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A number of pilgrimage centers and Hindu temples are situated in Himachal Pradesh.
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Home » Destinations » DHARAMSHALA

DHARAMSHALA

The High snow clad Dhauladhar ranges form a magnificent backdrop to the hill resort of Dharamsala. This is the principal township of Kangra district and overlooks wide spread of the plains. With dense pine and deodar forests, numerous streams, cool healthy air, attractive surroundings and the nearby snowline, Dharamsala has everything for a perfect holiday. It is full of life and yet peaceful. The headquarters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama are at upper Dharamsala. Covering a wide area in the form of twin settlement, lower Dharamsala (1380m) is a busy commercial centre. While upper Dharamsala (1830m) with the suburbs of Mcleodganj and Forsytheganj, retains a British flavor and colonial lifestyle. The charming church of St. John in the wilderness is situated here and this is the final resting place of Lord Elgin, a British Viceroy of India during the 19th century. There is also a large Tibetan community who have made this place their home. Numerous ancient temples like Jwalamukhi, Brijeshwari and Chamunda lie on the plains below Dharamsala.


PLACES OF INTEREST
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The variety Dharamsala offers for sightseeing ranges from temples, churches and monasteries to museums, ancient towns and places of natural beauty. Every season and every spot has its own special offering.
KANGRA ART MUSEUM, KOTWALI BAZAR : This treasure trove of the Kangra Valley displays arts, crafts and rich past, artifacts that date back to the 5th century. It includes a gallery of Kangra's famous miniature painting and a representative collection of sculptures, pottery and anthropological items. Shamianas and dresses used by local royalty, old carved doors, jails, lintels and pandals are also on display Coins, jewelry and manuscripts are included. A section houses the work of contemporary artists, sculptures and photographers.

WAR MEMORIAL : At there start of town, landscaped lawns and a web of narrow paths fill a pine grove where a monument has been raised to commemorate the post independence war heroes of Himachal Pradesh. KUNAL PATHRI : A 3 km level walk from the Kotwali Bazaar leads up to this rock temple.

ST. JOHN'S CHURCH : 8 km from Dharamsala, between Forsythganj and Mcleodganj is the charming church of St. John in the Wilderness. Under the shade of deodar branches, a memorial has been erected over the body of the British Viceroy, Lord Elgin who died at Dharamsala in 1863. There is a well tended old graveyard on these grassy sloped.

MCLEODGANJ : Often called the Little Lhasa, at 1770m is the residence of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Government in exile has been head quartered here for over three decades. The impressive monastery has larger than life images of the Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avaloktwshwara. The large Tibetan community and the presence of traditional architectural designs drawn from Tibet have enhanced the area. Tibetian handicrafts and garments are available on sale every Sunday. The Tibetian Institute of Performing Arts is just a km away and organises a ten day festival from the second Saturday of April.

DAL LAKE : 11 km from Dharamsala and surrounded by deodar trees this is an enchanting and serene picnic spot.

BHAGSUNATH : Close to fresh springs, this ancient temple is 11 km from Dharamsala. It is a popular picnic spot and the famous slate quarries are close by.

CHINMAYA TAPOVAN : 10 km from Dharamsala on the banks of the rivulet Bindusaras, is an ashram complex established by the late Swami Chinmayananda, a noted exponent of the Gita. The complex includes a 9 meter high image of Lord Hanuman, a magnificent Rama Temple, a meditation hall, a school, and a health and recreation centre.

NURPUR : 66km from Dharamsala and 26 km from Pathankot, Nurpur is famous for old fort and a temple of Brijraj. Nurpur acquired its name in 1672, when Jahangir, the Mughal Emperor named it after his wife Nurjahan

OTHER ATTRACTIONS : The temple of Jwalamukhi, Chamunda Devi and Brijeshwari Devi are other pilgrim centers close to Dharamsala. The fort of Kangra and Ma11ngarh are other attractions.

ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES AND SPORTS : Between May and October, the Dhauladhar ranges offer an enormous variety of trekking and rock climbing.

FISHING : The 20 km stretch of the river Beas between Nadaun and Pong Dam offers ample opportunities in angling for Mahaseer

SHOPPING : For local handicrafts visit Kotwali Bazar, Tibetan handicrafts and carpets are available at Mcleodganj.



