Dharamsala (Hindi: धर्मशाला, pronounced or ; Tibetan: དྷ་རམ་ས་ལ་), is a hill station in Himachal Pradesh, famed for its large Tibet community centred on the activities of the Dalai Lama.
The Tibetan Buddhist roots of Dharamsala stretch back to the 8th century, although most of the local population long since reverted to (and remains) Hindu. "Dharamsala" literally means an "inn attached to a temple", and it was so until the district headquarters in Kangra became too crowded and the British moved 2 of their regiments in the late 1840s to what is now Dharamsala. Over the years, this grew to be district headquarters of Kangra, and the location is now known as the Police Lines.
Dharamsala was mooted to be the summer capital of India. But this was not to be, as much of the town was destroyed in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake of 4 April 1905. The disaster killed over 10,000 people in this sparsely populated area.
After falling into obscurity in the early days of Indian independence, Dharamsala regained some social standing in 1959 with the arrival of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile. It is a very popular hang-out for foreigners and students of Buddhism. Indeed, it is now perhaps a little too popular and many would say the town, and especially McLeod Ganj, is little more than a backpacker ghetto. Don't come here expecting calm and tranquility.
Dharamsala is divided into two distinct areas that are separated by a 10 min, 9 km bus or jeep ride.
- Lower Dharamsala, consists of most of the government offices, Schools, the local hospital, and commercial areas. It also has a few tea gardens. One in the area of Chilgari and another just beyond Dari. It is a typical small Indian town that, other than for the bus station, is of little interest to tourists. One can enjoy the view while driving through.
- Upper Dharamsala, known more commonly as McLeod Ganj is named after David McLeod, who was once the British Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab. It is home to the Tibetan community and the centre of tourist activity. Unless specifically stated, all listings in this article refer to McLeod Ganj.
- Bhagsu, is 2 km north and has become a commercialised warren of concrete.
- Dharamkot, a 20-30 minute walk above McLeod Ganj and has a number of guesthouses and restaurants.
Villages near McLeod Ganj include Forsyth Ganj, a short hike away on the way up from Lower Dharamsala.
For a quiet and basic experience, try Naddi (3 km) or Talnu (11 km).
Lower Dharamsala is at an altitude of 1,400 m, while McLeod Ganj is at around 1,750 m, making them considerably cooler than the plains below. Temperatures in January can dip below freezing, while June can go up to 38°C. The monsoon from July to September is very wet. Even in March, when the Dalai Lama holds his teachings and the weather down in Delhi is balmy, you will still need a heavy winter coat. These can be purchased at reasonable prices in the town.
By planeKangra Airport (DHM) is at Gaggal near Kangra, a distance of 15 km from McLeodganj by road on MDR44 and NH20. Air India, Alliance Air and SpiceJet operate daily flights to Dharmasala from Delhi.
By busMost people arrive in Dharamsala by bus. It has good connections with other parts of North India, although the journeys are often slow due to the narrow winding roads in the hills.
The main bus terminal is in Lower Dharamsala, but some public HRTC buses to Delhi and Pathankot go all the way to the main square of McLeod Ganj, where you can also book advance tickets for the return trip. Privately operated buses travel from Manali, Dehradun and Delhi. Overnight buses travel from Delhi with many leaving from the Tibetan colony of Majnu ka Tilla. These services take upwards of 13 hr and cost from ₹450 for a basic bus to ₹1,000 for a plusher Volvo. Tickets for Himachal Road Transport Corporation ( HRTC- A State Government body) can be booked online at http://hrtc.gov.in/HRTCTickets/
- From Pathankot: Unreserved HRTC buses from Pathankot cost around ₹160 and take 3 - 4 hours to Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj. Buses depart frequently throughout the day.
- From Amritsar: There are direct private buses leaving in the afternoon for ₹800 that are advertised as taking 5 hours. There are no direct public buses between Amritsar and Dharamsala; however, there are many buses leaving to Pathankot (₹130, 3 hours) where you can transfer to another bus to complete the journey.
- From Chandigarh: 236 km distant from McLeodganj, is a gruelling 8-9 hr trip in an ordinary bus.
