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Dharamsala is one of the places to visit in Himachal Pradesh and is thronged by several tourists every year. One of the most popular regions in Dharamsala is McLeod Ganj which is the seat of the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama. It is known for its natural beauty, amazing climate and more so for the tranquil and peaceful atmosphere. You can see monks going about their day here and prayer wheels spinning in monasteries. The feel of the place is very different from other hill stations in India. However, in the recent past, due to its popularity several tourists have visited Dharamsala resulting in a number of hotels cropping up here. If you are looking for some solitude, you should avoid going during the peak season which is the summer months. However, when you do go, here are the places you can visit in Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj. Also Read - India vs South Africa: Ravi Shastri Unnecessarily TROLLED For Having Coffee With Shikhar Dhawan Ahead of T20I Opener at Dharamsala | SEE POSTS
Norbunlingka Institute of Tibetan Culture Also Read - India vs South Africa: Stats Prove Junior Dala Would be Massive Threat For Rohit Sharma During T20I Opener at Dharamsala
An institute dedicated to preserving Tibetan art and tradition, Norbunlingka Institute was established in 1988 and provides education and training to Tibetans. It has a tall Buddha statue and the seat of the Happiness Temple. The institute was named after Dalai Lamas summer residence in Tibet. If you wish to buy traditional clothing and Tibetan art, you can do so from the shops outside the institute. One more place of interest here is the Losel Doll Museum which was crafted by monks and has the largest collection of Losel Dolls in the world. What started in 1983 as a way of preserving Tibetan tradition and costumes is today a popular tourist attraction. There are two guesthouses run by the institute where you can stay during your holiday. The institute is in Sidhpur which is near Dharamsala.
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Also known as Dalai Lamas temple, Namgyal Monastery is a must-visit when in McLeod Ganj. After Dalai Lama fled Tibet, he established this monastery where he could carry out his Tibetan practices and rituals. Today, the monastery is one of the main attractions of the place where people can experience Tibetan culture and learn more about the same. It also manages an elderly home and temple and is the home of the Dalai Lama.
If you are looking for some adventure, an easy trek from Dharamsala is to Triund, a beautiful place surrounded by hills, clouds and peaks. The view is simply breathtaking and you can pitch your tent here or stay in one already here. The trek will tell you about three hours and once here, you will be greeted with amazing views. Even if you are not a trekker, this is a beginners trek and even elderly people can go for it. There are a few stalls here that serve hot paranthas and tea and you can carry some dry snacks with you for the trek. We suggest spending the night here in the tents but make sure you carry your warm clothes along as the night can be pretty cold. Gaze at the starry sky and even spot shooting stars from your tent.
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Naam Art Gallery
If you are an art lover or admirer or even an artist yourself, a visit to Naam Art Gallery in McLeod Ganj is a must. The famous gallery has paintings by artists Elsbeth Buschmann and AW Hallett who have studied in Paris and London and their work is so popular in the state that even the Himachal government owns many of their paintings. Witness contemporary art and keep at least two to three hours to explore the gallery. Naam Art Gallery is on Chamunda Road in McLeod Ganj.
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium
One of the highest cricket stadium in the country, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium has seen matches of IPL and is the home stadium for Kings XI Punjab team. Mostly Ranji Trophy matches are played here. However, even if you dont want to watch a match, you can visit the stadium as a section of it stays open for visitors and tourists. The green cover and the colorful architecture surrounding it makes for a click-worthy backdrop. It is open on all days of the week.
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Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts
Abbreviated as TIPA, this institute was established in 1959 to preserve Tibetan heritage and culture. After Dalai Lama fled Tibet along with thousands of refugees, India gave them a place to settle. He realized it was important for him to keep the tradition and culture alive for the refugees who left their home. And so, he created this institute with the help of the refugees who were ready to volunteer. It soon became an important social centre for people to mingle and showcase their talents. Soon, an annual 10-day Shoton Festival began that runs even today and attracts people from all over the state. This helps Tibetans to showcase their heritage to a large number of people and also meet others their kind.
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Apart from Tibetan culture and art, McLeod Ganj has other attractions also to offer. One of them is Bhagsunag Waterfalls that is on the way to the temple of the same name. Every year several devotees visit this shrine and en route witness the might of the waterfall. However, you can trek to this waterfall to admire its beauty. This tourist attraction is an hours trek away from McLeod Ganj and makes for a good day picnic with family and friends. The hills surrounding the waterfall and the Shiva cafe near it are other attractions to look out for when here.
McLeod Ganj falls in the upper region of Dharamsala. When in Dharamsala, do try the local cuisine. Apart from Indian, you can also relish authentic Israeli and Tibetan food in this region. December is an offbeat season to visit Dharamsala but for snow-lovers, this is the best time to witness a white winter. You will find several accommodation options including hotels and guesthouses for every budget.
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