Dharamsala town is divided into two three parts- the upper Dharamsala called Mcleodganj, the middle Kotwali Bazar and the lower Kaccheri area. Dharamsala is a starting point to a number of Trekking Trails that especially lead trekkers across Dhauladhar into the upper Ravi Valley and Chamba district. En route, you cross through forests of deodar, pine, oak and rhododendron, and pass streams and rivers and wind along vertiginous cliff tracks, and also the occasional lake waterfall and glacier.
A 2-km amble takes one to Bhagsu, and then a further 3-km walk will lead the trekkers to Dharamkot. If one wishes to go on a longer walk then he/she can trek 8-km to Triund. The snow line of Ilaqa Got is just a 5-km walk.
The most popular trekking trail is the Dharamsala to the Chamba valley over the Indradhar Pass (4,350m). Considered a difficult level trek, Dharamsala to the Chamba valley over the Indradhar Pass trek can be completed in five days time.
The trek starts from Dharamkot and winds through dense forest area and steep rocky terrain for 9 km to a grassy plateau at Triund. From here, its an uphill trek to Laqa Got, and then a deep steep section leads you to the knife-edged Indrahar Pass.
Indrahar Pass offers a spectacular view of the plains in the south and the snow clad Pir Panjal peaks and Greater Himalayas in the north. From Indrahar Pass, a down-hill arduous trek leads you to the main road via Gaddi villages of Kuarsi and Channauta. From the main road, you can board a bus or a taxi to reach Brahmour and Chamba.
Other trekking trails that lead you to Chamba from Dharamsala are:
- Toral Pass (4575m) which begins from Tang Narwana (1150m) that is located nearly 10 km from Dharamsala
- Across Bhimghasutri Pass (4580m) via near-vertical rocky ascents, steep cliffs and dangerous gorges. This is a highly difficult level trek and takes around six days to complete.
- Dharamsala ” Bleni Pass (3710m) “ Dunali. Compared to other trekking trails, this one is much easier and takes around four or five-days to complete. The trek leads you through alpine pastures, woods, and streams, before ending at Dunali, on the Chamba road.
Also, Dharamsala is an ideal destination for rock climbing enthusiasts. One can go rock climbing over the ridges of the Dhauladhar range.
Exact Location: Dharamsala is located northwest of Simla in the district of Kangra.
Nearest Town: Simla
Distance from Delhi: 540+
How to Reach
Dharamsala is well connected by road with Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla and Pathankot. The road network to Dharamsala is well-maintained and it is connected by National Highway 1 (NH1).
Dharamshala to McleodGanj is only 9 km. Buses are available from 0730 hrs in the morning to 2030 hrs in the evening. Jeeps and taxis are also available during late hours. The nearest railway station to Dharamsala is Kangra Mandir (narrow gauge) which is at a distance of 22 km. It is a small station and hence all the trains do not stop at this station. The closest major rail junction is Pathankot, which is about 85 km away from Dharamsala. Pathakot is well connected with all the major cities in India.
The nearest airport to Dharamsala is the Gaggal airport in Kangra valley. The airport is at a distance of 12 km from Dharamsala and reaching here, one can hire a taxi to reach Dharamsala.
From Delhi: Take a bus or tax ride to Pathankot and from there a three-hour bus or two-hour taxi ride to Dharamsala. There are buses and taxis regularly available from Dharamsala to McLeodgunj.
Trek Length (Days): Dharamsala to the Chamba Valley, over the Indrahar Pass (4350m): 5 days
Best Time to Visit: March through to end of June: and beginning of October through to end November
Things to Carry
- Walking stick
- Hiking shoes
- Woolen clothes
- Water, juices, snacks
- Electric torch
- Medical kit
- A good compass
- An extra pair of clothes
Masrur: The major attraction of this place is the fifteen exquisitely carved monolithic rock temples dating back to 8th century. The carvings of these temples are similar to Kailash temple at Ellora. In the sanctum of the main temple, one can find images of Lord Ram, Goddess Sita and Lakhsman. Masrur is located 15 km south of Kangra.
Kunal Parthi Temple: This temple is dedicated to Goddess Kalpeshwari, and is located 3 km from the Kotwali Bazaar. Its a believed that a part of Goddess Sati, skull, fell here when Lord Shiva was carrying the charred body of the Goddess, and hence the name of the temple.
Chamunda Temple: This temple is located around 15 km from Dharamshala on the right bank of river Baner on the Mandi-Pathankot highway. According to mythology, Goddess Kali killed the demons Chand and Mund at this place.
Dal Lake: The Lake is spread in an area of 1 km and is bounded by rhododendrons, deodars, and junipers forest. Annually, a fair is held at the Kali Temple near the Lake. There is another temple close to the lake that is dedicated to sage Durvasa. Dal Lake is 2 km walk westwards from McLeodganj bazaar.
Triund: Triund is nestled in the foothills of Dhauladhar and is around 17 km from Dharamsala. Its a trekking destination from McLeodgang, and offers magnificent vistas of the mountains and valleys.
Naddi: This scenic picnic spot is located 5 km northwest of McLeodganj. Naddi offers a spectacular view of the Kangra valley. You can go for a trekking to Kareri Lake, Triund, and Guna Devi from here. Its also becoming a popular destination for nature lovers.
Image Source: Siva_vasanth, Adityam0