By trainThe nearest broad gauge railhead is at Pathankot and the neighboring small station of Chakki Bank, a comfortable overnight journey from Delhi. Train buffs can continue on the very slow and rickety but pretty Kangra Valley Railway to Kangra, a journey that easily takes up to 6 hours and still leaves you 18 km from McLeod Ganj. Many choose to continue by bus or taxi instead. If you do choose to go to Kangra then from the train station then you need to walk and autorickshaw to the bus stop where buses are available to take you to Dharamsala.
By taxiA taxi from Pathankot to McLeod Ganj, 88 km and takes about 3 hours, and the official fare from Pathankot is ₹2,200 (one way). This is May 2019 rate for a small car such as an Alto/Indica.
Taxis from Delhi are often available leaving from Majnu Ki Tila Tibetan settlement in North Delhi on the ring road. Many people take a taxi to Delhi which takes about 10 hours and pay the return fare simply because they don't want to deal with the hassle and pain of taking a bus. These taxis need to return to Dharamshala, and many times will sell seats in their car for the same price as a bus ticket. To find these taxis, go to the Majnu Ki Tila Tibetan Settlement Bus Stand and look for taxis which have Himachal Pradesh Licence plates. You can negotiate with a driver. Often the taxis will leave in the evening and you will arrive in Dharamshala early the next morning.
McLeod Ganj is small enough to be navigated on foot. Public buses to Dharamsala leave roughly hourly and cost ₹10. Chartered auto-rickshaws charge around ₹250. Trips from McLeod Ganj to nearby points (e.g. Bhagsu) cost between ₹50-₹150. There are separate counters for auto-rickshaws and taxis near the center square. Walk to them and rent vehicles and avoid people who walk up to you and offer to take you to places.
Taxi cab counter
Bhagsunag FallsBhagsunag fall has many waterfalls, an ancient temple, numerous slate quarries and a fresh water spring.
DharamkotThis is an ideal place for a picnic near to Dharamsala. Situated in the Himalayan mountain range giving an amazing view of the surrounds. Be aware that cars can't go much further into the valley. You have to walk amidst the houses using stairs.
HPCA Cricket StadiumThe picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium is unique in India as it is situated at an altitude of 1,457 m above the sea level and has the snow-capped Himalayan mountains in the background.
Kunal PathariPeople come to this temple every day to pray to the Goddess.
Naddi View PointThis is an ideal place for a complete scenic view of snow covered Dhauladhar range. There are manned telescopes with which you can see the Triund campsite and Guna Devi Mandir.
address: Temple Rd, Mcleod Ganj
RakkarA picturesque hamlet on the outskirts of Lower Dharamsala, perched on the foothills of the snow capped Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Historically inhabited by shepherds of the Gaddi community, the hamlet is slowly attracting visitors who are interested in getting away from the busy tourist hub of McLeodganj in favour of having a closer interaction with the locals villagers in a pristine village environment.
St John Cathedral in the WildernessIt's a nice picturesque cathedral in the middle of greenery. 1 km from McLeod Ganj. Auto-rickshaw costs ₹70 as of May 2019. There is no auto stand near the cathedral, so it's a bit tough to get an auto back. If possible, ask the auto driver to wait and then take the same auto to other spots.
Tibetan Institute of Performing ArtsStage performances of traditional Tibetan dance, music, and theatre. The shows are not only infrequently performed.
phone: +91 9218422467, +91 9882255047 (reception)address: Gangchen KyishongNear the Tibetan government in exile, with a small but interesting museum.
phone: +91 18 922 2510address: McLeod GanjSmall but interesting museum on the history of Tibet and its people.
Tsuglagkhang Complexaddress: Temple RdThis is the largest Tibetan temple outside Tibet, and it has a large meditation hall containing some beautiful statues and thangkas, as well as a Kalachakra temple with beautiful murals. It is the monastery of the Dalai Lama, and is just in front of his residence.
Bhagsu WaterfallAn easy walk down Bhagsu Rd through the village of the same name, then 1 km up to the waterfall itself. The trail up to the waterfall is stone most of the way and has fencing along steep sections. There are several vendors selling snacks and drinks at the base of the falls. Be careful if you decide to take a bath in the upper pools of the waterfall, as there may be shards of glass in the water, possibly thrown there by the villagers to prevent "indecent" behaviour by westerners at night.
