Kangra Valley is situated in Himachal Pradesh, India. It is one of the most picturesque valleys of the lower Himalayas. It is a popular tourist destination, with the peak season around March and April. 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. Dharamsala, the headquarters of Kangra district, lies on the southern spur of Dhauladhar in the valley
The upper part of Dharamshala is better known as Mcleodganj. Owing to the development of several monasteries and Tibetan schools at Mcleodganj, the hill station is also referred to as the 'Little Lhasa of India'.
Mcleodganj is relatively more peaceful than lower Dharamshala. You should visit this town. The 14th Dalai Lama, live at a mere five minute walk from here. The Buddha temple is situated opposite the present abode of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. The sanctity of Buddhism is so inspiring here that it is sometimes said that Tibet has lent importance to Mcleodganj. The major highlight of this small panoramic lies in its Monasteries, Restaurants, Antique and Curios shops that have been nourished with the old world colonial charm. Surrounded by Pine, Deodar and Rhododendron forests Mcleodganj at the height of nearly 1,800 meters, has an idyllic location. Being at a just stone throw distance from Dharamshala, it is very easy to reach Mcleodganj.
Triund is a perfect destination for the adventure. It is a popular picnic and trekking spot. Accommodation is available in the rest house of Forest Department, but water has to be fetched from a distance of about 2kms.
Mcleodganj to Triund is a fascinating 9 km trek which involves crossing Rakkar and Dharamkot villages. On this interesting trekking journey one comes across Galu Devi which is a small shrine and a water point. On the way to Triund you will have to pass through jungles of rhododendrons and oaks. Here you can find avian population along with wild goats, black bear and pigs which are also found in the region. Finally on reaching Triund you will find a forest bungalow which was built a few years ago.
Dal Lake is a small mid-altitude lake (1,775 m above sea level) near the village of Tota Rani in Kangra district (Himachal Pradesh) in northern India. The picturesque Dal Lake is about 11km from lower Dharamsala and 3 km away from upper Dharamshala. Dal Lake is the starting point of trekking in the region. The oval shaped artificial lake, surrounded by fir trees is a must visit destination of the hill station. It is considered as a sacred spot as there is small Shiva mandir (shrine) on its bank. There are different kinds of fish that live in this lake. This lake has greenish water. A casual stroll around the lake is also immensely enjoyed by tourists visiting Dal Lake. The Dal Lake every year comes to life in the month of September when an annual fair is held at the banks of the lake.
Dharamkot is 11km from Dharamsala. It is a favorite tourist destination. The site is noted for its scenic splendor of the majestic mountainous terrain. Dharamkot offers an enchanting view of the Kangra valley and Dauladhar ranges. It also offers you an absolutely stunning view of the mountains, the pine trees and Deodar forests that surround Dharamsala. You can even see the steep valley leading to Kangra here.
This memorial is built near the entry point to Dharamsala to commemorate the memory of those who fought in defense of the motherland. For example, the wall of the memorial is curved, signifying the continuity of life and the fact that these great soldiers will immortal in the minds of Indians forever. It is a very beautiful place to visit in the afternoon. It Surrounded by landscaped gardens, and poetic little paths, you are led to the Memorial by a storybook pine trail. People offer prayers at this memorial place.
Kunal Pathri Temple (located in the Dhauladhar Ranges in Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh) which is rock pilgrimage near dharamsala. It is just 3-km level walk from Kotwali Bazaar. Its said that there used to live a great devotee of lord Vishnu named Kunal. This temple is dedicated to goddess Kapaleshwari. It has beautiful carvings of gods and goddesses. It is believed that the skull of Devi Sati (Dakshayani), the wife of Lord Shiva, fell here after being cut off by the Chakra of Lord Vishnu into fifty-one pieces, to stop the ferocious dance, Tandava Nritya, of Shiva carrying the corpse of Sati (Dakshayani).
It is a world famous church built in the memory of lord Elgin, the Scottish working peer and eighth Viceroy. In 1896, he took vacations from official Shimla. He was not able to finish his four-year term and died in Dharamsala. Before his death he had given instructions to be buried in the Church of St. John. Inside the church is the monument of this Viceroy.
