Page updated on 05/07/2003

Dharamsala                                                                                         Photo Gallery


Kangra valley is one of the Himachal’s beautiful valleys. It rolls down the southern edge of magnificent Dhauladhar range in gentle slopes covered with forests of pine, orchards, green tea gardens and terraced fields. The Dhauladhars -the “White ranges” rise upto 14000 ft. providing a dramatic backdrop to the hill resort of Dharamsala. This is the principal township of Kangra covering a wide area in the form of town settlement. Lower Dharamsala (1380 mt) is a busy commercial centre, while upper Dharamsala (1700 mt) with the suburbs of Mcleodganj and Forsythganj, -retains the British flavour more or less colonial lifestyle. The charming stone church of St. John in the Wilderness, with its beautiful stained glass windows is situated here and this churchyard is the final resting place of Lord Elgin, a British Viceroy of India who was buried here in 1863, as he chose to remain in the town he loved. Up in Mcleodganj is a charming Tibetan settlement with bustling Bazars that sell carpets, handicrafts and delicious Tibetan food. A giant prayer wheel ornaments main street and in the monastery, a screne statue of the Lord Buddha presides over the gentle chanting of the monks. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama resides in Mcleodganj, which is now a major centre for Tibetan Government -in- exile and Tibetan culture. It has a School for Tibetan studies with rare manuscripts and ancient texts, Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts and a handicrafts centre. Dharamsala has everything for a perfect holiday. Winter in the Kangra Valley is enchanting. The snow line remains close enough at all times and during winter months, the northern part is swaddled in a blanket of freshly fallen snow allowing the magic of Kangra to take on yet another hue. Numerous ancient temples like Jawalamukhi, Bajreshwari, Chamunda and Baijnath (Vaidyanath) lie on the plains below Dhauladhar

Facts and figures on Dharamsala

Altitude  Between 1,250 and 1,982 metres. 
Temprature  Maximum 38 degree celsius in June; minimum 0 degree C. in January. 
Annual Rainfall  Varies between 290 and 380cm. Monsoon season is July to September. 
Best Season  Beginning of March through to end of June: and beginning of October through to end  November    It  rains ceaselessly in July, August and September. 
Clothing  Woollen in winter and cotton or tropical in summer. An umbrella is essential during Dharamsala's      notorious monsoon season. 

Dharamsala  History:- Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India, could not have known in 1960 that the location he offered to Tibetan exiles had prolific Buddhist roots dating back 2,700 years. The Kangra Valley is rich in unexplored archaeological sites of great importance to understanding Indian Buddhism; in 635 AD the Chinese monk-pilgrim, Hsuan Tsang recorded fifty monasteries with around 2,000 monks in this fertile region. But, a century later, Buddhism and all its sites were eliminated from the valley during an upsurge of Brahminical revivalismDhauldhar hills in Kangra valley Image by P r Bali. Dharamsala's earliest history is obscured by time and the successive invasions that swept throughall North India. But it is known that the original tribes identified with Kangra's hilly tracts were Dasas, a warrior people, later assimilated by Aryans. In 1849 the British posted a regiment in Dharamsala, but the place was not to remain a military cantonment for long. By 1855 it was a small but flourishing hill station and the administrative headquarters of Kangra District, which had been annexed by the British in 1848. The two main areas at the time were McLeod Gunj, named after Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab, David McLeod, and Forsyth Gunj, named after a divisional commissioner. Lord Elgin, Viceroy of British India and a former Governor-General of Canada, loved the forests of Dharamsala so much that, before dying here in 1863, he asked to be buried in the graveyard of St. John's Church in the Wilderness. Had he lived longer, Dharamsala might have become the summer capital of British India. The name Sir Francis Younghusband - leader of British India's fateful incursion to Lhasa in 1904 - also has Dharamsala connections. In 1856 his parents, Clara Shaw and John Younghusband, lived in a bungalow in the pine forest above St. John's Church and later bought land in the Kangra Valley to pioneer a tea plantation. Clara's brother, Robert Shaw, was a renowned explorer of Central Asia and an early Kangra tea planter.   Image by P r Bali          But in 1905 a severe earthquake changed the face of Dharamsala. Many buildings collapsed and the whole settlement, once ravaged, was never re-occupied. The local officials advised residents to move to the safety of Lower Dharamsala which at that time comprised little more than a jail, a police station and a cobbler's shop. The pine-clad hillsides continued to flourish as a quiet health resort for the "sahibs" and "memsahibs" of British India. The visits of "sahibs" and "memsahibs" ended when India achieved independence in 1947. McLeod Gunj then quickly became a sleepy, undistinguished village until His Holiness the Dalai Lama, fleeing persecution in his homeland, made it his home in exile and moved the Central Tibetan Administration, in effect the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, from Mussoorie to Dharamsala in 1960. Today, more than 8,000 Tibetan refugees consider Dharamsala their second home.
 Present Facts