Dal LakeFairly well signposted. An anticlimactic sacred pond is the colour and texture of its yellow lentil namesake.
Indrahar passPasses through the snowbound Dhauladhar Range in the Kangra valley. This trek ends at Lamu.
TriundIf you are in for a brisk walk, climb the hill beyond Dharamkot to Triund. Provides a beautiful view of the first peaks of the Himalayas and a wide view over the plains. As the ridge is 2,875 m, make sure to wear good shoes, carry water, some food if you and an extra vest or coat. At the top, even in summer, the weather can change from hot and sunny to cold and cloudy very quickly. Every year some tourists get themselves into serious trouble this way, wearing only sandals and a T-shirt. If you want to warm up before the Triund trek, try the trek to Guna temple. This is a 9 km trek (one way), through jungle and is quite a climb.;
If you want to do a shorter trek, hire a small car from McLeodganj for ₹300-350 to Galu Devi. (note; this is not Guna Devi). From there its a 3 hr climb to Triund.;
If you plan to stay overnight at Triund , there is a Forest Rest house (₹500 per night). Take a double bedsheet but be aware there is no running water or electricity. A torch is a must. If the Forest house is full, then you can hire tents.
Meeting the Dalai LamaMeeting (or at least getting to see) the Dalai Lama is the dream of a lifetime for many people, an intensive spiritual experience for Buddhists and a memorable moment for people of other faiths. It's also very difficult to achieve, so don't plan on it. It requires a good deal of luck.
If you want to give it your best shot, the first thing to do is make sure that His Holiness is in town when you visit. He travels frequently. His website lists his yearly itinerary and an email to the office will confirm his travel dates. While he does give scheduled public teachings, these are crowded. There are some that are only scheduled a few days in advance, so keep your eyes and ears open in Dharamsala. The ultimate goal is a private audience. His website says he is no longer giving them. This isn't entirely true, but you have to have a very good reason or an "in." Go to the office of his secretary.
The Dalai Lama's administrative office is in the Tsuglagkhang Complex. When you face his house, which has a gate with Indian guards in front of it, it's the last door on your right, at the end of the complex. This office is open all day, six days a week. The man behind the desk will tell you to apply online and give you the website address. Go to an internet cafe and do it if you haven't already done it and been rejected months in advance so that you can say that you have, but it probably won't get you anywhere. If the receptionist is there alone, then His Holiness is not giving private audiences. If a bunch of people are there holding slips of paper with their personal information and their passports, he's giving private audiences, they usually occur around noon. There is heavy security and you need a reason. Chat with everyone.
Some people get in as a group, like a documentary crew or a family whose father is a politician. Talk to everyone in Dharamsala about His Holiness, and you're bound to run into someone who is on his staff or knows someone on his staff. At the office, drop the name of every person you met. If you are visibly ill, you may get an audience based on that. Granted, this "audience" will probably last the time it takes for him to bless you, which is about 10 seconds, and an additional ₹5 to pose for a photo. A photographer is provided and you are not allowed to bring your own camera.
To meet the Dalai Lama is something most Tibetans worldwide only dream of so count your blessings if you receive an audience. Bring a khata (white scarf), they can be purchased for a few rupees, but since you'll probably be treasuring that khata, you might want to shell out ₹20 for a nicer one. If he poses for a picture with you the security office will tell you to return with a blank CD and they will burn the picture onto a CD. Blank CDs can be purchased from shops on Temple Rd for about ₹50. Remember to show appreciation for anyone whose name you might have dropped to get in. Donate to their monastery, eat at their restaurant or whatever you feel is appropriate. This isn't expected but it's a nice thing to do.
Every year in February–March for ten days or so, and occasionally at other times, the Dalai Lama holds public lectures. Registration at the Tibetan Branch Security Office (near Hotel Tibet) is necessary, preferably 3–4 days beforehand although shorter notice may be possible. Bring a cushion to sit on, an FM radio with headphones to listen to the simultaneous translation from Tibetan to English, a cup for tea and a sunhat/umbrella, but as little else as possible since security is tight. The last day of teaching concludes with public prayers, for which no security pass is needed. Donations are welcome.
17th KarmapaA temporary residence is at the Gyuto Tantric University in the town of Sidhbari near McLeod Ganj.
