Dharamshala was originally the home of a predominantly Hindu nomadic or semi-nomadic group. But this group lost its settlements once the British and the Gurkhas arrived. In 1959, His Holiness the Dalai Lama fled Tibet and was given refuge Dharamshala by Indian Prime Minister. This was the dawn of Tibetan settlement in McLeodGanj, which was earlier a British summer retreat. In 1960, the Tibetan government in exile was established here. But even before the arrival of HH the Dalai Lama there were many monasteries in Dharmshala which had been made in the 19th century.
This is a hill station nestled in the Dhauladhar range and lies 17 kms from Kangra town. Mcleodganj, headquarter of Dalai Lama is 9 km from central Dharamshala.
Hindi, Punjabi and Pahari are spoken by the locals. And people involved in hospitality and tourism industries often speak English.
Although many restaurants serve dishes from the world over, the local cuisine in Dharamshala is highly influenced by Tibetan culture. Popular local dishes are the Gyakok, the Tibetan Tingmo and the eternal favourites, Thukpa and Momos. Fresh fruits are an integral part of the day and should be tried with the Kangra chai or butter tea. Plenty of homemade bakeries are all around, which serve lovely freshly baked delicacies like pies, croissants, cookies and more.
Dharamshala is famous as the seat of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. His Holiness resides in McLeodGanj, which is known as "Little Lhasa" in honour of the Tibetan capital. McLeodGanj is an important tourist destination and the tourism industry is rapidly growing here. To understand the region's history one should visit the Kangra Art museum and the war memorial. The best places for some shopping are Kotwali Bazar and McLeodGanj, which is famous for Tibetan handicrafts. The recent addition to the Dharamshala's landscape has been a beautiful cricket stadium. Surrounded by majestic peaks and towering deodars, this cricket stadium is possibly the world's most beautiful. An important temple here is the Kunal Pathri temple, the journey to which is paved by lush tea estates. Read more
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Since 1993, a 10 day Tibetan Opera festival is being organised in Dharamshala annually. Knows as the Shoton Opera Festival, it begins at the end of March, usually on afull moon day. The tradition dates back to the 14th century when it began and Lhasa. With the creation of Dharamshala's own cricket stadium, many matches are expected to be played here. And without a doubt, cricket fans can find no better location to enjoy the game. It was recently inaugrated by an IPL match played between Punjab Kings XI and Deccan Chargers and will soon be the venue for many more matches. The weather is ideal for tourism from September to June.