Quirky Ways to Discover Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

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Icy peaks and lofty mountains make for a breathtaking backdrop to the home of Dalai Lama in winters. The gorgeous Dhauladhar range cradles the rustic, quaint Dharamshala in its foothills. Today the hill station is densely populated by Tibetan refugees, who have infused their own customs, giving birth to an amalgamation of colonial architecture and Tibetan culture. Traveling to Dharamshala has become easier in the past few years since road routes connect it to major cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, and Jalandhar.

A four-day stay is highly recommended to those on a quest of soul searching. Luckily the hills beckoned us with a friend getting married in Dharamshala, which apparently is his hometown. Double whammy – we got to experience the quaint little town and attend a Himachali wedding at the same time.

Take my list of cool and offbeat things to do and places to visit in Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh, and let the hill station treat you to its offbeat side too!

  1. Walk Through Dharamkot Village

Dharamkot is a cute small town in the Kangra district, about 6kms away from Dharamshala. The huge influence that Buddhism has had on the region does not go unnoticed while holidaying in the town.

A peaceful vibe hits every chord of one’s soul in this picturesque hill town, which is an overnight bus ride from the popular hippie backpackers’ hotspot – Kasol. Dharamkot is also the ideal base for multiple hikes to Triund, Naddi, Indrahar Pass, etc. Finding a meditation spot wouldn’t be a problem as you’ll find many. Hours were spent swooning at the gorgeous mountains that can cast a spell on anyone – it really did!

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Be ready for views like these ;)

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Don’t litter around

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

For the ultimate trek

2. Indulge In Pocket-Friendly Meals (Pizzaria Is A Must)

Ask any local and the spots they would suggest for pocket-friendly meals in Dharamshala are Anand Momo Corner, Morgan’s Palace, and Shiva Cafe – they are kind of iconic in the area. We spent a lot of time in these two while we were there, and must add, the momos at Anand Corner were finger-licking good.

Another great place ideal for a casual pizza party is The Family Pizzaria. The food joint is perfect for those craving pizzas though they are famous for their Egg and Machli Pizzas. We also love their desserts, especially the choco cakes!

It isn’t easy to reach this cafe though locals can guide you to the family cafe which is a steep climb from McLeod Ganj to Dharamkot. (Suggested Read: Trekking Kheerganga: An Unmatched Experience)

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Mornings in the beautiful town

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Don’t forget to check-in here

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Do try their Egg Pizza – take our word for it

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Desserts – cherry on the top

3. Find Yourself The Perfect Spot To Cuddle With Birds For Company

Dharamshala is a warm and welcoming place. You cannot leave without spending a few hours on the winding roads, hunting for your perfect spot! Just get the Himachali tone right and look for the view that enchants you! We had our share of cuddles and moments overlooking the snowy peaks. Don’t just look for Dharamshala places to visit, in fact, make the most of the virgin beauty of this hill station. 

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Find yourself the perfect spot and surrender

4. Go Paragliding

If you are one of those who enjoys the occasional rush of adrenaline, go paragliding when in Dharamshala. Paragliding is popular throughout Dharamshala but for the best experience, you must head to Bir. 15-30 minutes of session will leave you awestruck with the beauty around. In fact, Bir is the 2nd best place for paragliding in the world, and it successfully hosted 2015 paragliding world cup. So this aero-sport is highly recommended to one and all!

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

For those who wish to fly free

5. Spend Some Time in Tea Estate

It’s no secret – Himachali tea is prized as some of the best tea all around India. Spread over acres of land – the Tea Gardens of Dharamshala make for beautiful natural landscapes where you can soak in the peaceful environment. The beautifully lined tea estates in the Kangra Valley of Himachal can be easily reached from the Kotwali bazaar.

You need to descend on the road leading to Kangra until you locate a petrol pump on your right side and see a  diversion for Kunal Pathri. A little help from the locals can help. Once you reach – a picnic here would be awesome!

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Always happy when close to nature

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Tea Estate in McLeod

6. Catch An Epic Sunset At Naddi

It’s bedazzling to wake up to the twittering of birds in the morning in Dharamshala. But what’s more enthralling is catching the sunsets in the hippie town. If you are particularly up for catching the best sunsets, we’d suggest heading to Naddi – a small town that is 4 Kms away from main Mcleodgang main chowk. Relish all the delicious sunsets – it’s nothing less than magic to see the sky change colors. A sense of realization certainly strikes – TO WANDER IS TO LIVE! We live for those perfect sunsets!

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Will surely miss these sunsets :(

7. A Mandatory Visit To The Lama Temple 

When talking about Dharamshala, a mention of the numerous temples that form tiny specks on the landscape is inevitable. However, the temple that you cannot miss on your visit to Dharamshala is The Dalai Lama Temple in Mcleod Ganj. The temple houses an impressive collection of Buddha statues and sacred Tibetan texts. Just sit there and meditate or go for a scenic walk in the evening but don’t forget to cover this important Buddhist site during your visit. 

