About Dharamsala

 

 

Dharamshala is a city in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley and is surrounded by dense coniferous forest consisting mainly of stately Deodar cedar trees. The suburbs include McLeodGanj, Bhagsunath, Dharamkot, Naddi, ForsythGanj, Kotwali Bazaar (the main market), Kaccheri Adda (government offices such as the court, police, post, etc.), Dari, Ramnagar, Sidhpur, and Sidhbari (where the Karmapa is based).

 

The village of McLeodGanj, lying in the upper reaches, is known worldwide for the presence of the Dalai Lama. On 29 April 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) established the Tibetan exile administration in the north Indian hill station of Mussoorie. In May 1960, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was moved to Dharamshala.

 

Dharamshala is the center of the Tibetan exile world in India. Following the 1959 Tibetan uprising, there was an influx of Tibetan refugees who followed the 14th Dalai Lama. His presence and the Tibetan population has made Dharamshala a popular destination for Indian and foreign tourists, including students studying Tibet. One of the main attractions of Dharamshala is Triund hill. Jewel of Dharamshala, Triund is one day trek at the upper reaches of McLeodGanj, about 9 km from McLeodGanj

 

Dharamshala History

 

From the earliest times until the British Raj, Dharamshala and its surrounding area were ruled by the Katoch Dynasty of Kangra. The Katoch Dynasty is said to be the oldest serving Royal Family in the world. The Royal Family still keeps a residence in Dharamshala, known as 'Clouds End Villa'. The indigenous people of the Dharamshala area (and the surrounding region) are the Gaddis, a predominantly Hindu group who traditionally lived a nomadic or semi-nomadic (transhumant) lifestyle. Due to the lack of permanent settlements in the area, some Gaddis lost their seasonal pastures and farmland when the British and the Gurkhas arrived to settle.

 

Settlement Dharamsala by the British and the Gurkhas

 

In 1848, the area now known as Dharamshala was annexed by the British. Dharamsāla lies on a spur of the Dhaola Dhār, 16 miles north-east of Kāngra, in the midst of wild and picturesque scenery. It originally formed a subsidiary cantonment for the troops stationed at Kāngra and was first occupied as a station in 1849, when a site was required for a cantonment to accommodate a Native regiment which was being raised in the District. A site was found upon the slopes of the Dhaola Dhār, in a plot of wasteland, upon which stood an old Hindu resthouse, or dharmsāla, whence the name adopted for the new cantonment. The civil authorities, following the example of the regimental officers, and attracted by the advantages of climate and scenery, built themselves houses in the neighborhood of the cantonment; and in 1855 the new station was formally recognized as the headquarters of the [Kāngra] District. In 1860, the 66th Gurkha Light Infantry was moved from Kangra, Himachal Pradesh to Dharamshala, which was at first made a subsidiary cantonment. An ideal position for the new base was found on the slopes of the Dhauladhar Hills, near the site of a Hindu sanctuary, or Dharamshala, hence the name of the town. The Battalion was later renamed the historic 1st Gurkha Rifles, this was the beginning of the legend of the Gurkhas, also known as the 'Bravest of the Brave'. Consequently, fourteen Gurkha platoon villages grew from this settlement, and exist to this day, namely Dari, Ramnagar, Shyamnagar, Dal, Totarani, Khanyara, Sadher, Chaandmaari, Sallagarhi, Sidhbari, Yol, and so on. The Gurkhas worshipped at the ancient Shiva temple of Bhagsunag. The Gurkhas referred to Dharamshala as 'Bhagsu' and referred to themselves as Bhagsuwalas.

 

The 21st Gurkha Regiment from Dharamshala performed heroic feats during World War I and the North West Frontier Province campaigns. The Gurkha cantonment then reached its zenith during World War II, when battalions from Dharamshala made history. Many place names in the town still retain their former cantonment terminologies: Depot Bazaar, Pensioners' Lines, Tirah Lines (named after the 19th century Tirah Campaign), Bharatpore Lines (named after the 1826 Battle of Bharatpore).