PALAMPUR

In local parlance, the word for lot of water is "pulum". This is what has given Palampur (1249 m) its name and its water has given the valley so much of its character. Countless streams criss-cross the landscape and in their intricate mesh, hold tea gardens and rice fields. The town came into being when tea plantation was introduced in the 19th century and Palampur became a focus for the planters. Kangra tea, with its center at Palampur, has been internationally acclaimed since then.


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To further bless the area with remarkable natural beauty, the Dhauladhar ranges rise dramatically just beyond Palampur. The town itself has interesting colonial architecture and the area around is richly garnished with historical temples and forts and scores of picturesque hamlets.



JOGINDER NAGAR

In 1925, the enterprising Raja Joginder Sen of Mandi created an elaborate hydel power scheme near the village of Sukrahatti which was then renamed Joginder Nagar (1220m) after him. After tunneling and piping the water over several kilometers from the river Uhl to Joginder Nagar, the Shanan power house was built by a team of engineers headed by Col. Batty. Later, the HP State Electricity Board added another set of turbines at nearby Bassi.

Joginder Nagar has everything for a quite and relaxing holiday and leaves options open for trekking, fishing, sightseeing, picnics and enjoyable drives in the area.


PLACES OF INTEREST
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MACCHIYAL LAKE : 6 km from the Hotel Uhl is this small but enchanting lake held sacred to Machendru Devta

BASSI POWER HOUSE : 6 km from the hotel is an attractive picnic spot.

BIR : 16 km from Joginder Nagar, this is a Tibetan settlement with a beautiful monastery.

BAIJNATH : 20 km from Joginder Nagar is this exquisite temple where Lord Shiva is worshipped as Vaidyanath - 'The Lord of Physicians'. The original temple was built in 804 A.D. Here King Ravana is said to have supplicated Lord Shiva for this boon of immortality.

JHATINGRI (2012 m) : 12 km from Joginder Nagar is this enchanting spot at top of a hill. Surrounded by thick deodar forest, the ruins of the summer palace of the Mandi rulers is located here and the vistas it unfolds are breath-taking.

BAROT : 22 km by road from Joginder Nagar, and 11 km by the Haulage trolley, Barot packs an enormous range of outdoor activities. The reservoir of the power project is located here. A trout breeding centre making it a wonderful place for angling. Across the river Uhl is the Nargu Wild Life Sanctuary home to the ghoral, Himalayan black bear and a variety of pheasants.



CHAMBA

Chamba town (915m). stands on the right bank of the river Ravi. As a former princely State, it is one of the oldest in the century and dates back to the sixth century. It is well known for its splendid architecture and a base for numerous excursions. It is also the district headquarters.


PLACES OF INTEREST
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LAXMI NARAYAN TEMPLE COMPLEX : With six main Shikhara style temples and several smaller shrines, this is renowned for its finely executed classical forms.

HARI RAI TEMPLE : This is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and dates back to the 11th Century.

OTHER TEMPLES : The profusion of temples in Chamba and their craftsmanship is remarkable. Some important shrines are Champavati, Vijreshwari, Sui Mata and Chamunda Devi.

THE CHOWGAN : Chamba's wide concourse is the hub of much of towns activity and also serves as its promenade.

RANGMAHAL : This old palace is an interesting mix of colonial and local architectural styles.

AKHAND CHANDI PALACE : Now a college, this imposing building once housed Chamba's ruling family. Much of the original craftsmanship can still be seen.

BHURI SINGH MUSEUM : Named after Raja Bhuri Singh of Chamba, this is a treasure house of Chamba's rich past. The exhibits include copper plates, murals, doorways, costumes, paintings and stone carvings.

ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH : Over a century old, this is a charming dressed stone structure with lancet windows.

BHARMOUR (69 Km) : Its 84 ancient temples at a height of 2141m are well known. It is also the summer home of the nomadic Gaddi people.

MANIMAHESH (98 Km) : This sacred lake (4183m) is associated with Lord Shiva and is a site of annual pilgrimage from mid of August to mid of September each year. Distance from Bharmaur is 28 Km.

CHATRARI (45 Km) : An attractive temple to Shakti Devi is located here.



KHAJJIAR

Often called India's Switzerland, the exquisite glade of Khajjiar (1960m) has a circumference of about 5 km. Along its fringes, thick forests of deodar climb the slopes, the snow-line rests above these woods. At Khajjiar there is a 12th century temple dedicated to KhajjI Nag. Within the temple are life size wooden images of the five Pandav brothers.


