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Dharamsala

Travel Guide Asia India Himachal Pradesh Dharamsala

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Introduction

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Dharamsala is a small city in the northern Indian province of Himachal Pradesh. With a population of around 20,000 inhabitants, it is best known as being the home of the Dalai Lama. It is located in the upper reaches of the Kanga Valley.

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Neighbourhoods

The town is divided into three parts

  • Upper Dharamsala called McLeod Ganj
  • The middle Kotwali Bazar
  • The lower Kaccheri area
  • Bhagsunag Fall and Temple, about 11 kilometres from Dharamsala
  • Kunal Pathari, about 3 kilometres from Dharamshala

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Events and Festivals

Dharamsala

Dharamsala

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Weather

Dharamsala is located between 1400 and 1750 metres above sea level and therefore has a climate that can best be described by being in between a typical Alpine climate and the climate found more to the areas to the south, which are hot and humid in summer. Dharamsala has summers from April to October when average daytime temperatures are between 25 and 31 °C and nights between 13 and 20 °C. Winters are much colder compared to areas to the south with days between 12 and 15 °C from December and February. Nights are just above zero during this time. October to December, as is April, are the driest months. From May onwards, precipitation increases dramatacially, peaking in July and August, which have a massive 800mm and 900mm respectively.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max15 °C16.8 °C21.1 °C26.2 °C30.3 °C31.3 °C27.3 °C26.4 °C26.4 °C24.9 °C21 °C17 °C
Avg Min5.9 °C7.7 °C11.4 °C16 °C19.8 °C21.6 °C20.5 °C20.1 °C18.5 °C15 °C10.6 °C7.4 °C
Rainfall113.9 mm111.2 mm232.6 mm56.8 mm67.1 mm232.3 mm879.6 mm852.9 mm374.1 mm56.2 mm19.5 mm52.9 mm
Rain Days77.98.47.38.31323.724.615.53.82.34.3

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Getting There

By Plane

Gaggal Airport, also known as Kangra Airport or Dharamsala-Kangra Airport (DHM) receives few flights. Jagson Airlines has flights to Delhi, Chandigarh and Kulu, while Kingfisher Airlines only serves Delhi.

By Train

The nearest train station is Kangra Mandir, on the slow narrow-gauge line from Pathankot to Jogindernagar. Taxis to Panthankot take about 3 hours. There are comfortable night trains to/from Delhi, a much better alternative to the bus (see below).

By Bus

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. Buses to Delhi take up to 13 hours and usually travel overnight.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Public buses to between McLeod and Dharamsala leave roughly hourly, autorickshaws ply the same route but are much more expensive.

By Foot

McLeod Ganj is small enough to be navigated on foot.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Hotel Mount View (Dharamsala)Jogiwara road near post office Mcleodganj DhramshalaGuesthouse82
Hotel Valley View CrestVill.Dhyal P.O.Totarani Via Dal LakeHostel-
Jagatram Niwas Guest Housec/o Bavinder Singh, V&PO Bhagsunag, Tehsil Dharamsala, Distt. KangraGUESTHOUSE82
Silver Moon HouseHouse # 318/02 Bhagsu Nag Upper DharamsalaGuesthouse-
Snow Crest InnNaddi villageHotel-
Surya Resorts Private LimitedSurya Resorts McleodGanjHostel76
Hotel Anand PalaceBhagsunag, McleodganjHotel-
Hotel Asian PlazaMain Chowk Mcleodganj Mc LeodganjHotel-
Pink HouseOpposite Yongling School, Jogiwara Road, Mcleodganj-
Hotel Pong ViewCantt Road Dharamshala Dist Kangra Himachal PradesHOTEL-
Staywell HotelMcleodganj Khara Danda Road Dharams Near PWD Rest HouseHOTEL-
Misty Woods44/3,Jogibara Road McleodganjHOTEL-
Hotel Asian Plaza- DharamshalaMain Square- Kotwali Bazaar, Dharamshala Himachal PradeshHOTEL-
McLeodGanj Homestay at The Flourishing FloraThe Flourishing Flora, opposite TIPA, Dharamkot ro Dharamshala, Distt-Kangra, Himachal PradeshGUESTHOUSE-
The ExoticaKhaynyara Indru Nag RoadGuesthouse-

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Keep Connected

Internet

There's good coverage over most of India for Internet cafes. However, following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and some other cities, all internet cafes have been instructed by the authorities to maintain a register and note down the identification details of all persons using internet. Sify iWay is a reliable and cheap cafe with over 1,600 cafes over India. iWay also allows you to open a pre-paid account that you can use all over India. Whenever you have Internet access probably the best and cheapest way to call family and friends at home is software that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet such as Skype.

Wifi hotspots in India are, for most part, limited. The major airports and stations do offer paid wifi at around RS.60-100 an hour. Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai are the only cities with decent wifi coverage. At Mumbai airport, you get to use WiFi internet free, for an hour or so.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country code for India is 91. To dial outside the country from India, prefix the country code with 00.

The general emergency number is 100 (emergency response police & fire), while for ambulance you should dial 102 or 112, though some regions have 108 for this emergency. 108 is used in in the Indian states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha,Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 108 can be called for medical, crime, fire, or any other emergency from any phone.

Local phone numbers can be anywhere from 5-8 digits long. But when the area code is included, all landline phone numbers in India are 10 digits long. Cellphone numbers usually start with '9', '8', or '7'. Toll-free numbers start with 1-800.

If staying longterm it is probably wise to think about investing in a mobile phone. You'll possibly need to provide a photocopy of your passport and itinerary, so come prepared. Make sure you arrange it upon arrival in a big city, as it can sometimes be difficult to organise with language barriers and such in more regional areas. You can buy a cheap nokia for about RS.1,200 with a pre-paid plan. Airtel is a good carrier to think about as they have great coverage, and constant offers for cheaper calling. To recharge, most shop vendors with phone carrier signs can do it via their own phone. You give them your mobile number, they put it in their phone and you'll both get messages as to whether or not the recharge has been successful. Also, if possible, buy the phone in the state where you do the most travelling as the charges are higher in the states where you did not originally buy the phone.

Over the entire country there are plenty of public phones, even in the middle of the countryside. Although most of the time these phones are not very well maintained and have horrible connections. Therefore remember when using one of these public phones one must be extremely patient.
For international calls from payphones, you'll have to visit a reputable internet cafe with a phone-booth. Mobile phones are usually a better and cheaper option.

Post

India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost RS.50 to 200. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.

If you want to send bigger packages/parcels, it might be better, faster and sometimes even cheaper, to contact a private company like DHL, TNT or UPS.

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 32.220661
  • Longitude: 76.31884

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This is version 17. Last edited at 13:36 on Feb 5, 14 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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