The places to visit in Dharamshala are actually broken into three towns, Mcleod Ganj, Bhagsu and Dharamkot. We visited all three and here’s what to expect.
A Breakdown Of Places To Visit In Dharamshala
There are a few places to visit in Dharamshala, and it’s the perfect destination to wind down for a few nights after the hustle and bustle of Delhi.
Dharamshala sits on the edge of the Himalayas and not only is there a laid back vibe around the place, but also the surrounding landscapes are breathtaking.
Dharamshala itself is a city, however the most popular tourist places to visit in Dharamshala are Mcleod Ganj, Bhagsu and Dharamkot.
Each destination is visited for different reasons, but wherever you choose to visit in Dharamshala, you’ll still get the most stunning and picturesque views of the Indian mountains.
In this blog we’ll break down what to expect in each of these 3 places, and our personal experiences.
One thing that remains the same all over Dharamshala are the lanes full of guest houses, hippie clothing stalls, hair braiding shops, tattoo parlours and quirky cafes.
So we certainly recommend heading up into the mountains to experience a completely different side to India, that you probably didn’t even know existed.
For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
Including Dharamshala: Full Day Customizable City Sightseeing Tour.
1. Mcleod Ganj
McLeod Ganj is a suburb of Dharamshala in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.
It is known as “Little Lhasa” or “Dhasa” because of its large population of Tibetans, including many maroon-robed monks and nuns.
Mcleod Ganj is also famously home to the Dalai Lama, and the Dalai Lama temple, where teachings and classes are available.
Many international visitors come to Mcleod Ganj specifically to volunteer with the Tibetan community as well as taking courses in Buddhism, yoga or meditation.
So if you’re interested in the religious side of India, you should definitely head here and enjoy the spiritual vibe.
It’s also home to some beautiful mountain ranges that are popular with mountaineers and trekkers.
We visited McLeod Ganj from Bhagsu for the day and spent some time checking out the markets and chatting with the monks.
They had their own unique type of Tibetan crafts and keepsakes on sale around the markets. It’s probably a good job we didn’t have bigger backpacks!
If you’re looking for a guide to take you around and learn while you explore you can book a Dharamshala: Full Day Customizable City Sightseeing Tour.
The next stop on our list of places to visit in Dharamshala is Bhagsu.
Bhagsu is the hippie central. It’s full of yoga classes, yoga teaching courses, yoga equipment basically just anything YOGA!
It’s where the majority of western tourists choose to base themselves in Dharamsala and explore from.
There are plenty of cool cafes, art classes and one thing we saw a lot of was people learning to draw mandalas!
Plus, you can’t possibly leave without grabbing a Bhagsu cake. They are AMAZING!
Bhagsu has a real community feel to it, plus there are many Israeli settlers here, which gives you the opportunity of a change of cuisine to your usual Indian thali.
Another of the popular places to visit in Dharamshala is Bhagsunag Waterfall. Which is located in Bhagsu but just over 1km walk away from the main town.
Whilst you’re browsing the places to visit in Dharamshala, we definitely recommend adding this waterfall to your list.
It’s a beautiful walk up to the top, with stunning views of the trees and mountains and plenty of chai stalls along the way to keep you refreshed.
You’ll probably pass a few stray goats on the way up too!
Then there’s Dharamkot. The final stop on our places to visit in Dharamsala list.
Dharamkot is a small hill station in the Kangra district. It sits on the crest of a hill above McLeodGanj, and gives great views of the Kangra Valley and the Dhauladhar ranges.
It is often used as a base for hikers that choose to do any of the multiple hikes in the nearby Himalayas.
Dharamkot is super cool and definitely the least touristy of all the places in Dharamsala. In fact we struggled to see many westerners when we were exploring.
There are many Israelis here and it is the only village in the state to have a Jewish Community Centre. So you will find lots of tasty Israeli dishes on offer here including falafel, pita and hummus.
It’s also another place people choose to go to practise yoga. The town is a lot smaller than Bhagsu and Mcleod Ganj, but it’s definitely worth a walk over to see a different side of the city.
It has cute little jewellery shops where you can learn to make jewellery, dreamcatchers and braid hair.
There’s not really any sign of street food, but this is your perfect opportunity to enjoy eating out whilst on a budget. There are some awesome little bakeries and coffee shops that we couldn’t resist.
Where To Stay In Dharamshala
Mid-Budget – The Eden
Featuring free WiFi throughout the property and views of snow-capped Dhauladhars, The Eden is located in Dharamshala, 4.3 miles from HPCA Stadium.
Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Free private parking is available on site.
All rooms come with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels.
Some units feature a seating area where you can relax. All rooms include a private bathroom and a balcony.
For more places to stay in Dharamshala, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.
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Thursday 5th of December 2019
I recently visited Bhagsu in September. It is such a wonderful, enchanting place. Hope that you had a good time.
Thursday 5th of December 2019
Ah no way, what an awesome little place! We have great memories of Bhagsu!