Covering less than 28 sq. km, Dharamsala is situated in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, India, and is the home of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Set amidst the magnificient deodar and pine forests of the Western Himalayas, Dharamsala’s spectacular backdrop is the Dhauladhar mountain range. The snow-capped mountains and numerous streams contribute to the beauty of the landscape. Lower Dharamsala (elevation 1380 m) is the commercial centre while Upper Dharamsala (elevation 1700 m), with its suburbs of McLeod Ganj, has a distinct British flavour. While inhabitants of Lower Dharamsala are almost all Indians, McLeod Ganj is dominated by Himalayan culture. Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj now have many religious, educational, and cultural institutions built by and for Himalayan Buddhist people.
Today, Dharamsala attracts streams of people from all over the world to receive blessings and teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. There are many opportunities for those who want to learn about and connect with the area’s rich Buddhist culture, including teaching English to newly arrived Himalayan monks or nuns, studying Buddhism or yoga at one of the retreat centers, enrolling in cultural study programs, or volunteering at one of the city’s many non-profit organizations.
Places of Interest in Dharamsala
Thangde Gatsal Thangka Painting Studio
If you are planning to come to Dharamsala, you can visit Thangde Gatsal in person and see our work in progress. The drive to the school is quite scenic and the trip is a wonderful way to see the countryside and observe local culture.
Directions: Hire a taxi from Dharamsala. Ask the driver to take you to Khandi on lower Khanyara Road. After about twenty minutes of driving you will pass Whispering Winds Resort and then Vidya Niwas Guest House. Park the car right after Vidya Niwas. Directly on your left you will see a set of cement stairs leading up the mountain to our home and studio. Please call our mobile if you have any difficulty. If you see the beginning of a three-story cement building on you left your have gone too far.
Located 4 kms from Dharamsala, Norbulingka was established to preserve and teach the ancient Himalayan Buddhist arts. Shady paths, wooden bridges, and small streams and waterfalls characterize the heavenly setting of the Instuitute. The skills preserved and passed on at Norbulingka include statue making, Thangka painting, appliqué and tailoring, woodcarving, carpentry and metal craft. Visit web site.
Kangra Art Museum
The Kangra Art Museum displays an excellent collection of Kangra Valley arts and crafts, some dating as far back as the 5th century. The museum also includes a gallery of Kangra's famous miniature paintings and a collection of sculpture, pottery, and anthropological items.