Dharamshala 2023: 22 Must-Try Activities, Blending Popular and Lesser-Known Experiences

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Dharamshala has emerged as an ideal destination for a weekend getaway from Delhi due to its numerous attractions and activities that cater to people of all ages. While the younger ones enjoy camping and stargazing, the older generation finds solace and spirituality in exploring the vibrant monasteries and temples.

The breathtaking beauty of Dharamshala attracts couples, families, and groups of friends for short or even extended stays. Paragliding, trekking, and various other activities ensure that your holiday in Dharamshala is filled with excitement. Moreover, there are plenty of exciting things to do in the surrounding areas as well. The list below presents the top activities to indulge in, both within Dharamshala and nearby.

Top Activities in Dharamshala

Here is a comprehensive list of the best activities to experience in Dharamshala that will take you on a virtual tour of this enchanting city. From sightseeing and shopping to dining and trekking, there is something for everyone. Make sure to partake in these activities during your next vacation. Take a look!

trip to Dharamshala

1. Explore the Cultural Heritage through Sightseeing

With its abundance of natural, architectural, and spiritual landmarks, sightseeing is a must-do activity in Dharamshala. The tranquil tea gardens will soothe your soul, while the colorful monasteries like Namgyal will provide peace of mind.

Must-visit places in Dharamshala: Namgyal Monastery, St. John in the Wilderness, Bhagsunag Waterfall, and Tsuglagkhang Complex Dalai Lama Temple

The picturesque Shiva Cafe in McLeodGanj

2. Unwind at Cafes Like Never Before

Dharamshala, particularly Mcleodganj, is a haven for cafe enthusiasts. The town is teeming with cafes that serve delectable local and international cuisines, as well as refreshing beverages. These establishments are perfect for unwinding with friends, engaging in meaningful conversations, and indulging your taste buds amidst picturesque views worthy of Instagram.

Best cafes in Dharamshala: Illiterati, Shiva Cafe, Namgyal Cafe, and Joyful Café

Thukpa ss0108217

3. Indulge in Delicious Tibetan Food at Restaurants

Dharamshala, a Tibetan settlement since 1959, offers a delightful culinary experience for food enthusiasts. From freshly steamed momos to flavorful soupy Thukpas, you’ll be tempted to try everything on the menu in one go. Undoubtedly, embarking on a Tibetan food adventure is among the top activities to indulge in Dharamshala.

4. Shopping: Discover Exquisite Stone Jewelry & Handicrafts

Shopping in Dharamshala

Shopping is a favorite pastime for many in Dharamshala, offering a wide array of choices. Here, you can explore both showrooms and street markets. As you wander through the bustling markets, be prepared to encounter accessories crafted from various stones, hand-knitted woollens, vibrant prayer flags, and handicrafts that speak volumes about the rich Tibetan and Indian cultures.

Unlike numerous shopping destinations in India, haggling in the McLeodganj Market may not yield significant results. However, we recommend exploring other shops where you may find items at more affordable prices.

What to buy: Woollens, handicrafts, Himachal wines, and accessories

5. Classes: Engage in Volunteering

Volunteer tourism in Dharamshala

Immerse yourself in the joy of teaching English or lending a helping hand amidst the majestic Himalayas by participating in volunteer work in Dharamshala. Numerous NGOs in the region wholeheartedly encourage and support volunteer initiatives. You’ll find foreign tourists staying for extended periods, dedicating their time to making a meaningful impact. Join them and spread the spirit of joy.

Organizations for volunteer travel in Dharamshala: Waste Warriors, Dharmalaya Institute, and LIT Dharamsala

Tents in Triund

6. Camping: Embrace Tranquility

Indulge in the blissful experience of camping in Dharamshala. Immerse yourself amidst nature’s beauty and surrender to tranquility. Surrendering to the embrace of the majestic mountains is an unparalleled experience.

Remember, it is essential to maintain the essence and original meaning of the information while applying creative and linguistic divergence.

The lush hills covered in forests that reach beyond the clouds, along with the refreshing atmosphere, will inspire you to abandon your mundane walls and set up your own tent for a night of bliss. Dharamshala is a haven for both experienced campers and novices alike (you can even rent a tent if you don’t have one). Whether you’re a camping pro or have never experienced it before, Dharamshala is the ideal place to dive into this adventurous activity.

Top recommendations for camping in and around Dharamshala: Triund, Kareri Lake, and Indrahar Pass.

Paragliding In Bir Billing_22nd oct

Note: For those new to camping, Fred and Fuzzys offers weekend group tours that often include camping in and around Dharamshala.