Courses available include yoga, meditation, reiki, Tibetan and Indian cooking classes, Tibetan language classes and Thai massage. Many courses include vegetarian meals, and are offered at meditation centres.
Yoga, meditation, healing
Asho Instituteaddress: Bhagsu VillageCourses in ayurvedic nutrition and tai-chi.
phone: +91 94 18909046address: Jogiwara Rd, B, Mcleodganj
Buddha Hall-Reiki with Usha'Courses in reiki (I,II,III and master) as well as tarot and crystal healing from Buddha hall in Bagsu. Flexible and compassionate teacher.
Guerrilla Yoga5 day yoga courses of several varieties. Private instruction is available. Friendly staff. Also has local art for sale.
Kailash School of Yoga & Holistic HealingAshtanga Vinyasa and tribal hatha yoga classes are available daily on a drop-in basis. Treatments and sessions in reiki, ayurvedic massage, meditation and 'sound healing' are available but have to be arranged at least 1 day in advance. Short and long-term courses.
Kundalini Yogaphone: +91 98 1685 1691address: Thardoeling, Near HH Dalai Lama temple, Mcleod GanjYoga classes.
Tibetan Buddhism and languagephone: +91 98 0539 1799Courses include; Tibetan buddhism, Tibetan language, Hindi language.
Tushita Meditation Centre10-day Introduction to Buddhism/meditation courses, 5-day meditation courses, and more (mostly residential). Silence is held most of the day but there are also discussion groups after philosophy lessons. It's near Dharamkot, Tushita practices the Tibetan mahayana tradition. Register online or at Tushita. Prices are inclusive of all lodging, lessons and 3 meals a day of tasty vegetarian food. Set cost per day is around ₹500 including food & lodging, can provide a gradual introduction to those new to Buddhism.
Vipassana10 days meditation course. You need to register in advance at their web-site. The course will teach you the Vipassana technique. You have to be completely silent, and you are provided 2 meals and very light dinner. The course is free, but you can leave a donation if you please. The course is a fairly intense form of meditation retreat (14-hr days) in the Theravada tradition. Previous meditation experience is not required as you will be asked to set aside your current practices while learning the vipassana technique. Some would recommend that beginners attend a course such as that offered by Tushita which is a mix of meditation, philosophy and discussions.
address: Bhagsu RdYoga alliance approved ₹200-500 yoga teacher training programs, Reiki lessons for individuals or groups.
Z-Meditation15 day silent meditation retreat in lower Dharamsala. Deep deconditioning inquiry, radiant mantras, creative meditations, assignments for disentangling your own life, and also 2 hr of daily yoga, three vegetarian meals and a refreshment break. The entire retreat is undertaken in silence. Courses are US$600-1,200 depending on accommodation arrangements.
- Chinmay Yoga School - An NGO which plants trees in Dharamsala, has installed more than 100 dustbins, and conducts yoga teacher training at no profit (24-day course at ₹45,000 or USD699).
phone: +91 18 92 220992address: Temple RoadLearn to make different kinds of momos, Tibetan breads and Tibetan noodles. Contact Lha to set up a class. Also have volunteer opportunities.
Llhamo's KitchenLearn how to cook traditional Tibetan food with different courses every day including soups, momos and Tibetan bread. Run by a delightful Tibetan man called Llhamo. Takes place in Llhamo's single room house in the centre of town.
Mr Sangye's Kitchenphone: +91 98 1616 4540address: Joqibara RdLearn how to cook traditional Tibetan food, different courses every day, ranging from soups, momos and Tibetan bread.
Trimurti Cooking ClassChoose any three from a wide variety of Indian dishes, and Rajni will show you how to make it all in her small, pleasant kitchen. Rajni began teaching classes and doing laundry to support herself after her husband was left paralysed by a tragic fall. Ask for her above the Himalayan Adventures store in upper Bhagsu, near the steps to Dharamkot.
VolunteerThere are some opportunities to volunteer. For longer term options such as 1 month or more ask at the LHA office in the middle of the town. Staff there are very friendly and always welcoming if people wish to teach, tutor or get involved in conversational classes.
