’s cold and if you haven’t packed properly, you might need a thick scarf or two. In addition to McLeod Ganj, the Kotwali Bazaar is recommended. In general, however, things are not expensive. For accommodation in Dharamshala you pay between eight euros and 100 euros per night, depending on the desired standard. Of course, eating out is cheaper if you go to local restaurants – the hip cafes and tourist bars are more expensive.
What is the best way to get to Dharamshala?
By bus or private car. At that time, there were twelve of us who took a shuttle from the airport, which worked quite well. But as always, local buses are cheaper.