Additional Information: You can find more suggestions on the best places to visit near Dharamshala that offer delightful detours in this recommended read.

7. Bir Billing: Embark on a Thrilling Paragliding Experience

Paragliding is an exhilarating activity that should not be missed during your visit to Dharamshala. It is undoubtedly the highlight of any trip to Dharamshala. Located just 65 km away from Dharamshala, Bir Billing is considered one of the finest paragliding destinations in India. This town is renowned worldwide for hosting the first-ever Paragliding World Cup, attracting people from various regions who seek to experience one of the best paragliding sessions in India. Paragliding in Bir Billing is a heavenly reward for a two-hour drive.

Price for paragliding: Starting from INR 1,500 for a 20-minute session

8. Himachal: Embark on Adventurous Treks

If your heart belongs in the hills, then trekking is the perfect activity for you. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced trekker, Dharamshala offers a range of trekking options. It serves as a gateway to numerous famous trekking routes, including Chamba, Triund, and Indrahar Pass.

Popular trekking routes in and around Dharamshala:

  • Mcleodganj- Triund- Illaqua Gote- Mcleodganj: Moderate
  • Dharamshala – Indrahar Pass: Moderate
  • Dharamshala – Kareri Lake: Easy
  • Dharamshala – Thamsar Pass: Difficult
  • Dharamshala – Nag Dal: Difficult

Essential Reading: 30 Intriguing Places to Explore in Dharamshala

9. Activities: Enjoy Light Adventure

Dharamshala offers a wide variety of thrilling activities and enjoyable adventures that are ideal for families and groups. Take your pick from rock climbing, ziplining, hiking, fishing, and cycling. All of these activities are relatively effortless and safe. Do not miss out on experiencing them during your visit to Dharamshala.

10. Cycling: Fun Exploring the Town

Staying active while on vacation is a fantastic idea, and it becomes even more enjoyable when you can cycle through the breathtaking Himalayas. Cycling or mountain biking is one of the top things to do in Dharamshala for those who enjoy exploring at their own pace. The roads here are well-maintained, and with almost no network issues, you can rely on GPS to find the most scenic routes around town.

11. Dal Lake: Embrace Serenity

A must-visit attraction on your trip to Dharamshala is the renowned Dal Lake. This lake offers picturesque views and is surrounded by beautiful Deodar trees. You can also explore a Shiva temple located near the lake.

Location: Kangra district, Village Tota Rani

12. Gyuto Monastery: Immerse in Meditation

If you desire some solitude during your time in Dharamshala, make a visit to the enchanting and ancient Gyuto monastery. This serene place offers peace and tranquillity. The monastery imparts valuable teachings that will leave a lasting impression. You can engage in meditation here, which will help alleviate any anxiety and restlessness you may be experiencing.

Location: Sidhbari, Himachal Pradesh 176053

Looking for an Inspiring Getaway? Discover the Enchanting World of Camping in Dharamshala

13. Tea Gardens: Embrace the Beauty

If you’re a tea lover and wish to witness the birthplace of your beloved brew, then a visit to the Tea Gardens is a must. Situated along the Dharamsala-McleodGanj route, these tea gardens not only offer insights into the tea-making process but also leave visitors spellbound with their stunning vistas.

Want More? Check Out: Escape to these 15 Mesmerizing Hill Stations Near Dharamshala

14. Namgyal Monastery: Surrender to Serenity

Monasteries are sacred havens, and Dharamshala is blessed with its fair share of these tranquil sanctuaries. Notably, Namgyal Monastery stands tall as one of India’s largest monastic establishments. Located in Mcleodganj, this monastery houses 200 devoted monks who contribute to the prevailing serenity. Journey through its gates to immerse yourself in Tibetan culture and ancient rituals.

Location: McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh 176219

Intrigued? Read More: Unravel the Magic of Snowfall in Dharamshala with Our Comprehensive Guide

15. Kareri Lake: Embark on an Adventurous Trek

Kareri Lake, nestled gracefully amidst pristine landscapes, is undoubtedly one of Dharamshala’s most captivating attractions. Embarking on a trek to this ethereal destination is among the top activities here, promising immense joy and excitement. En route, be enthralled by magnificent trees and awe-inspiring panoramas. Witness the beauty of Nyund Nallah, a refreshing lake that awaits your discovery. Once you reach Kareri Lake, surrender to the breathtaking surroundings and capture stunning moments with your camera.