Dharamsala is situated in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It lies on a spur of the Dhauladhar range, the Pir Panjal region of the Outer Himalayas; and commands majestic views of the mighty Dhauladhar ranges above, and the Kangra Valley below. Dhauladhar means "white ridge" and this breathtaking, snow-capped range rises out of the Kangra Valley to a height of 5,200 meters (17,000 feet).  The mountains dominate the scenery in McLeod Gunj. They form a treacherous range creating unpredictable weather, but passes of 2,400 meters (8,900 feet) provide route for the herdsmen of the Ravi Valley beyond. The Kangra Valley is a wide, fertile plain, criss-crossed by low hills. The scenery touched the heart of a British official who wrote: "No scenery, in my opinion, presents such sublime and delightful contrasts. Below lies the plain, a picture of rural loveliness and repose... Turning from this scene of peaceful beauty, the stern and majestic hills confront us... above all are wastes of snow to rest on." Dharamsala is divided into two very different parts. Kotwali Bazaar and areas further down the valley (at the average height of 1,250 metres) are called Lower Dharamsala, while McLeod Gunj (at the height of nearly 1,800 metres) and surrounding areas are known as Upper Dharamsala. McLeod Gunj is nine kilometers by bus route and four kilometres by taxi route up the hill from Kotwali Bazaar. While inhabitants of Lower Dharamsala are almost all Indians, McLeod Gunj is primarily a Tibetan area. McLeod Gunj is surrounded by pine, Himalayan oak, rhododendron and deodar forests. The main crops grown by local Indians in the valleys below McLeod Gunj are rice, wheat and tea. Today, streams of Tibetan refugees from all over the world flock to McLeod Gunj to receive blessings and teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Western and Indian tourists and scholars come here to see the rebirth of an ancient and fascinating civilization. The high altitude and cool weather contribute physically to this recreation of the original Tibetan environment. Dharamsala pulsates with the sights and sounds of old Tibet. Though certainly more modern, life is basically Tibetan in character. Shops strung out along the narrow streets of McLeod Gunj sell traditional Tibetan arts and handicrafts and the aroma of Tibetan dishes lingers in the air.

There is an airport about eighteen kilometers from lower Dharamsala connecting to Delhi, Kullu, Shimla. Dharamsala can also be reached by an overnight or day bus from Delhi, which takes about twelve to fourteen hours.A more comfortable alternative would be to take a twelve-hour train trip from Delhi to Pathankot and then a three-hour bus or two-hour taxi ride to Dharamsala. From there buses and taxis regularly shuttle people to McLeod Gunj.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Image by Dr B C Khanna
His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, was born on July 6, 1935 in a small farming village of Taktser in the province of Amdo, northeast Tibet. At the age of two, following a nationwide search, he was recognized as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama. He was then brought to the capital, Lhasa, in October 1939, and formally installed as the head of state of Tibet on February 22, 1940.
In 1949 the newly-established communist China invaded Tibet. A year later, His Holiness Dalai Lama was requested by the Regent, the Cabinet and the National Assembly to assume full political authority though he was only fifteen, three years short of traditional majority. For the subsequent nine years, His Holiness the Dalai Lama strove to achieve peaceful co-existence with the Chinese invaders. However, this proved impossible as the Chinese atrocities kept on mounting, creating ever more disillusionment among Tibetans. Tibetans aired their resentment to Chinese occupation by staging armed, popular uprisings, which spread to the entire nation and finally erupted in Lhasa on March 10, 1959. The Chinese responded violently to these uprisings.
When the situation became hopeless for Tibet, His Holiness was requested to flee the country in order to carry on the Tibetan struggle from the outside world. Escaping by night and in disguise, he left Lhasa on March 17, 1959, crossing safely into India on March 31, 1959 where he was warmly received and given asylum. Nearly 80,000 Tibetan refugees managed to follow His Holiness into exile and are now resettled primarily in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Switzerland, the United States and Canada. Seeking both to save his people and the Tibetan culture, His Holiness began a peaceful struggle to preserve Tibet's unique identity and regain the country's independence. On 10 December 1989 His Holiness was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee emphasized "that the Dalai Lama, in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet, consistently has opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people."
His Holiness' Residense