The shrine of Bhagasunath is famous for its ancient temple. Bhagsunath Temple, an ancient temple 3 km east of Mcleodganj and 11 km from Dharamsala , Himachal Pradesh. Slate quarries are found here. There is a tank and spring which are considered sacred by the Hindus. Bhagsunath, an attractive tourist spot, is located at the outskirts of Mcleodganj. Other major attractions here are a serene spring and a small but majestic waterfall. The region offers breathtaking views of surrounding hilly ranges and woody forests. The ambiance of the place is dynamic and the atmosphere is cool and pleasant. Cool breeze from the Himalayan ranges soothe the body and mind.
Chamunda Devi Temple is a renowned holy shrine of the Hindus. Located in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, Chamunda Devi Mandir is Located at a distance of 15 km from the main town of Dharamshala, This ancient temple dates back to the 16th century. The temple is dedicated to Chamunda Devi, who is a form of Durga / Shakti. The term 'Chamunda' has been derived from two words, 'Chanda' and 'Munda'. As per the mythological legends, Durga made a goddess with her power, to slay the demons, Chanda and Munda. With her immense power, the Goddess killed the demons. Goddess Durga became happy with the slaughter and blessed the goddess that she would be known and worshipped as Chamunda. In the corner of the temple, one can see small footsteps of the Goddess on a stone. Besides the main shrine, there is a marble staircase that takes down to the cave of Lord Shiva. This is a cave-like scoop where Shiva Lingam is placed. People visit this cave and worship Lord Shiva with great devotion. Chamunda Devi Mandir is believed to be the abode of 'Shiva and Shakti'. Due to this reason, it is also known as 'Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham' too. The shrine also holds significance due to the belief that praying here gives moksha or salvation to one's ancestors. The shrine perched on a hill top gives a breathtaking view of the mountains and the surrounding forests which will surely remain etched in your mind.
The famous Jwalamukhi Temple is about 56 km from Dharamsala in the Valley of Beas and situated 30 km south of Kangra valley. Dedicated to Goddess Jwalamukhi. Jwalamukhi is also known as the Flaming Goddess or She of the Flaming Mouth. There is a copper pipe in this temple through which natural gas comes out and the priest of the temple lights this. This flame is worshiped as a manifestation of the goddess Jwalamukhi. The nine flames have been named after Goddesses - Mahakali, Unpurna, Chandi, Hinglaj, Bindhya Basni, Maha Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ambika and Anji Devi. These flames burn continuously without any fuel or assistance and may be seen erupting from a rock-side. The local women who worship the Goddess here believe that she will grant any wish, any desire here. First built by the Sikh Raja Kharak Singh, the temple is ornate and heavily embellished with a gilt dome, lots of gold and decorated pinnacles. The doors of the temple are of pure silver. A canal channels the spring waters which come from a different source around the back of the temple and another local story states that the Emperor Akbar built this canal in an attempt to put out the flames in the temple. When it didn't work, he became an ardent devotee himself. In fact one of the local women's songs has lyrics that describe how Akbar came to the temple and placed his gold crown near the flames. The Goddess turned the gold to copper.
Trilokpur was Built in the year 1573 A.D. by Raja Dip Prakash, Trilokpur is an important religious place in Himachal Pradesh. In Trilokpur in Himachal Pradesh, the Temple of the Goddess Mahamaya Bala Sundri is located which is a famous pilgrimage destination of Himachal Pradesh. One of the famous Hindu Temples in Himachal Pradesh, The Trilokpur Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It attracts a number of devotees from the whole of Northern India. The Goddess of the Trilokpur Temple resembles a stone lingam like Lord Shiva. Ruins of palaces and Baradari of Lehna Singh Majitha, Governor of Kangra hills, are present high on the ridge of the cave. Twice a year a fair is held in Trilokpur which is visited by pilgrims from all over Northern India. It takes place during the Navratris and it is attended by a number of devotees.