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DALHOUSIE

In western Himachal Pradesh, the hill station of Dalhousie is full of old world charm and holds lingering echos of the Raj era. It covers an area of 14 sq. km. and is built on five hills - Kathlog, Patreyn, Tehra, Bakrota and Balun. It is named after the British governor General of the 19th century, Lord Dalhousie. The town's average height is 2036 m, and is surrounded by varied vegetation - pines, deodars, oaks and flowering rhododendron. Dalhousie has charming colonial architecture, including some beautiful churches. Its location presents panoramic views of the plains and like a long silver line, the river Ravi twists and turns below Dalhousie. The spectacular snow-covered Dhauladhar mountains are also visible form this enchanting town.


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PLACES OF INTEREST
CHURCHES : There are four beautiful churches in Dalhousie. These are St. Andrew's Church and St. Patrick's Church at Balun, St. Francis church at Subhash Chowk and St.John's Church at Gandhi Chowk.

SUBHASH BAOLI (1 km) : It was at this enchanting spot surrounded by majestic trees, that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose spent time in 1937, contemplating and meditating.

PANCHPULA (3 km) : This is a picturesque spot where a stream feed a series of pools. A monument has been built here in memory of the freedom fighter, Sardar Ajit Singh.

KALATOP (10 km) : This wild life sanctuary is a home to the 'ghoral' and Himalayan black bear.

SHOPPING : Tibetan handicrafts including pullovers and carpets at Dalhousie. Chamba Slippers, 'Rumals' and Shawls at Chamba town.



KINNAUR

Kinnaur - the land of fairy tales and fantasies, has a spectacular terrain of lush green valley, orchards, vineyards, snow clad peaks and cold desert mountains. It is a border district of Himachal Pradesh. Kinnaur is also rich in flora & fauna. The culture and language is different from other parts of the state. Kinnaur, the tribal district of Himachal Pradesh, lies 250 km away from Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh and is situated on the NH - 22 (Hindustan Tibet Road).


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The landscape of the area varies from lush green orchards of the scenic Sangla Valley to the stark magnificence of the Hangrang Valley. The massive snow clad ranges that provide a regal dignity to the scene are dominated by the peak of Kinner Kailash. Kalpa is one of the biggest and beautiful villages of Kinnaur. One can enter Kinnaur district at Village Chshora and follow a straight line road constructed in vertical rock and it is a rare treat to travel on this road which is a great engineering feat.



KALPA

Situated at the height of 2758 m above the sea level and 110 km from Sarahan, Kalpa is a beautiful and main village of Kinnaur. Across the river faces the majestic mountains of the Kinner Kailash range. These are spectacular sights early in the morning as the rising sun touches the snowy peaks with crimson and golden light.


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PLACES OF INTEREST
RECONG PEO (2670M) : Located 240 km from Shimla, 7 km from Powari and 13 km from Kalpa. Recong Peo is the headquarter of district Kinnaur.

KOTHI : Just 3 km from Recong Peo. Kothi has a temple dedicated to the goddess Chanadika Devi. Set against a backdrop of mountains and graves of the deodar the temple has an unusual architectural style and fine sculpture. An exquisite gold image of goddess is enshrined in sanctum.

SANGLA VALLEY : If a landscape had the powers of casting spells, then the Sangla valley would be a magician extraordinary. Once seen, it is a place that can never be forgotten. Even the rushing waters of the Baspa river, that flow through its 95 km length, seem to absorb some of the magic and slow down to savor its snow-frame beauty. 2 km from Sangla is the fort of Kamru (300 m) its tower like architecture resembles that of the Bhima Kali complex and this was the origin of rulers of Bushehar. Chitkul (3450 m) is the last village of the valley and beyond lies Tibet.

RIBA (2745M) : Just 18 km from Powari on NH-22 is famous for its vineyards and local wine 'Angoori' made from grapes.

JANGI : 26 km from Powari, the inner border is located here beyond which foreigners require permit to travel upto Tabo. From this point the famous Kinner Kailash Parikarama Trek starts touching Morang, Thangi and Kunocharang villages and entering Chitkul village in Sangla Valley.

PUH (2837m) : Lush green fields, orchards of apricot, almond trees and vineyards, are to be seen on route to Puh. Just 58 km from Powari along the NH-22, Puh has rest house and basic hotel facilities.

NAKO (3662m) : 117 km from Kalpa. In Hangrang Valley is the largest village above sea level. It is also famous for Nako Lake which has boating facilities in summer and during winter its frozen surface is used for ice skating. Buddhist monastery is located here.