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

The Lama Temple

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Just mesmerized

8. Get Stumped At The HPCA Cricket Stadium

The stadium first opened in 2003 though the first international ODI cricket match was played only in 2013. Surrounded by gorgeous Dhauladhar mountain ranges in the background, HPCA makes for a stunning cricket stadium in India. Cricketers sure enjoy their gaming experience while playing at this spectacular mountain outpost amidst natural grandeur. The view is remarkable!

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

HPCA cricket stadium

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

The stunning stadium overlooking mountains

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Prerna at HPCA Stadium

9. Explore St. John’s Church Set Amidst Wilderness

This stone inspired Anglican church is so beautiful that it’ll bowl you over with its beauty. The sense of colonial lifestyle and British fervor dominates this neo-Gothic architectural style that was built in 1852, dedicated to John the Baptist. It is 8 km away from Dharamshala that can be easily reached by a local bus or car. You’ll be stunned by the eternal beauty of this gothic church as the mystic walls are made of ancient bricks.

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

The gorgeous British Colonial St. John’s Church

10. Spend Some Time At The McLeod Ganj

McLeod Ganj also called the Little Lhasa of Tibet is ideal for long quiet walks or morning meditation with chanting monks. Three kilometers north of Dharamshala, McLeod sees an inflow of travelers, maroon-robed monks, and international crowd. Experience the vibrant Tibetan culture – eat at the open bakeries, shop for Tibetan crafts, and hang out at the Indo-Italo-Israeli-Tibetan food joints.

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Mc Leod Ganj mall road

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

A paradise for momo lover

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

You cannot say NO to hot steaming momos

11. Hike To The Bhagsunag Waterfalls

The cascading 30 feet Bhagsunag falls are situated at an altitude of 6,960 feet above the sea level. Just 1500m trek away from the Shiva temple, these falls can easily be reached by following signs from the beginning of the stairs. These falls are not necessarily huge ones but you can definitely enjoy spending some time and relaxing by the makeshift eating joints that serve refreshments. Once you get to the falls, you can visit the famous Shiva Cafe that is a must visit for its tranquility and peace.

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Bhagsunag Waterfalls

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Beautiful viewpoint at the Bhagsu Waterfalls

12. Attend A Himachal Wedding

You can learn a lot about Himachali culture only by attending a Himachali wedding. As a child, getting dolled up for a wedding, seeing so many delicacies at the exhibit and the opportunity to dance the night away were main tempt for me. But now that I am a grown up, I realize it’s the only way to stay close to your roots.

It was a pleasure attending a Himachali wedding that initially started with a long series of hugs, proceeded with the traditional dance of Himachal district – Nati, and ended with the pious tradition of serving multiple cuisines on a patal in a ceremony called Dhaam. Attending a Himachali wedding will always remain a memory close to my heart!

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Our friends house decked up with flowers and curtains

Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh

Relishing scrumptious food at the Himachali Dhaam

Did you enjoy reading our post or would you like to add other things to do and places to visit in Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh to the list? What were your favorite parts? Leave us a comment.

Planning to visit Himachal Pradesh this year? You can read all our travels within Himachal.

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QUIRKY

Author: Prerna

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34 Comments

  • Reply Sonam February 1, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Loved the article! Planning a trip here soon will definitely try doing all this. Thanks so much for sharing Xx

    • Reply admin February 3, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Thanks a ton Sonam – so glad you enjoyed our guide to driving in Dharamshala. Make sure you check off some of the lesser known sites (naddi, gallu) too. 🙂

  • Reply Danik February 2, 2017 at 9:15 am

    This place looks pretty awesome and so close to the mountains. I love mountains which overlook the towns, gives it a more peaceful look. Great write up 🙂

    • Reply admin February 3, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      Thanks Danik – you should definitely try driving to Dharamshala.

  • Reply Becky Moore February 2, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Great tips, what a beautiful looking place really hope that I get to visit one day!

    • Reply admin February 3, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      Thanks a ton – glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Reply Sam February 2, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    That sunset is stunning and I LOVE all of the colors and textures of the temple and the wedding! Great post!

    • Reply admin February 3, 2017 at 3:59 pm

      Hey Sam – so happy to hear you enjoyed reading about our roadtrip in Dharamshala.

  • Reply Ali May February 2, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    What a diverse place to visit! I am so impressed how many things there are to do and see in that area. I would love to picnic in the tea gardens, check out those waterfalls and mountains too.

  • Reply Mackenzie February 3, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Awesome information! I’d love to try the paragliding. I wouldn’t mind getting pizza and visiting the beautiful tea estate! I also love your pink shirt!

