Dharamshala – home of the exiled Tibetan government and dramatic Himalayan vistas. This remote mountain retreat is steeped in Buddhism, from the red-and-gold Tsuglagkhang temple complex, set up by the Dalai Lama himself upon fleeing Tibet, to bronze prayer wheels and Tibetan gongs. Robed monks come here to chant, worship and listen to the Dalai Lama’s regular teachings, while monkeys jump on the roof and florists cut fresh mountain flowers to leave as offerings at this spiritual centre for Tibetan Buddhism, whose library contains thousands of sacred manuscripts.
Surrounded by cedar forests and ice-topped peaks where eagles circle, Dharamshala is spoilt with mountainous scenery. The best way to absorb these views is on a 40-minute hike to Bhagsu Falls or on a longer Tirund Trek to reach meditation retreats above the clouds. Back in town, market vendors operate a brisk trade in knitted hats, socks and scarfs, while the nearby Tibet Museum tells the story of the bloody Chinese invasion. After exploring, retreat to one of Dharamshala’s many wooden cafés which serve up fat momos, Tibetan noodle soup and decadent pancakes accompanied by magical mountain views.
Dharamshala’s distinctive blend of Tibetan Buddhism and Himalayan scenery is best absorbed on a trip with a local guide. Speak to our India experts to arrange a tour.
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