The Residence of His Holiness Dalai Lama is opposite the Tsuglag Khang, or the Central Cathedral, which is about ten minutes' walk from McLeod Gunj. Time permitting, His Holiness receives visitors in public audiences. Visitors can apply for public audiences at the Branch Security Office in McLeod Gunj, near Hotel Tibet. Applications for private audiences, however, need to be made in writing to His Holiness' Secretary several months in advance. Exploring Tibetan Culture The cultural life in Dharamsala is colourful and rich in tradition. The fairs and festivals are occasions for relaxation. To the local Indian traditions, Tibetan refugees have added their own festivals such as Losar (Tibetan New Year), and His Holiness the Dalai Lama's birthday which is celebrated on July 6 with the performance of Tibetan, Nepali and Gaddi dances revealing the cultural mosaic that McLeod Gunj is. More recently, tourists and students from the west have added rock music, stage musicals and contribute other Western influences to this melting pot of peoples and cultures.

The Library of Tibetan Works And Archives

The LTWA is located in the Central Tibetan Administration complex. It was established in 1971 as a repository for ancient cultural objects, books and manuscripts from Tibet.
The Library has eight departments: research and translation; publications; oral history and film documentation; reference (reading room); Tibetan studies; Tibetan manuscripts; a museum and a school for thangka painting and wood-carving. LTWA also has a team of Tibetan scholars who are engaged in research, translation, instruction and the publication of books.
Since its founding, the Library has acquired a reputation as an international centre for Tibetan studies. To date, more than five thousand scholars and research students from over thirty countries have benefitted from this unique educational institution. LTWA offers regular classes in Buddhist philosophy and the Tibetan language. A schedule of courses is available from the Library office. Apart from books and booklets on diverse aspects of Tibetan culture, the Library brings out regular publications, among which The Tibet Journal is pre-eminent. For research scholars and students, the Library offers hostel accommodation on a first-come-first-served basis.

Tibetan Institute Of Performing Arts

TIPA is about fifteen minutes' walk from McLeod Gunj. Established in 1959, TIPA was the very first institution in exile. It is the home of lhamo, the arrestingly colourful and unique folk opera of Tibet. TIPA preserves a wide repertoire of musical, dance and theatrical traditions from Tibet. To balance the weight of tradition in its repertoire, the institute has a modern Theater Troupe which puts on contemporary plays. TIPA also maintains its own workshops for making costumes, masks and musical instruments.TIPA trains instructors who are sent out to teach music and the performing arts at schools and settlements throughout India and Nepal. It also runs a schools where a mix of modern academic and traditional Tibetan education is provided to children who are, in addition, trained in Tibetan music, dancing and acting from an early age. Of late, TIPA has started a special programme to teach the Tibetan performing arts to non-Tibetans TIPA holds an annual Folk Opera Festival in April. A number of folk operas, dance programmes, plays and concerts are presented on this occasion. It is always an exciting time to be in Dharamsala. On important national holidays throughout the year other performances are given.

Mcleodganj (1700 mt)

9 km up from Kotwali Bazar Dharamsala is the famous town Mcleodganj often called the ‘Little Lhasa’. This is the residence of HH the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Government in exile has been here for almost four decades. The impressive monastery has larger than life images of the Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avalokteshwara. A large Tibetan community and the presence of traditional architectural designs drawn from Tibet have enhanced the charm of the area. A host of Tibetan handicrafts and garments are available. 


The Norbulingka Institute The Norbulingka Institute of Tibetan Culture was founded by the Department of Religion and Culture to preserve and promote Tibetan art and culture in exile. It derives its name from the His Holiness the Dalai Lama's beautiful summer residence, the Norbulingka (Jewel Garden), set in parkland two kilometers from Lhasa. Fearing for the future of Tibet's cultural heritage, the Seventh Dalai Lama, Kelsang Gyatso, established institutes of arts and science there in 1754.Today, with occupied-Tibet undergoing the bleakest period in its history, the Norbulingka Institute in Dharamsala has taken the initiative to preserve the roots of Tibetan culture in exile. The institute is sited in a scenic valley below Dharamsala. 

Literature And Lectures

The Tibetan community in Dharamsala publishes a number of magazines and journals in several languages. The Library publishes The Tibet Journal, a scholarly and international journal on Tibetan culture. The monthly Sheja and weekly Tibetan Freedom in the Tibetan language are published by the Department of Information and International Relations. This department also publishes Tibetan Bulletin, a bi-monthly magazine in English, Tibbat Desh, a bi-monthly in Hindi, and Tibet Bulletin, a bi-monthly in Chinese. Tibetan Youth Congress brings out Rangzen in both Tibetan and English. The Institute of Buddhist Dialectics publishes Lhaksam Tsekpa to interpret the broad issues of western political thought and ideas. The Department of Religion and Culture publishes Cho-Yang, a glossy magazine on culture and Buddhism. Amnye Machen Institute publishes yearly Cairn and Lungta in English.Tibetan Review, an independent monthly journal in English, is published from Delhi and is read by Tibetans all over the world. This publication represents an attempt by the Tibetan community in exile both to interpret the contemporary world for themselves and to carry the issue of Tibet to the world at large.

