Dharamsala is where India meets Tibet. Just three kilometres north of Dharamsala is a suburb known as McLeod Ganj where His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama resides and which is home to a large Tibetan population, including many monks and nuns.  Dharamsala attracts thousands of national and international visitors every year primarily to volunteer with the Tibetan community, take courses in Buddhism, to learn meditation or yoga, trek in Triund or the Dhauladhar mountains, shop for Tibetan crafts, or just to soak in the peaceful and spiritual vibe and the many good cafes and restaurants serving various cuisines.

That’s not all, if you are an art lover or an artist yourself, visiting to Naam Art Gallery would be a feather in your cap. The beautiful gallery has paintings by famous artists Elsbeth Buschmann and AW Hallett and might inspire you to create your next master piece.

Hot-steamed momos, soupy vegetable broth with noodles called thupka, and rice and bean are the staples in this hilly town, but the cafes deserve a special mention because they take the gastronomic experience a notch higher with world class quality food. You could try one for every meal that you eat:  Located within Dalai Lama’s temple, Namgyal cafe offers vegetarian fair. Trying one of their pizzas on their terrace on a sunny day could make you really happy. Another tranquil cafe is Illiterati, which is owned by a charming Belgian. You guessed it right, food appealing to those with European tastes fare big on the menu. The best part about this place though is its big balcony with a spectacular view of Dharamsala’s rolling green hills. Another favourite is Mclo Restaurant perched above the noisy main square. The menu consists of all kinds of cuisine since it tends to attract a cosmopolitan crowd. Making it a great place to socialise with travellers too!

One could also go on and on about the sweeping valleys, and majestic mountains and nature’s bounty but a few key places to absolutely visit are: Kangra Valley; it makes you feel as if those desktop wall-papers are for real. It’s a great place for walking, bird watching, trekking, mountaineering and rock climbing. Bhagsu Falls which is 20 meters high waterfall, situated in the village of Bhagsunag, just two kilometers away from McLeod Ganj, is great for photography. And camping in a tent in Kareri Lake or Indrahar Pass.

Dharamsala

Image Courtesy: Getty

Nothing quite beats the quiet of the mountains, and when all else fails to enamour you, rent a bicycle and peddle away to experience something magical.