The serenity of Dharamshala makes it the perfect location for the Dalai Lama to have his home. The exiled Tibetan government has made its home in Upper Dharamshala. Walking towards Upper Dharamshala, you can actually see and feel the change in the atmosphere as you seemingly walk into a different country. Spirituality covers Dharamshala like a blanket and it is easy to get lost in the Tibetan landscape. You may even stop feeling that you are in India thanks to the huge influx of Tibetan immigrants in the area.
How to Get There
By Air :
The nearest airport to Dharamshala is Gaggal airport around 15 km away from Dharamshala.
By Rail :
The nearest major railhead is in Pathankot, at a distance of 90 km.
By Road :
Dharamshala has a good network of well-connected roads that link Dharamshala with many cities and towns through the Inter State Bus Services. Distance to Dharamshala; Kangra- 35 km, Pathankot- 90 km, Dalhousie: 120 km
The Dalai Lama has his residence in McLeodGanj. Standing in McLeodGanj is no different from standing in a Tibetan city due to the strong influence of that culture. McLeodGanj is filled with Tibetan institutions and many Tibetan immigrants have made their home here following in the footsteps of the Dalai Lama. The town provides a good introduction into the Tibetan culture. You can enjoy many Tibetan music, dance and theatrical shows here.
St. John’s Church
The British heritage of McLeod can be seen through the Church of St. John in the Wilderness. The grey facade of the church helps in making the church look formidable. It is also decidedly gloomy and brooding from a distance. Come closer and you will be taken aback with the stunningly handsome stained glass windows. The graveyard is dominated by the imposing tomb of the Earl of Elgin who was once the Viceroy of India. The Gothic architecture of the church seems somehow perfectly suitable in the midst of the forests.
Baijnath Shiv Temple
Lord Shiva in the form of Vaidyanath, lord of the physicians, is worshipped at Bajinath Shiv Temple. Ever since it was built in the year 1204 A.D. the temple has been worshipped continuously. The temple has been constructed in the Nagara architecture style which is common to north India. The facade of the temple is covered in some shining examples of ancient carvings. Many of the temple images are so rare that they cannot be found anywhere else.
Kapaleshwari, the local deity is worshipped in a quaint rock temple called the Kunal Pathri. The Dhauladhar Range seemingly cradles the temple in its lap and can be seen from the temple. The legend surrounding the creation of this temple is fascinating. The father of Sati, Daksh Prajapati had organized a yagna but forgot to invite Lord Shiva, his son-in-law. Lady Sati was unable to bear the insult to her husband and sacrificed herself in the fire of the yagna. Stunned to hear of her death, Lord Shiva became mad and wandered around with her body. Unable to take this, Lord Vishnu used his divine weapon to destroy Sati’s body. It separated the head and the place where the head fell is now worshipped as Kunal Pathri.