Optimal Time to Visit: May to July, September to November

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16. Kangra Fort: Enrich Your Knowledge

The Kangra fort in Dharamshala is an absolute must-visit. It is perched on top of Dharamshala, surrounded by the Patal Ganga and Banganga rivers. This fort is not only a historical treasure but also a place where you can learn a great deal. Walking through its ancient halls will transport you back in time, immersing you in its old-world charm.

Location: Old Kangra, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh 176001

17. Naddi Village: Embrace the Rural Lifestyle

Immersing yourself in the rural life of Dharamshala is an essential experience. Naddi Village is a picturesque village that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys. This village provides the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, allowing you to find peace and tranquility. If you’re traveling with family, be sure to include a visit to this charming village in your itinerary.

18. Masrur: Uncover the Wonders of the Rock-Cut Temples

Masrur is a renowned archaeological site that boasts stunning rock-cut temples that will leave you spellbound. These temples showcase the exquisite artistry of the Indo-Aryan era and offer a visual feast for the eyes. Take your time to admire the intricate details of the temple structures and capture beautiful memories through photographs.

Location: Himachal Pradesh

19. St John’s Church: Witness the Beauty of the Past

Also known as The Church in the Wilderness, St John’s Church holds great significance in Dharamshala’s cultural heritage. It was built in 1852 and features a unique Neo-Gothic architectural style, reminiscent of a scene from a movie. Step inside this majestic church, seek blessings, and be captivated by its timeless beauty.

Location: Road to Naddi Village from McLeod Ganj, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh 176215

20. Triund: Trek

Not only does Dharamshala boast incomparable beauty, but it also offers astonishing nearby destinations to explore. One such gem is Triund. Embarking on a trek in Triund is undeniably one of the most remarkable activities to partake in Dharamshala. It grants immense pleasure and a deeply moving experience. This trek spans a distance of 9 kilometers, presenting captivating vistas that will mesmerize like never before.

Prime time to visit: March to May, September to December

21. Bhagsu Falls: Embrace the Splendor

If you find yourself wondering about the ideal activities to undertake in Dharamshala, then make your way to Bhagsu Falls and rediscover a state of rejuvenation. The cascading waters descend from a height of 20 meters, offering breathtaking views that will enamor you with Dharamshala’s allure.

Location: Temple, near Bhagsunag, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh 17621

22. Dharamkot Village: Experience the Enchantment

Dharamkot village is an enchanting place that will leave you spellbound with its charm and spiritual ambiance. The simplicity of village life will captivate you and entice you to stay forever. The village also provides yoga and meditation courses that ensure the most serene experience during your vacation. Be sure to include this destination in your Dharamshala itinerary.

Location: Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh 176219

Further Reading: 20 Exceptional Destinations to Explore in North India During the Monsoon Season for a Well-Deserved Getaway

Thus, these are some of the top-rated activities to engage in while visiting Dharamshala that will exhilarate and stimulate your senses from head to toe. Are you not already filled with excitement? If so, plan your trip to Himachal Pradesh right away!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Activities in Dharamshala

Is visiting Dharamshala worthwhile?

Visiting Dharamshala is undeniably worthwhile as it provides an opportunity to explore the majestic Kangra Valley.

Which is preferable, Dharamshala or Dalhousie?

Dalhousie, situated at a higher altitude, offers the sight of snow-capped mountains and glistening snow. Dharamshala, on the other hand, is culturally enriched and showcases its Tibetan roots. Both places possess their own unique beauty worth exploring.

Is it safe to plan a trip to Dharamshala during the Covid situation?

Yes, it is safe to plan a trip to Dharamshala, but it is important to take proper precautions before your visit.

Where can I go paragliding in Dharamshala?

Paragliding is not available in Dharamshala itself, but rather in Bir Billing, which is just a two-hour drive away from the town. Bir Billing is one of the best paragliding destinations in India and has even hosted the world’s first paragliding world cup competition!

What are the best activities for families and children in Dharamshala?

Dharamshala is a family-friendly hill station, offering easy access to healthcare, hotels, and transportation. Families can explore tea gardens, have the opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama on specific days, and visit the magnificent Dharamshala Cricket Stadium.

What are the best activities for couples in Dharamshala?

Thanks to its scenic charm, Dharamshala is a paradise for couples. There are numerous activities for couples to indulge in, such as couple’s spa sessions, romantic nature walks, delightful food tours, and enchanting sightseeing excursions.

Is Dharamshala a safe destination for a family vacation?

Yes, Dharamshala is completely safe for a family vacation. Shops remain open until 9 pm and the locals are friendly and helpful.

When is the best time to visit Dharamshala?

The best time to visit Dharamshala is from February to June, when the weather is perfect for a memorable escapade.

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