Blessed with Beauty :- A British officer once wrote, “No scenery presents such sublime and delightful contrasts. Below lies the plains, a picture of rural loveliness and repose… turning from the scene of peaceful beauty, the stern and majestic hills confront us”. It might be added that the contrasts of Dharamshala go beyond the visual.
This unique resort is cradled on three sides by the folds of the mighty Dhauladhar range which rises to 5,200 meters. The drama of contrast continues, unfolding two distinct divisions each with its own personality; lower Dharamshala, a busy. Hindu dominated commercial and civic centre. Rich in myth and legend, the area abounds in some of the most highly revered temples (including some fascinating cave shrines) which attract streams of devotees from all over India.
Upper Dharamshala enfolds Forsythegunj and Mcleodganj… a tranquil Tibetan Buddhist settlement and the home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Since second of half of 20th century, more than 10,000 Tibetan refugees have considered this area their second home and much of Dharamshala pulsates with the sights, sounds and scents of old Tibet.
The reverberations of Buddhism, cheerful lamas, interesting traditional handicraft, the aroma of spicy Tibetan food and a potpourri of people to soak it all in; here you find a lingering aura all its own. Sheltered under the paternal, perennially snow-capped Dhauldahars, the area is also at the nucleus of the Kangra Valley, known for its exceptional, pastoral beauty. And so, mango and the deodar, the snows and springtime, fun and faith… nature has bestowed upon this region, an entire world, and all the seasons in a day for those willing to experience them.
Bhagsunag :- (11 km. from Dharamsshala) Known for an old temple, a fresh water spring, water falls and slate quarries.
Chamunda Devi Temple :- (15 km. from Dharamshala) This temple is situated on the right bank of the ‘Baner’ stream with the Dhauladhar as a backdrop, this has an idol of goddess Chamunda, who, it is said, was given the boon to fulfil the desires of those who worshipper her. On the back of the temple is a cave niche where a stone ‘Lingam’ under a boulder represents Nandi Keshwar (Shiva).
Chinmaya Tapovana :- (10 km. from Dharamshala) Situated on a hillock is the recently established ‘ashram’ complex by Swami Chinmayananda, who was a great exponent of the Gita. It is a beautiful place to visit.
ST. John’s Church :- (8 km. from Dharamshala) The Church lies in the forest between Mcleodganj and Forsythganj. It has a monument dedicated to Lord Elgin, one of the Viceroys of india, who died at Chauntra (Mandi district) and was buried here in 1863. The Church has lovely spotted glass windows and there is Christian cemetery around it.