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A pristine green expanse ringed by the mist-shrouded Himalayas and a dense cover of oak, deodar, pine and conifers, Dharamsala (Dharamshala), in Himachal Pradesh, is a secluded natural retreat. While its pristine beauty leaves you in awe, its rugged terrain is ideal for adventure sports like trekking, paragliding or mountain climbing. A mesmeric journey in the pretty toy train that meanders through picturesque scenery is an added attraction.
Dharamsala is renowned as the home of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader, and is a popular centre of Buddhism. Dotted with colourful monasteries, it offers tourists a great opportunity to meditate and soak in the serenity and tranquillity of the surroundings. A major attraction is one of the most beautiful cricket stadiums in the world that has hosted a number of international and Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.
Tourists can take nature walks through verdant landscapes or enjoy a picnic spread along the banks of the lakes here. Quaint churches nestled in groves and ancient temples greet you at most turns. The heart of Dharamsala beats in its bustling and vibrant markets that are a riot of colour and activity.
From exquisite multi-hued Tibetan Buddhist thangka paintings and miniature Buddha statues to singing bowls and Tibetan handicrafts, the bazaars have a fine selection on display. As you shop to your heart's content, don't forget to sample authentic Tibetan delicacies like thukpa (a soupy noodle dish), momos, golden fried baby corn, mittha (local sweet prepared with rice and raisins) etc.
To get an overview of the uniquely rich culture of the city, which is often fondly called the Little Tibet, tourists can set on a museum trail or visit the famous Norbulingka Institute that is said to be the gatekeeper of the art and culture of Tibetan Buddhism. You can also observe local artisans practicing the art forms of thangka painting and applique, statue-making and decorative wood carving, wood painting, weaving and tailoring.
Dharamsala was the summer vacation retreat for Britishers and grew as a Tibetan settlement in 1959, when the Dalai Lama was allowed by the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, to stay in McLeodganj, in Upper Dharamsala.
The keeper of culture and tradition of the region, the Norbulingka Institute is...
Located about 35 km from Dharamsala in Kangra district, Tatwani and Machhrial...
Gaggal Airport, 13 km away, is the nearest airport. More convenient options are Chandigarh and Amritsar, which are connected by various airlines from different Indian cities.