Since 1959 Dharamsala has been known the world over as the residence of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile. Located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, near the city of Shimla, the town is divided into Lower Dharamsala and McLeodganj. While an peaceable place, there is nothing particularly noteworthy about the former; most tourists visit and stay in McLeodganj, which is the residence of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
McLeodganj, named after a British governor of Punjab, is home to a lively multicultural community. Apart from the large number of Tibetans living here, there are also many expatriates from various countries around the world who have settled here. Dharamsala India is also well known as the backpackers' haven, and the budget traveler will have no problem finding accommodation here, with hotels to fit all needs.
McLeodganj boasts of many Tibetan cultural centers, including the Tibetan Museum and the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. In particular, the performances of traditional Tibetan art forms held here draw large numbers of tourists in Dharamsala India.
A top thing to do while in the area is to visit the Tsuglagkhang Complex, which includes the monastery of Dalai Lama as well as temples that exhibit beautiful murals and ancient Buddhist thangkas, which are traditional paintings. The Dalai Lama also holds lectures here during February and March, and for these people travel to Dharamsala from across the world in order to attend. Consequently, Dharamsala India is very popular among Buddhist students from all over the world. Even when the Dalai Lama isn't holding court, travelers come here to experience the town's spiritual atmosphere and enroll in the meditation and yoga courses.
Aside from catering to vacation-goers, McLeodganj offers volunteering and internship opportunities to young people willing to stay here for a few months. For example, you can teach languages to the monks at monasteries such as the Nyamgal Monastery. With an abundance of guesthouses and hotels in the areas, such volunteering is often an extremely enjoyable experience. What's more, the town is also famous for its fusion cuisine that ranges from Tibetan to Italian cooking and includes just about everything in between.
Dharamsala, and especially McLeodganj, is best known as a vibrant cultural center rather than as a peaceful, sleepy mountain town. However, the nearby towns of Palampur, Talnu, and Naddi offer ready respite from the hustle and bustle of the bazaars of McLeodganj. Palampur is well known for its Kangra tea gardens, while there are also many temples in and around Palampur that are worth seeking out. People who travel to Dharamsala can easily access nearby villages and waterfalls on foot. The Bhagsu Waterfalls are only a few miles from Dharamsala, while Forsythganj, a village on the way to Dharamsala, is also an abiding favorite among vacation-goers.
Travel to Dharamsala is reasonably straightforward, as it can be reached by road from Shimla, which is the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Shimla is a beautiful and interesting place, and visiting here ranks among the top things to do in India in its own right. As a result, it's well-connected by train to major Indian cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, and Goa. Given its location, many head to Shimla having traveled the well-worn path of the Golden Triangle Tour, which takes in the attractions of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.