Top 10 Things to Do in Dharamshala

October 18, 2023

The northernmost point of India is home to the city of Dharamshala. Here, daily life occurs on hillsides as the Himalayas watch over everyone. Because of its gorgeous location, Dharamshala is a favorite among travelers. Explore the top 10 things to do in Dharamshala today.

1. Marvel at the Tsuglagkhang Complex

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, remains in permanent exile in Dharamshala. Specifically, the Tsuglagkhang Complex is His place of worship. Truthfully, it's one of the most recognizable buildings in the region with white and mustard colors. Because it's a place of worship and the Dalai Lama's residence, the building has security as you visit between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.

Once inside, you're welcome to worship or simply enjoy a self-guided tour. Remaining quiet and respecting others as they pray are important rules inside the temple. As you finish your tour, enter the Tibet Museum connected to the complex. It tells the fascinating tales of the Tibetans and their exile.

2. Hike the Trails

One of the most famous things to do in Dharamshala is hiking Triund Hill. During this adventure, you'll encounter local towns and eateries for refreshments. Indeed, some hikers stay overnight so that they can hike even farther on this trail. Up ahead, more mountainous peaks and caves are the attractions.

Certainly, there are many other hikes around the region, including Thamsar Pass, Kareri Lake, Indrahar Pass and Nag Dal. Before you start, however, ask locals about the difficulty level. Although many treks are perfect for beginners, such as Triund, others can have their challenges. Ultimately, staying safe while discovering India's natural beauty is the goal.

3. Become a Cricket Fan

Cricket is a sport that's held in high regard around India. For this reason, a visit to the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium should be on your itinerary. Luckily, the stadium is open to visitors even on non-game days. Preferably, explore the stands and enjoy the Tibetan architecture that makes this landmark stand out.

If you have a chance to see a game, seek out tickets near field level. Here, you can see all the action without any obstructions. At times, you might feel like you're part of the game as players come very close to your location. In the end, marveling at this beloved sport immerses you in the culture and passion of India's people.

4. Explore Temples and Monasteries

Travelers often come to Dharamshala for a spiritual experience. First, explore Gyuto Monastery. Indeed, it's hard to miss with its brilliant red stairs and glowing, yellow structure. If you're an early riser, visit this monastery to hear the resident monks chanting in the morning.

Next, take a hike to Tsechokling Gompa. Referred to as a religious building, Tsechokling Gompa has distinct architecture on the exterior and intimate rooms within. With respect, you're welcome to see the prayer rooms where monks meditate. Outside, enjoy the conversations between monks as they debate today's subjects.

Truthfully, there are many other religious landmarks throughout this region. Selecting a handful to visit throughout your trip is a smart way to see the area's highlights.

5. Gaze up at the War Memorial

For a quiet retreat, visit the War Memorial. It's situated in a beautiful, green landscape where the breeze moves through the trees. At the monument, read the many names listed who've given their lives for the country. In reality, it's a reminder of the cost of war through the years.

Nearby, browse through the museum for a look at war artifacts and other items. Many families make a day trip out of the War Memorial because of its historical significance. For added comfort, bring a picnic lunch to round out your visit.

6. Satisfy Your Taste Buds

A variety of hill stations reside in Dharamshala because of the mountainous terrain. Depending on the location, discover culinary surprises as varied as Italian, Indian, Tibetan, French, Chinese or Japanese foods. In addition, you'll find vegetarian options.

Honestly, street vendors serve some of the best food in the region. From fried momos to Tibetan noodles, these delicacies will fill you up for those busy exploration days. Today's vendors also cater to those Western cravings, such as serving strong coffee. Undoubtedly, cafes that dot the region offer some of the best tea and coffee around especially when the temperatures dip down.

7. Get Adventurous

With the mountains as a backdrop, exploring your adventurous side is almost required in Dharamshala. Cycling around the region, for example, is a fast way to get acquainted with the terrain and attraction locations. For added adrenaline, consider ziplining or rock climbing. Naturally, Dharamshala has many companies that specialize in vacation adventures.

Nearby, try paragliding among the mountainsides. In the city of Bir Billing, this community has supported the paragliding world with competitions and safe excursions. Alternatively, seek out natural adventures, such as fishing. This region has something for every visitor, from adrenaline rushes to meditative pauses.

8. Try a Camping Retreat

Be one with Dharamshala by renting a tent. Here, camping out under the stars is a real pastime. For example, it might take more than one day to hike along the nearby trails. As a solution, rent or bring tents to stay overnight and finish the hike.

Consider hikes that include Kareri Lake, Triund or Indrahar Pass, for instance. With assistance from local guides, they can show you the best places to stop for the night. However, choose a camping excursion when the weather is good. Snow or monsoon rains create problematic issues during any camping trip. Ideally, a clear night with the stars shining brightly is the best time to sleep under a tent.

9. Experience Dal Lake

Stepping out to Dal Lake puts you in the middle of a picturesque area complete with Deodar cedars outlining the water's perimeter. Here, you can take photos, wade in the water or people-watch. In truth, many people meditate along the water's edge. Because it's in a somewhat isolated area, the lake is a quiet space to think and reflect.

Nearby, take a walk to another temple landmark. Dedicated to the Shiva, this Kali temple is yet another fine example of Tibetan culture. Make your way around the lake to see the temple, which also creates a distinct view of its own as you look back from where you came.

10. Shop for Unique Items

Support the local community by shopping at either the permanent storefronts or by visiting the street sellers. Amazingly, find items as varied as handmade jewelry or prayer flags. Generally, items for sale are spread out for easy viewing either on a table or across a fabric on the ground. You're welcome to discuss pricing with each seller to find the best price.

If you're looking for jewelry, the Tibetan community has a talent for mixing beautiful stones for necklaces or bracelets. In many cases, discover one-of-a-kind items among the local artists. Preferably, pay the advertised price for these items because they're distinct reflections of the Tibetan culture.

With careful planning, your trip to Dharamshala can include many of these exciting adventures. Certainly, this unique destination might tempt you to stay longer or return another time. The Himalayas and local charm welcome travelers any time of year.

Recent Stories