Tibetan Medical Tradition

Over a period of 2,500 years Tibetans have perfected a sophisticated medical tradition based on the holistic concept of mind and body. It maintains that disease or disorders in the human body are caused when there is a disequilibrium of psychological and physical energies. Delusion, hatred and attachment results in ego (translated also as "I" consciousness), which in turn disturbs the psychological energy balance, while improper food, behavior and bad environment disturbs the physical energy balance. Tibetan doctors would normally follow three methods of diagnosis: visual, interrogation and pulse-reading. Sometimes, they may be able to tell your ailment by merely asking the symptoms, followed by a pulse-reading and a look at your tongue or eyes. However, it is believed that diagnosis is more accurate if these methods are accompanied by a urine test.
Tibetan medicines normally come in hard pills or powder, and most are extremely bitter in taste. Their ingredients are predominantly herbal, although animals products, precious stones and metals are also used. The stones and metals are burned and detoxified through an intricate and secret process of alchemy. Over the years, Tibetan medicine has proved most effective in curing various chronic diseases. Its effectiveness in curing hepatitis, according to some westerners, is miraculous. Tibetan medicine is also known for its efficacy in curing chronic sinus-related diseases, although one has to be on medication for a long time.

Clinics for traditional Tibetan medicine in McLeod Gunj:-

There are three clinics for traditional Tibetan medicine in McLeod Gunj: the Branch Clinic of the Tibetan Medical Institute, Dr. Yeshi Dhonden's Clinic and the Dr. Lobsang Dolma Khangsar Memorial Clinic. However, the Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute is the major institution and is located near Gangchen Kyishong, about five minutes' walk below the Library.

Tibetan Medical And Astro Institute

In 1961, a small dispensary of traditional Tibetan medicine was opened in Dharamsala to cope with the flood of Tibetan refugees arriving every day. Now situated near Gangchen Kyishong, the Tibetan Medical Institute is a huge complex in a spacious compound where the fundamentals of traditional Tibetan medical practice are taught to over fifty students per year. The TMAI has a dispensary, an in-patient unit and a surgical ward. This clinic, as well as its branch in McLeod Gunj, treats patients from all over the world.
About two hundred different pills are produced at the institute and distributed to thirty six branch clinics in India and Nepal. They are also mailed abroad to meet the growing demand for herbal medicines in the west. The phenomenal growth of the institute is an indication of the reputation Tibetan medicine has acquired in international circles. Tibetan medicine dates back more than 2,500 years, and respected physicians and researchers worldwide are increasingly recognizing the effectiveness of these natural cures.

Tibetan Handcraft Center

This carpet-weaving centre is a non-profit venture established to promote the traditional Tibetan craft of carpet-making and to generate employment in the Tibetan community. The Handicraft Centre is near the McLeod Gunj Post Office. It has a showroom in the town's main street.

Namgyal Monastery

Namgyal Monastery was founded by the Third Dalai Lama in the late sixteenth century to assist him in carrying out his religious activities. Since then, the monastery has exclusively served the Dalai Lamas. In Tibet, the 175 Namgyal monks and their monastery were located in the Potala Palace, performing spiritual duties and religious ceremonies for both the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government. A distinctive feature of this monastery is its diversity of practice: prayers and rituals of all the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism are performed by Namgyal monks.
The monastery is now situated next to the Central Cathedral.

Tsuglag Khang (Central Cathedral)

Though a plain and utilitarian substitute for its far more splendid name sake in Lhasa, also known as the Jokhang, the Tsuglag Khang is nevertheless fascinating and peaceful. Situated opposite the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tsuglag Khang is known to the local Indians as the Main Temple. It houses three main images: that of the Sakyamuni Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion, of whom the Dalai Lama is the current emanation. The principal image is that of Sakyamuni Buddha, measuring three metres high and made of gilded bronze. To its right are the images of Padmasambhava and Avalokitesvara which are both facing Tibet. 

Namgyalma Stupa

Surrounded by prayer wheels, this Buddhist stupa, is located in the centre of McLeod Gunj. Erected as a memorial to those Tibetans who lost their lives fighting for a free Tibet, Namgyalma Stupa stands as a monument to the determination of a suppressed people to preserve their distinctive way of life against overwhelming odds. With a statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha enshrined in a small chamber, the stupa is built in the tradition of the third century Indian Emperor Ashoka and represents peace and progress. Day and night, devotees turn prayer wheels as they circumambulate the stupa, reciting mantras.