TABO (3050m) : 163 km from Kalpa and 27 km from Sando the ancient village, Tabo is situated on the left bank of river Spiti. Flanked on either side by hills, it is one of the most important Buddhist monasteries regarded by many as only next to the Tholing Gompa in Tibet. It is also known as the Ajanta of the Himalayas. Tabo is the largest monastic complex of Spiti which has since been declared a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India.

KAZA (3600m) : 210 km from Kalpa 47 from Tabo. The headquarters of Spiti sub-district, Kaza is on the bank of river Spiti. In earlier times, it was the capital of Nono, the chief of Spiti. It has a Buddhist Monastery and Hindu Temple.

KEY GOMPA (4116m) : 7 km from Kaza. The largest monastery in Spiti Valley. Established in the 11th century, it has ancient Buddhist scrolls and paintings. Also houses the largest number of Buddhist monks and nuns.

KIBBER (4205 m) : 18 km from Kaza. The highest village in the world which is connected by a motorable road and also the highest village in the world which has its own polling station during elections.

KUNZAM PASS (4551m) : 76 km: One of the highest motorable passes. Goddess Kunjum keeps guard over the pass and wards of the evil.



KAZA

Situated at an altitude of 3600 meter above sea level on left bank of river Spiti is presently the headquarters of Spiti sub division. Translated, 'Spiti' means the 'middle country' - a name obviously given as a result of its ties with both India and Tibet. With freckles of green over a dry, weather-beaten face, Spiti is a cold desert where the monsoon rain never comes. It is characterised by stark beauty, narrow valleys and high mountains. A century ago, Rudyard Kipling in Kim called Spiti "a world within a world" and a "place where the gods live" - a description that holds true to the present day.


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PLACES OF INTEREST
TABO (3050 m) : 163 km from Kalpa is the ancient village of Tabo, situated on the left bank of river Spiti. Flanked on either sides by hills, its has one of the most important Buddhist monasteries regarded by many as only next to the Tholing Gompa in Tibet. It is also known as the Ajanta of the Himalayas. Tabo is the largest monastic complex of Spiti which has since been declared a protected monument under the aegis of Archaeological Survey of India.

KAZA (3600m) : 210 Km from Kalpa, 47 km from Tabo. The headquarters of Spiti sub-district, Kaza lies on the bank of river Spiti. In earlier times, it was the capital of Nono, the Chief of Spiti. It has a Buddhist Monastery and Hindu Temple.

KEY GOMPA (4116m) : 7 km from Kaza. The largest monastery in Spiti Valley. Established in the 11th century has ancient Buddhist scrolls and paintings. It also houses large number of Buddhist monks and nuns.

KIBBER (4205m) : 18 km from Kaza. The highest village in the world which is connected by motorable road and is the highest habitated village in the world which has its own polling station during elections.

DHANKAR (3890m) : 24 km from Tabo, this place is famous for a Buddhist monastery. PIN VALLEY : The Pin valley lies below the Kungri Glacier and has several beautiful and important monasteries. iT is called the land of Ibex and snow leopards.

KUNZAM PASS (4551m) : 76 km. One of the highest motorable pass. Goddess Kunjum keeps guard over this pass and wards off evil.

CHANDER TAL LAKE (4270m) : 7 km from Kunzam Pass, is one of the most beautiful lakes in the entire Himalayan region. Surrounded by snow, this deep blue water lake has a circumferences of 2.5 km. River Chandra flows very close to the lake.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR INDIAN AND FOREIGN TOURISTS
The Kinnaur and Spiti area of Himachal Pradesh has been opened to Indian and Foreign tourists. While going via Shimla and Rampur - Kalpa, Recong Peo and Sangla Valley can be visited by Indians and Foreigners without any restrictions. To travel beyond Jangi in Kinnaur to Kaza in Spiti one requires an inner line permit for foreign nationals which can be obtained from the following offices:

The best place to get the permit is at Rampur and Recong Peo. The office of the SDM at Rampur is just opposite the Police Station in the main bazaar and the office of the District Magistrate at Recong Peo is near the bus station. The permit is free of cost and holds good for seven days. To get a permit, one must have a letter of introduction from a recognised travel agency, three passport size photos, and a photocopy of the front pages of the passport. Making several copies of the permit is suggested, as one may have to submit them at checkpoints on the way. Foreign nationals can travel with permits in a group of four or more persons. Foreign nationals cannot stay overnight between Jangi and Kaza.

Indian nationals do not require any permit to travel in this area however retaining a proof of identity is suggested.






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