Admire beautiful Kangra paintings at the Kangra Art Museum .It is a fascinating museum displaying artifacts from Tibetan and Buddhist cultures. Inaugurated in 1990, the museum has preserved a treasure trove from Kangra valley’s cultural past, crafts, arts and other ancient artifacts including miniature paintings, temple carvings, fabrics and embroidery, weapons, and palanquins belonging to local royalty.
It has a collection of rare pottery, coin memorabilia, sculptures and anthropological materials. It showcases jewelry of various tribes, embroidered costumes and wooden carvings. Some of the items displayed in the museum go back to 5th century. A section in the museum is also dedicated to contemporary artists and photographers.
Located close to the bus station in Dharamshala, you can spend about an hour exploring the museum.
- Opening Closing Time 10 am to 1.30 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm (Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays)
- Entrance Fee Rs. 10 (Indian), Rs. 50 (Foreigner)
3.Similar Museum in Dharamshala
- Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
- Dharamshala War Memorial Overview :It commemorates the memory of war heroes who fought bravely for their mother land and sacrificed their lives in its defense. Located in the middle of lush green pine trees, the memorial is a peaceful and patriotic place decorated with lawns and artistic landscaping.
You can easily spend an hour or two walking around the area. While there, you should also see the GPG College nearby, which was made during the British Era.
- Naam Art Gallery This is a great place for art lovers, located about 32 kilometres away from the town. The gallery was opened by Elizabeth Buschmann from Germany, and displays paintings by her as well as A.W. Hallett, an English painter.
While Buschmann uses watercolours and acrylics, Hallett’s works are made using oil paints. Hallett died in 1986, and a large number of his are owned by the Himachal Pradesh Government. You can also buy paintings here or even order them online if you like. The gallery is located at Sidhbari village on Dharamshala-Chamunda road.
4.Bhagsunag Falls Overview
Also called Bhagsu Falls, this site houses the famous Bhagsunath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is a famous tourist attraction and also an important place for Hindu pilgrims.
The cascading waterfalls, about 20 metres in height, are an absolute marvel to look at, especially during the monsoons. There is a nice cafeteria next to the falls and the area serve as an excellent picnic spot for tourists. Bhagsunag Falls are located about 2 kilometres away from McLeodganj and are best visit while on a trek, although you can also drive up to Bhagsu village.
5.Dal Lake Overview
This beautiful lake is set amidst lush green Deodar forests at an altitude of 1,775 metres and exudes transcendence in peaceful surroundings.
Located at a distance of 2 kilometres away from McLeodganj Market, Dal Lake is just a walk away and also happens to be a major attraction for trekkers as it serves as a base camp for several trekking expeditions. But if you don’t want to walk all the way, you can also go by car or taxi.
The lake is also known for a popular temple of Lord Shiva that’s located on its banks.
Namgyal Monastery Overview
When in Dharamshala, one must visit the Tsuglag Khang Complex and Namgyal Monastery, which is the home of the Dalai Lama, and also the largest Tibetan temple outside Tibet.
Namgyal Monastery was originally founded in 16th century Tibet by the second Dalai Lama. The monastery was established so that Namgyal monks could assist the Dalai Lamas in public religious affairs, perform ritual prayer ceremonies for the welfare of Tibet and function as a center of learning and meditation on the profound Buddhist treatises.
After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, when His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was granted asylum in India, the monastery was re-established here to preserve and continue the Tibetan culture and traditions. The monks here go through a rigorous and streamlined course of training, which includes a study of philosophy, sacred arts, meditation and debates.
Even those who are not particularly inclined towards religion, will be fascinated by the serene ambience all around the campus and the imposing figures of Buddha.
6.Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts in Dharamshala
The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) is responsible for preserving and promoting Tibet’s unique tradition of performing arts. After the Chinese occupation, His Holiness the Dalai Lama felt it was important to safeguard the traditional performing arts of Tibet so that they are not lost forever.