Nechung Monastery

Just below the Tibetan Library in Gangchen Kyishong is the splendid new Nechung Monastery, the seat of Nechung, the state oracle and protector-deity of Tibet. Nechung has acted as spiritual guide to the Tibetan Government since the eighth century. The physical medium is called Nechung Kuten. When the medium enters into a trance-like state, the protector-deity, Dorjee Drakten, takes possession of his body and gives advice and predictions to the Dalai Lama and Tibetan leaders in exile. He is especially associated with the Dalai Lamas and plays an important role in the search for the incarnations of each Dalai Lama. About seventy monks study here and carry on the secret and sacred ritual surrounding the medium.The original Nechung Monastery in Lhasa had 115 monks in 1959. The monastery was razed to the ground during the Cultural Revolution. However, six monks managed to escape to India to continue the complex traditions of the Nechung institution.

 Tushita Retreate Center

Founded in 1972 by the late Lama Thubten Yeshi, the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, Tushita is situated just above McLeod Gunj in a very quite and peaceful wood, a characteristic which makes it an ideal place for meditation and spiritual retreats. The centre is residential and open throughout the year for both individual and group retreats. Tushita provides frequent courses on various aspects of Tibetan Buddhism. A schedule of upcoming courses is always available. In the late 1980s, a young Spanish boy, born in Barcelona, was recognized as the reincarnation of Lama Thubten Yeshi.
Calender of annual religious ceremonies at Namgyal Monastery

Tibetans follow a lunar calendar which changes from year to year. The year begins in February or early March, depending on the calculations of the Astrology Department of TMAI. To identify the dates of the following events, consult the annual calendar published by the Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute. The first Tibetan month generally begins in February.

First Tibetan Month: New year Celebration and Great Prayer Festival. Ritual Cake Offerings. 
Second Tibetan Month: Ground ritual, Creation of Mandala, and Cohesive Rites and worship of Vajrakilya for ten days. (Also, Tibetan Folk Opera Festival performed at TIPA). 
Third Tibetan Month: Propitiation ceremony for three days starting on the eighth day of the month. Ground Ritual, Ground Ritual Dance for four days. Creation of Coloured Sand Mandala, followed by seven days of Cohesive Rites and worship of Sri kalachakra. 
Fourth Tibetan Month: Ground Ritual of Sri Guhyasamaja for four days, followed by five days of Cohesive Rites and Worship, Buddha Purnima (Tib: Saka Dawa) on the full moon celebrating the Birth, Enlightenment and Death of Sakyamuni Buddha. 
Fifth Tibetan Month: One Hundred Thousand Ritual Cake Offering to Maha Guru (Padmasambava) for five days. Incense Burning Ceremony, Invocation of Dharma Protectors on the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (July 6). 
Sixth Tibetan Month: Ground Ritual of Sri Cakrasambava for four days, followed by five days of Creation of Coloured Sand Mandala and Cohesive Rites and Worship, and Burnt Offerings. 
Seventh Tibetan Month: Training of Ritual Dance, Drawing proportions of Mandala, Chanting and the art of making Ritual Cakes during the summer retreat. 
Eighth Tibetan Month: Ritual Cake Offerings and Cohesive Rights, Ragridol of Palden Lhamo for seven days.
Ninth Tibetan Month: Ground Ritual of Bairava for three days, followed by five days of Creation of Mandala, Cohesive Rites and Worship, and Consecration Ceremony of Gelek Charbeb concluded by a Brunt Offering. 
Tenth Tibetan Month: Ritual Cake Offering and Cohesive Rites of Palden Lhamo for seven days. 
Eleventh Tibetan Month: Training in Ritual Dance; on the twenty ninth day, Ground Ritual Dance, Goddess Dance and others. 
Twelfth Tibetan Month: The Great Annual Ceremony of Atonement at the conclusion of the year for seven days and chanting of Invocation Prayers of the Protectors and Oracles of Tibet. 

Central Tibetan Administration

The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was first established in Mussoorie on April 29, 1959, soon after His Holiness the Dalai Lama reached India. Then in May 1960 it was moved to Dharamsala, and is now located half way between Kotwali Bazaar and McLeod Gunj, in an area named Gangchen Kyishong. Gangchen Kyishong is a Tibetan phrase meaning "happy valley of snow".

The departments which make up the CTA work towards the Tibetan people's struggle for independence and survival. They function according to the Charter of Tibetans in Exile which is, in effect, a constitution based on modern democratic principles. 

