While we know that suggesting Dharamshala as a road trip option from Delhi may sound like a cliché, we also believe that there’s always something new to discover in a place, every time you visit. We have great reasons for picking this gorgeous town with the mighty Dhauladhars as its backdrop for our next road trip post the pandemic. By Charu Chowdhary
Things to enjoy on a Delhi to Dharamshala road trip –
Verdant Scenery For The Win
Whether you drive your car to Dharamshala or hop onto a luxury bus from Delhi, the scenery en route is breathtaking, to say the least. With the winding roads swishing past with abundant greenery peppered across every frame, the time (nine hours approximately) on the road will pass by in a jiffy. If you’re a photographer, you’re in for an extra treat!
For Art And History Geeks
Nothing beats the charm of a place that can instantly transport you to a different era. Kangra Art Museum in Dharamshala is one such establishment we highly recommend to all travellers. You can freely roam about the premises of this 20th-century structure that houses artefacts dating back to the fifth century as well as art pieces by modern artists. Another must-visit site is the War Memorial surrounded by sprawling gardens. It was built in memory of the soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the country. Since it’s located amid the pine forests of Dharamshala, a walk through the woods comes as a bonus.
Nature Lover’s Delight
One of the best places to unwind in Dharamshala is the Dal Lake that falls on the way to Naddi Village. Surrounded by Deodar trees, the beautiful lake offers a serene setting for a quiet picnic. To get to Naddi Village, one can trek or hike for three kilometres from McLeodganj. The sunset point there offers one of the most panoramic views in the whole of Dharamshala. Another trekker’s delight is the route to Triund Hill. It’s one of the most sought-after treks in North India. What’s more? You can opt for an overnight camp in Triund as well.
Located in McLeodganj, about 30 minutes uphill from Dharamshala, Bhagsu Falls is an absolute must-visit. It’s a spectacle like no other and is particularly gorgeous during the monsoons. You can spot it on your way to Triund. You can also pay a quick visit to Bhagsunath Temple on the way to the Falls. In case you want a quick bite, stop by at Shiva Cafe, located right above the Falls for their delectable pizzas and milkshakes.
Dalai Lama Temple
Also located in Mcleodganj, this temple is referred to as Namgyal Monastery as well. It is one of the key attractions there, one that shouldn’t be missed at any cost. It is the current residence of the 14th Dalai Lama — an oasis of tranquillity. Keep an eye out for the red-robed monks either in prayer or meditation, various hand-made paintings of the Buddha, and a life-size statue of him inside the temple. You can also check out the Tibet Museum adjacent to the temple for some added insight into Buddhism.
Whether you are a cricket fan or not, you must include a visit to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) stadium in Dharamshala. Set against the backdrop of the mighty Dhauladhars, it is one of the most beautiful stadiums in the entire country. It can accommodate about 23,000 people at one time and has been home to iconic matches including those of the Ranji Trophy and the Indian Premier League.
Located on the outskirts of Dharamshala, this institute is dedicated to preserving Tibetan art and culture. Under the guidance of talented masters, the institute endows artists and craftsmen with ancestral knowledge. Thus, generating jobs for over 300 Tibetans.
You can ask for a guided tour to understand the splendour of Tibetan art better. Picking up some souvenirs to take home back with you is also highly recommended.
When Hunger Strikes
No bliss compares to that of having a piping hot meal in a cosy cafe at the foothills of the Himalayas. And trust us, there are innumerable gems peppered across Dharamshala. Some of the best places to check out are Cafe Illiterati for their chicken schnitzel; Peace Cafe for their Tibetan dishes; Moonpeak Espresso for their Himachali thalis; Morgan’s Place for their wood-fired pizzas; Woeser Bakery for their excellent bakes and great coffee; and Tibet Kitchen for their mutton momos and chicken thukpa.
Delhi to Dharamshala
Duration of the trip: 9 hours approx. (492 kilometres)
Best time to visit: February to June
Where to stay: Rakkh Resort, Adivaha
Where to eat: Moonpeak Espresso, Tibet Kitchen