That is why TIPA, which was established in August 1959, has been spreading awareness and engagement around Tibetan culture and civilization. The institute has many members, including artistes, instructors, administrative staff and craftsmen, all of whom live on the institute’s premises.
One of the major highlights of the institute is the annual Shoton Opera Festival, which is a 9-day long celebration of Traditional Tibetan Opera or Lhamo. One Lhamo performance lasts up to 6 hours. Apart from the performances, the institute also has a research section that is responsible for documenting and archiving the literature, picture, audio as well as visual components of Tibetan Operatic culture, dance and music.
Further to Mcleodganj
Tsug la Khang (Dalai Lama’s Temple)
Tsug la Khang, The Dalai Lama’s temple, is the life-blood of the village. It houses the Namgyal Monastery and shrine rooms.
The largest shrine contains a huge gilded statue of the Buddha, along with two smaller statues of Chenresig and Guru Rinpoche. Parts of these statues were brought at great sacrifice from Tibet. The Dalai Lama’s residence and administrative offices are adjacent to the monastery.
The temple is always busy. Services are held daily and are attended by lamas, monks, nuns and lay people. In the shrine, you might come across a group of monks building an intricate sand mandala, and outside in the courtyard on Thursdays, monks debate Buddhist philosophy.
Around the temple hill there is a long meditation trail — LingKhor — with small shrines, stupas, and a massive chorten. The shrines near the chorten are always covered in thousands of prayer flags placed by devotees.
The temple is located a short walk down the hill from the main square at the centre of town.
- Bhagsunag Falls
- (around 11 km from the Dharamshala, it is easily approachable by road from Mcleodganj). Bhagsunag fall has many waterfalls, an ancient temple, numerous slate quarries and a fresh water spring. edit
- (around 14 km form Dharamshala.). This is an ideal place for a picnic near to Dharamshala. It is situated in the Himalayan mountain range giving an amazing view of the surrounds. edit
- Kunal Pathari
- (around 3 km from the Dharamshala.). People come to this temple every day to pray to the Goddess.
- Peak Art Gallery,
- Temple Rd, Mcleod Ganj (1/2 way down Temple Rd, below Cafe Nirvana). 10AM-7PM.
- Rakkar. A picturesque hamlet on the outskirts of Lower Dharamshala, 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 favor of having a closer interaction with the locals villagers in a pristine village environment.
Tibetan Library (Tibetan Library of Works and Archives). Near the Tibetan Government in Exile, with a small but interesting museum.
- Tibet Museum (opp. Tsuglagkhang), ☎ +91 18 922 2510. Tu-Su 9AM-5PM. Small but interesting museum on the history of Tibet and its people.
The name of the city derives from the name of the pool around the Golden Temple (also known as Harmandir Sahib) and means “holy pool of nectar” (Amrit: elixir; Sar: (short for sarovar) lake). It is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh religion, and they are rightfully very proud of the city and their very beautiful and unique Gurdwara (place of worship). The Golden Temple was initiated by Guru Ramdaas Ji, the fourth Sikh Guru, and completed in 1601 by his successor Guru Arjan Dev Ji. It is now a major pilgrimage and tourism hub.
- Jallianwala Bagh (Garden) is a short 5-minute walk from the Golden Temple, and is the site of the 1919 Amritsar massacre. On 13 April of that year, British Indian Army soldiers opened fire on an unarmed gathering of men, women and children. The firing lasted about 10 minutes and 1650 rounds were fired, killing 1579 people. A memorial was built on the site and inaugurated by the then-President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on 13 April 1961. to this day the bullet holes can be seen on the walls and adjoining buildings. The well into which many people jumped and drowned attempting to save themselves from the hail of bullets is also a protected monument inside the park.
- Mata Temple is a labyrinthine like Hindu cave temple devoted to the female saint Lal Devi. Traditionally, women wishing to become pregnant come here to pray. The roundabout path to the main temple passes through low tunnels, caves full of ankle-deep water, inclined walkways, and mirrored hallways that make the experience seem more like a fun house than a place of worship. The colours, wide variety of deities, and elaborate mirrored image make this a psychedelically unique temple. Highly recommended! This is called Sheesh Mahal, and some people also seem to call it “Lal Devi.”