    • Reply admin February 3, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Thanks for that Mackenzie – this took so much time to put together, we are glad you enjoyed reading it. I personally love that top too 😉

  • Reply Milijana February 3, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Paragliding in Dharamshala sounds incredibly interesting. I believe one could feel freedom of a bird flying among those mountains!

  • Reply Caitlin | Escape Reno February 3, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    It looks like you guys saw some beautiful places while you explored this region! Did you guys actually get to try paragliding?! This place does look like the perfect place for it!

  • Reply marta February 4, 2017 at 12:39 am

    Looks like an amazing array of culture, history, and nature!

  • Reply Mike Clegg - Travel and Destinations February 4, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Lama Temple looks really impressive and I’d love to visit Himachali (being a big fan of tea). McLeod Ganj looks really interesting too and I’d love to take some photographs there.

  • Reply Kavey at Kavey Eats February 4, 2017 at 10:13 am

    What a beautiful place to visit. I’m loving your photos, especially those ones of the painted walls and signs. The landscape looks gorgeous. I have a friend who has introduced me to Momo dumplings, which I think are from this area, or popular there. The tea plantations are high on my list as I am a huge drinker of tea.

  • Reply Anne February 4, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Wow there really are a ton of things to do here. I would love to visit and wonder if there is any skiing anywhere in that area?

  • Reply Sanne February 4, 2017 at 11:39 am

    I love your photos! They’re really beautiful. I’d love to go paragliding, but I think when the time is there, I’d black out haha!

  • Reply Punita Malhotra February 4, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Dharamsala is lovely, specially outside of McLeodganj, where the tall thick trees cover the landscape. Naddi is a really pretty spot. Another place we really loved was Norbulingka monastery…heavenly surroundings.

  • Reply Matthew Hulland February 4, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Hey guys, loved this post, I have shared it on my website – The Travel Blogs. Sounds like you had an awesome time, I knew nothing of the city to be honest, but now I want to visit, I’d love to see a game of cricket at that ground – what a setting! If you want to check out the link, it’s on my South Asia map, you can find it here: http://www.thetravelblogs.com/asia/southern-asia. Your blog is great, keep up the good work.

  • Reply Rebecca February 4, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    You explored some pretty amazing places! It looks so beautiful and like something I’d love to try. We’re looking into Nepal and hikes there. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Rebecca x

    http://Www.londontoeverywhere.com

  • Reply Meg February 4, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    As a fellow momo enthusiast I have to agree! You simply can’t so no to momos! I’m headed to Nepal and I plan on spending a day in Kathmandu hunting down those delicious dumplings! All of the rest of these things sound fantastic. I’ve always wanted to try hang gliding – even though I’m terrified of heights!

  • Reply Efthimis K. February 4, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    I’m glad that I discovered Dharamshala thanks to your article! I would love to be a part of this traditional wedding! 🙂

  • Reply Paula February 4, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Attending a local wedding would be a fantastic experience! That sunset also looks magical.

  • Reply Laura February 5, 2017 at 6:00 am

    Those peaks are to die for. The pizza looks a little like the pizza I ate in Nepal with buffalo cheese on it. Is it similar?

  • Reply Jenna February 5, 2017 at 8:53 am

    This all looks fantastic! I love the mix of towns, nature and activities you found–paragliding and the tea plantation would be so much fun! I would love to try some of the food and see the waterfalls too!

  • Reply Nicki February 5, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    This is a great list. You had me at paragliding!! I am a junkie when it comes to doing the “dangerous”

  • Reply Anja / Womanhattan February 5, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    I am so ashamed to say that I never before heard about this place. So many places on this planet left to visit. Thanks for sharing this story, loved it.

  • Reply Vicki Louise February 6, 2017 at 7:01 am

    You explored some pretty incredible places – but I’ll be honest, I was convinced with the picture of the paraglider at the top of the post! Getting an aerial view of an area is so incredible and the feeling of flying always fills me with joy!

  • Reply Mar Pages February 6, 2017 at 9:18 am

    An egg pizza is definitely a quirky find! I’d really love to visit the Dalai Lama Temple. It must be a very calming visit among the hustle and bustle of the McLeod Ganj mall road and food joints. Awesome itinerary guys 🙂

  • Reply Local Nomads Podcast February 8, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Cool post! I’d love to check out the paragliding! Little Lhasa looks so awesome. I’d love to take an early morning stroll through there!

  • Reply Ada February 9, 2017 at 9:52 am

    This place looks wonderful ! Lama Temple and the waterfall definelty would be my favourite! I hope I can make it to India one day !

  • Reply Agness of Fit Travelling February 10, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    This is such amazing post it help me discover this gorgeous city. Please share more from there !

  • Reply Rahul Khurana April 28, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    I have covered 8 of the 12 spots you have jotted down. Mcleaodganj is one of the best hill stations i have been to. There’s a lot of stuff to do there. Like the way you have described the places and you guys are always smiling. Great going.!!!

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