Dharamshala is a hill station lying on the spur of the Dhauladhar range about 17 kms north- east of Kangra town. This hill station is wooded with oak and conifer trees and snow capped mountains enfold three sides of the town while the valley stretches in front. The snowline is perhaps more easily accessible at Dharamshala than at any other hill resort and it is possible to make a day’s trek to a snow-point after an early morning’s start. Dharamshala is also the headquarter of the Kangra district.
Dharamshala is also famous for its large Tibetan community centred around the activities of the Dalai Lama.
Lower Dharamsala, consists of most of the government offices, Schools, the local Hospital, and commercial areas. It also has a few tea gardens. One in the area of Chilgari and another just beyond Dari. It is a typical small Indian town that, other than for the bus station, is of little interest to tourists. One can enjoy the view while driving through.
Upper Dharamsala, known more commonly as McLeod Ganj is named after David McLeod the once the British Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab. It is home to the Tibetan community and the centre of tourist activity. Unless specifically stated, all listings in this article refer to McLeod Ganj.
Bhagsu, is 2 km north and has become a commercialised warren of concrete.
Dharamkot, is the flavour of the month.
Villages near McLeod Ganj include Forsyth Ganj, a short hike away on the way up from Lower Dharamsala.
For a quiet and basic experience, try Naddi (3 km) or Talnu (11 km).
General information about Dharamshala
Languages Spoken: Hindi, Punjabi, English and Pahari are understood and spoken by the people engaged in tourism trade
Shopping centres: Kotwali Bazar, a general shopping area, and McLeod Ganj for Tibetan handicrafts
Area: 5739 sq. km
Population: 13.39 lakh
Altitude: Between 1250 m to 1550 m (Dharamshala)
Temperature: Max. 38 C in June; Min. 0 C in Jan.
Annual rainfall: Varies between 290 cm to 380 cm second highest rainfall in the country.
Best season: January to June; September to December. July-August is rainy season.
Winter: Heavy Woollens
Summer: Light Woollens and tropical