St. John in the Wilderness is an Anglican church dedicated to Saint John built in 1852, located near Dharamsala, India, on way to Mcleodganj, at Forsyth Gunj. Set amidst deodar forest, and built in neo-Gothic architecture, the church is known for its Belgian stained-glass windows donated by Lady Elgin (Mary Louisa Lambton), wife of Lord Elgin. The British Viceroy Lord Elgin who initiated the development of the Church in Dharamshala died here and is buried in the cemetery close to the church. It is just fifteen minutes of walk away from Mcleodganj. The church is open between 10 am to 5 pm and provides one immense peace of mind on a visit here
Tsuglagkhang is the main temple of Buddhist. It is situated opposite the residence of Dalai Lama. In side of The temple houses you will find three main images, that of Sakyamuni Buddha, Avalokitesvara and Padmasambhava. Made of gilded bronze the principal image of Sakyamuni Buddha is about three meter high. The last two images face in the direction of Tibet. The image of Avalokitesvara is made of silver and has eleven faces, a thousand arms and a thousand eyes. The TsuglagKhang has the complete collection of the Kagyur and Tengyur, which are the direct teachings of Buddha and the commentaries on the Kagyur by Indian Buddhist scholars respectively. The central cathedral is a divine place and provides immense peace of mind and spiritual solace to a visitor.
Department of Religion and Culture founded the Norbulinka Institute of Tibetan Culture. The Tibetan Institute is the premier institute in the world which offers courses of study for Tibetan culture and arts. Institute aims at providing guidance to the Tibetan refugees in India about the culture, traditions, art and craft of Tibet. Situated at a distance of 4km from Dharamsala, near the residence of His Holiness Dalai Lama. Norbulingka Institute has been long established in the hill station since 1754. The institute derives its name from the summer residence of Dalai Lama Norbulingka meaning 'Jewel Garden'. A Japanese waterfall and rock garden make the entrance to this beautiful monastery all the more charming. In fact, the gardens are landscaped in the Japanese style but the Institute itself is designed in the traditional Tibetan style. As soon as you enter the Institute you will be greeted warmly by the Tibetans who live there and manage the place. The Norbulingka Institute houses three academies namely 'The Centre for Arts', 'The Academy of Tibetan Culture' and 'The Literary and Cultural Centre'. The institute is famous for producing Tibetan gift items, paintings, woodworks, metalwork, fashion accessories, silk paintings, furniture, Buddhist artifacts and much more.
The Dip Thekchen Choeling Monastery is the best place if one intends to know deeply about the Buddhist faith. The monastery stands tall in the pine forests and is visible from a distance due to its golden roof. The first floor of the monastery is a museum with bronze figures, Buddhist images and a collection of Mandalas. The library within the monastery has an exhaustive collection of ancient manuscripts, books on Buddhist philosophy, archival photographs on Tibet, prayer scrolls and sacred texts.
Kangra Art Gallery is situated in Kotwali Bazaar of Dharamsala. It was inaugurated in 1990. The Kangra Art Museum reflects the arts, crafts, history and culture of the people of the Kangra valley. It houses an impressive collection of arts, crafts, artifacts, costumes and other treasures, which can be traced to as far back as 5th century. The variety of items on display includes woodcarvings and tribal jewelry, sculptures and pottery, anthropological items, collections of coins and manuscripts, royal tents, Shamianas and pandals, etc. Kangra Art Museum also has a library and a separate section to display the works of contemporary artists, sculptors and photographers, which open from Tuesday to Sunday. There is also an art gallery that houses exemplary specimens of famous Kangra Kalam works or the Pahari miniature paintings, the exquisite art that is being actively promoted from the museum. This school of painting is famous for the use of seductive figures and fine colors
Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA) is situated at McLeodganj town of Dharamsala. It was founded by the 14th Dalai Lama and serves as an institution to preserve and promote Tibetan culture. The Library of Tibetan Work and Archives offers the tourists and the scholars with a wonderful opportunity to be acquainted with the rich traditional and indigenous cultural heritage of the Buddhists religious community. It has more than 80,000 Tibetan artifacts, such as statues, Tibetan thangkas, miniature paintings, books, documents, photographs and manuscripts, on display. The foundation stone for the Library's Tibetan style building was laid on 11th June 1970, in the hill station of Dharamsala, north India. It is situated within the premises of the Tibetan Government in exile, which was granted refuge at Dharamsala by the first Prime Minister of India, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. The library was inaugurated on 1st November 1971 and today, it serves as an education center for Tibetan culture and language in Himachal Pradesh. It has been working for more than 30 years now in this direction and still feels the need to do much more.