The Tibetan Youth Congress

TYC is a worldwide non-governmental group with over ten thousand members. It is the largest, and one of the most politically active Tibetan organizations in exile. To provide a forum for non-Tibetans to assist in its activities, TYC has started The International Friends of TYC. The Congress' office is located close to Hotel Tibet.

The Tibetan Women's Association

TWA is an organization of Tibetan women working for the political freedom and social upliftment of Tibetan women. Through branch organizations in each Tibetan settlement in exile, TWA assists groups and individual women on a day-to-day basis, and launches projects to address specific needs such as education and welfare, taking care of the elderly and children. They are involved with the rehabilitation and education of nuns escaping from Tibet. In the recent years, the association has undertaken a campaign to raise the political awareness of Tibetan women in order to encourage them to participate fully in the political process of the exile community. TWA's office is located above Delek Clinic on Bhagsunag Road.
Tibetan Women's Association   Central Executive Committee
Bhagsunath Road, P.O Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala-176219  Kangra (H.P) India
Tel: 91-1892-221527, 221198, Fax: 91-1892-221528

Tibetan Children's Village 
The Tibetan children's Village runs a chain of fifteen schools, with over ten thousand students, in different parts of India. The main village, known as the Upper TCV, is based on a hill two kilometres from McLeodganj. It educates and looks after the upbringing of about three thousand student, most of whom are orphans and new refugees from Tibet. Upper TCV consists of thirty eight homes, four hostels and a baby room to care for months-old infants through to boys and girls of sixteen. It has modern school buildings ranging from nursery to high school, sports grounds, staff quarters, a dispensary, a handicraft centre, etc. These are spread over an area of about forty three acres.


Main Attractions : Artifacts from the 5th Century
Exhibits:              Collection of Sculptures, Pottery & Anthropological Items
Significance :       Inscriptions on the Medieval History of Chamba
This treasure trove of Kangra valley arts, crafts and rich past, displays artifacts that date back to 5th century. It includes a gallery of Kangra's famous miniature painting and a representative collection of sculptures, pottery and anthropological items.The Kangra museum also has a good collection of elaborately embroidered costumes, woodcarvings and Jewellery of the tribal people. The Shamianas used by the local royalty, jali's, pandals and lintels are also included in the collection of coins and manuscripts.The museum also has a section dedicated to the contemporary artists, sculptures and photographers. A library is just below the museum. This art museum was inaugurated in 1990 and is located just above the Kotwali Bazar, Dharamsala.
TIMING: The museum remains open Monday to Saturday from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. and entry is free.                          


One can buy Tibetan rugs and handicraft products from the shop of the Tibetan Handicraft Centre and TCV Handicraft Centre in McLeod Gunj. Orders for Tibetan wood and metal craft products can be made at the Tibetan Art Gallery, located in the Hotel Tibet building complex. Besides, there are various tiny shops offering Tibetan trinkets and imitations of Tibetan antiques.

 Eating Out

The very many restaurants and cafe dotting McLeod Gunj is indicative of the fact that the place has really become a tourist spot. One can virtually get any type of food or their imitations. The restaurants offer dishes starting from the universal Tibetan dishes like thukpa (noodle soup) and momo (steamed meat dumplings) to sizzlers, sukiyaki, pancakes, pizzas and spaghetti. For people with a sweet tooth, one can get different types of pastries, pies and doughnuts, For health freaks, there are muesli fruit curds, lassis and different types of shakes. Different eateries have their own specialties and so if you intend to be in Dharamsala for some time, it may be interesting to find out a restaurant which specializes in cuisine to your taste.

Travels Agents

Travel Agent Address Phone No e mail
Bedi Travel The Mall Mcleodganj 0091-1892-21400,21235,21359
Ways Tours & Travel Temple Road Mcleodganj 0091-1892-21910,21988,21355     
Fax        0091-1892-21775
Mickey's Tour & Travel Kotwali Bazar Dharamsala 0091-1892-223681

Book shops In Mcleodganj

The branch office of the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) in McLeod Gunj sells books on His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetan political affairs. The Charitable Trust Bookshop carries books on all aspects of Tibetan life, especially on culture and religion. Bookworm, en route to Hotel Bhagsu, and Little Lhasa Book Shop, at Surya Shopping Complex, have a wide variety of western novels as well as books on Tibet, India and Central Asia.

Trekking Tour Opreators :  

Eagle Height Trekkers & Travellers (Ph.221097), on the Mall road, can organise porters and guides, as well as arrange treks in the Kullu and Chamba valleys, Lahaul and Spiti and Ladakh.The agency is ten year old and has gained a good reputation as a private organisers of Trekking.