- Lha Social Work. Lha is one of the largest charitable social work organizations in Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj and aims to provide vital resources and services for Tibetan refugees, the local Indian population, and people from the Himalayan regions. Volunteers are needed for English, French and Chinese classes, IT classes, vocational training, health and environmental awareness education, distribution of clothes and medicine, a community kitchen and many other programmes and activities.
- Mountain Cleaners. Mountain Cleaners is an environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) involved in waste management activities for businesses, locals and tourists in the Dharamsala area. The organisation also arranges clean-up treks, and children's days that volunteers can participate in.
- Rogpa Cafe, Jogibara Rd, is always looking for volunteers to work in the cafe or to look after children at the Day Care centre. This is a 2 week commitment. All proceeds go to the Rogpa Day Care centre that provides free services for local children.
- Tesi Environmental Awareness Movement. If you are an environmental expert, then contact this non-profit Tibetan group.
You may also approach Tibetans in social circles to help them improve their English whilst getting to know each other's culture and personal story. Be mindful of accepting requests for private tutorage from monks on the streets. After a few days they may subject you to demands for sponsorship, however stories of this are rare. It may be best to go through a credible and well established organisation if you want to provide assistance in this way.
In general most monks and lay people are incredibly grateful to have you help them with their English and it is a great way to get to know Tibetan people on a more personal level. The easiest way to help out is to drop into LHA on Temple Rd, or LIT on Jogibara Rd and sign up for tutoring. A commitment of one month is preferred.
Tibetan Singing BowlEasy to play and used for sound healing, music therapy or just for relaxation.
McLeod Ganj is a great place for eating, and the town has an abundance of restaurants, especially in the mid to upper range that cater to foreign tourists. The newer among those upscale eateries increasingly tend to offer free wifi connections. Despite the restaurateurs' claims to the contrary these wifi services are sometimes not fully operative or the connection may be interrupted and hence unsuitable for downloads. At the very least do not allow yourself to be lured into settling down for an extended session at an eating-place solely by their outdoor WiFi signage before first ascertaining the quality of that service.
Momos sold by numerous Tibetan street vendors usually sell at ₹10 for 4 pieces. These are safe to eat and acceptable to the Western palate even if they cannot be expected to match the level of culinary delicacy of those offered by some of the best establishments listed below.
- Momos - dumplings filled with meat or vegetables, steamed or fried
- Thukpa - a hearty noodle soup with veggies or meat
- Thenthuk - thukpa with handmade flat rectangular shaped noodles
- Pocha - salty tea churned with butter, a Tibetan staple, more commonly known at Tibetan Butter Tea
Dolma & Dorjee
Herbal Tea Shop
Jimmy's Italian Kitchen
JJI Exile Brothers Mama's Kitchen
Nick's Italian Kitchen
Oogo's Café Italiano
Peace Coffee House
Snow Lion Restaurant
- Refill your waterbottle with filtered-water, many water-filtering stations to refill your bottle are available: LHA at Temple Rd, Environmental Education Centre at Bhasgu Rd and Dogga-Centre at Jogibara Rd. Some restaurants, including Nick's and Green Hotel also offer filtered water refills for a charge (₹5, but Green Hotel asks for ₹10).
Café Budanaddress: Hotel Himalayan Paradise complex, Jogibara RdUnder the same management as moon•peak espresso; Indian owners with Tibetan staff. The place, which looks like a converted garage, lacks any decor or character. Free Wi-Fi.
phone: +91 98 1627 3240address: Sewarg Ashram Rd (Tushita Rd)A gathering point for the local community and visitors to share Taiwanese, Chinese and Tibetan cuisine. Also an events venue for community-based learning and exchange. A non-profit business venture which helps generates a source of income for Common Grounds Project, and vocational training and employment opportunities for a small group of Tibetans with whom unemployment is high.
Heart Rock Cafeaddress: Post Office Jogi Bada Rd, McLeod GanjThere are better decorated places, but not as pure as this place. On the walls there are pictures of Kali, Jesus and some Sikh Guru's. Here religion is second to human rights. Being tucked away a bit you might almost miss it. In the afternoon you might encounter local workers sipping away some thea at lunch. Alcohol is not served, it is a place to relax, not to get drunk. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Moon•Peak espressoaddress: Temple RdCoffee for ₹40-70, while it is possible to find better coffee in McLeodganj this is nevertheless a very pleasant café to visit. All-Tibetan staff and Indian owners. Good, if smallish, sandwiches and several breakfast items. Teas, including herbal; ₹50-60). One of the few places in McLeodganj with free and functional Wi-Fi. A notice printed within the menu uncharacteristically enjoins the patron to "please order a few things" if "you are going to sit on the net for a while".
