Dharamshala the soul of Himanchal
April 25, 2018
To Dharamshala – “All the water and drink you consumed from beginning time until now has failed to satisfy your thirst or bring you contempt. Drink therefore of this stream of enlightened mind. Fortunate ones.” – Buddha[social_warfare]
I haven’t updated any posts related to travel in a while, this post is not like other travel posts. It’s a short and simple review of Dharamshala. I hope you get the required info you want about all the well-known places here in this writeup.
DHARAMSHALA MAY 2017
Dharamshala is known as the “spiritual dwelling”. It is a renowned tourist destination in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Along with Shimla and Manali it forms the most valuable tour pack that is a must if you are planning to visit Himachal. Dharamshala is the crown of McLeod Ganj, it has a blend of Kangra and Tibetan Cultures embedded in it. It is also known as “little Lhasa” due to the large number of Tibetan civilians living there. I have been to this gorgeous place last year during the winters.
Mine was a three day stay, it was worthwhile I still miss this place to the core of my heart. Kangra to Dharamshala will take 50 mins to reach by road as it’s the only way there. We reached McLeod Ganj at 7 in the morning, it takes 11 hours to reach from Delhi via NH9. Best thing about Dharamshala is its scenic hotel rooms, a literal heaven on earth as you can have the view of complete Kangra valley. At 8 we booked a room near the Lama Temple. Dharamshala has two levels, the lower part is basically McLeod Ganj and the Upper being the main CITY. Let’s have a look at this place from three parts.
1)– Temples and Monuments.
2)– Nature and Valley.
Temples and Monuments.
Bhagsunag temple built by the Gorkha regiment was the first place we visited. The gore of this place is stunning. The Temple is basically the sitting place of Lord Shiva and Locals adore this place and believe it to be a very much revered shrine in Northern India. There is an open pool which you can dip and chill once you completed your temple darshan. I wish I could have shared more of this place, but there are still more important places to go. Let’s go to our next spot, that is Bhagsu water falls. The falls have unique marble stones which shines when the water drips over them. You need to walk upwards the temple in order to view this glorious water fall. It’s a for must watch!
There are two other holy places that you need to see before leaving Dharamshala. First is Gyuto Monastery and second St John in Wilderness church. Gyuto Monastery is in the center of the city, surrounded by brazing artefacts shops. Gyuto Monastery is the worship place of Tibetan Culture, it sheds the remnants of Tibet in order to preserve their way of living. The center of attraction here is a tall buddha statue.
Dalai lama is said to be residing here, but due to security reasons his residence keeps on changing. Here, one can experience inner peace of dhamma, glimpse the various deities of buddha’s and meet some very renowned people with a lot of wisdom. We met an elderly woman Mrs. Khuslee who shared with us the foundation and story of monastery. It was pleasing to hear her. Kalachakra Temple is just beside the main entry bus station and has a grand dhamma chakra. It has all mantras one needs to attain Nirvana (Enlightenment).
A Spin-off Article “Meditation : Benefits of Mindfulness” awaits you. Its link is here : http://fortunatevoyage.com/meditation-benefits-of-mindfulness/
St John in Wilderness Church is located 2 km from the city. The church has faced a hell lot of landslides and earthquakes as it’s in the epicenter of the mountains. Still it bounces back to its original form, all thanks to the Catholic residents whose will makes it possible every time. 5 minutes from St John Church is Dal lake of Dharamshala, I guess you might be thinking of Dal lake in Kashmir? Fortunately, we have it here as well. This one is literally smaller than the former.
We stood there for some minutes and calmed our hectic and astonishing journey. Dharamshala Stadium is a must watch, it has a panaromic view. It’s a place to glimpse and not to read about. Words won’t fulfill my thoughts of this place.
Lastly, the Museum has some wonderful ancient paintings and stuffs, go and watch your share of the pre-historic stuff 😊, Good luck. Ahh and don’t forget to visit SHRI DURGA MATA MANDIR A FEW MILES FROM DAL LAKE!!
Nature and Valley.
No doubt McLeod Ganj is a wanderlust in all possible ways. Again, I’m saying words are not enough to describe the true nature of the nature here. To begin with, KANGRA VALLEY is the first Natural spot you should see. Tourists come here to play echo and enjoy sky diving, I myself enjoyed this scenic beauty more than any other place. We met a couple from Rajasthan, who were good at playing bagpiper/bansuri. They purely delighted our day. I have shared their video below. View it to soothe your day.
Other Spots include Naddi view (A DEAD-END POINT), Dal Lake, Sunset Point McLeod Ganj, Triund Hill (a culmination point of all best mountains spots in the kangra valley). Manjee Valley Tea garden will complete your desire to nature’s trail. We bought a pack of the Manjee Valley Green tea, and its taste is simply delicious.
Below is my cute Fur Dog at Gyuto Monastery.
Here is another one.
MOMOS MOMOS AND MOMOS!
There are two types of cuisine here. Kangra and Tibetan. Basically, they are same, only minor difference is the taste and appearance.
Kangra cuisine :
Is the local’s dishes, spicy salty and glazy. Its enough to fill your mouth watery. Major dishes include Kalan ke pakode (grass pea fritters), Bhruni (cooked fig leaves in dry gravy), Barah ki chutney (fresh rhododendron pickle), Seera (Sweet soup of ground wheat), Phafru ka sag (buckwheat cooked in its own gravy with onion, garlic and other spices), Lasode ki sabzi (Gunda gravy dish), chhu nali ki bhuji ( water cress cooked in gravy), Kulfa ka sag (pigweed cooked in gravy), aadu sabzi (Gravied peaches) and Nashpati sabzi (gravied pears). Kangra as a district is all about experiencing new and different pahari cuisine.
Hot Maggie is provided in the mountains and to the army men who work day and night for the safety and protection of this amazing smart city.
Tibetan Cuisine :
Is among my personal favorites, they are less spicy and literally include no salt!
If you are a health freak and want a chunk of weight to gulp down your body, this is the right type of cuisine for you. Limited spice and no salt proves their admiration for fitness and a better health. We tried their veg-Noodles, Thong Pa and lemon tea. Veg- noodles is basically a veg-noodles with only vegetables in it. It will make you feel that you are in some place where there’s and absence of non-veg eating beings. Thong Pa “MAAMA MIYA I LOVED IT”, a soup completely made of spinach and some local green veggie. It will make you thin in one week. Guaranteed. Lemon tea well when I tasted, I felt like heaven. It’s incredible, and a must try if you are in Tibet, sorry if you are in Dharamshala.
Best snack I preferably loved and want you guys to have is MOMOS. For starters “Momos is similar to Modak, a stuffing of veggies and spicy sauces”. Momos are their sort of staple food and are sold in every nook and corner of the city (It has no ethnicity). Cakes here are out of this world, they can outsmart any well-known brand present in India.
Outfits (Attire) :-
Kangri (locals) and Tibetan Clothing is completely different. locals wear a lot of traditional pahadi clothing whereas Tibetans wear dark colored warp dress and woven wool apparel. Kangri Caps are famous through out the mountains. It’s a tradition to wear caps, to date Himachali Chief Minister’s wear this cap as a sign of respect and responsibility towards their culture.
Himachali fur dogs are a spectacle, I have seen a few of them and wanted to adopt one but couldn’t. I wish I resided here, so that I could see each one of them endlessly.
That’s all you need to know about Dharamshala in a nutshell.
Thank you, I hope you do visit here!
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