Regional Mountaineering Centre Dharamsala

This centre  is about 15 minutes walk north of McLeod on the Dharamkot road.    Here you can get advice on treks and mountaineering in the Chamba and Kangra valleys, and it's also possible to hire gear including sleeping bags, foam mattresses, rucksacks and tents. It's not possible to hire specialised mountaineering equipment; For this, the closest place is the Mountaineering Institute & Allied Sports in Manali, and equipments are subject to availability.  


This ancient temple is 2 kms from Mcleodganj.. Close to this temple is a beautiful waterfall.Near the Dal Lake is the shrine of Bhagsunath an easy walk from the Mecleod ganj. Famous for its ancient temple and a pretty waterfall not far away. The rock temple dedicated to local Goddess is just 3 km from Kotwali Bazaar.

 Triund     Mcleodganj to Triund is a 9 km gradual trek which passes through the Dharmkot and Rakkar villages. The tracks from Rawa, Dallake, Dharamkot and Bhagsu meet at a ridge known as Galu Devi (2130m) which has a small temple and a water point. From Galu Oevi onward the track is smooth and clear and ascends through a mixed forest of oaks and rhododendrons. The track then gradually gains height and winds round the ridges looking towards Dharamsala and the Kangra valley. The last climb after a snow nullah rises abruptly with steep ascents and the track weaves through twenty two curves making the ascent tiring and difficult. On this track one can spot many types of birds. Monals are in plenty. The black bear, leopards, pigs and wild goats are also found in this region. There is a small forest bungalow at Triund located on a big and green subsidiary ridge of the Dhauladhar range. The forest bungalow was built some years ago.


This village, twenty minutes' walk further up the hill from McLeod Gunj, is a favourite picnic spot with a panoramic view of the Kangra Valley. It is possible to rent houses from local Indians if you are planning a longish stay.

Chinmaya Tapovan:-

An ashram complex has been established by late Swami Chinmayananda, a noted exponent of the Gita, at a distance of approximately 10 km from Dharamsala on the banks of the rivulet Bindu Saras. The complex includes a 9 m high image of Lord Hanuman, a magnificent Rama temple, a meditation hall, a school, and a health and recreation centre.

Dal Lake

About three kilometers from McLeod Gunj and next to the Tibetan Children's Village, this small lake is brownish in colour and not nearly as impressive as the name and reputation suggest. However, there are many interesting walks around the lake.

 Church Of St. John In TheWilderness

Fifteen minutes' walk from McLeod Gunj, the Anglican church lies in the forest near Forsyth Gunj. This neo-Gothic stone church was built in 1852 and has some fine Belgian stained-glass windows. It miraculously survived the 1905 earthquake - only the spire collapsed. A memorial to Lord Elgin stands in the churchyard. The British Viceroy died in Dharamsala and is buried here. Visiting hours for the church and cemetery are 10 am to 5 pm each day.

Archaeological Sites

  Dr. O.C. Handa, in his Buddhist Art and Antiquities of Himachal Pradesh, points to two ancient and important sites very close to Dharamsala. In the fields between Khanyara Road and the village of Dari, at Uparal, two smooth granite boulders inscribed in Brahmi and Kharoshtin scripts record that this was the site of a Buddhist monastery in 200 B.C. An Archaeological Survey of India signboard marks the rock inscription. And at Chetru village, near Kangra, the ruins of a stupa, and a headless standing Buddha statue, mark what is believed to have been a larger monastic complex from the age when Buddhism flourished in the valley, circa 300 B.C. Among the wealth of antiquarian finds at various Buddhist sites in Himachal, made on pioneering field-trips by Dr. Handa, the stupa remains at Chetru are the only significant monuments to survive in any recognizable form.


Kangra town is 18 km from Dharamsala. This was the first seat of Raja Sansar Chand II (1775-1823) .One of the ancient capital of powerful hill state-fort of Nagarkot(3km) stands as a mute witness to the ravages of conquerors from Mahmood of Ghazni to the Emperor Jehangir, and the disastrous earthquake of 1905. The place is now called "Purana Kangra".2 km from the bus stand is the temple dedicated to the goddess Barjeshwari Devi.                     more information click here 

Jawalamukhi (600 mt)