Xciteaddress: main square, mcleod ganjPopular hangout with both westerners, locals and holidaying Punjabis. Has the only dance floor/night club in the area. Indian and western tunes are played until 1AM.
For long-term stays, head down the Yongling stairs on Jogiwara Road; there are about a dozen cheap good places, with great views.
Colonel's Cozy Cornerphone: +91 94 1872 4897, +91 98 1677 0899 (bookings)Belongs to a helpful retired army officer and his wife. A secure place with no one to disturb you. 3 rooms. Home-like atmosphere, clean linen and safe water. A local 'Dham' (lunch) is available.
phone: +91 18 9222 1200, +91 18 9222 1479address: Bhagsu Rd, McLeod GanjSimple, clean rooms and very good restaurant. You can refill your water bottle for ₹10/litre to save on plastic, internet cafe in the restaurant. Good cakes, especially the carrot cake.
phone: +91-9816261935address: Jogiwara Rd, McLeod GanjRun by a German-Indian family, beautiful clean rooms. Good coffee and atmosphere.
phone: +91 1892 221593address: Jogiwara Rd.Run by Indian family, economy, beautiful clean rooms with private balcony. Spacious rooms with private balconies. There are views of the snow mountains from every room. The specialty of the lodge is its homemade dishes served to the guests. Free parking and free internet are available. Adventure activities like trekking, adventure camps, rock climbing, safari tours, paragliding and water sports activities are also conducted by professional instructors.
phone: +91 18 9222 0543address: Naddi Village, Upper Dharamsala
Lord Krishna Residencyphone: +91 18 9222 1588address: Temple RdClean rooms, tea, coffee and atmosphere. Rent bikes (9857690700)
phone: +91 98 0552 7124, +91 18 9222 1145address: Jogiwara RdNicer rooms than many of the other budget accommodations. Distance from main roads makes for a quieter stay. Internet available. 7-10 min walk from Mcleodganj bus stand. Private bathroom, hot water, balcony, Wi-Fi, intercom, Tibetan massage centre and small TV.
River View Apartmentsphone: +91 98 1620 6406, +91 98 1629 2228address: Jogiwara, Heru VillageAll rooms with balcony and kitchen.
Seven Hill's Guest housephone: +91 94 1807 9845
Shree Guest Housephone: +91 94 18920003,+918894060505Run by a very nice and decent family in a quieter part of the town. Double and single rooms on very decent rates. Surrounded by the Deodar/Pine forest.
Snow Lion Guest HouseGood budget place in the centre of town.
Tibetan Ashoka Guesthousephone: +91 18 9222 1763Very clean and comfortable rooms.
address: Jogibara Rd, beside Pink House, next to Yongling SchoolRun by a nice and caring host, Tsepal. A cozy place with clean beds and washroom. Serves breakfast. Has a balcony with nice view of the snow-capped mountains. Quiet place. But because of couple of popular hotels around it, can get noisy at times, especially during weekend nights. There is a caretaker who cooks breakfast and is generally around. But don't expect someone to be available 24/7. You'll have bed, washroom, running hot water. And you're expected to take care of yourself. You have to climb down moderate bit of steps to reach this place, and also climb up if you want to go anywhere.
phone: +91 9953414037address: Hotel Club House Road, near Liason Office
Friends house mcleodganj jogibara road budget price room
500 hundred to 1000
hot water WiFi balcony nice view
phone: +91 94 1823 6603Jogiwara Rd, Mcleod Ganj (below Ladies Venture Hotel). View of the snow-capped Dhauladhar range from a private balcony. Clean rooms with attached bathrooms. It's within walking distance of the main temple of the Dalai Lama and Mcleod Ganj. Each room is named after one of the eight auspicious signs of Buddhism and decorated accordingly.
phone: +91 18 9222 1002address: Surya RdViews over the Kangra Valley. On a quiet side street close to the main square. 10 rooms, all of which have balconies, cable TV and an attached bathroom with hot water. Sunset Cafe on the rooftop has internet facilities. Common lounge room, library and room service. You can also book airline, bus and train tickets plus tours and trek reservations from the hotel's travel desk.
phone: +91 11 65660404, +91 7428844440State-run Himachal tourism hotel, which despite the name is in McLeod Ganj. At the upper end of the price range with carpeted rooms and en-suite bathrooms. Has a pleasant pseudo-English garden with lawn and flowers.