- “‘Durgiana Mandir & Bada Hanuman mandir(Languran wala Mandir)
‘All though Durgiana Temple is a Hindu temple, but its architecture is similar to the Golden Temple of Sikh religion. It is located near Hathi gate and near railway station. It is visited by Lord Rama Himself. Bada Hanuman Mandir is situated near its premises, A annual function at this ancient ‘Bara Hanuman Mandir’ starts with the beginning of navratras. There are people from far off places, even from aborad who visits this temple during this festival.
- Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh is in the Ram Bagh park. Now the palace houses a museum, exhibiting oil paintings, miniatures, coins and weapons from the Sikh period. In this park is the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama, so ask, if you are at the right museum.
- Ram Tirth is a short distance of 11km outside the city. Consecrated by the appearance of Devi Sita, Ram Tirth had been a witness to the birth of the sons of King Rama. Making a special place in the holy scripts of ancient religions, the place was once the ashrama of saint Valmiki. The saint is believed to have scripted many of his sacred manuscripts at this place. A hut of Rishi Balmiki is still found at Ram Tirth where he once lived. After giving birth to Luv and Kush, Devi Sita used to stay at this place for a considerable period of time. The evidence of her stay still exists in the form a well which, it is believed, was dug by Hanuman. Devotees of King Rama and Devi Sita flock to this place every year to offer their prayers to the respected deities. As the locational position of the Ram Tirth is facilitated by easy accessibility, hence, the visitors conveniently reach this place of worship without any extra hassles.
The Golden Temple is the main attraction in the city, and the most important religious place to the Sikhs. It’s a stunning complex, and always full of thousands of pilgrims from all over India, excited to be at a place that they usually only see on television. The excitement to be here is infectious, and many people will be more than happy to tell you all about their religion and customs, and show you around the temple itself. Cover your head, remove your shoes and wander around one of the most amazing places in India. The complex is open almost 24 hours (06:00-02:00 the next day) and is worth visiting twice: once during the day, once at night, when it’s beautifully lit up.
As you arrive near the complex, you will more likely than not be accosted by hawkers trying to sell you bandanna’s to cover your head. It’s not a bad souvenir for INR10, but there’s also a big barrel of free ones to choose from at the entrance itself. Deposit your shoes at the subterranean building to the left of the entrance, wash your feet at the entrance and head in.
- “Ghanta Ghar”. This is the main entrance, sporting a distinctly Victorian clock-tower. Wash your feet in the water at the entrance in order to keep the temple clean.
- Amrit Sarovar. The giant pool of water that surrounds and reflects the Golden Temple. Sections (marked off by ropes) are set aside for (male) pilgrims wishing to bathe.
- Harmandir Sahib. This is the Golden Temple itself, floating above the Amrit Sarovar, housing the sacred Adi Granth scripture which is recited out loud during the day. This is the most crowded point, accessible by a bridge from the edge of the pool, and entry here is regulated by traditionally dressed Sikh guards. It’s a 2 storey structure where Sikh saints are seated on each floor.
- Akal Takht, directly opposite the Harmandir Sahib. Meaning “The Timeless”, this is where the highest council of Sikhs sits and deliberates. At night, the Guru Granth Sahib is taken to the Akal Takht.
- Central Sikh Museum, 2nd floor (entrance on the right side of the main side of the main entrance). Devoted to large gallery of paintings, mostly showing the gruesome ways countless Sikhs have been martyred, and various knick-knacks from the gurus. Free.
All Sikhs are expected at some point in their lives to volunteer for a week at the temple, and everyone you see working here is fulfilling that duty. It’s likely possible that you can join in if you feel so inclined – you could enquire by asking the people outside peeling vegetables, or those washing dishes. READ more about Amritsar here