 

The second Lord Elgin, Viceroy of India died here (at the 1st Gurkha Rifles Officers' Mess) in 1863 and is buried in the cemetery of St. John in the Wilderness, a small Anglican church distinguished by its stained-glass windows. Dharamshala became a popular hill station for the British working in or near Delhi, offering a cool respite during the hot summer months. Before the earthquake of 1905, the upper part of the station, which rises to a height of 7,112 feet [2,168 metres], contained the European houses, the station church, and the officers' mess and lines of the 1st Gurkhas, together with the public gardens, post office, and two bars, the Forsythganj and McLeodganj. The public offices, a bazaar, and a few European houses made up the lower station, as low as 4,500 feet [1,372 meters]. The 1st battalion of the 1st Gurkhas used to be stationed here but was moved to the upper station in 1894-5... The public gardens, which were, before the earthquake, laid out with much taste in lawns and terraces, contained a valuable collection of indigenous and imported trees and shrubs, and were overlooked by the Assembly Rooms, a handsome building comprising a public hall, a library, and reading room and a billiard-room. The church was beautifully situated in a recess of the mountain. In 1905, the Kangra valley suffered a major earthquake. On April 4 of that year, the earth shook, demolishing much of the cantonment and the neighboring city of Kangra, Himachal Pradesh as well as the Bhagsunag temple. Altogether, the 1905 Kangra earthquake killed 20,000 people. "1,625 persons perished at Dharamsāla alone, including 15 Europeans and 112 of the Gurkha garrison."."The Gurkhas rebuilt the town along with the temple, which today is acknowledged as the 1st Gurkha Rifles' heritage. The British had planned to make Dharamshala the summer capital of India but moved to Shimla after the disaster. Not only did the Gurkhas of Dharamshala make a major contribution to India's defense, but many were also freedom fighters for the Indian National Army, which had been founded by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The Indian National Army Captain Ram Singh Thakur, a Gurkha from the village of Khanyara, composed some of India's most popular and stirring patriotic songs, including "Kadam Kadam Badaye Ja". He is acknowledged so by the Netaji Research Bureau, Kolkata. The important contribution of the noted Gurkha social commentator, the late Master Mitrasen Thapa, from the village of Totarani, has been acknowledged by the Himachal Pradesh government. Recently, a park dedicated to the memory of the late Brigadier Sher Jung Thapa, MVC, the 'Hero of Skardu', has been opened alongside the road between Lower and Upper Dharamshala.

 

Dharamshala Local Hang Out in Hills

 

  • Hang Out Sight Scene in Dharamshala Smart City Also Green Hill City (CLEAN AND GREEN CITY)

  • Tea Garden Dharamsala

  • International Cricket Stadium Dharamsala

  • War Memorial Dharamsala

  • Kotwali Bazar Dharamsala

  • Maximus Shopping Mall Multiplex Cinema 

  • Mcleod Ganj Market

  • Mcleod Ganj Monastery

  • Bhagsu Nag Temple Mcleodganj

  • Bhagsu Water Fall Mcleodganj

  • Dalai Lama temple Mcleodganj

  • Triund Trekking point

  • Dharamkot

  • Dal Lake

  • Naddi

  • Satobari

  • Aghanjar Mahadev Dharamsala

  • Chamunda Temple Dharamsala

  • Kangra Temple 

  • Church Mcleodganj

  • Kangra Fort

 

 

Getting to Dharamshala

 

Dharamshala town is reached by Dharamshala Gaggal Airport, Dharamshala Gaggal Airport, about 12 km to the town's south and about 10 km north of Kangra, Himachal Pradesh town. To reach Dharamshala by train, one has to reach Kangra, Himachal Pradesh town by Kangra Valley Railway line from Pathankot 94 km away and then take a bus or a taxi.

 

Pathankot is a broad gauge railway head. There is another railway line from Pathankot to Jogindernagar, a part of the Mandi District of Himachal Pradesh, which is a narrow-gauge line. The nearest station to Dharamshala on this line is Chamunda Marg, half an hour away, where a Shaktipitha is; the town is well connected by road to other parts of the country.

 

Buses of all classes (deluxe, air-conditioned, and regular) ply daily between Dharamshala and major cities such as Chandigarh, Delhi, and Shimla. Several buses each night connect McLeodGanj with Majnu Ka Tila, the Tibetan settlement in Delhi.

 

Dharamsala Climate

 

Dharamshala has a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate (Cwa). Summer starts in early April, peaks in early June (when temperatures can reach 36 °C) and lasts till mid-June. From July to mid-September is the monsoon season when up to 3000 mm (120 inches) of rainfall can be experienced, making Dharamshala one of the wettest places in the state. Autumn is mild and lasts from October to the end of November.

 

Autumn temperatures average around 16–17 °C. Winter starts in December and continues until late February. Snow and sleet are common during the winter in upper Dharamshala (including McLeodganj, Bhagsu Nag, Dal Lake and Naddi). Lower Dharamshala receives little solid precipitation except for hail. The snowfall of January 7, 2012, was an exception. It was caused by deep low pressure entering the Kangra district. Winter is followed by a short, pleasant spring until April. Historically, the Dhauladhar mountains used to remain snow-covered all year long, however, in recent years they have been losing their snow blanket during dry spells. The best times to visit are the autumn and spring months.