Hotel Tibetaddress: Bhagsunag Rd.Clean, spotty hot water, reasonable meals. Good deals off-season.
phone: +91 98 1614 3957Small, family-run guest house offers peace and quiet, clean, stylishly furnished rooms and traditional Himachali home-cooked food. It's an ideal base for trekking in the Dhauladhar range and day excursions to local sights and attractions. ₹800 per night, including breakfast, discounts for longer stays.
phone: +91 18 9222 1871Tibetan-run older guesthouse, tucked on a quiet side street with great views over the Kangra Valley. Rooms are starting to show their age, but they're scrupulously clean and comfy and feature a TV and 24-hr hot water. Double rooms ₹770-1,100, gas heater (necessary in winter) ₹200/day extra, kitchenette facilities available for longer stays.
phone: +91 94 1808 6608address: Naddi, Upper DharamsalaA short walk from the Tibetan Childen's Village. Views of the Dhauladhar Mountain Range from the roof top restaurant or a private balcony. Internet access, TV and solar heated water for your shower.
phone: +91 18 9222 0091address: Satobari Hills, Near Dal Lake, Naddi, Upper Dharamsala25 rooms
phone: +91 189-222 1418address: H.H. Dalai Lama Temple Road McLeodganj
phone: +91 18 9222 0877Located outside of the main centre of McLeod Ganj and Dharamsala, this modern hotel is somewhat sterile, but takes a stab at upmarket. It is the only place in the area with a (small) swimming pool and a gym with steam and sauna. Also offers ayurvedic massage, a rooftop bar and some rooms & suites with A/C.
phone: +91 18 9222 1006, +91 18 9221 1468address: off Temple RdEasily one of the most expensive places to stay in McLeodganj. Run by the Norbulingka Institute, whose proceeds go to helping refugees. Private car available. Prix fixe breakfast, ₹315; fixed price dinner, ₹473. Service in the restaurant, indoors and on the adjacent open-air terrace is usually very good. The 11 rooms here are however in high demand, particularly in the high season of May and June when it would seem essential to book in advance. Very kind and helpful staff who will go out of their way to assist you, and, because of the size of the hotel, they get to know you over a few days.
phone: +91 18 9222 1010address: Mall Rd, McLeodganj,Upper Dharamshala1 km from the town of McLeodganj. Sited in a mixed forest of cedar, oak and rhododendron, overlooking the Kangra valley. Ideal for a quite and peaceful holiday. Known to be frequented by a number of celebrities and dignitaries.
phone: +91 9818887454address: Dharamshala Palampur Road, Gopalpur (Darati)A good example of craftsmanship and green tea gardens.
Surya McLeodAnother somewhat upmarket choice, rooms in this large hotel have TVs and some have views over the valley. Restaurant, bar and ping pong table on site.
phone: +91 80 5481 5800address: DharamsalaBig rooms with kitchenette facilities & bar refrigerator. Car rentals available. Laundry services. Wi-fi Internet.
The place has become much safer in recent times though it is advisable to take precautions.
Stay vigilant at all times and be very cautious if staying out after 9PM.
- Amritsar - The holy Sikh city of and its Golden Temple is a 6-hr bus journey away. Buses leave at 5AM from the lower bus station.
- Bir - a village with a Tibetan and Indian population, known for its Buddhist monasteries and paragliding centre.
- Dalhousie - a small hill station close to Pathankot.
- Manali - is the next hub for journeys deeper into the mountains.
- Palampur - beautiful valley famous for its tea gardens, agricultural university, temples.
- Sidhbari - outside lower Dharamshala is an ideal getaway from the tourist traffic and to experience life in a typical farming village in the valley.