In the lap of the mountains of Kangra

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December 1st 2018
Published: December 7th 2019
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The summer of 2018 was exciting and intriguing for me as I had a chance to visit Dharmashala, a sleepy little town in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Of all the places I have been before and wanted to go, Dharmashala excited me the most. It radiates a mystical charm that feels different from the other towns of Himachal. It probably has something to do with the monks and monasteries, and the shade of Tibetan culture over the town. In recent years, Dharmashala has almost become a center for the exiled Tibetan government. If it was not for the local folk and the language, I probably would have thought that I am in Tibet.

Dharmashala is divided into the upper section, which is McLeodganj, and the lower section which is the main town. Living accommodations are plenty in both the sections, but I would strongly suggest to take up lodging in the upper section as I found the town area to be congested and comparatively expensive. Plus, the view of the Himalayas you get from the upper section is second to none. It is one of the things in this region that attracts thousands every year. But Dharmashala is not just for the ones seeking quiet valleys of Kangra and the picturesque Himalayas. It can also be of interest to the people who are looking for the cafe culture and the hippie life. The town is full of eateries offering international cuisines, probably to attract and cater to the foreign tourists

In addition to the monasteries, the town is also home to temples and natural scenic spots, one of the major attraction being Bhagsu Falls which is within walking distance from the main market. Dharmashala is also popular as an important stop for trekkers. The pristine meadows of Dharamkot and Triund and the beautiful Indrahaar pass are one of the most popular trekking spots situated near Dharmashala. The experience of shopping in the town can be as fun as amusing. The shops offer a wide array of Tibetan jewelry, funky t-shirts, thangkas, mini prayer wheels, and colorful Tibetan flags. And, of course, bargaining skills are imperative for a complete shopping experience.

Dharmashala and the nearby areas are much more than what they seem at first glance. The mountains, the old forts and monasteries, the local market and the locals, the hustle and bustle of tourists and the serenity of the valleys - they all come together in this town to create a wholesome experience which makes you want to come back for more.

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