Dharamshala is a city in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh that, over the years, has become one of the most traveled locations in the state. The beauty of Dharamshala is unquestionable with its absolutely stunning views and great trekking locations.
The city also boasts a fascinating and rich Hindu and Tibetan culture, making it a great location for all kinds of travelers and pilgrims.
The town of Mcleodganj, nestled at an elevation of 2000 m, is the administrative capital of the Tibetian government in exile and houses the holiest man in Buddhist culture, the 14th Dalai Lama.
The location is rich with history, and the integration of unique cultures at Dharamshala is truly mesmerizing. Thousands of people visit Dharamshala each year, and there is always a bustle here at popular locations such as Triund point, Bhagsu falls, Gyuto monastery, and Dal lake.
However, there are so many beautiful locations that are not visited at all due to them not being as popular. This article will give you the top 7 hidden gems in and around Dharamshala that you can not miss!!
1. A Serene Monastery Experience at Tashijong
Mcleod Ganj and Dharamshala are hotbeds for Buddhist pilgrims, with never-ending crowds flicking at the major locations such as the Namgyal and Gyuto monasteries.
These are absolutely stunning locations, but they can be extremely crowded due to their popularity, which can take from the soothing and serene experience that monasteries are famous for. The village of Tashijong offers just that.
The Tashijong village, which literally means “Auspicious valley“ In Tibetian, is a beautiful location best suited for offbeat travelers and housing the Khampagar Monastery, established under the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism.
The monastery complex is colorful and absolutely gorgeous. It has many buildings consisting of the main temple area, a beautiful statue of Rinpoche, a smaller room for monks to pray in peace, and a Lakhang which houses multiple statues of the reincarnation of Lord Buddha.
The village is located near the Palampur-Baijnath road, and one can reach the location via a small diversion from the main road. The location offers picturesque scenery of the beautiful mountain backdrop and is a great hidden gem that you must not miss.
Address: Tehsil, Tashi Jong, P.O Taragarh, Baijnath, Himachal Pradesh 176081
2. Palpung Sherabling
The Palpung Sherabling monastic seat is situated in the beautiful Bhattu village near Bir. It is one of the largest monasteries in the district and is a place for Tibetian children to get an authentic Buddhist education.
The monastery Is beautifully decorated with a massive statue of Lord Buddha and beautiful fresco paintings on the walls and pillars. The location is extremely serene and soothing, with morning prayers and peaceful chanting.
The location is truly great for a peek into the true Buddhist culture and its simplicity. Palpung Sherabling Monastery is located near Baijnath and houses several grand stupas in the middle of lush forests near the monastery grounds.
Address: Baijnath - Bhattu- Palpung Sherabling Monastery Rd, Bhattu Samula, Bhattu Uparla, Himachal Pradesh 175032
3. The Picturesque Pong lake
The Pong lake created by pong dam, also known as the Maharana Pratap dam, is renowned for being the highest earth-fill dam in India.
The lake is massive, with over 300 km in width at its widest, and this is a great hidden gem to visit while in Dharamshala. Some of the main attractions at this location are:
Rainsar: It is an island in the middle of the lake and houses a forest rest house. The island looks stunning and appears to be floating when seen from shore. Visitors can reach the island by boat.
Bathu ki Ladi – It is a series of beautiful ancient temples that get submerged underwater on all sides when the dam's level rises. It is believed that the temples are very holy and that the Pandavas constructed them during their period of exile. You can visit the temples by boat ride.
Pong lake was also declared a bird sanctuary in 1983, and you can witness a wide variety of birds at this serene location. The best way to truly appreciate the beauty of the lake is to boat around the lake at visit these great locations here. This hidden gem is highly recommended.
Address: Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh
4. The ancient Baijnath temple
The Baijanth temple, also known as the Baidyanath Shiva temple, dates back to 804 AD and is an absolutely gorgeous temple decorated with intricate stone carvings, and is surrounded by a wide-open space.