56 km from Dharamsala is the famous temple of goddess Jawalamukhi also called the “Flaming Goddess” or “She of the flaming mouth”.It lies in the valley of Beas and is built over some natural jets of combustible gas believed to be a manifestation of the goddess Devi  Bhagwati Jawalamukhi. A legend avers that the flames proceed from the mouth of demon Jalandhara, the Daitya King whom Shiva over-whelmed with mountains. The temple building is modern whose dome is of gilt, gold and pinacles and possesses a beautiful folding door of silver plates, presented by the Sikh Raja Kharak Singh, which so struck Lord Hardinge that he had a model made of it. Many people, especially women take a vow that if anything they ardently wish for, is obtained, they will go on pilgrimage to the temple here. Beautiful songs in praise of the goddess are sung by the women on way to the temple. On the backside of the temple water runs along a water-course which takes off from a spring high above. Some say this canal was constructed by Emperor Akbar to try to quench the flames. The attempt having proved abortive, he became a devotee of the Goddess. The song popularly sung in praise of the Goddess describes how the Mughal Emperor came barefooted and placed a crown of gold before the Goddess as offering. That crown is still preserved and it is said, it was turned into copper as soon as the Emperor looked back in pride and thought of costly present he had made. The interior of temple consists of a square pit about three feet .deep with a pathway all round. In the middle, the rock is slightly hollowed out about the principal fissure and on applying a light the gas bursts into flames. The gas escapes at several other points from the crevices of the walls of  the pit. There is no idol of any kind, the flaming Fissure being considered as the fiery mouth of the goddess, whose headless body is said to be in the Bajreshwari temple Kangra .Apart from Jawalamukhi temple, there is the Gorakh Dibbi, Chaturbhuj Temple and a host of other smaller shrine at Jawalamukhi town.


84 km south of Dharamsala and 3 km from Bharwain is the famous                        temple of Chintpurni on a ridge top. A stone idol (pindi) represents the goddess According to the legend, hundreds of years ago a brahmin, Maldas, saw in a dream a young girl with a lion listening to devotional music under a banyan tree. She told him that she was goddess Durga (Bhagwati) Chhinmastika -the headless form in which she killed Nishumukh, and, wanting to stay there, she asked him to build a temple for her and become its priest.  She also told him that anybody who worshipped her with a pure heart would be relieved of all worries, hence the name Chintpurni. The main fair at the temple is held during Navratras (April and October) and during the days of Shuklapaksh of Shavan (August), when thousands of people visit this place. 

Pong Dam (500 mt)

Pong Dam reservoir is 65 km from Pathankot and 115 km from Dharamsala.           This reservoir was created in 1975-76 with the construction of Pong Dam on the Beas river.  A Regional water sports centre was established in 1984 to impart training in water sports in the Wetland. The Pong Dam lake was notified as wild life sanctuary in 1983 covering an area of 30,729 hac. The total catch is 500 metric tonnes of fish per year worth Rs. one crore. The main wild life species found in Pong Dam lake sanctuary area are nilgai, sambar, barking deer, wild boar, clawless otter and leopard. In addition there are 220 species of migratory birds, red jungle fowl, peafowl, partridges and many others. Pong Dam reservoir is being developed on a large scale for promoting water sports for tourists.

Tatwani & Machhial (500 mt)

20 km from Dharamsala and 4 km from Rait (on Dharamsala-Pathankot Road) is the beautiful waterfall. 5 km down lies the hot spring of Tatwani (a contraction of Tatta pani) on the bank of Gaj rivulet, a tributory of Beas. The hot spring issues at a height of about five feet from the side of the hill.

Chamunda :

Another 20 km from Kangra is the famous Chamunda Nandikeshwar dham. This place also has a beautiful bathing ghat and a small temple across the bridge joining the ghat. There are ample arrangements to stay in the temple sarai and the rest house at Dadh. Up in the Dhauladhar hills, a trek of about 16 km, is the place where Bhagwati Chamunda, according to the Puranas, Vanquished the demons Chand and Munda.    

MASRUR-              Rock cut Temple  
Location :              15-kms South Of Kangra  
Altitude :                8,00m  
Houses :               15 Rock-Cut Monolithic Temples  
Famous As :          Hindu Pilgrimage 

Masrur (800mt)-Masrur is 36 km from Dharamsala on Nagrota Surian link road and is famous for remarkable group of rock cut temples. They form a group of 15 monolithic rock cut temples in the Indo Aryan style and are richly carved. The main shrine contains three stone images of Ram laxman and Sita but the presence of the figure of Shiva in the centre of the lintel affors a strong presumption that the temple was originally dedicated to Mahadeva. 

Trilokpur Nunnery

Trilokpur is located half way between Dharamsala and Pathankot. This place finds mention in the biography of Yogi Milarepa as a site where the great Mahasiddha Tilopa meditated. Tilopa was the teacher of Naropa, who in turn, was the teacher of Marpa, the founder of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. Today there is a small Karma Kagyu nunnery above the road.
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