So the Indian Summer is approaching. It’s going to be hot, and days will be long. Fleeing from the scorching heat along with school holidays make these few months the most awaited escape time for northern Indians. Thankfully, the options are plenty. Kashmir, Himachal and Uttarakhand furnish a wide assortment of choices for us all, irrespective of our palates and penchants. Dharamsala, lovingly labeled as the Mini Lhasa, is a small hamlet with every potential.
Whether it’s a fun family vacation, a romantic getaway or simply an escape from your corporate existence, the laid-back little town of offers a world of possibilities for every traveller. Read on, to find why Dharamsala must be in the destination list this summer. Bringing a few rare pursuits that only Dharamsala can bestow.
Tea Gardens Picnic amidst the Clouds
Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the cleanly manicured tea gardens dotted with silvery oaks on the way to Kunal Pathri Temple. Breathe in the delicious aroma of fresh tea and set up your little corner amidst the picturesque gardens. Pack your picnic basket in advance, you’ll regret if you don’t plan a picnic here in your itinerary.
Remember to pick up some fresh Kangra tea, Oolong and Jasmine Tea to take home with you.
Whoop it up at the Bhagsu Waterfalls
Nestled in a valley covered in pristine forests, strewn rocks and fluttering prayer flags. The Bhagsu waterfall cascades into a plunge pool where you can, frolic in the cool mountain water, after a visit to the medieval Bhagsu Shiva Temple. Or you can simply munch on some deliciously steamed Tingmo (Tibetan bread), while your feet skim the water!
Rewind your youth in the Shiva Cafe
What works best after a long seemingly tiring trail than a place like a Cafe to unwind? Coming from the Bhagsu waterfall, settle yourself at the Shiva Cafe. Let the cafe’s laidback atmosphere and magnificent location work its magic on you. Let the cool rustic look adorned by hand made paints of Bob Marley, Shiva and Buddha take you to a different level of amusement. Have a cup of coffee, read some books, spend time with fellow strangers, visit locals. Asking for more?
Norbulingka Institute – be part of the Tibetan revolution
Watch local artisans work on woodcarving, metal statue making, thangka painting and embroidery at the Institute before wandering through the lushly canopied gardens. Gape at the gilded Sakyamuni statue and the beautiful hand crafted puppet dioramas at the unique Losel Doll Museum, before picking up some traditional Tibetan chubas at the souvenir shop.
Engage yourself in live demonstration, hands-on workshops, theaters, Tibetan culture, Dalai Lama handprints. Gurgling streams run through immaculately maintained Japanese styled gardens, while birds of all different species can be seen flittering among the treetops. The architecture, built in traditional Tibetan style gives a feeling of returning to old Tibet. Truly a place to experience Tibet while in India.
Experience History at the Kangra Fort
Considered as one of the most beautiful forts in India, this fort was built by the Royal Rajput family of the state of Kangra in the 15th Century. Adjoining the Fort is the Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch Museum run by the Royal Family of Kangra.Take an excursion to the fort, and experience the history and rich tradition.
Try your hands in Tibetan Cuisine at Sangyes Kitchen
Learn the art of Tibetan cuisine from a friendly Tibetan chef at Llhamo’s Kitchen – Tibetan treats, focusing on momos, including chocolate momos! Sangye claims “Use only your fingertips to mix and to make, no need to mess up your entire hand”.
The place’s motto “Ask me anything about Tibet, let’s enjoy conversation” really works. Rarely any tibetan dish you could find that is not available here, or you cannot learn to cook!
The Church in the Wilderness
Dating back to the colonial era, St Johns Church is a beautiful gothic church set amidst verdant deodar forests threaded with the golden sun rays. The church with its greying stone walls, beautiful Belgian stained glass windows and dreamy surroundings, is the perfect place to spend some quiet leisurely moments.
Stroll with Lamas in the Mcleodganj market
A truly global village, Mcleodganj’s streets bustle with an interesting fusion of people, from red-robed monks and modern hippies to globetrotting tourists. Bargain for snuggly woollens, silver trinkets, statuettes and Tibetan uniques like thangkas, meditation bowls, prayer wheels and yak cheese at the main market. Don’t miss to pick up some unusual finds at Nowrojee’s.
And there you go.
For the adrenaline pump geeks, we have few excitements in store!
Reach to the sky at Indrunag
Feel the pumping in your veins and the wind gurgling in your ears as you paraglide amidst the snow-clad peaks of Dhauladhar at Indrunag, treating your senses to a glorious bird’s eye view of Dharamshala. For those who want more, there is free rock climbing at the Dharamshala – Nayagroeon trail too.
Tranquility at Triund
For the secret trekker and hiker inside you. Feel the crisp mountain air swirl around you as you trek on sun kissed forest trails towards the Triund Peak for panoramic views of the majestic Dhauladhar range and the vast valley of Kangra. Savour the piping hot tea and steaming maggi served by the tiny makeshift shops on the way.
The trek is easy enough for beginners and the views are definitely worth all the huffing and puffing.