The complex surrounding the temple is well-preserved and was completed in the 13th century. Inside the temple, there are many beautifully carved statues, and the sanctum area houses the holy Shiva Lingam protected by the 5 headed cobras.
This travel destination offers a great location for photography with the beautiful Himalayan landscape and the temple's unique architecture constructed using the Nagara style, a medieval north Indian architecture layout.
The story surrounding this temple is a mythological legend. It is said that this Shiv ling was placed here by Ravana on his failed quest for invincible powers.
He was an avid Bhakt of Lord Shiva, and to test him; Lord Shiva gave him the task to carry the Shiv ling all the way to Sri Lanka without putting it on the ground even once. It is said that Ravana failed his quest here, and the Shiv Ling has been worshipped ever since.
Address: Temple Path, Dharer, Baijnath, Himachal Pradesh 176125
5. Andretta village, the village of artists
The Andretta village is a quaint village 13 km away from Palampur and once home to several famous artists like Sobha Singh and Norah Richards.
Sobha Singh was renowned for his beautiful paintings, and his work is showcased here in the Sobha Singh Art Gallery, which his family members run.
He lived here until his death in the mid-80s. Norah Richards, called the Lady Gregory of Punjab, was a visionary of her time and devoted 60 years of her life to enriching and popularizing rural culture and theatre.
She was an avid follower of Mahama Gandhi. The pottery style of the village is unique and absolutely gorgeous. The terracotta pottery museum is housed at this location, and various products are for sale here.
Address: Village Andretta, Palampur, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh 176103, India
6. Experience Royalty at the Taragarh Palace
Close to the Village of Tashijong lies the palace of the last king of Jammu and Kashmir. The palace was built in the 1930s and was a summer home of the Dogra kings of Jammu and Kashmir.
The palace is currently run as a luxury hotel and is decorated with Italian marble, crystal chandeliers, tiger skins, and immaculate furnishings. The palace screams royalty wherever you look and houses multiple portraits of the Dogra family, and has a beautiful view.
The palace also has its own swimming pool and tennis court. The Palace also has a newly built restaurant with open-air seating of the Himalayan view and huge brass medallions, silver teapots, and royal seals.
This location is absolutely fabulous and a must-visit location for offbeat travelers to peek into the rich cultural heritage of Dharamshala.
Address: Taragarh, Tehsil Baijnath, Alhilal, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh 176081
7. The Legendary Shiva Temple at Trilokpur
Trilokpur Lies a fair distance away from Dharamshala along the Pathankot highway. It houses a beautiful ancient shiva temple famous for its location inside a natural cave and is locally revered for its stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Photography inside the temple is prohibited, but the location outside with the beautiful natural formations makes this temple a gorgeous location you should definitely visit.
There is a tiny water stream and an old bridge outside the temple, making this location great for sightseeing. There are also multiple Dhabas near the temple serving delicious local cuisine.
Address: NH 154, Trilokpur, Himachal Pradesh 176225, India
1. Are 2 days enough for Dharamshala?
No, two days is not enough time to explore everything that Dharamshala has to offer. Plan to stay for at least three days to have enough time to see the sights and experience the culture.
2. Why McLeodganj is famous?
McLeod Ganj is a suburb of Dharamsala in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is known as "Little Lhasa" or "Dhasa" (a short form of Dharamshala used mainly by Tibetans) because of its large population of Tibetan refugees.
3. Is Dharamshala safe for tourists?
Dharamshala is a very safe place to travel. There is no threat to tourists. You can enjoy your trip without any worries.
4. Which is the best month to visit Dharamshala?
The best time to visit Dharamshala is from March to June. The weather is pleasant during this time and the flowers are in full bloom.
5. Which is colder Dharamshala or Dalhousie?
Dharamshala is generally colder than Dalhousie. However, this difference can vary depending on the time of year and the specific location within each city.
These are our top picks of the Top 7 hidden gems in and around Dharamshala you must visit. We hope this blog was helpful to you and that you thoroughly enjoy your trip to Dharamshala and the Kangra valley.