In the Year 1575, The Third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso, founded Namgyal Monastery. During that time, it was situated at the Potala Palace in Tibet. Its purpose was to assist the Dalai Lama in his spiritual duties and public religious activities. It was from here that he used to perform religious and ritual prayer ceremonies for the Tibetan Government and for the welfare of Tibet. However, it was later shifted and presently, it is situated in the Dharamsala town in Himachal Pradesh. It is also known as 'Namgyal Dratsang', which means 'Victorious Monastery'. The monastery is unique in itself, as Namgyal monks practice all types of prayers and rituals, including the diverse forms practiced by the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Namgyal monastery is situated next to the Central Cathedral. There are more than 180 monks at present. Young monks come here to study and master the major texts of Buddhist Sutra and Tantra.
You can enjoy a vacation in Himachal Pradesh and take an exclusive tour to the Kangra fort that is the oldest and the largest historical remains in Himachal Pradesh as well as India. Kangra fort is located at a convenient distance of 17 kms from Dharamshala. It was once the stronghold and seat of power of Katoch rulers, who ruled the land for over 2000 years. Today, it stands in ruins because of the devastating earthquake that hit the area in 1905. The location of the fort is such that it is inaccessible from three sides. Kangra Fort of Himachal Pradesh overlooks the rivers of Manjhi (or Patal Ganga) and Ban Ganga. This massive fort once housed the royal residences and shrines in its highest part. The fort spreads over a long stretch of land and has high ramparts and walls protecting it. They cover a circuit of around 4 kms. Go inside the fort complex to see various monuments like temples, museums and palaces, that serve as the major attractions of the Kangra fort. There are three richly carved temples in the vicinity-- Lakshmi Narayan temple, the Ambika temple and a Jain temple of Adi Narayan. These have delicately carved patterns and in their decorative and elaborate art they are reminiscent of Meenakshi Madurai complex (Tamil Nadu) or the temples of Orissa.
Nurpur Fort was constructed by Raja Basu, more than one thousand years ago. Nurpur Fort is Located 66 km from Dharamsala and 24 km from Pathankot. Initially, it was known as Dhameri. However, Jehangir, the grandson of Mughal Emperor Akbar, later renamed it as 'Nurpur', in the honor of his beloved wife 'Noor Jehan'. The fort lies on the banks of River Jabbar and falls under the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. One of the major attractions of Nurpur Fort is a very old Krishna Temple, known as the Temple of Bris Raj Bihari. According to the folklore, the idol of Lord Krishna that has been enshrined in the temple is the one that used to be worshipped by Meera Bai. The first mention of Nurpur Fort can be seen in the accounts of the historians belonging to the times of Mughal Emperor Akbar. Even though, the fort is now in ruins, it is still worth visiting, especially for its exquisite relief work.
Chinmaya Tapovan is a modern day ashram. It is situated at the foothills of the majestic Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalayas. It is about 10 km from Dharamsala, in Himachal Pradesh. The ashram was founded by late Swami Chimayananda, a great exponent of the Gita. The ashram is on the banks of River Bindu Saras and offers an environment of peace and calm. People in search for spiritual succor make their way to this ashram from all across the country and the world. It is a centre for the Chinmaya Rural Primary Health and Training Centre. The ashram complex has a 9 m high image of Lord Hanuman, a Ram temple, a meditation hall, a school, and a health and recreation center.
Interesting places near Chinmaya Tapovan are Chamundi Mandir, Jwalaji, Kangra Devi and Mcleodganj. A mini forest of pine trees, which is a few hundred yards away, is a very good picnic spot with absolutely no noise around.