Wrapped in the embrace of the beautiful Dhauladhar Mountain Range, Dharamshala is one of the most famous trekking destinations located in the Indian Himalayas. Be it India’s most beautiful cricket stadium, picturesque monasteries or tea gardens and rock temples, Dharamshala has it all. Read ahead to know more about travelling to this dainty little city, including trekking options, the best resorts to enjoy your stay, and the best time to visit Dharamshala.
Best Time to Visit Dharamshala
The best time to visit Dharamshala is its summer months, lasting from mid-April to June or June, when the monsoons begin.
The ‘summer’ months in Dharamshala require one to carry a light shawl or jacket in the morning hours, but the evening can get chilly; thus, carrying a heavy jacket is essential.
The months between July and September are the most dangerous, when landslides are extremely common due to heavy rains.
How to Reach Dharamshala
Dharamshala Airport has made Dharamshala accessible from most airports all over the country.
From neighbouring places like Bhuntar, Manali, Shimla and other places in Himachal Pradesh, a commute to Dharamshala can be planned by bus. HRTC or private buses can be booked through travel websites like Yatra, MakeMyTrip or Redbus.
However, there is no railway station in Dharamshala. So, if you wish to travel by train, you can take one up to Pathankot Railway Station, from where a bus or taxi can be taken to reach Dharamshala.
Taking a taxi to Dharamshala is also a good option, if you are looking for a comfortable trip in which you can stop wherever you want. ble trip in which you can stop wherever you want.
Taxis and buses also ply between Dharamshala and its most famous town, McLeodganj.
Remember to download an offline Google map of Dharamshala, since network might be uncertain in the hilly terrain.
Places to Stay in Dharamshala
Dharamshala offers a wide array of options for planning your stay. If you are looking to spend time with Himachali locals and live in a Dharamshala homestay, a thorough research and planning will be beneficial as most homestays in Dharamshala have been commercialised. However, many new guesthouses are more exclusive. Great booking options can be found on Booking’s official website.
If you are arriving late at night in Dharamshala, make sure to have a place booked earlier for staying. Both Bhagsu and Dharamkot offer great stay options that can be quickly reached late at night.
For those who are avid travellers, Dharamshala can be explored on foot, and there is a high chance that you’ll find a great place on your way. Many of these guesthouses are not registered online, so there is high possibility that you’ll find an affordable place while you’re exploring.
Bhagsu and Dharamkot are better options for staying, for McLeodganj is louder and full of activity throughout the day. Upper Dharamkot and Upper Bhagsu offer better accommodation options, and you might even get to stay in a room that offers a bird-eye view of the entire Dharamshala. Lower Bhagsu also has a high influx of tourists, who come to visit the Bhagsunag temple.
Trekking in Dharamshala
The best trekking options in Dharamshala include-
Trekking between Bhagsu, Dharamkot and McLeodganj
The path connecting the villages of Bhagsu and Dharamkot with McLeodganj are too curvy and steep for one to travel through motor vehicles; thus, trekking or hiking through these ways is the best option.
Two trails connect Mcleodganj and Dharamkot-
- The longer trail that goes from the left to the Vipassana meditation centre
- Shortcut trail that goes from the right to the Vipassana meditation centre
While these trails are moderately curvy, the deodar forests line them, giving you a chance to enjoy the vast green belt along with the chirping of birds.
Another trek option better than McLeodganj and Dharamkot is the one between lower Bhagsu and McLeodganj. This trail is not as tricky as the last one, and also offers numerous momo stalls, cafes and restaurants on the way.
Naddi Village, Dharamshala
Naddi Village is a small hamlet near McLeodganj, which can be visited in pursuit of a quiet, beautiful sunset and a cup of tea. This walk takes nearly an hour from McLeodganj.
Dharamkot/Bhagsu to Dharamshala City
This trail is a long yet beautiful one. Taking the path that forks from the Bhagsu-McLeodganj, you can either walk down by the stream which goes up to Dharamshala city or climb up the hills near the stream, looking down at the Kangra Valley.
Although this walk will take you 2-3 hours (if you don’t get confused in the middle!), the picturesque landscape will be worth it. If you’re an adventure freak, this trek will be a highlight for you!
Triund hill is a beautiful mountain; although the trek might be mildly crowded, the gorgeous view makes it all worth it. The height of the trek might make it challenging for those not used to walking much. Once you cross the Gallu Devi temple, the actual trek begins.
The mountains are extremely beautiful, but visitors often ruin the experience by bringing along speakers and littering all around. If you want to enjoy music on this trek, make sure to carry earphones or headphones along, as well as a garbage bag for collecting any wrappers or bottles. Make sure you also carry a valid ID to get through the trek. Although camping was earlier allowed on the top of the Triund mountains, it has now been banned due to the irresponsible nature of tourists.
The Triund trail takes nearly 4 hours, so keep adequate supply of water, light snacks, bananas and protein juice and bars with you. The Triund Trek is incomplete without visiting the Triund snowline, but keep your health under consideration.
Dharamshala’s quaint environment makes it a must-visit for those looking for a quiet refuge away from the hustle-bustle of everyday life in the city. So, keep this guide handy to know about trekking in Dharamshala, the best time to visit, the best places to stay in and so on, and plan the perfect summer getaway for yourself, your friends or family!