As a majorly popular tourist destination, Dharamshala has gained a lot of fame for it’s beautiful spots and the experiences it offers to travellers. Not only does Dharamshala give tourists picturesque locations to look at, but it also offers yoga, meditation, trekking and hiking activities along with other adventure sports. This small town can very well be explored in a day, so if you’re busy backpacking across the Himalayas, take a stop at Dharamshala and witness this gorgeous destination in a day.
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What’s the Best Time to Visit Dharamshala?
You can seldom go wrong with a visit to this beautiful hill station situated in the foothills of the Himalayas. Then again, it depends upon the weather conditions you enjoy the most. If you are looking for an escape from the scorching heat during summer months (April-June), you will love to drive along the airy, hilly roads here.
If monsoon showers are your thing and you are looking for a romantic getaway, visit Dharamshala during July, August or September. Post monsoons (October-November), you can dodge the heavy rains as well as enjoy trekking and other activities because the weather is pleasant during the day with chilly nights. The winter months are freezing here, so if you are a fan of snow-covered mountains and snowfalls, this is the best time for you to be in Dharamshala.
One Day in Dharamshala Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Dharamshala.
Early Morning Spiritual Awakening
Dharamshala is home to various Buddhist monasteries and a visit to one of them first thing in the morning would make for a wonderful start to your day. Visit the Dalai Lama Complex, the Namgyalma Stupa, or the Tsechokling Gompa to experience the meditative and spiritual soul that is Dharamshala.
The monasteries are open from 6am to 6pm from November to March, and 7am to 5pm from April to October. Not only do you get to observe the beautiful architecture of the monasteries, but you also experience a mesmerizing sunrise from the top.
War Memorial Garden
Head over to the historic War memorial garden after your morning ritual at the monasteries. 9am is the perfect time to visit this location, and it is easy to reach since it is located near the main bus stand next to Dharamshala College. A delightful and bright building, the War memorial garden is one of the most popular tourist spots of Dharamshala. Pay respects to the martyrs of war whose names are inscribed onto the walls of the building.
International Cricket Stadium
Situated close to the war memorial garden is the cricket stadium that has caught many a tourist’s eye due to its brilliant and unique design and architecture. It could well be the most beautiful cricket stadium in India.
Now that it’s time for a little pit stop for refilling your system for the rest of the day, take a break at any of the cafes located in the main town area. Don’t forget to enjoy the special Thupka found only in Dharamshala, which is a unique dish of momos dipped in a thick, spicy soup. There are many cafes and restaurants located near the monasteries as well, which makes it easier to stop and grab a quick bite if you choose.
Retreat at Bhagsu Nag Temple
Next up is the visit to a Lord Shiva temple in Dharamshala known as Bhagsu Nag Temple. Not only is this temple a popular tourist destination due to its religious importance and stunning architecture, it garners praise because of the fresh water spring of Bhagsu waterfall that flows through the hill near the shrine.
The local legend about this temple is an interesting one that you can discover by visiting it and hearing it from the words of a dweller of Dharamshala. During the monsoon, it is rather enjoyable to visit the Bhagsu waterfall as it gives an incredible experience and you can get some beautiful photographs. An afternoon can be easily spent admiring the beauty of this place.
Late Afternoon Church Visit
The famous St. John’s Church in Dharamshala is another one of its marvelous tourist attractions. Perched carefully within the wilderness, St. John’s Church has a neo-Gothic construction that has given it a good reputation amongst tourists. The church easily stands out even within a thick forest grove, and not only is it a spiritually awakening destination, it is also in a peaceful and gorgeous environment to keep tourists calm and relaxed while enjoying the area.
Early Evening Lake Trails
The Dal Lake is situated very close to St. John’s Church, so a lakeside walk or moment of resting can be taken advantage of. Spend around 30 minutes or more admiring the beauty of the Dal Lake before venturing into the evening hours of the trip. The Dal Lake is another one of the most popular tourist spots of Dharamshala that shouldn’t be missed.
Sunset in bazaar
The evening bazaar in Dharamshala is to die for. You can spend a couple of hours shopping and collecting souvenirs for your friends and family at the marketplace and enjoy the cooling evening time of the town when it comes alive. The chances of meeting new people and engaging with the locals are very high during this time in the bazaar, and it is a great way of gathering new experiences. Tibetan artifacts, jewelry and textiles are the highlight of this bazaar, so you’ve got something for everyone here.
End the Day with a Dinner
Make sure to end your wonderful trip to Dharamshala by indulging in delicious South-Asian and Chinese cuisine in one of the local restaurants. Since momos are a specialty of Dharamshala, don’t forget to enjoy some of those while you’re at it.
Not only will you have had a great experience in Dharamshala by now, but you’ll also be healthily tired enough to get a good night’s sleep.
Where to stay in Dharamshala?
Hotel Udechee Huts
Village Naddi, Cantt,, 176216 Dharamshala
Hotel Udechee Huts offers a comfortable and relaxing stay away from the crowds. The hotel features the porch overlooking the valley with the most spectacular views. A very nice hiking trail and Dal Lake are accessible by foot from the hotel. The rooms are spacious with basic furniture and beautiful views.
White Ridge Hotel
VPO Sidhpur, Tehsil Dharamshala, Distt. Kangra, Himachal Pradesh
White Ridge Hotel is a great value boutique hotel that features a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and a garden, bar, restaurant and a conference hall. The rooms are personally designed and crafted with classical furniture for the best comfort.
Extra Tips for Visiting Dharamshala
– Dharamshala stays cold throughout the year. Therefore, it would be beneficial to carry light and heavy woolen clothes with you.
– The languages prevalent here are Hindi, English and Punjabi, hence communication would not be an issue if you are well versed in any of these languages.
– If you want to enjoy skiing in Dharamshala, go during the winter season and make sure that you carry spiked shoes and gloves with you. The gear provided by dealers might be insufficient.
– It is recommended to eat only at hygienic eateries and drink only boiled or mineral water in order to stay safe from stomach infections.
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